John McGahern at NUI Galway book launch
Monday, 8 October 2007
The 48-page hardback volume, compiled and edited by Liz McConnell, Dr John Kenny and Dr Riana O'Dwyer, with an Introduction by Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway, contains contributions from a range of University staff including Séamus O'Grady, Director of Adult & Continuing Education; Marie Reddan, Librarian; Fergus Fahey, Archivist; Keith Warnock, Vice-President For Physical Resources; Dr Riana O'Dwyer, Senior Lecturer, English Department; Dr John Kenny, English Department; Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, History Department.
The volume is illustrated, with eight colour portraits of John McGahern by Brian Bourke RHA which were commissioned by NUI Galway Arts Office following the deposition of his literary archive in the James Hardiman Library in 2003.
Speaking about this volume, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said; "John McGahern enjoyed a close association with our University, over a period of almost 50 years. ,i>John McGahern at NUI Galway provides a picture of that relationship, which culminated in the University s library becoming the repository for McGahern s literary papers. Through the Archive and through this book, we maintain an enduring link with the writer and the man. "
John McGahern's association with the University began with a brief period of undergraduate studies; he later taught on Creative Writing and Irish Studies programmes, became an honorary doctor of the University in 1994 and Adjunct Professor of Irish Studies in 2001. Prior to his passing in 2006 the University's James Hardiman Library acquired John McGahern's archive, a complete collection of his papers and writings, providing an unparalleled view into a unique literary life.
The editors, Dr. John Kenny, Liz McConnell and Dr Riana O'Dwyer, described the book as "a testament to the vibrant relationship between McGahern and NUI Galway, with contributions providing a personal insight into the nature of that relationship and the general nature of the literary life and work of this major Irish artist of language."
John McGahern and his life's work was also commemorated by NUI Galway in partnership with Leitrim County at the inaugural International Seminar in County Leitrim in July of this year, which was a launch pad for a major International Summer School which will commence in summer 2008.
Dr Brennan Glucksman is Chairman of the American Ireland Fund which in 1985 awarded John McGahern the American Ireland Fund Literary Award. She is also founder of Glucksman Ireland House, a centre for Irish Studies at New York University. Glucksman Ireland House hosted A Celebration of John McGahern to commemorate the first anniversary of McGahern s death in March 2007.