Head of Zeus picks up Carson's Belfast memoir

Head of Zeus picks up Carson's Belfast memoir

Head of Zeus has picked up a memoir of Belfast by poet and writer Ciaran Carson, who passed away earlier this month.

Publisher Neil Belton bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Laura Susijn at Susijn Agency. The Star Factory, originally published by Granta in 1997, will be published on 12th December 2019. Belton also acquired Carson’s acclaimed translation of Dante’s Inferno which Belton originally published in 2002 while he was at Granta.

The Star Factory is an elegy of magical power and enduring love,” its synopsis states. “In it, Carson becomes the cartographer of his home city's spaces, symbolic and literal, the scribe of its byways and avenues, from Abbey Road to Zetland Street.  To conjure up the lives lived there, Carson plunges down the 'wormhole of memory' – admiring along the way the strata and roots beneath the surface. Though it has experienced more than its share of urban decay and terrible political violence – the Star Factory of the title is an abandoned mill – Carson's Belfast teems with stories, stories that can spring from a telephone directory, a cigarette case, a postcard, a book about tramways, a stamp.”

One of Ireland's most celebrated writers and poets, Carson was born in Belfast and spent his life there. He held the Seamus Heaney Chair of Poetry and was the first director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University Belfast. Carson died on 6th October.  

Belton said: “Ciaran Carson’s poems gave me a bracing shock when I first read his work: he was the poet of the tense, violent city where he lived, and he brought something radically new to Irish poetry. I met him in 1992 and suggested to him that he write a book about Irish traditional music, his great love outside literature. The book he produced, Last Night’s Fun, is an astonishingly vivid meditation on the making of music. The prose books he wrote after that debut were equally surprising, and The Star Factory is a great, indefinable masterpiece about the Belfast in which he grew up. It is more relevant now than it ever was. Carson was an astonishing writer, and a new generation of readers deserves the pleasure of discovering him.”