Crossways 2021, a major festival of writing from Ireland and Scotland, will take place online over the weekend of the 12th to 14th February 2021. Crossways is organised by the publisher Irish Pages and its editor Chris Agee. This year, in spite of the challenges of COVID, the festival has grown. Seán Ó Coinn, CEO of Foras na Gaeilge said, “We are delighted to provided funding to Crossways 2021 as part of Colmcille 1500, celebrating 1500 years since the birth of St Columba, a saint who unites Ireland and Scotland and is recognised as a poet and patron of poets.” Crossways 2021 is funded by the Foras na Gaeilge Colmcille programme, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
This year the majority of readings will be in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. Poet Simon Ó Faoláin is the Irish language curator, and poet Prof Meg Bateman is the Scottish Gaelic curator.
The festival normally takes place in Glasgow, but for the 2021 online festival Winnie Brooke Young, a Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Skye, travelled throughout Ireland and Scotland during breaks in lockdown to record high quality videos of poets reading from their work. The videos will go live on the 12th February at www.crosswaysfefestival.org. There will be a pair of writers in each session, for example Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Aonghus Dubh Mac Neacail, or Paula Meehan and Kathleen Jamie.
Irish Pages published Other Tongues, an introduction to writing in Irish and Scots Gaelic and Scots and Crann na Teanga/The Language Tree, a major collection of the poetry of Cathal Ó Searcaigh. Crossways 2021 contributes greatly on the fellowship between Irish language and Scottish Gaelic writers, building on the heritage of Turas na bhFilí and An Leabhar Mòr – The Great Book of Gaelic.