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Benedict Kiely, one of the most distinguished figures in twentieth century Irish literature, was born near Dromore, Co Tyrone in January 1919 and spent his formative years in Omagh, the county capital. He moved to Dublin in the late 1930s to study at the National University and while still an undergraduate was engaged as a journalist on The Standard, a now defunct Dublin newspaper. He was later to join the staff of the Irish Independent and later still to write for the Irish Press. His first novel Land Without Stars (1946) was the first of ten novels. He was also a prolific writer of short stories, several of which first appeared in periodicals such as The New Yorker. The Collected Short Stories, 49 in all, appeared in 2001. His works of criticism have included The Poor Scholar, his study of fellow Tyrone writer, William Carleton, Modern Irish Fiction, a review of the novel in mid 20th century Ireland and Raids into Dark Corners. Travel books include Ireland from the Air and All the Way to Bantry Bay. Benedict Kiely was familiar as a broadcaster, largely through RTE’s Sunday Miscellany radio feature, on which he was a stalwart for a quarter of a century from the 1970s to the 1990s. He made his home in Dublin from 1940 on but he frequently came back to his native Omagh and immortalised it in his fiction. The author died in Dublin in February 2007 and is buried in Omagh’s Dublin Road cemetery not far from the centre of town. Stephen McKenna Official website:

The 12th

The Exhibition: Eamon Coleman ‘Panorama, A Ten Year Review’ Information Eamon Colman first came to prominence as a painter in Ireland in the early 1980s. He has been a full time painter for over thirty years and has held over thirty solo exhibitions within Ireland and internationally Colman is an avid walker who has travelled to many parts of the world, exploring in particular, places of pilgrimage. He has travelled widely in India,the Arctic Circle,South Africa, Thailand, USA and throughout the British Isles. He lives and works in rural County Kilkenny since 2003. He is represented by Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin. This is the first major exhibition that Eamon Colman will have in Northern Ireland. It will contain many of the works which he has produced in response to the various landscapes he has experienced inspired by his travels and it is apt that his work has been selected to contribute to the theme of Journeys and Travel in this the twelfth annual Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend. The exhibition will run until Saturday 2 November in the Gallery of Strule Arts Centre.

Saturday 14th September 2.00 pm Travel Writing with Paul Clements • Creative travel writing: how to engage descriptively with place. • Learn how to capture the mood and atmosphere of a place through evocative description. • Practical tips will be given on how to structure a piece of writing and grab the reader’s attention. Elizabeth McAleer Cultural Services Manager Libraries NI, is delighted to work with Omagh Arts Committee and Omagh District Council in bringing part of the Benedict Kiely programme to Omagh Library. Libraries and Literary festivals are a natural collaboration and one that Libraries NI hope to develop. 

3.30 pm ‘The virtual journey’ with Afric McGlinchey Participants are invited to bring in a ‘journey’ poem by a writer they admire, as well as a poem of their own (which does not need to be about a journey). We will also do some exercises, using the concept of the journey both in our themes and as an aid in our writing process. Limited places are available, please ensure to book early. A booking fee of £8.00 will be required if not a weekend delegate.

The Venue The main venue is Strule Arts Centre, Omagh. Access is via Bridge Street or High Street. The closest car park is at the Bus Station. Accommodation Special rates are available for a limited number of rooms in the Silverbirch Hotel and can be booked through their booking line 028 8224 2520. The hotel is situated just outside the Town Centre on the Gortin Road and has ample car parking.

Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend 13th - 15th September 2013 Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

The Tourist Information Centre can arrange accommodation in other venues in the area if required. Details of all accommodation in the district are listed on the website The telephone number for the Tourist Information Centre is 028 8224 7831 or 048 8224 7831 from the Republic of Ireland.

Cost The fee for the event is £85 (or the euro equivalent). This includes: • attendance at all sessions • light refreshments throughout • buffet supper on Friday • lunch and buffet supper on Saturday • a choice of the bus tour or the writing workshop. It does not include the cost of accommodation. Rates are available for individual sessions. To book contact Strule Arts Centre Box Office on 028 8224 7831 or 048 8224 7831 from the Republic of Ireland, or e-mail using This event is organised by Omagh District Council and Omagh Arts Committee

All The Way To Bantry Bay… and other journeys

The 12th

Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend Friday 13th September

Saturday 14th September 10.30 am Patricia Craig Views of Ireland: Benedict Kiely, Frank O’Connor and Sean O’Faolain. Patricia Craig is an author and critic. Her memoir, ASKING FOR TROUBLE, was published in 2007, and her most recent book is A TWISTED ROOT: Ancestral Entanglements in Ireland (2012).

5.00 pm Registration

11.30 am Tea/Coffee

6.30 pm Welcome by the Chairman of Omagh District Council Formal Opening and Launch of Art Exhibition: ‘Panorama, A Ten Year Review’ by Eamon Coleman

12.00 pm Afric McGlinchey Migration and its impact on perception and creativity Tennyson said that ever since he was young, he had thrilled to the phrase ‘far far away.’ As every traveler knows, the experience of being exposed to an unfamiliar landscape, a different culture, obliges you to be open to what is happening. The traveler sees things in a different way. My talk will consider the influence of migration on a writer’s outlook and use of language, both in the work of others, and in my own poetry.

8.30 pm Journeys - Past and Future Panel discussion chaired by Paul Clements Paul Clements is a contributing editor to Fodor’s Ireland and to Insight Guide Ireland. He has written travel articles about New York, Venice, Croatia and London as well as many parts of France and Ireland. Dervla Murphy Dervla Murphy is an author of adventure travel books for over 40 years. Murphy is best known for her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle, about an overland cycling trip through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. She followed this by volunteering with Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal, and trekking with a mule through Ethiopia. Murphy took a break from travel writing following the birth of her daughter, and then wrote about her travels with Rachel in India, Pakistan, South America, Madagascar and Cameroon. She later wrote about her solo trips through Romania, Africa, Laos, the states of the former Yugoslavia, and Siberia. In 2005 she visited Cuba with her daughter and three granddaughters

Manchán Magan Manchán Magan is a writer, traveller and television maker. He has made over 50 travel documentaries focusing on issues of world culture and globalisation in China, the Middle East, Greenland, India, South America, Europe and Africa for RTE, TG4, the Travel Channel and History Channel. His programmes are shown in 25 territories around the world.

1.00 pm LUNCH Strule Cafe 2.00 pm Carol Drinkwater The Mediterranean Olive Route Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books. When she and her husband Michel purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes, France, they discovered sixty-eight, 400-yearold olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives gathered and pressed, Carol and Michel became the producers of top quality olive oil, and their farm has since gained an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllee). Her series of memoirs about her experiences (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest, and Return to the Olive Farm) have become best sellers in the U.S. and abroad. Carol’s fascination with the olive tree extended to a solo seventeen-month Mediterranean journey in search of its mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a recently completed five-part documentary film series entitled The Olive Route. Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help found an

Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean Basin, with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honoring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.

3.30pm Bus Tour A light hearted look at significant sites and sights around Kiely Country. 8.00 pm Drinks Reception in Strule Arts Centre Hosted by Chairman of Omagh District Council 8.30 pm Buffet Supper in Strule Cafe

Sunday 15th September 11.00 am Mary Russell ‘My Home is Your Home’: My Travels around Syria Mary Russell is a writer who divides her time between Dublin and Oxford - when she’s not travelling to places as far apart as Kirghistan and Khartoum, Bantry and Burgersdorp. Not surprisingly, her three children are scattered across Australia, Antigua and London. Her book, The Blessings of a Good Thick Skirt is now available from Amazon as an e-book. She’ll give an illustrated talk about Syria, a country she has grown to love over the ten years she has been travelling to and around it. Her account of chance meetings with people - in the desert, in shops, in their homes, in the mosque and in her no-star hotel in Damascus - will have you laughing and possibly weeping in equal measure. She’ll also talk about the joys and tribulations of always travelling solo. 11.45 am Tea/Coffee 12.15 pm “Poor Green Erin” - German eye-witness accounts of Ireland written in the 18th and 19th centuries Eoin Bourke is Emeritus Professor of German at NUI Galway. Born in Dublin, he lived in Germany for 14 years, working as a translator, broadcasting for the Bavarian Radio and studying at Munich University for his Ph.D. He has published widely in Ireland, Britain, Germany and Austria on a variety of literary themes. 1.00 pm Farewell

The 12th Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend Booking Form To book a place on the 12th Benedict Kiely Literary Weekend please complete the form below and return it to Strule Arts Centre, Townhall Square, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 1BL along with Booking Fee. If paying by cheque, please make payable to Omagh District Council. No Euro Cheques Accepted. To buy tickets online: Box Office: 028 8224 7831 Email:

Name of Delegate:


Tel No:




Ben Kiely Programme 2013  
Ben Kiely Programme 2013