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Winona Ryder withdraws from Beckett Festival

Actress forced to cancel planned visit to the annual festival in Enniskillen after loss of ‘dear friend'

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Winona Ryder
Actress Winona Ryder has had to pull out from attending a Samuel Beckett festival in Northern Ireland after suffering a bereavement, organisers of the festival revealed yesterday.

The 41-year-old American, whose credits include Edward Scissorhands and Black Swan, had been scheduled to read two prose poems by the Nobel prize-winning author.

However, festival director Sean Doran received the unfortunate news that means she will no longer be appearing.

Doran said: "I heard from Winona last night that she had just lost a dear friend and would not now be able to come ... She was very apologetic and saddened... as she had been very much looking forward to taking part... It is of course a great shame that Winona will not be joining us this year."

He added that Ryder hopes to return to the festival next year.

The Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, which takes place in the island town of Eniskillen, Northern Ireland – where Beckett spent his early schooldays – is the world's first annual festival to celebrate the life, work and influence of Samuel Beckett.

One of the most renowned authors of the 20th century, Beckett's dramatic works include Endgame and Waiting For Godot.

Ryder was due to be one of several celebrity guest speakers, or "tellers," who will read the author's work in a variety of locations throughout the town. Other celebrity tellers this year include Miranda Richardson, Juliet Stevenson and comedian Frank Skinner.

- Alex Gordon

The 2013 Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival runs from 22-26 August in Eniskillen, Northern Ireland.

See also: Michael Coveney: Battle over Beckett in Enniskillen and Edinburgh next month