Meath County Library, in conjunction with Solstice Arts Centre is celebrating the Mary Lavin Season in this, the centenary year of Mary’s birth.
As part of the programme to bring the works of Lavin both to new audiences and to the many readers who are re-visting the writer’s wonderful literary oeuvre , Meath County Library hosted an evening on the work of Mary Lavin the writer, with Eileen Battersby as the guest speaker, on Wednesday 14th November in Navan library.
Eileen Battersby is the author of Second Readings: From Beckett to Black Beauty as well as of Ordinary Lives : A Story of Two Dogs. Eileen is literary correspondent with the Irish Times and a four- times winner of the National Arts Journalist of the Year Award.
The evening was introduced by Diarmuid Peavoy, son-in-law of Mary Lavin. He spoke about Lavin in the context of the familial relationship, her childhood in the United States and the family’s move to her maternal home of Athenry before the family settled in Bective.
Librarian Tom French followed by delivering a sensitve interpretation of Lavin’s Let me Come Inland Always.
Eileen Battersby addressed the capacity audience of Lavin devotees with a perspiacious exploration of Lavin the writer, her influences and her place in the pantheon of great Irish and international short story writers. She was of the opinion that Mary Lavin’s greatest output was during the period of her widowhood. Comparisons were made with Joyce’s The Dead in the context of the style of her stories, in particular the power of rhythm and repitition in both authors’ works.
Eileen Battersby went on to talk about The New Yorker magazine, the prestigious publisher of the fiction of great American writers such as F. Scott Fitgerald, Eudora Welty, John Updike and Peter Taylor, and how it was instrumental in getting Mary Lavin published and available to an international readership.
Eileen believes in the international importance of Mary Lavin’s work to the extent that she is convinced it is now time to consider commemorating Lavin’s legacy by inaugurating an international story competition in her name.
Writer Michael Harding will continue the celebration of the Mary Lavin centenary on Thursday 22nd November at 7.30 in Navan library . This contributor to the series has published 3 novels and is a noted short-story writer and playwright.
Below in company with Eileen Battersby in Navan library are Diarmuid Peavoy and Eoin Peavoy