Acclaimed NI Artists Awarded £15k

Four leading artists in Northern Ireland have each been awarded £15,000 in recognition of their contribution to creative life in the region.

Acclaimed writer Susan McKay, poet Moyra Donaldson, composer Deirdre Gribbin and musician/composer Neil Martin were presented with Major Individual Awards (MIA), the highest honour bestowed by the body responsible for the development of the arts in the region.

The funding will allow the artists to produce a substantial, ambitious series of new works that will make a significant impact to the development of their artistic careers.

Award-winning journalist Susan McKay, from Derry-Londonderry, will use the MIA award to write a new book about borders provisionally called, Outside in the Navy Dark, from a poem by Leontia Flynn.

Writer and poet, Moyra Donaldson, from Newtownards, County Down, will put hers towards the research and development of a new poetry collection, based on a theme of 'mothers and daughters' with publisher Doire press.
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Composer, Deirdre Gribbin, from Belfast, will use the MIA award to complete two strands of work, Dark Matter Hunting and Kindersang: Outsider Child. Deirdre will work with astrophysicist, Professor Priya Natarjan, a leading expert on Dark Matter, as source material for the first composition, Dark Matter Hunting with the completed work due to be performed in 2020 at West Cork Music, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope.

Meanwhile, musician and composer Neil Martin, from Belfast, will use his award to compose a new violin concerto, in three movements, for violinist, Maebh Martin, to be premiered in autumn 2020 to mark the launch of a new building housing the music department at St Andrew's University, Scotland.

Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisin McDonough offered her congratulations to the "four immensely talented artists" who have already made an enormous contribution to the arts in Northern Ireland.

Ms McDonough said: "Each will benefit greatly from being able to take time out to concentrate purely on these innovative new projects with the financial backing they need to produce work of lasting value. This award will help to cement their national and international reputations as artists, and strengthen the positive cultural profile of Northern Ireland, both home and abroad."

The four join a distinguished list of artists who have previously benefited from the Major Individual Artist award, issued by the Arts Council with the support of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding.

Major Individual Artist awards form part of the wider Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) which is administered annually.


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