Londonderry beats Norwich, Sheffield and Birmingham to the bidding punch

LONDONDERRY was the first city to submit its British City of Culture bid in Manchester yesterday sending a strong statement of confidence and commitment to the judging panel.

Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney, supported the bid by hand writing a Front Cover poignant verse from "The Cure of Troy" to represent the ambition of the city's cultural plans.

He said he was delighted that "the town we love so well" is in the running to become the UK City of Culture 2013.

"It is good to know that Derry City Council, Ilex and the Strategic Investment Board are proposing 'the town we love so well' as the 2013 City of Culture," he commented.

He continued: "It seems to me that we now have a timely and unique opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves and to the world that a new mould and a new life have been shaped in the meantime.

"The prospect of Derry/Londonderry as City of Culture helps me to credit anew those hopeful lines of the poem/chorus first spoken in public on the stage of the city's Guildhall in 1990:

So hope for a great sea change

On the far side of revenge.

Believe that a farther shore

Is reachable from here.

"The award of City of Culture would certainly bring us closer to that desired landfall."

And the level of support for Londonderry's bid for UK City of Culture continues with one of Ireland's most accomplished playwrights and authors, Brian Friel, throwing his support behind the bid.

Brian Friel is the literary icon behind such classic works as Translations, Philadelphia, Here I Come, Dancing at Lughnasa, and Faith Healer. Dancing at Lughnasa went on to be made into a highly successful movie starring Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep.

It was Brian Friel, along with actor, Stephen Rea, who formed The Field Day Theatre Company, based in Derry, which grew into one of the largest and most successful cultural projects Ireland has ever seen.

Translations, one of Brian Friel's most famous works, was premiered in 1980 at the Guildhall, by the Field Day Theatre Company.

Brian said: "2013 will be a highly significant year for the city and it is fitting that the legacy of that year should be tested through the City of Culture in the current post-conflict context.

"I note that the outline bid refers to my work "Translations" and draws on the medium of language and the duality of our identity.

"I think that a year-long festival of culture would provide so many opportunities for us to test such ideas further through literature, art, and debate.

"In so doing, the designation of City of Culture would lead to a fascinating and enriching voyage of analysis and self discovery."

And there is still time to support the bid with the on-line campaign continuing today at