Felim James-This Sleeping Heart

Artist: Felim James

Medium: Video

This Sleeping Heart is a poem that was presented as part of Humanity in the Ruins, a short film by Mary Moynihan and others, inspired by artists who resisted fascism throughout history. It comprises scenes, poems, dance, and song based on imagined moments from the lives of artists who stood up for human rights in the face of fascism and hatred. The film tells the tragic story of those who lost their lives in the struggle against tyranny, from the Spanish writer and revolutionary Federico García Lorca, to the influential German war photographer Gerda Taro. It also pays homage to those who survived their conflicts and went on to champion the cause of human rights and equality. This includes figures such as the French politician Simone Veil, who was interned in the Auschwitz concentration camp. These tales of hope, horror, and humanity pose one abiding question: how far are human beings willing to go to perpetrate evil, and to fight it?


Féilim James is an award-winning writer from Dublin, Ireland. In 2020, the Arts of Council of Ireland awarded Féilim a Literature Bursary Award to finish his debut novel, Flower of Ash, as well as a Professional Development Award. He received an Arts Bursary from Dublin City Arts Office in 2021 to finish his first poetry collection, I was a river, lost. 

His work through Irish, under Féilim Ó Brádaigh, has won seven Oireachtas na Gaeilge literary awards. His short fiction and poetry, through English and Irish, have appeared in a number of journals, including The Fiction Pool, The Galway Review, Icarus, Comhar,  A New Ulster, and the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation.  Visit his website: www.feilimwrites.com

A short film Féilim wrote, titled The Big No, produced by Smashing Times, was shortlisted by the IndieX Film Festival, and his play At Summer’s End has toured Ireland. At Summer’s End is based on the life-story of Ettie Steinberg, an Irish woman who was murdered, along with her family, at Auschwitz.

In The Big No, a young man tells the story of his psychological unravelling and subsequent mental health crisis. Told in the form of a voiceover monologue accompanied by compelling imagery, this poetic short film takes us on a journey of despair, introspection, and hope. As he battles against panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, he is forced to face the ‘why’ of his problems head on, learning some essential truths about himself and the world.

Féilim says ‘My inspirations are many and wide-ranging. To the fore are James Joyce, Sylvia Plath, John Banville, Marilynne Robinson, Ted Hughes, TS Eliot, Seán Ó Ríordáin, and Radiohead’.