Big names set for Boll weekend on Achill

Leading literary figures are Achill bound this weekend as the island celebrates its strong links with famous Nobel Prize winning novelist Heinrich Boll.

The 11th Heinrich Boll Memorial Weekend will feature a series of talks, seminars, and guided walks in the landscape which Boll lovingly described in his writings on Achill.

Berlin based Irish Times journalist Derek Scally will perform the official opening of the weekend at 7.30pm this evening in the Cyril Gray Memorial Hall, Duggort.

Boll was one of Germany’s most foremost post World War II writers and won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

He spent a lot of time on Achill Island in the 1950s and 60s, living in a cottage in Duggort, and wrote about his travels in a work called Irish Journal, which has achieved cult status popularity in Germany, selling two million copies there.

The work, which examines the beauty and nuances of life on Achill in the mid 20th century, has been described as the single most influential source of German perceptions of Ireland.

Boll’s son Rene will give a talk on his father on Saturday at 4pm.

The weekend will feature talks from award winning writer and journalist Dea Birkett, well-known travel writer Mary Russell, one of Germany’s most successful literary authors Birgit Vanderbeke, and internationally acclaimed writer Hugo Hamilton.

Dr Gisela Holfter, from the University of Limerick, will give a lecture on German writers travelling in Ireland in the 20th century.

There will also be guided walks and tours throughout the weekend.

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