Derry author scoops funding boost to complete new work

Derry writer Darran Anderson
Derry writer Darran Anderson

Writer, Darran Anderson, from Derry, is one of 21 artists from Northern Ireland who have been announced as the latest recipients of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s ACES award 2015/16, a funding grant bestowed upon Northern Ireland’s most talented emerging artists to allow them to develop their professional artistic careers.

Darran, who is currently living in Scotland, will use his ACES award to write his next book ‘Fata Morgana’.

Inspired by Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Fata Morgana’ will be a travelogue to mythic places, from Cretan labyrinths to glowing Russian cities under frozen lakes.

It will look at the hopes, fears, successes and failures of the waking world through the worlds we dream into (fictional) existence.

The book will be the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed nonfiction book ‘Imaginary Cities’ (Influx Press, 2015); described as “poetic, aphoristic and comprising a seeming infinity of quotable lines… a wonder cabinet” according to the Chicago Tribune.’

Awards under the Artists Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) are made annually to professional artists working in music, visual arts, drama, dance, literature and participatory arts and are among the most prestigious awards bestowed by the Arts Council annually.

The artists include four visual artists, three playwrights, five poets, three novelists, three musicians, a dance artist and two community artists.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “These 21 artists are already established and highly regarded in each of their fields.

The awards are given in recognition of their work to date and to provide them with support to take their careers to that vital next level.

The ACES programme has been running successfully now for six years and addresses the need for on-going training and skills development within the arts sector.”

In addition to receiving a bursary of up to £5,000 each, many of the 21 artists have been partnered with a professional organisation to help each of them to deliver a major new creative work.

Those organisations include; Golden Thread Gallery, Sonic Arts Research Centre and Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, Replay Theatre, Panarts, Arts & Disability Forum, Maiden Voyage, CCA (Derry), Theatreofpluck, The MAC, Millennium Court Arts Centre (Portadown), Mark Devereux Projects (Manchester), Vital Exposure (London), Dad Festival (Liverpool) and The Performance Corporation (Ireland).

The Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES) forms part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) administered by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland annually.

As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the development of individual artists, the Council made 155 SIAP awards to artists in 2015/16 totaling £353k.

Since its establishment in 2010, 100 artists have been supported through ACES.

Visit for information on all funding opportunities. You can read more about Darran at