Travel writing legend Dervla Murphy to attend Benedict Kiely Weekend for first time

The 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend takes place from 11-13 September 2015 at the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

Published: 28th August 2015

Renowned travel writer and author of 26 books, Dervla Murphy, is visiting Omagh on Friday 11 September 2015 as part of the 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend, Omagh’s Literary Festival.

On Friday 11 September, Dervla will contribute to a panel discussion, ‘Palestine and the One State Solution’, which will present both the Palestinian and Israeli perspective, in the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh.

Dervla was part of the Festival programme three years ago, however her appearance was cancelled after she shattered her arm when she tripped over one of her cats.

In 1963, Dervla travelled alone, cycling on a man’s bicycle which she named Roz, through India, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Throughout her travels, Dervla shared the hospitality of local people and frequently slept in the open, armed with a gun for protection. Dervla recounted her experiences in her first book, ‘Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle’ which was published in 1965.

In 1968 Dervla became a single mother and began to write about her travels with her daughter, Rachel, in India, Pakistan, South America, Madagascar and Cameroon.

From 1978 Dervla Murphy included political commentaries in her travel books as she wrote about Northern Ireland and race issues in Bradford and Birmingham. She travelled extensively in Africa and wrote about the AIDS problem. In 2011 she spent a month in the Palestinian Gaza strip and as a result ‘A month by the sea’ was published in 2013.Dervla’s new book published earlier this year, ‘Between River and Sea – Encounters in Israel and Palestine’, focuses on the Israeli and Palestinian situation.

The panel discussion, ‘Palestine and the One State Solution’ is just one part of the Benedict Kiely Weekend programme which includes readings, discussions and workshops with a number of acclaimed authors. Contributors to the Festival include Mohammed Samaana, Yaser Alashqar, Martina Devlin, Colette Bryce, Conor McCloskey, Mark Graham and Michael Harding.

Benedict Kiely, who was born in Dromore, County Tyrone in 1919, is recognised as one of the most distinguished figures in twentieth century Irish literature, authoring ten novels and writing scores of short stories.  In his later years Benedict Kiely moved into broadcasting and was a stalwart of RTE’s ‘Sunday Miscellany’ radio feature from the 1970s to 1990s. The author died in Dublin in 2007 and is buried in Omagh’s Dublin Road cemetery.

Organised and funded by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Omagh Arts Committee, the theme of this year’s Weekend is, ‘A Raid Into Dark Corners’ – the title of a critical essay published by Benedict Kiely in 1978 relating to the early work of Seamus Heaney in which he cites Seamus Heaney as stating that ‘poetry is a kind of raid into dark corners.’

The panel discussion starts at 8 pm on Friday 11 September 2015 at the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh. The full Benedict Kiely Weekend programme is available to download from the related files panel on this webpage. Full Weekend tickets cost £85 while tickets for individual sessions are priced at £8, £5 concessionary. To book tickets please visit, telephone the Strule Arts Centre Box Office on 028 8224 7831 or email


Related Files
14th Benedict Kiely Weekend Programme
151 KB | pdf | 10 Jul 2015

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