What a highlight of the year it was for me to read at the Westport Arts Festival last Saturday with fellow writer, Orflaith Foyle, and Man Booker prizewinner, John Banville. It has been a while since I have read with Orflaith so it was a real treat to hear her poetry again, and listen to her stories of where she has lived throughout her life so beautifully told in the poem: And Where Else?
Sometimes we were mistaken for Canadians
And because we replied Australian
We seemed to make sense.
School friends demanded why we weren't black
Since we came from Africa too.
And where else?
Some years ago I heard John Banville say that he regards the sentence as the greatest invention of human kind. It is not the characters who have the power. It is the language that has the power. Listening to him read from his stunning new novel The Blue Guitar certainly proves that he is the master of the perfect sentence. The final scene from which he read was powerful in its tenderness and beauty.
And what a lovely dinner we all had together afterwards with John and his wife, Janet, Orflaith, Ger Reidy, Westport poet,short story writer and committee member, Alan Hayes of Arlen House and Colette Nic Aodha.
Thanks to all of the committee for inviting me, and for looking after us so well. A special thanks to Bláth of the High Street B&B where we had the most delicious and interesting breakfast while listening to Maeve Edwards reading her pitch-perfect piece about being a Skype Granny, on Sunday Miscellany.