Details of Second John McGahern International Seminar Announced

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and Leitrim County Council have announced that the second John McGahern International Seminar will take place from 24-26 July, 2008, to commemorate the work and literary achievements of one of Ireland's best known and internationally respected modern writers. The first International Seminar was held in County Leitrim in 2007 and was attended by more than 100 participants from Ireland and overseas.

Speakers at the 2008 International Seminar and Summer School will include eminent writers, critics and academics as well as local contributors. The keynote address - John McGahern's Irelands - will be delivered by Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh of NUI Galway. Other speakers will include Professor Christopher Murray, UCD; Professor David Malcolm, University of Gdansk, Poland; Dr Patrick Gilligan, dramatist; Irish writer Claire Keegan; and the Argentinean poet and translator, Gerardo Gambolini, who has just finished translating McGahern's stories into Spanish.

As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern's own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture.

In addition to this years 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.

The John McGahern International Summer School is designed for advanced level students and researchers who are interested in the writings of John McGahern and his life and times in 20th Century Ireland. The Summer School will take place at the County Library, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim, the week after the Seminar. Contributors to the Summer School, directed by Dr. John Kenny of NUI Galway, will include Ms Belinda McKeon of Columbia University, New York; Dr James Whyte, author of History, Myth and Ritual in the Fiction of John McGahern; and Dr. Frank Shovlin of the Institute of Irish Studies, Liverpool.

Speaking at the announcement of the 2008 International Seminar and Summer School, Damien Brennan, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, said, "Last year, the first International Seminar was a great success, both in its own right, but also in terms of laying foundations for the future. In this second year, it is wonderful to see the programme develop to incorporate The John McGahern Summer School in Ballinamore. Between the International Seminar and the Summer School, we now have the opportunity to facilitate both academic and general readers to engage richly with the work of John McGahern."

John McGahern had a long association with University College Galway, now NUI Galway. For over 30 years he contributed to courses at the University, including the University's International Summer School. He directed the National Writers' Workshop in Galway in 1979 and 1989. His extensive archive is now held in the James Hardiman Library at the University.

Speaking at the announcement of the Second International Seminar and Summer School, President of NUI Galway, Dr. James Browne, said, "On behalf of NUI Galway, I am delighted to support the expansion and development of the John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School. Leitrim and the North-West of Ireland form a unique and important backdrop to the McGahern canon. At NUI Galway we share in this geography, and by being the repository for the papers of John McGahern we feel that our University is holding in trust a treasure for the world of literary scholarship."

"Through initiatives such as the International Seminar and Summer School we are working to broaden access to the University s literary scholarship and archival treasures, by sharing these with a wider audience in Leitrim and the West of Ireland. I wish the McGahern International Summer School and Seminar every success and I welcome the continued partnership of Leitrim County Council in this culturally important endeavour."

This year's Seminar will also see the launch of the first number of The John McGahern Yearbook. Speaking at the announcement of the publication, Dr John Kenny, Editor, said, "In close relation with the Seminar and Summer School, this new annual publication will be a regular testament to NUI Galway's commitment to the work of John McGahern and to the University's McGahern Archive. The Yearbook will link the local, the national and the international in the study of John McGahern and will combine accessibility with serious scholarship".

For further details on The John McGahern International Seminar and Summer School contact 091-495442 or visit www.nuigalway.ie/iss

ENDS

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