Celebrating 20 years of Over the Edge
On January 26th, I attended my very first Over the Edge event with a close friend of mine. We’d always said that we’d go during our undergraduate degree, but never did seem to find the time. The stars seemed to align for us that Thursday – we were both in town for the evening, and we’d already arranged to go for dinner. So, after a swift meal, we made our way to the Galway City Library and quietly entered the children’s section, where readings were already underway.
Over the Edge has been a highlight for the Galway literary community for many years. Founded by Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars, its aim has always been to serve the literary and writing community in the city and the west of Ireland generally. They run regular events in the library which showcase a featured group of writers, as well as providing a stage for new, up-and-coming, and established writers to share their work in front of a group.
As I had expected, there was an excellent turnout on the night. Chairs lined much of the room, shaded by a large felt tree and various other colourful decorations. These seats had already been filled and so people had tucked themselves in between bookshelves, peeking around to catch glimpses of the speakers at the podium. My friend and I had to stand as inconspicuously as possible beside the librarian’s desk, but eventually we were shepherded to a better spot by one of the librarians.
The night began with readings from a few featured speakers – Seán Gibbons read a section from his latest crime novel, Ferdia Mac Anna entertained the crowd with sections of his memoir, and Terri Metcalfe made her public reading debut with some wonderful poetry pieces. We were also lucky enough to hear pieces read by students of the university’s MA in Writing programme during the open mic section of the evening. The floor then opened up to other speakers, sharing work they were currently working on or had recently published.
Though the event was a celebration of the 20th birthday of Over the Edge, it was also a celebration of the late Kevin Higgins and his work. Speakers had been selected to read some of his poetry, much to the delight of the audience. Many took the opportunity to share personal stories about how they knew him and Susan, or how they had been supported by him in their writing careers. The whole night was a beautiful tribute to him, and to the work he and Susan have done over the years for the Galway literary community.
by Tara O'Malley