Letterkenny-based author John Arockia Richard, from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is celebrating having this debut book on the shelf in Donegal Public Libraries.
The book is titled, “Ayarlanthin Atlantic Karaiyilirunthu”, meaning “From the Shores of Atlantic of Ireland”.
This is likely the first time that a book written in the Tamil language, by a Tamil author, living in Ireland has been included in an Irish public library.
Tamil is one of the longest-surviving classical languages of India.
The book, which contains one hundred contemporary Tamil poems under ten topics, was launched at St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu, India on August 19, 2022.
During the last Donegal Literary Festival, Richard had a discussion Letterkenny Mayor Cllr. Donal Mandy Kelly on his work on Tamil Poems.
The mayor suggested Richard to write to the library to seek the opportunity to house his book. After initial conversations with Donegal Central Library and further proceedings, Letterkenny Library had included the book for public usage.
Cllr Kelly said: “As Mayor of Letterkenny Milford Municipal District, I’m delighted to have helped and guided Richard on this very exciting and historic journey as this is the first book of its kind to now be available in Irish libraries.
“It’s very important that all cultures are recognised and given opportunities such as this. I want to congratulate Richard and his family on this very exciting occasion.”
Richard, born and brought up in a small village called Kuthalur in the Sivagangai District of Tamilnadu, India has been living in Letterkenny since May 2015. He developed his Tamil poem-writing skills during his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchirapalli, India.
As a Tamil enthusiast and writer, Richard promotes the Tamil language among younger generations and encourages children to develop their skills in their mother tongue. He is involved in several Tamil language initiatives in Ireland, having previously served as the coordinator of the Tamil Thaai initiative of Ireland Tamil Sangam, one of the members of Ireland Tamil Veli and is currently a principal advisor of Ireland Tamil Academy.
Richard also frequently writes about Tamil literature, organic gardening, social inclusion, and technology on social media. In addition to writing, he is a trained street theatre artist. He had written dialogues for Tamil short films. He is a lyricist of two Tamil songs written in Ireland. He is also one of the Communion Ministers of St. Eunan’s Cathedral, Letterkenny.
Richard lives in Letterkenny with his wife Angela and their children, Debbie and Tanya. He works as a Senior Technical Product Manager for Optum.