With the publication of Dermot Healy’s Collected Plays, readers will see yet another side of this celebrated Irish author. At times crude and at other times lyrical, Healy’s plays reflect the fine line between what appears to be and what “I think is there.” With the concurrent publication of a critical work on Healy by the editors, Keith Hopper and Neil Murphy, readers will be provided with a context to his entire ouvre.
Although Dermot Healy (1947-2014) is probably best known as a novelist and poet, he was also a prolific playwright, screenwriter, and actor. Healy’s interest in drama was long-standing, and was central to his development as a writer. Between 1985 and 2010 he wrote thirteen stage plays, all of which are gathered here for the first time. Although the settings of Healy’s plays are often local and regional by design, their energy and vision transcend those boundaries. In this respect, the publication of The Collected Plays will be of interest to all scholars and practitioners of contemporary drama.
“Dermot Healy is Ireland’s greatest writer.”
Dermot Healy (1947–2014) grew up in Cavan near the border with Northern Ireland. Following stints in London and Belfast, Healy settled in Ballyconnell, Co. Sligo, where he founded and edited the journal Force 10. His debut collection, Banished Misfortune and Other Stories (1982), was followed by four novels and an acclaimed memoir, The Bend for Home (1996). Healy also wrote five collections of poetry and thirteen stage plays. Elected to Aosdána in 1986, he was the recipient of two Hennessy Literary Awards, the Tom-Gallon Award, the Encore Award, and the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award.