John McGahern
Apr 20 2016 Posted: 10:17 IST

A free public lecture to mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of John McGahern

Tuesday, 19 April. 2016: To mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of John McGahern, The James Hardiman Library in association with the MA in Writing and the Moore Institute at NUI Galway are delighted to present a public lecture by the renowned John McGahern scholar, Denis Sampson. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, 27 April at 7pm in the Hardiman Research Building, NUI Galway.

Sampson produced the first full-length study of McGahern’s works, Outstaring Nature’s Eye, in 1993, and his enduring critical attention to the writer culminated in his book Young John McGahern: Becoming a Novelist, published by Oxford University Press in 2012. Sampson has lectured and published widely on modern Irish writing, and he has also published a memoir, A Migrant Heart (2014). His new book from Oxford, The Found Voice: Writers' Beginnings, will be out next month.

The 30th of March this year was the 10th anniversary of the death of the celebrated Irish writer, John McGahern. McGahern’s work, from the 1960s up to his passing in 2006, has enthralled readers with his artistry and has engaged a succession of generations with his range of themes emanating from modern Irish history, culture and society. His reputation is as strong abroad as at home, and he is widely regarded as a master of the novel and short-story forms.

The rich John McGahern Archive at the Hardiman Library, NUI Galway preserves the documentary evidence of 'the writer at work'. In his lecture, Denis Sampson mines the Archive to trace the drafting and evolution of McGahern's 1990 novel, Amongst Women, and he reveals the ‘reinvention’ of McGahern as a writer through his writing of this major novel. In McGahern's papers, the characteristic personal traces of the writer can be found in voluminous manuscript copybooks and loose pages. The ideas that inform each work become clearer through these papers, and his artistic process is made clear in the exhaustive level of revision and redrafting he brought to his emergent novels and stories.

Looking forward to Sampson’s lecture, Dr John Kenny, John McGahern Lecturer in Creative Writing and Director of the MA in Writing, NUI Galway observed: "The nature of John McGahern’s Archive here at NUI Galway ideally suits it to different kinds of exploratory readers. Scholars of McGahern, or of contemporary Irish fiction and writing, naturally find it a highly valuable resource, but the papers also hold great promise for any student or devotee of writing intent on emulating the best models for creative practice and artistic dedication."

John Cox, University Librarian, NUI Galway comments: "We treasure the John McGahern archive as an enabler of new research and are greatly looking forward to Denis Sampson's lecture as a very appropriate way of marking the tenth anniversary of John's passing."

In his lecture, Sampson will discuss unpublished drafts of Amongst Women from within the McGahern Archive and will reveal the links between the novel and some of the earlier McGahern short stories in his collections Getting Through and High Ground.

The lecture will be accompanied by an exhibition of select material from the McGahern Archive and is free of charge and open to all.

ENDS

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