Island Voices autumn lecture set for virtual return

Island Voices autumn lecture set for virtual return

Mayor Graham Warke, centre, says the Island Voices lecture series that will be coming to Derry later this month, "represents a great opportunity for us all to reflect on our shared heritage"

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s popular autumn lecture series – Island Voices – returns later this month with a virtual programme of talks which explore storytelling within the Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions.

This year’s theme ‘The Story of Us’ – reflects on storytelling in its broadest sense and explores a range of subjects, including; the literary legacy of Seamus Heaney; the stories of the Great Irish Famine which endure in folk memory; and a personal account of the Ulster-Scots language and its power to evoke a unique sense of home and place.

The first talk in the series ‘Seamus Heaney: Ulster Storyteller’ premieres on Thursday September 23 and features the Heaney scholar Dr Shea Atchison who will explore the fusion of English, Irish and Ulster-Scots in Heaney's work.

The second talk in the series, ‘Learnin’ frae th’lan’ premieres on Thursday October 21, and features poet and playwright Anne McMaster, who will explore identity and creative writing in Ulster Scots focusing on the power of the Ulster-Scots oral tradition to evoke a unique sense of home and place.

The third and final talk in the series ‘Oral Lore: Humanising the History of the Famine’ premieres on Thursday, November 25.

This talk features writer and broadcaster Cathal Póirtéir who will present excerpts from the personal accounts of those who lived through the Great Famine, reflecting on the importance of oral history and what it can add to our understanding of the events of our shared past.

Speaking ahead of the programme, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “Island Voices remains one of our most popular offerings and represents a great opportunity for us all to reflect on our shared heritage and on the value of our Irish and Ulster-Scots traditions to shaping us as a people and as a place.

“This year’s virtual programme of talks, allows people to access the content of the lectures as and when they choose, and I would encourage everyone with an interest in our unique shared traditions to explore the programme.”

Pól Ó Frighil, Policy Officer (Irish Language) at Derry City and Strabane District Council who organises the event added: “This year’s event will be delivered as a series of virtual talks, all of which premiere at 1pm on the date of each talk, but which will also be available to play again any time after the first virtual showing.

“This will hopefully allow audiences to enjoy the content of the talks at their leisure and in their own time and has the potential to allow us to reach audiences further afield.”

All talks in the series are free but registration is required.

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