Remembering Dermot Healy (1947 – 2014): I Could Read the Sky – Screening, Readings and Discussion


7pm doors (7:15pm start)

£5 advance (click here) £6.50 on the door

A benefit event for the Horse Hospital Fundraising Campaign

A special event to remember the great Irish writer Dermot Healy, who died earlier this year. Healy, drawing on his own earlier years, took the lead role in this wonderful film, channelling the Irish emigrant experience into a moving document of universal resonance. We’re delighted that the film’s director and producer, Nichola Bruce and Janine Marmot respectively, will join us, alongside Healy’s obituarist Sean O’Hagan, the Guardian’s award-winning photography and feature writer. The evening will be hosted by Gareth Evans.

STOP PRESS: We're delighted that Irish traditional music trio THREE DOLLAR SHOE will be joining us after the film to play a set of their finest tunes!

I Could Read the Sky (Nichola Bruce, 2000) 86 mins

Timothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke's photo-novel I Could Read the Sky juxtaposed words and images, landscape and interiority, memory and loss to evoke the Irish emigrant experience. This adaptation imposes sound and movement on the mix: the burr of Irish writer Healy's voice; an eclectic soundtrack that ebbs and flows around the images; gauzy layers and transitions of film textures and fragments. The narrator is an old Irish exile in a Kentish Town bed-sit, lying back and listening as the memories come crowding in. In no particular order, he revisits his childhood in the West of Ireland, his family diaspora, friends and pub society, romance, marriage and widower-hood. Hard toil is the one constant, be it in potato fields, abattoirs, construction sites or on the streets, sweeping and busking. At last he faces the moment of retirement, wracked but unbroken, clear-minded but still yearning. As testimony, the film is unimpeachable; in its modesty there's a fluid, fleeting grace. – Nick Bradshaw, from Time Out

“The Irish writer Dermot Healy, who has died aged 66, was once described by Seamus Heaney as ‘the heir to Patrick Kavanagh’. If Healy's poetry was steeped in the same rural tradition as Kavanagh's, his novels evoked a more fractured interior world, with characters who often seemed haunted or on the verge of psychological disintegration. Despite being lauded in Ireland, Healy remained a bafflingly under-appreciated writer elsewhere. He wrote five works of fiction, including A Goat's Song (1994), one of the great Irish novels of recent times, as well as several volumes of plays and poetry and an acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home (1996). His fellow writer Pat McCabe described the latter book as "probably the finest memoir… written in Ireland in the last 50 years", while Roddy Doyle once called Healy "Ireland's finest living novelist".”

– Sean O’Hagan:


Kinokulture, LiveTai