Seamus Heaney's From the Republic of Conscience is a testimony to the continuity of Ireland's strongest tradition - leaving the country. "Every Irish family is touched by emigration," says Seamus Taylor of the Action Group For Irish Youth, which works with young emigrants who come to London, and end up homeless. On their behalf Heaney, who is patron of AGIY, has brought together several of the finest writers from Ireland for Field of Vision, an evening of readings on St Patrick's Night. "The cultural, political and personal consequences of displacement have been perennal themes in Irish literature," Heaney explains, adding that the readers "act on behalf of all Irish writers who have been concerned to express in their work the predicament of the emigrant Irish." These include Edna O'Brien; Ronan Bennett; poet, critic and Eeyore-in-Residence at the Late Show Tom Paulin; playwright Emma Donoghue; Seamus Heaney himself and his wife Marie, who recounts ancient myths and legends. It's an impressive line-up and Ronan Bennett believes Heaney is able to muster it because that knackered word community still has some life, when applied to the Irish: "If you're economically vulnerable arriving in a foreign country the Irish community does provide a network and writers are part of that. I very strongly believe if you are part of a community and can do something, you should. A bit of solidarity, that's all it is." After the literature Mick Molloy and Martin Brown will provide traditional musical solidarity on guitars, mandolins and mandolas.
Field of Vision, tonight at The Union Chapel, Islington. Box-office 071- 226 1686, cc 081-341 4421Reuse content