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Death of Aosdána founder Aidan Higgins

January 5th, 2016 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The poet and Aosdana founding member Aidan Higgins.

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WHEN asked at the West Cork Literary Festival in 2009 who her favourite writer was, the Pulitzer prize-winning novelist, Annie Proulx, did not hesitate. She named Aidan Higgins, who passed away on Sunday, aged 88.

Samuel Beckett and President Michael D Higgins were also among those who admired the writing style of Aidan Higgins, who was born in Celbridge, Co Kildare in 1927, but made Kinsale his home in 1986.

President Higgins said it was ‘with great sadness’ that he learnt of the passing of Aidan Higgins and he offered his condolences and deepest sympathy to Aidan’s wife, Alannah Hopkin, his children Carl, Julien and Elwin, as well as his grandchildren and friends. 

The president said: ‘Aidan Higgins made an important contribution to Irish literature, which was both groundbreaking and complex, and which will endure.’ 

Aidan Higgins had lived in Spain, Rhodesia, Berlin and London, and his work won international recognition. Hi first novel “Langrishe Go Down” was also adapted for the big screen and featured Jeremy Irons.

But it was his first collection of stories, “Felo de Se” that Samuel Beckett recommended to his London publisher, John Calder – an indication of the esteem in which Beckett held the work of Aidan Higgins.

In addition to receiving an honorary doctorate of literature from UCC, Aidan Higgins was a founder member of Aosdána, which is Ireland’s academy of artists.

Alannah Hopkin told The Southern Star: ‘The people of Kinsale adopted Aidan as much as he adopted Kinsale – they really welcomed him.’

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