By Matt Mooney

‘An Arid Season’, a collection of poems by the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins, has been translated by Ndrek Gjini into Albanian. It is now available in the libraries of Albania, thanks to his recent initiative.

Michael D. Higgins, who is in his second term as the President of Ireland, is one of the most popular and influential Irish leaders and personalities of all time, both in the cultural and in the political life of the Irish nation.

He is an astute politician on the national and world stage but he is also an accomplished poet, sociologist, and journalist. He has published five books of poetry as well as many books on political and social issues.

In a letter to Ndrek following the publication of the translation in Albania, President Higgins said that the book ‘looked absolutely stunning’ and ‘he was happy to see his writings being made available to a new audience’. He wished the publishers every success.

A teacher and a journalist by profession, Ndrek Gjini is a well-known Albanian author with many prominent publications in journalism and literature. He has divided his studies and creativity between Albania and Ireland. Ndrek moved to Ireland in 2002 in the wake of the long years of the communist regime in power there. 

As Managing Editor of the Galway Review Literary Magazine and its annual anthology, he has earned himself many kudos, building it into a worldwide vehicle of expression for poets and writers. The Galway Review website attracts hundreds of thousands of visits every week. By 2010 he had graduated in both Print Journalism and Heritage Studies and in 2011 he received an MA in Writing from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Ndrek was nominated for Mayor’s Awards of the City of Galway in 2012.  In 2017, in his native Albania, he was selected among fifty personalities included in the book ‘Albanian Excellence 50×50 Symbol of a Generation’.

Ndrek regularly publishes in the Albanian and Irish media. In his work as a translator he has made valuable translations of poems. At times he delves into the archives to write studies on unknown or forgotten personalities and has written essays on the history and development of the Albanian language. His research into the zigzags of Albanian democracy is an invaluable contribution to Albanian history.

Some of his publications are ‘Leaders of the Rebellion’ (Non-fiction) 2001, ‘Re-Killing of Azem Hajdari’ (Non-fiction) 2002, ‘The Death of Night’ (Selected Poems) 2011, ‘The Cursed House’ (Drama in two acts) 2011, Real History of Albania, (Non-fiction) 2012 and ‘The Invention of Shoes’ (Selected Poems) published by Galway Academic Press, 2019.

Matt Mooney. Born, a farmer’s son, in Kilchreest, Co. Galway in 1943. A graduate of UCG and UCC and a retired Vocational Teacher living in Listowel. His collections of poems are: Droving (2003), Falling Apples (2010), Earth to Earth (2015), The Singing Woods (2017), Steering by the Stars (2021), and Éalú (forthcoming 2021). Winner of The Pádraig Liath Ó Conchubhair Award 2019. (Filíocht/Poetry). He is a reviewer, copy editor with the Galway Review Literary Magazine. His poems and writings have been published in: The Blue Nib; The Amaravati International Poetic Prism Anthology; The Galway Review, Feasta; The Galway Advertiser (Peann agus Pár), Pendemic, Live Encounters and in Musings during a Time of Pandemic, a World Anthology. Some of his poems have been translated in Colombia, South America, and published in Spanish literary magazines. One of his poems appears on the syllabus of UK Primary Schools.