Mise Raiftearaí an Fíodóir Focal- Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin 2015.

The Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin Award, the premium prize for writing in Irish, has been won by An Spidéal-based writer Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, for his biography of the legendary pre-famine poet and songwriter, Raiftearaí. Minister for the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh, presented the award at a ceremony in Dublin that marked the beginning of the annual Oireachtas na Gaeilge festival.

The book, titled 'Mise Raiftearaí an Fíodóir Focal', (I am Raiftearaí the Word-Weaver), traces the eventful life of the poet, from his birth in a weaver's cottage in Cill Liadáin, near Kiltimagh in 1779, to his death in a stable near Craughwell in East Galway on Christmas Eve 1835. Blinded at the age of five by an outbreak of smallpox that killed his eight siblings, Raiftearaí's life was an eventful one. Leaving his native Mayo sometime in early adulthood, Raiftearaí spent his adult life wandering the roads of East Galway, writing imaginative love songs for beautiful young women, songs in praise of champion boxers, skilled weavers and warm-hearted country people who gave him a bed on a winter's night.

A radical political voice, Raiftearaí praised the revolutionary violence of Ribbonmen and the peace-loving campaigning of Daniel O'Connell in equal measure. A prickly character, he wasn't above engaging in public mudslinging, in verse, with anyone who dared question his status as the spokesman of the people.

Historical biography is a new departure for Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, best known for his screen writing of the IFTA-award winning teen drama, Aifric, for his work in songwriting and in a former life, as a TV presenter with RTÉ in Dublin.

The prize-winning book evolved from the script of a television docudrama of the same name, written and presented by Tadhg and broadcast on TG4 in 2010. As he explains 'When I came to write the book, I wanted to produce an account that was both faithful to historical fact but at the same time depicted Raiftearaí's journey in the same way as the TV film, by recreating key scenes from his life and imagining how each character acted and reacted to the events they were dealing with.'

The unusual approach appealed to the judges, who selected the book from a very strong shortlist, that included some of the most respected writers working in Irish today.

Mise Raiftearaí an Fíodóir Focal is published by Futa Fata, based in An Spidéal, is widely available from good bookshops and online at
www.futafata.ie

Tá Mise Raiftearaí anFíodóir Focal ainmnithe mar buaiteoir mar leabhar Gaeilge na bliana,
Gradam Uí Shúilleabháin 2015.
Irish-language Book of the Year Award

Mise Raiftearaí an Fíodóir Focal Tadhg Mac Dhonnagain Futa Fata Gradam ui shuilleabhain love leabhair gaeilge buaiteori winner irish book of the year awardblog blag

Mise Raiftearaí an Fíodóir Focal Tadhg Mac Dhonnagain Futa Fata Gradam ui shuilleabhain love leabhair gaeilge buaiteori winner irish book of the year awardblog blag

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