This April sees the launch of Crossways, a new literary and cultural festival organised by the magazine Irish Pages, which will be taking place in venues across Glasgow’s Merchant City. For a whole week Scottish and Irish poets, prose writers, musicians and film makers will be coming together to participate in a programme featuring internationally-famous names alongside exciting emerging talents. The key aim of this festival is to explore the cultural links between Scotland and Ireland, north and south – which have, both historically and today, been of great significance. By focussing on these links, Crossways hopes to celebrate the creative energy of contemporary Hiberno-Scottish culture, while also providing a much-needed space for discussion of the significance of events like Brexit on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Indeed, the opening night of the festival, Monday 9th April, will begin with a reception at Glasgow City Halls, attended by Mike Russell MSP, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir MLA, Professor Kirstie Blair of Strathclyde University, the Irish Consul General in Edinburgh Mark Haniffy and Shona NicIllinnein, CEO of Bòrd na Gàidhlig – the contribution of these figures from politics and civil society highlighting the importance of what Crossways is doing both for Scotland and Ireland.
Though it has a broad remit across different art forms, Crossways – which takes its name from an 1889 collection by W. B. Yeats – has a really exciting programme of poetry events across the whole week, with writers including Chris Agee, Meg Bateman, Gerry Cambridge, Moya Cannon, Ruth Carr, Robert Crawford, Miriam Gamble, Jen Hadfield, Kathleen Jamie, David Kinloch, Iona Lee, Peter Mackay, Aonghas MacNeacail, Donny O’Rourke, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Michael Pedersen, Stewart Sanderson – and many more – appearing throughout the week.
Crossways is very grateful for the generous support and sponsorship of the Irish Government’s Department for Foreign Affairs, Foras na Gaeilge, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the University of Strathclyde, Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú, Gaels le Chéile, Culture Ireland and Gael Linn. The organising committee expect that this year will be the beginning of an exciting annual event in Glasgow’s cultural calendar.
Yeats wrote in the 1889 volume from which the festival takes its name of 'New dreams, new dreams; there is no truth / Saving in thine own heart.' Crossways aims to bring people together across national boundaries – considering new dreams, certainly, but also reflecting on the resonances of another line from the same poem: 'Words alone are certain good.'
The full programme can be viewed here.