Roddy Doyle honoured at West Cork film festival

Writer Roddy Doyle was the subject of a Q&A session as part of the Schull Fastnet Film Festival today. He's pictured with John Kelleher, Festival Chair. The festival runs until Sunday. Picture: Andy Gibson.

Roddy bleedin’ Doyle!

It was a case of The Snapper and the Yapper in Schull today as the Fastnet Film Festival handed the novelist one of two inaugural awards for outstanding contribution to cinema, while at a well-attended noontime Q&A Doyle outlined his thoughts on the creative process, his daily rituals, and the power of dreams.

His most recent project, the short film about the homelessness crisis called Rosie, will be screened today, but Doyle said he has a number of unfinished short stories that he wants to tackle this summer, and revealed that his latest novel is now completed.

“I gave it to my agent three weeks ago,” he said, outlining how it started with the simple idea of two men talking to each other about what, at the outset, he wasn’t quite sure.

He also recalled the one time he was involved in a pitching exercise - an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get the Liam O’Flaherty novel Famine onto the screen - and how at one point Sky Atlantic edged toward making an adaption of his novel A Star Called Henry. “They changed their minds, unfortunately,” he said.

The Dubliner also credited one of Cork’s finest with indirectly helping him through a fallow period in his writing, recalling how he was uncertain as to his next move when he got an email asking would he be interested in helping former Ireland captain Roy Keane write his second autobiography.

If it had been a year earlier I would have said ‘thank you very much, but I’m busy’. By the time I finished the book with Roy, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

In Schull you’re more likely to see a silage trailer trundle past than a stretch limo, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stars in town.

While Roddy Doyle received his award yesterday, festival communications director, Hilary McCarthy, outlined how, at the special Q&A on Thursday night with Saoirse Ronan, the acclaimed actor was presented with her award, where she also referred to people who had assisted her or provided inspiration, namechecking Jim Sheridan and legendary Irish casting director, Ros Hubbard. Both were in the audience, and when Saoirse Ronan then started talking about hit comedy Derry Girls, it turned out that Siobhan McSweeney, aka Sister Michael, was there as well. Hallelujah.

Ros Hubbard and fellow casting director, Maureen Hughes, were putting a few dozen up-and-coming actors through their paces in the Church of Ireland parish hall, renamed for the week as 'the Plaza', riffing on short scenes from the sinister to the comedic - all proof that the next generation of Irish thesps are on their way, who like Saoirse Ronan may in future be returning to West Cork, their name in lights.

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