ARTS FOCUS : Go West for a Festival Rival
Hill, Ian, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
MAKING the point that there's more than one city in Northern Ireland having a November festival, Londonderry has launched its new literary festival to run for six nights, right in the middle of the Belfast Festival at Queen's.
Organised by a combination of the University of Ulster at Magee, the Waterside Development Trust and the Verbal Arts Centre, the new bookish kid on the block is named The Gathering.
Checking out its highlights you soon realise that many a headline act will take in the whole of Ulster, not just one festival or another, one arts venue or another. Exclusivity is a limited commodity in the arts.
Here's comic performance poet John Hegley, and raffish raconteur Pete McCarthy playing both the Belfast and Derry, hoping to flog a few of their books betimes. Pete's is called, surprise surprise, McCarthy's Ireland, a quest to find all the bars in the Emerald isle called after his own clan.
Certainly something with John wouldn't have much success. …