If one wants to hear “good news” stories about the Irish language, or something positive about Irish speakers, it is often better to look to our regional rather than national press. There one finds that the post-colonial mindsets of the many monolingual English speakers who control our national news media is often absent, along with their racist attitudes towards the nation’s Irish speaking community.
“Climbing the timber stairs to the top floor of a converted garage, along a narrow road just outside Spidéal, it doesn’t look like you are entering a publishing empire. And indeed maybe ‘empire’ is an exaggeration. But the small Irish language company Futa Fata, which publishes beautiful picture books for children, is beginning to make its mark internationally.
Two Futa Fata authors Bridget Bhreathnach and Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde have just had their stories – Lúlú agus an Oíche Ghlórach, and Cáca don Rí translated into Chinese and Korean respectively. Both of these stories are beautifully illustrated by Steve Simpson.
Ailbhe is also reading at this year’s Baboró Arts Festival for Children, as is Patricia Forde, another of Futa Fata’s authors, whose latest book, Binjí – Madra ar Strae has just been published.
Just two weeks ago Futa Fata launched its latest home produced book, An Coileach Codlatach. It was a poignant occasion, as the book’s author Nuala Nic Con Iomaire died last year, but it was also a happy one, explains the founder of Futa Fata, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin.
“It was a lovely night. Her daughter Iseult Harvey and her cousins read from the book,” he says.
Tadhg’s journey from his birthplace in Mayo to publishing in Connemara was an eventful one, taking in primary teaching, television and music along the way. During the 1990s, he presented RTÉ’s Irish language Cúrsaí Éalaíona. Throughout, he retained a keen interest in his own musical pursuits, releasing two CDs.
When he moved to Connemara over 10 years ago, Tadhg continued his involvement with TV, working on the TG4 series Ros na Rún. More recently he was co-creator of the TV series Aifric, writing several episodes.”
All these books are available from Litríocht, the “Irish Amazon”, with a bilingual website featuring a huge range of Irish books, e-Books, CDs and DVDs, all shipping internationally.
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