Second John McGahern International Seminar Opens in Leitrim
Monday, 28 July 2008
The second John McGahern International Seminar will be officially opened tonight (Thursday, 24 July), by Professor Ger Hurley, Vice-President, NUI Galway, in the Bush Hotel, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. The John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School is organised annually in Co. Leitrim to commemorate the work and literary achievements of this distinguished author. The opening address, 'John McGahern's Irelands' will be given by Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Department of History, NUI Galway. Speaking in advance of the opening address, Professor Tuathaigh said: "It is for his distinction as a writer, mainly of prose fiction, that John McGahern is honoured, and it is as a truly exceptional writer that he will be remembered. Even allowing for the austerity of this dedication to his primary vocation, the full corpus of McGahern's writing also offers a rich representation and a critique of key forces of continuity and change in Irish society (in particular the rural society of the West) in the decades between the 1940s and the early years of this century". The first volume of the John McGahern Yearbook will also be launched at the 2008 Seminar by Kevin Reynolds of RTÉ. The annual hardback volume, compiled and edited by Dr John Kenny, Department of English, NUI Galway, includes contributions from Séamus Heaney, Declan Kiberd, Joseph O'Connor, and Belinda McKeon. Professor Ger Hurley, Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs, NUI Galway, said: "The name of John McGahern is synonymous with the Summer School of NUI Galway. For over a quarter of a century, up to his untimely death, John contributed each year to many academic programmes at our University, but especially to its Summer School in Irish Studies and workshops in Creative Writing. NUI Galway is, therefore, pleased to cooperate again this year with Leitrim County Council, and especially its Arts Office, in organising this Seminar and Summer School here in Leitrim to mark the lifetime of artistic and literary achievement of John McGahern". Speakers during the International Seminar include: Professor Christopher Murray, UCD; Gerardo Gambolini, Argentinian poet and translator; and David Malcolm, University of Gdansk, Poland. Panel discussions and readings will also take place throughout the programme. In addition to this year's Seminar, NUI Galway has organised an intensive one week International Summer School on John McGahern's work and its contexts. This summer programme will form part of the 25th International Summer School in Irish Studies at NUI Galway. To commemorate the 25th International Summer School in Irish Studies (1984-2008), NUI Galway will present each student of the 2008 Summer School with a US first edition of John McGahern's memoir, All Will Be Well.