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Tributes & MessagesCarol McGuigan

Julia was creative generosity personified. Whenever I spent even a moment in her company, I came away renewed, bestowed with precious gifts – optimism, energy, humour and encouragement. Julia’s capacity to do this was unstoppable – her memory, her influence spurs me still. To read or hear her work is to have your senses undulled. She could render the grimmest, most unpromising, experience fascinating and so accurately truthful, it could be hilarious. She had, in the words of one her poems, "the kind of light that electrified the ordinary." I shall be forever grateful to her for taking me seriously from the very start as a writer – lending me her writing room in Charlotte Square, in the many workshops she led or participated in, on a trip to a Women’s Playwriting Conference in Galway where we rode hired bikes and drank Guinness with Martin McDonagh. Although increasingly successful, she never lorded it. She always wanted to bring others on. It was encouragement through example – continue with generous awareness, her warmth and humour seemed to say. She not only shared her vulnerability but laughed at it too. As part of the acting company for Live Theatre’s NE1, I never ever tired of hearing Madeline Moffat’s delivery over the dressing room tannoy of Julia’s brilliantly moving and wittily polemical monologue Venetia Love Goes Netting – laughing and crying every time. It was an honour to serve her words in Appointments – who could fail to love the line "St Peter’s Basin’s got no plug." Julia – thank you for your words, your wisdom and your friendship. I dearly wish you could have stayed with us and shall never stop missing you, but as one of the ones you encouraged, I’ll try to do justice to that.

Carol McGuigan