local in spirit, however international in aspiration
“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Henry Thoreau
Over time, and for so long as writing has existed, there’s been an ongoing dating among literature and nature, profoundly connecting our imaginative internal global with the outer physical environment.
But, over the past twenty years, perhaps as a reaction to expanded urbanization and worldwide insecurity – fuelled through environmental worries – there has been an amazing upsurge in terrific new writing about nature. Indeed, nature writing has now become a publishing phenomenon, and there might seem to be an insatiable appetite for it amongst readers and the broader public.
The inaugural Shaking Bog Festival of Nature Writing is primarily based in the Glencree Valley in Co Wicklow – a county recognized for its herbal splendor and a supply of creative thought – and intends to bring some of this burgeoning discipline of labor to a vast Irish target market. Local in spirit, however worldwide in aspiration, the competition attracts the surrounding panorama, the local people and on-hand services,ands artists and thinkers from afield. It will seek to each thoughtfully reimagine our collective courting with nature and offer the opportunity to pause and wonder at its beauty.
The competition hub might be on the historical army barracks and previous detention centers. This is home to our companions, the Glencree Peace & Reconciliation Centre. But it’s going to take place at other venues along the valley additionally. Indeed, the concept for the festival emerged out of casual conversations with our friends within the Glencree Centre. After a splendid length of quietly creating a safe space for peace-building in Northern Ireland and the past, the center is now renewing itself in progressive and innovative methods. I hope that the festival will be a humble part of this renewal.
The pageant’s name comes from the historical Gaelic call of Glencree – Gleann Crí, from the older Gleann Criothach – which loosely translates as Valley of the Shaking Bog, which seemed to seize something of the paranormal, form-shifting nature of this stunning nook of Ireland. Wicklow has always been regarded as an area of retreat from the town, whether or not for the weekend walker, the daytripper, the vacationer, or certainly the artists and artisans that are searching for to locate shelter there. John Millington Synge, who primarily based his play In the Shadow of the Glen inside the Glenmalure valley in Wicklow, determined brilliant suggestions from the language and landscape as he tramped through the county. (We’ll be staging an outdoor rehearsed studying of this conventional play in Oak Glen at some stage in the pageant).
Our fledgling program consists of many things that I’m proud to be able to program.
I’m overjoyed to welcome the award-prevailing John Lewis-Stempel, one of the global greatest nature writers. John is also a running farmer on their own family farm that dates returned to 13th-century Herefordshire. His incredible books are hymns in many ways to the herbal world around him – intimate, engaged, and knowledgeable. He has also written several wonderful history books. His modern-day ebook brings his two passions together in Where Poppies Blow, a beautiful exploration of the function of nature amidst the horrors of the primary World War.
I’m also looking ahead to an exceptional reading by using the brilliant Paul Durcan and the terrific Pascale Petit, whose series Mama Amazonica received the 2018 RSL Ondaatje Prize. As each person who has witnessed his performances will attest, Durcan’s readings are continually essential occasions, and Petit’s present-day paintings – in the act of imaginative bold – explores her mom’s profound battle with mental infection via the natural global of the Amazon.
Naturally – no pun intended – there’s plenty occurring exterior along with a laugh family day with our different partners Fighting Words, culminating in something special with Shane Hegarty; a morning nature path with Declan Murphy, whose ebook A Life In The Trees has just been republished to incredible acclaim; and a flora and fauna digital camera workshop with Emmy award-winning cinematographer Theo Jebb.
Back at Glencree, the splendidly enjoyable and charismatic writer Carlo Gébler will explore his past – excavating reminiscences of his elusive and mysterious father and his dating with Wicklow. Poets Katie Donovan and Jane Clarke will also study the poems of – and pay fond tribute to – their buddy Shirley McClure, the Wicklow poet who died in 2016. The pageant will finish inside the evocative putting of St Kevin’s Church, inside the partitions of Glencree, with a stellar live performance proposing specific musical performances from Liam O’Maonlai, The Square Pegs, Mary Coughlan, the Fugato Quartet, and Flo McSweeney interspersed with writers studying short extracts from their favorite piece of nature writing.
Living here inside the Glencree Valley, as I do, its tremendously beautiful landscape has been both my daily sustenance and my proposal for this occasion. It is easy to take as a right, that which surrounds us each day, and I wanted to discover a manner now not to do that – as a substitute, to rejoice this precious resource on my doorstep and to percentage it with people who may also be searching for to reawaken their connection to the natural global, thru what I hope might be an intimate, enriching and meaningful enjoy.
I have founded and run many different festivals – working on worldwide dance activities in London, Newcastle, Dublin, and Limerick – so a pageant of some type becomes the obvious preference for me. But that is the first competition that I even have completed so close to my own domestic, within an area for which I have developed a deep and abiding passion – it makes it very special but also a bit nerve-wracking as its buddies and neighbors, now not nameless individuals of the public, for whom I experience a strong experience of duty to make this work and to make it meaningful.
In conclusion, our profound and frequently forgotten connection to nature lies at the very coronary heart of the Shaking Bog Festival. The urgent want to redraft this courting is the pageant’s core difficulty. Through the art of writing, we are endeavoring to touch on the essence of the herbal global. We wish to create an area far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday lifestyles. We will collectively circulate toward a deeper and extra intimate appreciation of that which is most valuable. In this way, we may be compelled to flow toward safeguarding it for the future meaningfully through getting back to our instinctive connection to the herbal world.