Sligo Library, along with ITSligo, presents The Word. Celebrating the work of the late Dermot Healy

For this special edition of The Word, Mary O’Malley, Brian Leyden and Keith Hopper will be celebrating the work of the late Dermot Healy. 

WEDNESDAY, January 26, 2022 6:30PM

FREE Online event.

Music with Ray Coen


Open Mic

Dermot Healy (1947-2014) grew up in Cavan. He later settled in Ballyconnell, Co. Sligo, where he founded and edited Force 10: A Journal of the Northwest. His debut collection, Banished Misfortune and Other Stories, first appeared in 1982, and this was followed by four novels: Fighting with Shadows (1984), A Goat’s Song (1994), Sudden Times (1999), and Long Time, No See (2011). A highly-acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home, was published in 1996. He also wrote five collections of poetry and thirteen stage plays. Dermot Healy died at his home in Sligo in June 2014. His Collected Plays and Collected Short Stories were published posthumously in 2016, alongside a volume of critical appreciation entitled Writing the Sky: Observations and Essays on Dermot Healy.

Mary O’Malley was born in Connemara and educated at NUI Galway. She has served on the council of Poetry Ireland and on the committee of the Cúirt International Poetry Festival. Mary taught on the MA programmes for Writing and Education in the Arts at NUI Galway for ten years; held the Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2013; and has held Residencies in Paris, Tarragona, New York, Galway, Derry, Belfast, and Mayo. In 2019, she was a Writer Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. She has published nine books of poetry, including Valparaiso, which arose out of her Residency onboard the national marine research ship. Mary is a member of Aosdána, and is currently working on a memoir of childhood. This autumn, she will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate by NUI Galway.

Brian Leyden is a memoirist, short story writer, novelist, editor, and popular creative writing mentor. He is the author of Sweet Old World: New and Selected Stories, The Home Place, and Summer of ’63, and his non-fiction essays have appeared in Winter Papers (2016) and Writing the Sky: Observations and Essays on Dermot Healy (2016). Brian is a regular contributor to RTÉ Radio 1 and wrote the screenplay for the feature film Black Ice (2013), which was recently acquired by Netflix Europe. The recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Agility Award (2021), he has also scripted the Irish War of Independence Centennial Commemorations project The Sheemore Ambush (2021). Brian is currently engaged in the Hawk’s Well Theatre’s ‘Creative Companions’ series for 2022. He lives by the sea in north Sligo.

Dr Keith Hopper teaches Writing & Literature at IT Sligo. He is the author of Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-modernist (revised edition, 2009); general editor of the twelve-volume Ireland into Film series (2001-2007); and co-editor of Flann O’Brien: Centenary Essays (2011) and The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien (2013). He also co-edited a series of four books by and about Dermot Healy (2015-2016). Keith is a regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, and is currently writing a book on poetry and the sense of place in the digital age.

Ray Coen, hailing from Sligo, has over 18 years experience as a guitar and fiddle player. In recent years Ray has moved from backing others to increasingly perform his own material. His debut album ‘Out of Sight’ was released in May 2009 and described by Hotpress as both ‘beautifully recorded and arranged’ and ‘music that is happy in it’s own skin’. Ray has been a regular collaborator with NoCrows since 2007 and was welcomed onboard as a full blown band member in 2014.

He will perform some of Dermot’s favourites, including:

  • Banish Misfortune
  • The Parting Glass

Open Mic