This May sees the second incarnation of Crossways, the Irish-Scottish Cultural and Literary Festival. Organised by Irish Pages, Ireland’s leading literary periodical, Crossways aims to provide a unique forum for dialogue across the North Channel, allowing participants and audiences to make new connections and explore the creative energy of two distinctive but interconnected cultures. Building on the success of the 2018 festival, Crossways 2019 will again provide a forum for Irish, Irish-Scottish and Scottish cultural and literary interaction, dialogue and debate of real distinction and diversity.
Now co-sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and Scotland, Crossways maintains its ethical focus in 2019, devoting a portion of its programme to the issue of ‘Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery’, including the historical background. This ethical theme is one which has arguably never been more relevant. It is also a theme which resonates powerfully in Glasgow’s Merchant City. Gaelic and Irish, too, are at the centre of the Festival – whose programme is once again an irreducibly multilingual production.
Once again, the festival will feature some of the best in contemporary Scottish and Irish poetry, with performances from Chris Agee, Meg Bateman, Maureen Boyle, Ruth Carr, Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, Natasha Cuddington, Philip Cummings, Henry Bell, Louis De Paor, Jenni Fagan, John Glenday, Rody Gorman, Marcus Mac An Tuarneir, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Lindsay Macgregor, Deborah Moffatt, Kate Newmann, Colette Ní Ghallchóir, Bernard O’Donoghue, Cathal Ó Searcaigh Andrew Philip, Rachel Plummer, Chris Powici, Calum Rodger, Gráinne Tobin, Eoghan Walls, Roseanne Watt and Christie Williamson.
Other performers, to name just a few, include Gaelic singer Joy Dunlop, as well as novelists Paul McVeigh (in conversation with Chris Agee) and Louise Welsh – who will deliver a keynote address on the subject of slavery, empire and contemporary Scotland on the evening of Tuesday 9 May. This event will be followed by a performance of ‘The Cambria’, a celebrated play on the life of anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass by Donal O’Kelly and Sorcha Fox.
Crossways gratefully acknowledges the support of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, Foras na Gaeilge, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Gaels le Cheile (Conradh na Gaeilge Glaschú and An Lòchran) and The Open University in Ireland and Scotland, vital to the production of this outstanding programme. The Festival, named after Yeats’ first collection, takes as its motto a line from that book: ‘Words alone are certain good’. The organisers recognise that this motto is a somewhat ambiguous one: some words, as is all too evident today, may ultimately prove to be very uncertain good indeed. However, setting out in a Yeatsian spirit, we have sought to put together a programme of words at their very best: questioning, thought-provoking and, when all is said and done, humane. To turn the Yeats line on its head, there is, we feel, a certain amount of good to be found here.
7-11 May, Glasgow (Merchant City, East End and outreach venues across the city)
For full programme details see here.