Writing and reading go hand-in-hand. So what do our favourite writers choose to pick up (and revisit) for their own reading pleasure? And once revisited, how might the perception of a story or novel change? In a new programming strand to the Festival, major authors discuss and celebrate the writers and works that matter to them. Here Dermot Healy chooses short stories by James Joyce and Aidan Higgins.
This event is for a maximum of fifty people. The session will be relaxed and informal with the focus on conversation between the writer and the audience. Whilst the places are free, advance booking is essential.
"Re-reading gives you a different story than the one you first read, as you've added on to it and forgotten some of the original. So memory works away at it when the writer has given it away; you make it up again. This was something I experienced with both these short stories."
Dermot Healy considers why these two short stories have had such a profound effect on him, stories that he has returned to again and again.
James Joyce's The Dead (from the collection Dubliners) is widely regarded as one of the finest short stories ever written. Set primarily at the Morkan sisters' Christmas party it culminates in a moment of self-realisation and spiritual awakening for its main character, Gabriel Conroy.
Asylum was the main story in Aidan Higgins' collection Felo de Se (1961: revised and re-titled Asylum and Other Stories, 1978). Annie Proulx has written of his work, “the ferocious and dazzling prose of Aidan Higgins, the pure architecture of his sentences, takes the breath out of you”.
Dermot Healy’s work includes novels, short stories, poetry, plays and a memoir. A new novel, Long Time, No See will be published in October by Faber and Faber.