John McGahern Remembered
The Parade Tower was absolutely packed yesterday evening for a very special event commemorating one of Ireland’s greatest ever writers. Remembering John McGahern was the perfect event to kick off the literature strand of this years festival.
John McGahern was remembered by Colm Tóibín, Anne Fogarty, Professor of James Joyce Studies at UCD and McGahern’s biographer Dennis Sampson, who remarked during his very illuminating talk that he has been ‘writing about John McGahern for most of my adult life’. Colm Tóibin also dished out the best piece of advice he ever got from McGahern, to be used by aspiring writers everywhere: 'The writers job is to look after his sentences.' Something McGahern certainly did tremendously well.
The event mostly focused on the personal reminisces of the speakers and their relationship with McGahern. And as expected from such literary pedigree, there were some wonderful stories and vivid descriptions from Colm Toibín “John had a funny way of being silent. It was a teacher’s silence”. The context of McGahern’s work and his legacy were also covered during the event. All in all, it was a warm, revealing and celebratory exploration of the life and work of one of the most important Irish writers of the last century. A lovely way to kick off proceedings for the rest of this years literature strand.