Wish You Were Here…

My old friend, Budapest-based Scottish painter JIm Urquhart at an exhibition of his swimming pool painting in Brighton this weekend.

I’ve just spent a few days at the Brighton Festival. I’m here by a sort of mistake – it’s a long story, but by wild coincidence, a good painter friend of mine from Budapest was also in Brighton this weekend – exhibiting his paintings as part of the event (note to self: I must blog about how threads of wild coincidence knit through my life, yet I can never use them in my fiction as they are just too unbelievable).

Jim Urquhart is a Scottish painter who has lived in the Hungarian capital for decades. He was actually one of the first people I met in Hungary in 1998 when I moved there first, and has remained a great friend and artistic supporter down the years. So, I was delighted by the serendipity which had us both wash up on the shores of Sussex this weekend. Great show too, Jim!

Brighton also allowed me the opportunity to catch up with another friend, the County Antrim poet and current Brighton resident, Brendan Cleary. I get great inspiration and encouragement from artists working in other art forms and meeting up with Jim and Brendan over the weekend, has also delivered all the other positives that time spent with good artists provides: discussion and progression of ideas, affirmation that art is what I am about and what I should do, reassurance that as difficult and isolating it can be to be an artist, it is also hugely rewarding. And, if you are an artist, there is nothing you can really do about it – you have to create.

I’m thanking whatever powers conspired to get me here this weekend to hang out with such creative minds. I’m all fired up and reassured. Here’s to artistic fellowship!

Brighton also allowed me to catch up with another old friend, Brighton-based Co. Antrim poet, Brendan Cleary.


About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre and associate lecturer in playwriting at the universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, Irish playwright Sue Healy has a PhD in modern theatre history. Her most recent stage play Imaginationship (2018) recently enjoyed a sell-out, extended run at the Finborough Theatre and is headed to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in August. Cow (2017) was staged at the Etcetera Theatre and Brazen (2016) ran at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Her work has been performed at the Criterion, Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre and has been developed by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and support by the Peggy Ramsay Award. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards and the Escalator Prize. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, Sue spent eleven years in Budapest editing Hungary A.M. Sue also tutors Creative Writing at CityLit. View all posts by suehealy

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