LIGHT ON DISTANT HILLS is poet Cathal O'Searcaigh's memoir of his childhood in rural Donegal. A remarkably lyrical telling by one of Ireland's favourite poets, this memoir is Cathal's first work of prose in English.

Cathal grew up in the 1950s and 60s on the harsh peaty acres of a Donegal hill farm, where his illiterate mother believed in the fairies and knew more about their movements than of their own neighbours. The locals were an assortment of odd characters too, from artists, drunken randy farmers to the all-conquering parish priest. Growing up with Gaelic as his first language, Cathal began to understand the excitement of linking images with words and creating poetry. Throughout all this time, with his father working away in Scotland and his mother keeping the farm together, Cathal had free rein for adventure. He sensitively describes how he discovers he is gay and his first sexual experience with an older boy. Needing to earn money and broaden his horizons, Cathal moves to London to work in a bar. His delicate rendering of this harsh and sometimes violent world is beautifully wrought. The book ends with Cathal's journey turning back towards home and his acceptance of living amongst his own people once again.

Born in Donegal in 1956, Cathal O'Searcaigh lives at the foot of Mount Errigal. He has written many volumes of poetry, won the Irish Times' Irish language literature prize in 2001, and his work has been translated into English by Seamus Heaney as well as into other languages including French, Italian, Russian, Danish and Japanese. He is a member of Irish arts fellowship, Aosdana.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (September 17, 2009)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781847370631

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