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Renowned Irish Poets Remembered In New Graphic Novel Exploring Events Of 1916

18 April 2016

The fourth instalment in the Creative Centenaries graphic novel series exploring the Decade of Centenaries will be launched in the Tower Museum, Derry~Londonderry on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm.

The new graphic novel produced by the Nerve Centre’s Creative Centenaries project offers an insight into the events of 1916 through the experiences of key literary figures, Alice Milligan and Francis Ledwidge, and explores the lives of the renowned Irish poets in relation to the Easter Rising and the First World War.

Curriculum-linked to Key Stage 3, the graphic novel, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, offers background information and digital learning tasks that can be completed in the classroom.

It will be launched at a special event featuring Catherine Morris, author of Alice Milligan and the Celtic Revival and Dave Duggan author of Still, The Blackbird Sings, a play based on Francis Ledwidge’s time in Derry. Catherine Morris will give a talk as part of the Tower Museum’s 1916: Untold Stories exhibition and events programme, which is highlighting the impact of key events like the Easter Rising and Battle of the Somme on the north west.

The comic book will join a suite of award-winning educational resources already developed for the Creative Centenaries project, including a graphic novel on the actions of Lurgan-man Billy McFadzean during the Battle of the Somme and Winfred Carney, James Connolly’s personal secretary, during the Easter Rising, and another on the Sinking of the Lusitania.

All resources, plus a series of 2.5D animations using archive material and interactive iBooks can be found on www.creativecentenaries.org and are free to download.

The Creative Centenaries project is led by the Nerve Centre with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Community Relations Council, Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Derry City and Strabane District Council, and is a wide-ranging cultural heritage programme around the Decade of Anniversaries. The programme aims to bring together a partnership of heritage and cultural organisations to celebrate our shared differences and explore our past together.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said the series offered a fantastic modern day take on the past. “I’m delighted to see the release of the fourth instalment of this innovative series which depicts some of the most compelling moments of modern history in an eye-catching contemporary format. I want to congratulate the team at the Nerve Centre on the production of a valuable resource which will appeal to young people and bring to life the significant historic events which have shaped our society today.”

Martin Melarkey, Strategic Director at the Nerve Centre, said: “Francis Ledwidge is regarded as Ireland's greatest soldier poet and Alice Milligan as an amazing writer, activist and creative pioneer. By telling both their fascinating stories in an engaging graphic novel form, we can offer insights into key events and a seminal period in Irish history. Both characters had links to the north west. Alice Milligan was born near Omagh and learnt Irish in Derry. Francis Ledwidge was based in Ebrington Barracks during part of 1916 and wrote some of his most well-known poems in the city."

The launch of the new graphic novel will take place on Thursday, April 21 at 7pm in the Tower Museum, Derry~Londonderry. All are welcome to attend.