Island Voices lecture series to explore marginalised writers within the Irish and Ulster-Scots tradi
15 September 2023
Derry City and Strabane District Council’s popular autumn lecture series Island Voices returns to the Tower Museum later this month.
The programme features a series of lunchtime lectures exploring the life and legacy of marginalised literary figures from the Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions in the North West.
In from the Edge will reflect on the life and work of three seminal Donegal writers - Sarah Leech, Seosamh Mac Grianna and Frances Browne – each of whom, despite having faced adversity and, at times, exclusion in their lives have, in more recent times, been recognised for the unique contribution they have made to the literary worlds of English, Irish and Ulster-Scots. The programme features three lectures in total, one taking place each month between September and November 2023.
The first lecture in the series takes place on Thursday 28 September 2023 and features Dr Pauline Holland who will explore the life and legacy of Sarah Leech (1809-1830) - a 19th century Donegal poet who battled poverty, illness and discrimination to become the only known published Irish female weaver poet, and one of the most prominent of the Ulster-Scots tradition.
The second lecture in the series takes place on Thursday 26 October 2023 and features writer Pól Ó Muirí who will explore the life and work of Seosamh Mac Grianna (1900-1990) - one of the leading writers of Irish in the 20th century, who, despite being viewed as an outsider in life, has in more recent times, been recognised as a leading and innovative voice in Irish language literature.
The third and final lecture in the series takes place on Thursday 23 November 2023 and features Raymond Blair, author of ‘The Best of Frances Browne’. Frances Browne (1816-1879) was a native of Stranorlar who despite being struck blind by smallpox at a very young age, carved out a literary career that led her to be known in her own lifetime as the ‘blind poetess of Ulster’.
Speaking ahead of the programme, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Patricia Logue, said: “I am delighted to see the Island Voices lecture series programme continue to grow and provide opportunities for audiences throughout the city and district to learn about our shared linguistic heritage. The languages of Irish and Ulster-Scots are unique to our people and to this place, and events such as Island Voices help us all to develop a deeper understanding of the value of our indigenous languages and the contribution they make to life here. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to attend and wish the programme continued success.”
Pól Ó Frighil, from Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Languages Team, which organises the event, added: “This year we’ve dedicated our programme to remembering the life and work of three Donegal writers - Sarah Leech, Seosamh Mac Grianna and Frances Browne. The theme - In from the Edge – was chosen to articulate the efforts being made by modern audiences to ensure that each of the writers is appropriately recognised, and we hope that our programme adds to this greater public understanding of the unique contribution these writers have made to the literary traditions of English, Irish and Ulster-Scots.”
All talks in the series are free but booking is essential. To book your place please contact the Tower Museum, T: (028) 7137 2411 or email [email protected]
Further information: Pól Ó Frighil, Languages Team, Derry City and Strabane District Council, [email protected]
The Island Voices series is funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Good Relations Programme.
View the full programme at: www.derrystrabane.com/islandvoices