Belfast Telegraph

Review: Literary journeys to other worlds

By Andrew Johnston

Belfast's bookworms escaped from the rain and the rush hour into the cosy confines of Whiterock Library last night to hear a distinguished panel of local authors read from their work.

The event, part of the One City One Book festival, focused on the importance of place in the writers' output.

Pumpgirl creator Abbie Spallen, from Newry ("the Helmand Province of Northern Ireland"), began with a passage from her play Strandline, with its ripe language and droll references to men who revel in "sheer f****** mayhem".

Eoin McNamee, reading from Resurrection Man, channelled memories of the "charnel house" that was 1970s Belfast, while the festival's featured writer, David Park, drew from his centuries-spanning The Poets' Wives, offering striking descriptions of "the sea's low moan" and "skin that tastes of salt" to conjure another place and another time.

Later, Annie McCartney and Colin Bateman added their own flair to the evening, followed by an audience discussion.

It may have been a grey Monday teatime in west Belfast, but courtesy of some of Northern Ireland's leading scribes, we were transported to half-a-dozen other worlds.

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