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Jimmy McAleavey's writing ‘bed-in' sparks inspiration

Playwright Jimmy McAleavey with German Pointer Nelly in his specially-adapted writing bed. Picture by Brian Morrison 

AN award-winning playwright has been given a major Arts Council bursary - and he owes it all to his special 'writing bed'.

Jimmy McAleavey, pictured here with his German Pointer Nelly, said he adapted the bed at his home in Loughbrickland, Co Down using old timber.

Following the example of fellow bed-loving artists John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Tracey Emin, the 47-year-old - originally from Andersonstown in west Belfast - joked that it helped him conserve energy during his morning writing sessions.

"I follow a dog's approach to energy conservation," he said. "Why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lie down, and why lie down when you can go to sleep?

"I get most of my ideas and heat from my special writing bed."

He claimed that friend and Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty was also a fan.

"It's a double bed," he said. "On the other side is Owen McCafferty. It's like Morecambe and Wise. He comes up in the mornings and gets in beside me."

McAleavey, a lecturer in creative writing at Queen's University's Seamus Heaney Centre, will use the £15,000 award to develop two new large-scale plays 'O’Neill’s Airs' and 'Americky'.

Composers Conor Mitchell and Deirdre McKay were also given similar Arts Council awards.

Mitchell will re-develop three of his works for his 'Orchestral Opus' project.

McKay will write drafts for a commission from Northern Ireland Opera.

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