Kiely event to ‘Shed light on dark corners’

Published: 19th August 2015

The 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend, Omagh’s Literary Festival, will take place from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September 2015 in the Strule Arts Centre, Omagh.

Organised and funded by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Omagh Arts Committee, the theme of this year’s event, ‘A Raid Into Dark Corners’, is 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.’

Speaking at the launch of the 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend programme, Vice-Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Paul Robinson remarked that the 14-year history of the event is testament to its popularity. He added:

“This year, for the first time, the programme embraces Omagh’s wider literary heritage. Playwright Brian Friel; authors Martina Devlin and Sharon Owens; poets Alice Milligan and John Montague, and world-renowned songwriter Jimmy Kennedy all have close associations with the town”.

A range of authors, who have through their writing, visited and raided dark corners and have shed light on a wide range of human experiences, will come together over the course of the Weekend to explore these experiences through a programme of readings, discussions and workshops.

Experiences include witchcraft, dystopian society, mental illness, implications of a one state solution to the Palestinian situation, growing up in Derry/Londonderry during the height of the Northern Ireland conflict as a young girl, an account of a wide range of festivals which took place over one year in Ireland and an exploration of what has been described by many leading authors and critics as one of the greatest anti-war polemics ever written, Benedict Kiely’s own novella, ‘Proxopera’, which has just been republished by Turnpike Books.

The line-up of speakers over the Weekend include world acclaimed  travel writer, Dervla Murphy;  Michael Harding, actor and  writer; Martina Devlin, novelist and journalist; Colette Bryce, an award winning Derry/Londonderry born poet who now lives and teaches in Newcastle;  Mark Graham, a professional musician and teacher who has written a hilarious account of a year of attending festivals in Ireland; Mohammed Samaana, a Palestinian born journalist and writer and YaserAlashqar, a Palestinian born academic and writer.  They will be joined by Conor Mc Closkey a local teacher of literature and James Doyle of Turnpike Books who will speak on Kiely’s ‘Proxopera’.

A Brian Friel Theatre Day will take place on Friday 11 September 2015 for Year 13 and 14 students of English Literature and Performing Arts.

There will also be an exhibition of wood engraving and enamelled copper pieces by artist, Susan Mannion, who is originally from Omagh but who is now based in Boyle,County Roscommon.  Susan has taken her inspiration for her first solo exhibition at the Strule Arts Centre from the works of Benedict Kiely and in particular from Kiely’s, ‘Proxopera’. The exhibition ‘A Raid Into Dark Corners’ opens at the Strule Arts Centre on Friday 11 September 2015 and will continue until Saturday 14 November 2015.

Benedict Kiely, who was born in Dromore, CountyTyrone 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.

Tickets for the 14th Benedict Kiely Weekend are available from the Strule Arts Centre Box Office, telephone 028 8224 7831. For further information please visit A programme for the Benedict Kiely Weekend can be downloaded from the related files section on this webpage.


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

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