One City One Book author, David Park, took his novel The Poets’ Wives out of Belfast today for a flying visit to Derry today.
The Down-based author read aloud and discussed the stories behind the novel at the special Reading Rooms event at the Verbal Arts Centre.
Verbal Reading Rooms participants from all over the city gathered to hear David read from The Poets’ Wives, which tells the story of three women, all wedded to poets, set across different continents and centuries, which is currently the focus of the Arts Council’s One City One Book initiative to develop the art of reading and promote Northern Ireland’s rich literary heritage.
Welcoming David Park to the city’s Reading Rooms, Verbal Arts Centre’s Chief Executive James Kerr said he was delighted and inspired by the author’s visit.
“Our Reading Rooms is an amazing project,” he said. “It was wonderful to watch David reading aloud with our over 50s women’s Reading Rooms group. They discussed topics such as love, jealousy and betrayal and the strength women possess. As is always the way with Reading Rooms, this setting encouraged participants to share personal experiences from their past - memories, opinions - and sparked a free-flowing debate. It was certainly a lively discussion.”
Developed by the Arts Council and supported by Belfast Telegraph, Belfast City Council, Libraries NI, Queen’s Film Theatre, Bloomsbury and U105, One City One Book is now in its third year in Northern Ireland but has its origins in Seattle in 1998. Since then the One City One Book concept has spread to cities throughout the globe, celebrating local writing and promoting reading.
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council commented: “Northern Ireland has a rich canon of home-grown writers and One City One Book is about celebrating that heritage. We want to encourage as many people as possible to get reading and talking about local literature this May. One City One Book is the perfect opportunity to rediscover books and celebrate local writing.”
The Reading Rooms is an innovative, outreach programme which is delivered in a variety of community settings to a range of participant groups. The Verbal Arts Centre currently has 26 Reading Rooms in operation working with a participant groups from older people, men’s mental health, female mental health, young people, prisoners and families.
Chapter 1 of David Park’s The Poets’ Wives is now available to download for free at www.artscouncil-ni.org/ocob14.