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Sunday, March 1, 2015
Highlighting Celtic Influences in Literature at Manx LitFest
of the highlights of the most recent Manx LitFest took place at the House of
Manannan in Peel, where a panel of experts gathered to discuss the Celtic
influence in literature before a packed audience at the Manx National Heritage
LitFest is an annual literary festival which has quickly become an established fixture
on the Island's calendar, attracting a wide selection of well-known authors and
readers of all ages, as well as encouraging local writers to develop their
by Knox House Trust, the panel discussion tied in with the Celtic Style
exhibition, which commemorated
the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox, the internationally
renowned Manx artist and designer for Liberty & Co. The exhibition explored
the historical influences and shared Celtic heritage that inspired both Knox
and his Scottish and Irish contemporaries in the early years of the 20th
Donald S. Murray
panel was made up of a number of Island based individuals with experience of
this area; Dr Brian Stowell, Dr Breesha Maddrell, Dr Catriona Mackie, fiction
writer Sara Crowe, whose debut novel draws on Celtic mythology, and visiting
author Donald S. Murray, a Scottish Gaelic speaker from Shetland.
of the panellists made valuable contributions to the discussion, with an
initial foray into the importance of how some of the mythological figures, who
transcend both time and place, form a continuous link but are subsequently
reinvented and reworked.
the suggestion that a bonding of two traditions sparks creativity led the
discussion into a new area, with a lively exchange of views about the literary
ability of the Celts and the importance of bilingualism in its structure and
the validity of stories as they pass through each generation.
the discussion didn't solely focus upon one genre, but looked at a variety of
topics such as satire, politics, lullabies and nursery rhymes when it became
clear that further research is needed into Manx literature.
themes progressed members of the panel spoke of how many of the stories
contained underlying messages, although storytellers may make subtle changes
and problems could be created during translation.