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Join Irish Pages for the launch of Helen Lewis: Shadows Behind the Dance (The Irish Pages Press, 2022).

This book is a celebration of the life and work of Helen Lewis. Helen’s acclaimed memoir, A Time to Speak, tells the story of the first thirty years of her life in Czechoslovakia, from childhood to her professional training as a choreographer and dancer. It also contains her devastating account of Nazi persecution, of loss and suffering in the Holocaust.

The book also includes a folio of Holocaust poems and drawings by Michael Longley and Sarah Longley, as well as “An Irish Epilogue”, Chris Agee’s 2022 interview with Helen Lewis.

At 5pm, there will be remarks by Maddy Tongue and a brief reading of his Holocaust poems in the book by Michael Longley. Wine will be served and Helen Lewis: Shadows Behind the Dance will be on sale.

In Shadows Behind the Dance, Maddy Tongue, a dancer and friend of Helen’s, completes the story of this extraordinary woman who overcame unimaginable suffering to become a creative force in Ireland. In Ireland today the presence of modern dance owes much to Helen’s innovative teaching and practice.


Maddy Tongue was born and raised in Northern Ireland, and trained as a physiotherapist before taking a BA and an MA in Literature and Creative Writing in 2011, both from the University of East Anglia. She has had a lifelong involvement in dance. Following early ballet classes, she trained in modern dance with the Czech dancer Helen Lewis in Belfast and appeared in many dance, drama and opera productions with Cambridge Modern Ballet and The Belfast Modern Dance Group, including Helen’s early innovative work Phases. From 2005, she worked for many years as Movement Director with Sam McCready on a number of Yeats dramas for the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo. She writes about dance and is currently living and teaching dance in Cambridge, England.

Find out more here.