Synge: A Celebration is the culmination of over a year’s work by renowned Irish author Colm Tóibín. Garry Hynes Druid Artistic Director originally approached Colm last year with a view to editing a book on Synge. The result has been remarkable, featuring a ‘Who’s Who’ of contemporary Irish writing. Synge: A Celebration is packed with all the ingenuity, ambiguity, and unpredictability, which Synge brought to his own work.
‘Synge has always been an entirely modern writer, his work is as radical now as it was when first created. In that regard, I felt it was important to put together a book which gave contemporary Irish writers the opportunity to respond and celebrate Synge much as we have aimed to do through DruidSynge. I am delighted that such a talented and respected writer as Colm has agreed to edit this book, and am especially excited to see so many fabulous and intriguing contributions from some of Ireland’s most talented writers.’
Druid Artistic Director, Garry Hynes
‘Last year, when Garry Hynes approached me and asked me to edit a book on Synge, I realised that a great seachange had taken place in relation to his work. Once, he would have been seen by many readers and writers as an old-fashioned writer whose influence was harmful, whose stage-Irishness was not to be taken seriously. Now, he has become a fascinating and ambiguous genius, whose language is rich with wit and nuance and unpredictability. He worked, as Yeats said, with a living speech, and the way he worked, his ingenuity, has come to mean a lot to contemporary Irish writers. Although he was quiet and mild-mannered, he had no respect for current pieties, but he made this into artistic energy rather than using it to protest. Also, his book on the Aran Islands, so careful, watchful, respectful, so deeply observant, is understood by all of us to be a masterpiece. Thus it was not hard to approach writers to write a piece about Synge, to produce a book as varied and unpredictable as Synge’s own work. The brief was open – use any form, any length to pay homage to, or even to argue with, or conjure up the writer who has become our contemporary. It meant a lot that we were doing this for the DruidSynge Season – when all six major plays will be presented in repertory for the first time – because the Druid Synge productions over the past quarter century have, more than anything else, been responsible for our fresh understanding of Synge’s genius.’
Contributors: Sebastian Barry, Marina Carr, Anthony Cronin, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Hugo Hamilton, Joseph O’Connor, Mary O’Malley, Fintan O’Toole, Colm Toibín, Vincent Woods. The book also contains a version of the play When the Moon Has Set with a foreword by Ann Saddlemyer.