Aug 16 2016 Posted: 12:13 IST

From Shakespeare to Harry Potter

NUI Galway will host the 13th conference of the European Society for the Study of English (ESSE) from 22-26 August. This event will bring over 800 scholars to Galway, from almost every country in Europe, as well as north and south America, the Middle East, China, Australia, and elsewhere.

ESSE is a scholarly organisation dedicated to the study of English language, literature and cultural studies. This is the first time that it has been held in Ireland and is one of the largest conferences in the humanities in Europe.

The event includes over 80 seminars on a huge range of topics. Great literary figures such as Shakespeare and Charles Dickens feature, but there are also seminars on more recent literary creations such as Harry Potter. Seminars also cover a wide range of subjects, including religious writing, young adult fiction, crime writing, romantic poetry, and much more. Papers in the area of linguistics focus on such topics as special education, the influence of English on European languages, and business terminology. There are also papers on contemporary film and television, ranging from such movies as The Piano to the TV show Penny Dreadful.

The three keynote speakers are Emma Smith from Oxford, who will speak about Shakespeare’s first folio; Paul Baker from Lancaster, who will speak about the differences between British and American English; and the Irish writer Colm Tóibín, who will speak on the topic of violence in the works of Yeats and Joyce.

Other special events include an exhibition on Shakespeare and Kenneth Branagh, hosted by NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library; an evening of Sean-Nós Song and Dance; a reading by Mike McCormack and Mary O’Malley; and a Druid Academy public interview with Irish draamatists Stacey Gregg, Sonya Kelly, Amy Conroy and Meadhbh McHugh.

The conference is organised by Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway, Patrick Lonergan: “Bringing ESSE to Galway is a huge privilege. It allows us to make connections all across Europe and the wider world – something that our students and staff can only benefit from. With the news that Galway will be European Capital of Culture in 2020, this event gives us a great opportunity to present ourselves to a European audience and to showcase Galway’s excellence in the areas of education, culture and hospitality.”

As a subject English is one of NUI Galway’s highest ranked, being placed in the Top 200 QS World University Rankings. The ESSE event also showcases the University’s excellence in other areas: its major theatre archive holdings, as well as its programmes in such areas as Creative Writing, Literature and Publishing, Theatre Practice and Production, Irish Studies, and more.

Further details on the conference website: www.esse2016.org/.

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