Magic moments at Central Library

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There are embraces, bridges, soldier dolls, aunties, priests, ten-bob notes, letters, lovers, blue boxes and much more.

The book is ‘Moments’ - both in name and nature. Facilitator Jenni Doherty describes the collection as one of “moments trapped and recognised.” It’s a perfect description of the thoroughly entertaining local anthology. The book launched with great fanfare in December, but the process of tying together thousands of words and feelings and stories had begun long before that, in May 2011, when the Creggan Writers’ Project began.

This week, over a year later, many of the 33 writers involved attended a showcase event at Central Library where excerpts of the book were read aloud to a captivated audience.

One of those spellbound by the material on show was the Executive Producer of Comedy for BBCNI, Jackie Hamilton, who also happens to be a Derry man.

For him, he said afterwards, the evening underpinned exactly what Derry’s year as City of Culture should achieve,

“For me,” he said, “the evening was a small group of people showcasing their creativity and the whole event had creativity at its core.

“These are people who have other jobs and other lives but who came together to put write.

“Sometimes because there’s so much talent in Derry when it comes to things like this, we take it for granted, and see it as part of our DNA. But the showcase of work from the ‘Moments’ book was an exploring of what the City of Culture should be about.

“It’s the people who live and work in Derry wanting to express their ideas and tell their stories. And that’s a small spark of what will hopefully be a bigger flame in 2013. I think this showcase is a great omen for what the City of Culture could be from the ground up.”

Tutor Jenni Doherty was equally enthusiastic about the emerging talent captured in the project and the standard of work in the published product.

She said: “Like any good story, all good writing is an attempt at capturing the significance of the moment - be it the shout in the street, an overhead conversation, the smell of baking bread, a tap on the window late at night, your first kiss, a baby’s laugh, a Donegal sunrise, coming home - all thresholds where the self suddenly understands where they are in the world.

“Although these moments may fade, the memory still remains and in this collection ‘Moments’, published by Guildhall Press, these small parables of life have been transformed into word by local writers. And as recent as the Olympic Torch Rally mantra of ‘Moment to Shine’, here too, shines a blazing gathering of over thirty local writers - each beacons in word, imagination, personality and craft.”

Eugene Martin, Branch Manager of Derry’s Central Library, said the library was thrilled to host the event on the back of a similar successful showcase at the Waterside Library the week before.

“We’re proud to be able to play a part in showcasing local publications and delighted to act as a venue for such strong writing within the community.”

The Creggan Writers Project used the Rathmore Centre as a base although writers and contributors travelled from across the North West to participate in the engaging and innovative project.

The book’s introduction states: “Moments,’ therefore, is intended as a highly visible reward and showcase for the dedication, creativity and commitment of everyone who contributed to and participated in, the first-ever Creggan Writing Project at Rath Mor in the heart of Creggan.”

Readers will leave the book with a genuine hope that it is only the first of many similar projects and adventures on the page for the gifted local writers who are involved.

Book published by Guildhall Press and available from Eason Foyleside, Shipquay Books & News, Little Acorns Bookstore, Foyle Books, An Clo Ceart and from DVCB, Foyle Street, Derry.

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Paperback £7.95.