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Irish writers join Minister Flanagan, to celebrate Irish literature in translation

Writers John Banville, Anne Enright and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin join Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, to celebrate Irish literature in translation

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, will this evening (Wednesday) welcome Ireland’s leading writers to Iveagh House to mark 21 years of partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ireland Literature Exchange.

Ireland’s inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction, Anne Enright, author John Banville and poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin are among those who will address the gathering of authors, translators and representatives of the arts and cultural community to celebrate the success of the Ireland Literature Exchange, which supports the translation of Irish literature to make it available to an international audience.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister Flanagan said:

“Around the world, many lovers of literature and poetry first encounter Ireland through our writers and poets and develop an affinity with our country.  Irish writing often entices visitors to engage with Ireland on many other levels – be it tourism, education or trade.  For 21 years, my Department has worked with Irish Literature Exchange to promote Irish literature around the world.

“From small beginnings in 1994, the organisation’s output has grown from a modest 12 works of Irish literature in its first year of activity to an impressive current total of 1,650 books in 55 languages.

“Here at home, the arts, culture and creative sectors are a dynamic and growing pillar of our economy, employing around 170,000 people.

“Irish culture is a global commons, often followed and admired by people who may have no other connection to Ireland. My Department and Ireland Literature Exchange share a common purpose and goal - to bring Ireland’s rich cultural heritage to the attention of the world. I am delighted, therefore, to mark the 21st anniversary of the establishment of Ireland Literature Exchange, which was established on an initiative of the then Cultural Relations Committee of this Department, the Arts Council and Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge.

“The proud record of Irish Literature Exchange is the result of collaborations with publishers and literary translators right around the world who have chosen to befriend Irish literature and transmit it to their readers. I am deeply appreciative of the work carried out by the director, Sinéad Mac Aodha, and her team and their close collaboration with our network of embassies around the world, most notably in the awarding of translation grants, organisation of book launches, author visits at events and festivals and the co-ordination of Ireland’s participation at major world book fairs”.

Press Office
4 February 2014