In this episode of the DCLA podcast, Michelle Read reads the first three stories featured in The Long Gaze Back. Michelle Read, is an actor and voice artist and an advocate of reading aloud for adults. She reads ‘The Purple Jar’ by Maria Edgeworth; ‘Frank's Resolve’ by Charlotte Riddell; ‘Poisson d'Avril’ by Somerville and Ross.
In this episode of the DCLA podcast, The Long Gaze Back authors Bernie McGill, Lia Mills and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne read from their work and talk with Sinéad Gleeson about the anthology, their work, and being a female author in Ireland today.Recorded at Blanchardstown Library on 12 April 2018, with thanks to Fingal Libraries.
John McGahern’s Dublin: the 23rd Annual Sir John T. Gilbert Commemorative Lecture will take place on Thursday 23rd January 2020 at 6pm.The lecture will be presented by Professor Frank Shovlin, University of Liverpool, at Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2,John McGahern is often thought of as Ireland's quintessential chronicler of rural life, a writer who, through his Leitrim and Roscommon roots, helped to represent the delicate facets of the countryside more accurately than any writer since Patrick Kavanagh.From Howth of The Leavetaking, to Drumcondra and Contarf of The Pornographer or the city centre pubs of High Ground, he lovingly recreated the city he knew, first as a student teacher and in later years as a mature writer. The lecture will examine moments from the published fiction as well as considering an extensive unpublished correspondence that allows us access to McGahern's social networks and his motivations and preoccupations as he develops into one of the greatest writers of fiction in the post-war era.Reception to follow. No Booking Required. Come early to ensure a place. Further information: 01 674 4999 or [email protected] or [email protected]
Congratulations to Sebastian Barry, son of Dublin and well regarded around here this long time as he embarks on his three year stint as Laureate for Irish Fiction.As who for what?The Laureateship is an initiative of the Arts Council which has the following aims:honouring an established Irish writer of fiction;encouraging a new generation of writers;promoting Irish literature nationally and internationally;encouraging the public to engage with high quality Irish fiction.What will the Laureate do anyway?Well, the good news is that as the Laureate Sebastian will continue his work as a creative author, on top of this however he will take on new responsibilities.During the three years he will spend one semester at University College Dublin and one at New York University. While there he will teach creative writing courses, work with staff and students and also deliver an annual lecture Additionally, the Laureate for Irish Fiction will engage in a select number of major public events per annum, with the primary objective of promoting and encouraging greater engagement with Irish literature.On top of this he will embark on a programme of public events around the theme of, amongst other things, ‘The Golden Age of Writers and Readers’. What this will involve will play out over the next three years but Sebastian has given a few hints, speaking at the award ceremony he said:“There are at least 20 people if not more who at the moment would be highly qualified to do this laureateship. That hasn’t always been the case. When I was starting out in the 70s you had four or five and that was it.... I’m quite overwhelmed sometimes by meeting a Sally Rooney or a Rob Doyle because they seem to me rather tremendous … there’s a formidable quality to the writing. What unites them is the ability to generate the shock that rare work gives the reader, not only in the pleasure and gratitude it engenders, but the serious business of the lines and engines of your own life finding answer and echo in another’s art.”Who is Sebastian Barry?For shame! Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. he has won more awards than you could shake a stick at but some highlight include his winning the Costa Novel award in 2008 for 'The secret scripture' and in 2016 for 'Days without end'. 2005's 'A long long way' was selected as Dublin City Public Library's 'One City One Book' in 2007. For more information on the man himself check out his Wikipedia entry. To borrow his books from your local library check out our online catalogue, if ebooks are more you style you will find them on our BorrowBox service.If you want to keep up with what Sebastian will be doing for his time in office it would be worth following the Laureate twitter feed.
Pop Zeus found himself in lovely Leitrim last weekend for the opening of the John McGahern Summer School, run by Dr John Kenny of NUI, Galway. The occasion also saw the launch of the fourth John McGahern Yearbook, a publication that is increasingly being regarded by bibliophiles at home and abroad as one of the most beautiful publications produced in this country. Certainly acquiring a copy seems, if nothing else, like a good investment as the print-run is limited and the series will be finite. Rarely has such care been taken in ensuring that the scholarly quality of the contributing essays is matched by the aesthetic quality of the design and typography. Congratulations to all involved.There is a Dublin theme to the 2011 edition of the Yearbook. As Dr. Kenny informed an audience in Carrick-on-Shannon, McGahern's ten years in Dublin were critical in forming him as a practicing writer. McGahern never hid his affection for the capital and this was reciprocated in a small but significant way when McGahern was cited in the official submission by the City of Dublin to UNESCO: 'the work of Dublin resident John McGahern [contributed] to a school of short-story writing of world-class excellence'.In a hundred years time, when people gather to discuss the great Irish writers of the second half of the twentieth century, it is likely that John McGahern (1934-2006) will be one of the first names mentioned. McGahern documented both rural and urban life (especially in his novels The Leavetaking and The Pornographer) in exact and deceptively simple prose. Many of our most notable writers including Colm Toibin, William Trevor, and Seamus Heaney regard McGahern as one of Ireland's greatest stylists.Wandering the lanes of Leitrim and supping pints in roadside taverns with locals who knew him emphasised to me how McGahern transformed life in this small part of the world into great art. As John Kenny writes: 'He is the keeper, in fiction, of a receding twentieth-century rural experience in Ireland, a world that is losing, a world that we are losing'.Start discovering McGahern Country today through the exceptional body of work he left behind. You will not be disappointed. See you in Carrick next year!Novels The Barracks (1963) McGahern's first published novel depicts life in a rural Garda barracks where the free-spirited Elizabeth Reegan settles into a loveless marriage and watches in despair as her horizons and ambitions shrink. The Dark (1965) This novel details the experiences of a young man growing up in rural Ireland and trying to decide his future. The novel was banned because of its descriptions of parental abuse and alleged pornographic content. McGahern was shortly afterwards dismissed from his position as a teacher at a National School in Dublin. McGahern was one of the few Irish writers to take on the taboo of child abuse in Ireland. The Dark remains one of the most controversial novels ever published in this country. The Leavetaking (1974) Set during a teacher's final day in a Dublin school before his dismissal for marrying a divorcee during a year's leave of absence. The novel draws upon McGahern's own experience at the Belgrove National School but the early sections of the novel deal with a more tragic form of 'leavetaking', the early death of his mother. For a long time The Leavetaking was probably the most underestimated novel in the McGahern canon. This neglect has been redressed in recent years and it is now recognised as one of his most powerful works. The Pornographer (1979) A bleakly-funny and, at times, chilling study of the distance between love as imagined and love as practiced through the relationship between a writer of pornography and his pregnant girlfriend. Amongst Women (1990) Former IRA veteran Michael Moran dominates his children while railing against the compromises and failures of the Republic he fought for but never arrived. Amongst Women gave McGahern international status as a writer and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. That They May Face The Rising Sun (2001) McGahern's masterpiece depicts a year in the life of a lakeside community. Drawing upon his conviction that 'the ordinary is the most precious thing in life', the novel contrasts the trivialities and intermittent dramas that preoccupy people against the unremitting cycles of nature. McGahern quietly insists that life in all its manifestations is the most precious and fragile thing of all. Everyday life is the greatest source of wonder we have access to, if only we could take the time to do so. It is also an elegy for a rural way of life that is fading from view. One of the greatest Irish novels of the twentieth century.Short StoriesMcGahern was a grandmaster of the short-story form. His stories about Dublin like 'Sierra Leone', 'Bank Holiday', 'Doorways', and 'Parachutes' surpass the efforts of many native Dublin writers. Nightlines (1970) Getting Through (1978) High Ground (1985) Collected Stories (1992) Creatures of the Earth: New and Selected Stories (2006)Non-Fiction Memoir (2005) Memoir is one of the best-selling books of the past decade in Ireland. McGahern's account of growing up in Leitrim closely echoes his novels and shows just how close to the bone his fiction was. Interspersed with accounts of rural poverty and the brutality of the venerable institutions of family, church, and school is McGahern's discovery of literature as a counterpoint to the darkness. His most tender book. Love of the World, Essays (2009)Further ReadingThe John McGahern Yearbook