Banagher has long celebrated its literary connections with Victorian novelists Charlotte Bronte and Anthony Trollope; now that tradition is set to continue as Offaly County Council hunts for a writer to head up a new literature project with the “potential to have a lasting impact for the community.”
The local authority is looking for proposals from writers from a variety of genres; including poetry, fiction, short fiction, playwriting for the commission worth a total of €16,500 to the successful recipient in 2019/2020.
“Engagement with the community is a prerequisite and every effort should be made to involve the community as a whole in some aspect of the proposal,” the brief explained.
“The preferred commission will have the potential to have lasting significance and meaning to the community, while also ensuring a strong artistic priority in relation to the writer's own development practice,” it added.
The Shannonside town has long been associated with literary figures like Charlotte Bronte, writer of Jane Eyre, who honeymooned in the town, staying in Cuba House, now appropriately enough Charlotte's Way B&B. She was married to the local vicar, Arthur Bell Nicholls.
Another writer linked with Banagher is Anthony Trollope, a hugely popular and prolific novelist in the Victorian era, who actually stayed in Banagher from 1841-1844, while working as a post office surveyor's clerk.
Today, the writing scene continues to be strong in the town via groups like Ciorcal Comhra, an Irish language conversational group, who recently published short stories and poetry as Gaeilge, literary events like the annual 'Readings from the Pallet' and arts events celebrating Banagher's literary heritage in the annual That Beats Banagher Festival.
This public art commission has been funded from the Kylebeg Banagher Capital Scheme from funds under the Percent for Art Scheme on foot of the construction of eight social housing units at Kylebeg, a mix of two and three bed terraced housing units for older people and those with special needs.
The closing date for submission of proposals for the new literature project is Friday, August 2 at 3pm.
You can also check out https://www.offaly.ie/eng/Services/Arts-and-Culture/News/ to download the relevant brief and further information on the new post.