A tribute to the late Irish author and London literary salon hostess Josephine Hart Saatchi, The Josephine Hart Saatchi Poetry Hour, was held on stage at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin last Sunday.
Last Sunday’s one off event celebrated the poetry of W.B. Yeats, and featured readings of his bestknown poems by Bob Geldof and acclaimed actors Sinéad Cusack (Our Few and Evil Days), Lisa Dwan and Peter Campion (Brooklyn, Love/Hate).
Ruth McCabe (Philomena, My Left Foot) narrated the evening, Mullingar-born Josephine, who died in 2011 aged 69, was a much loved figure on the London arts scene, writer of six best-selling novels including Damage, West End theatre producer (including the award-winning hits The House of Bernardo Alba and The Black Prince) and hosted poetry evenings, often promoting Irish works.
The Josephine Hart Poetry Hour was hugely popular and included readings at the British Library, The National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse, The New York Public Library and Harvard and London Universities.
They still continue at the British Library in her memory and an annual poetry evening in her memory is held at the Embassy of Ireland in London and is often attended by her widower, the advertising mogul Lord Maurice Saatchi whom she married in 1984.
She became a well-known and much-loved theatre producer in the West End, producing the awardwinning hits The House of Bernarda Alba and The Black Prince.
She was also a best-selling author of six novels, including Damage which was adapted into a film with Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack’s husband.
Readers at her poetry evening included Bono, Ralph Fiennes, Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth McGovern, Edna O’Brien, Harold Pinter, Juliet Stevenson, Harriet Walter and Dominic West.
After Josephine’s sudden death in 2011, the Dean of Westminster Abbey held a memorial poetry reading in Westminster Abbey to mark her life.