Dermot Healy

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Dermot Healy (9 November 1947 – 29 June 2014) was an Irish novelist, playwright, poet and short story writer. He was known for his versatility, his wide-ranging writing ability and tendency to mix and merge different forms.


  • I rang up this publisher and they asked me what I was doing at the time. I told them I was a house-painter, so first of all they had me come round and paint the place. Only later did they consider my work and Banished Misfortune was published.
  • It is a costly thing living here to fight the erosion. The sea is constantly threatening to cut into the coastline and sweep all this away. Every year we have to haul stones up here to repair the damage and plug the holes. It's a full-time job.
  • [Kafka] taught me a lot about the normal and the abnormal, and the distance between them. [...] He's out there by himself. You get the jump in the feet when you read certain passages by him. That's the mark of truly great writing. It gives you the jump in the feet.
  • The Bible has entered much of my work as have Latin and Greek mythology and verse.

Small talk: Dermot Healy, 2011


ːAnna Metcalfe Small talk: Dermot Healy, Financial Times (30 April 2011)

  • I know writing is what I do but I still don't see myself as one.
  • There isn't any distinction between a reader and a writer – reading is so much a part of it.
  • Without the reader there would be no writer.
  • I'm no good at dinner parties. I feel very uneasy at them.

Quotes about Healy

  • The heir of Patrick Kavanagh
    • Attributed to Seamus Heaney in: Sean O'Hagan (2011) "Dermot Healy: 'I try to stay out of it and let the reader take over'" in: The Observer, Sunday 3 April 2011 (online)
  • He plays a game of his own, where different rules apply, and yet he commands his place. When you read his work, you have to adjust the straight line of the hierarchy just to fit him in.
    • Peter Fallon, publisher, Gallery Press Source,, April 3, 2011
  • Does Ms Battersby look at the photograph of Dermot Healy and say: This is an old man's effort not fashionable like Neil Jordan's so I'll disembowel him because that's how I feel today? We were all privileged to read Ms Battersby's ghost story in The Irish Times Magazine a few months ago. It was a revelation. Sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, it was the worst piece of creative writing I have ever read in a long life of reading. Truly. Stunningly bad. I have used it in a workshop as an example of how to avoid writing “Shite and onions”. That this person has the temerity to sit in negative judgment on one of the great masters of Irish writing should not pass without comment.
    • Extract from Eugene McCabe's letter in defence of Healy following the 2011 attack on him by The Irish Times
Wikipedia has an article about: