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

Award-winning Irish writer/playwright Sue Healy’s work has been supported and developed by Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Arts Council England. January 2018 sees her play Imaginationship run for three weeks at the Finborough Theatre. Previous productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s work has also been performed at the Finborough, Arcola, Hackney Attic and Sterts theatres, and at festivals including the Claremorris Fringe (New Writing Award winner), the Brighton (Sussex Playwrights’ Award winner), the UEA Contemporary European Drama Festival, Norwich. Her work will also be showcased at the Criterion theatre on Dec. 4th. Radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has been a finalist for BBC Scriptroom 12, Eamon Keane Playwriting Prize, Nick Darke Award and the Old Vic 12 New Voices. Sue's prose has won the the Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award and has been published widely. Sue has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from juried artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy. Sue is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumna. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She is currently London-based, completing a Ph.D. on the Royal Court Theatre. Sue is an Associate Lecturer in Playwriting at the Universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, and tutors Creative Writing at City Lit. She is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre. View all posts by suehealy

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