Writing.ie is delighted to welcome Cathal Póirtéir on board as our Eagarthóir Gaeilge.
As Irish Language Editor Cathal will gather together the latest news and opinions about what is happening in the world of Irish language publishing and literature. If his name sounds familiar it may be because Cathal has been producing and presenting radio programmes for RTE Radio 1 and RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta for thirty year, working particularly on programmes focusing on Irish language literature and folklore but also in drama, documentaries, feature series and daily current affairs programmes for many years.
“I hope to be able to provide a platform for all those interested in literature in Irish, a common ground where publishers and writers can let readers know what’s newly published, who is taking part in literary events and what to keep an eye out for in the bookshops and libraries.
I know from my experience on programmes like Comhluadar na Leabhar and Scríbhneoirí Faoi Chaibidil that there is a reading public who want to be in the know about who’s who and what’s what in Irish writing. It is next to impossible to keep up with all the books being published in Irish in a given year. There’s just so much. Readers really appreciate all the help they can get in deciding what might suit their tastes and a heartfelt recommendation from a fellow reader can make the critical difference in getting a reader to try something new.
Hopefully writing.ie can become a public forum where readers and writers of Irish language books can share information, opinions and stay in touch with what’s going on. Let me know about events and publication you think people should know about and I’ll do my best to spread the news.”
We will carry a number of sections in Irish from now on. With your help we will regularly update an events diary .We want publishers, festival organisers, societies, institutions, book clubs and writers to keep us informed about dates, times and venues of literary and publishing events, particularly when they are open to the public.
To help raise the profile of individual writers and cultural workers we will have a regular feature article – perhaps a look at who is doing what at the moment, an appreciation of a favourite book or an interview to highlight a newly published work.
If you have something interesting to say about what is going on in the world of Irish language writing or a comment on what you’ve just read, we will host a blog to help air opinions about books, events and writers. Hopefully that will be good sport and we’ll see a regular exchange of ideas and opinions, kite flying and fishing for compliments. The bolg section, and everything else really, will depend on everyone’s participation and support so pass the word on to your friends.
As an encouragement, we might even convince publishers to provide copies of their latest publications as prizes for writing.ie on-line competitions.
Some visitors to writing.ie will already know Cathal Póirtéir (or his voice at least) from his presentation of Comhluadar na Leabhar, the weekly book programme, broadcast on both RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta and RTE Radio 1 for the past few years. Others will have come across him presenting many of the events in the annual Imram Irish language literature festival which he chaired until recently. Some dedicated readers may also have read one or two of the books he has written and edited in both English and Irish. The best-selling The Great Irish Famine (Mercier Press) and the companion volume Gnéithe den Ghorta (Coiscéim) remain popular. He also researched and edited two compendia of famine folklore: Famine Echoes (Gill and Macmillan) and Glórtha ón Ghorta (Coiscéim) and has lectured on the folklore of the famine around Ireland and in The USA, Canada, France and Holland.
Cathal has also produced a number of spoken word CDs published by RTE including Blasket Island Reflections, based on his documentary series on the Blasket Island writers; The Appeals of the Midnight Court on the continuing attractions of Brian Merriman’s controversial poem on the sexual politics of his time and Traditional Tales of Wonder, a selection of folktales and legends from Donegal storyteller Micí Sheáin Néill, translated and presented in English for younger listeners. His poetry collection Tonnchrith Intinne was nominated for an Irish Times Literary Award in 1992(?).
Earlier this year Oireachtas na Gaeilge presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual media awards. He has also won gold and silver awards at the annual PPI awards.