Category Archives: Events

Irish PEN mourns the death of novelist Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy 1940-2012 was a previous recipient of the Irish PEN award for literature. She was a popular choice for the PEN Awardin 2007which coincided with the centenary of The United Arts Club, where Irish PEN meets regularly. As a memento of her life and times, we thought to link to the report on her award.

“Novelist Maeve Binchy proved a popular recipient for this year’s Irish Pen AT Cross Award for literature. Presented with the award at a sell-out dinner in the Royal St George Yacht Club on January 19th, she expressed delight at such recognition from her peers. She also promised that on her future visits to bookshops she will ensure that the books of all those present were face out in a prominent position – Booksellers be warned!
An appreciative audience agreed with Declan Kiberd, presenting the award, when he said that “most of [Maeve Binchy’s] stories are about the pangs of adjustment- of what happens to a society that was once God-fearing and traditional when it takes on the messy complexities of the secular,modern world,” adding that hers wasn’t a fake nostalgia for a lost world but “a brave sense that the new challenges are bracing and that good people will find in themselves the resources to meet them”. While never confining her material to Ireland, she has seen it as a test case for the modern world-and the wider world acclaimed her accordingly.”

http://www.irishpen.com/wordpress/2007/02/05/maeve-binchy-wins-irish-pen-at-cross-award-for-literature/

A letter from our membership secretary.

– The Irish PEN AGM takes place at the UAC at 7p.m., Thursday May 10th –
– Members’ news – send us news of this year’s publications, launches and events –
– Writing Memoir event: 8p.m. at the UAC on Thursday, May 10th –

Emer Liston , Irish PEN Membership Secretary

 

” We have had a very eventful and successful year at Irish PEN. From our first event after the summer, Writing for children and young people, through to our Annual PEN Award Dinner at which Joseph O’Connor’s outstanding achievement in literature was marked by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, we’ve enjoyed great company and rich discussion about the work of writing in Ireland today.

At our most recent event, we enjoyed the company of Morgan Llewellyn and Orna Ross in an evening of stories and insight into Historical Fiction and a feast of talent is in store on the 10th of this month, when we look at Writing Memoir, with Molly McCloskey, Lia Mills, Sheila Maher and John MacKenna. This event is proving very popular, and you can conveniently book your place online by clicking here.

Our news section in www.irishpen.com will keep you up to date on our participation in campaigns and letters to publications here in Ireland, including our campaign on blasphemy, and correspondence calling for action in Syria, published in last weekend’s Irish Times.  Meanwhile, please let us know about your news this year – we are compiling our latest newsletter and wish to feature and promote new publications, launches and the successes of all members and associates of PEN. 

 

Finally, and most importantly, our AGM takes place immediately before our Writing Memoir event, at 7 p.m. on May 10th, at the United Arts Club. All members are most welcome to attend.

We look forward to meeting you next Thursday, and hearing your news.”

Warmest regards,
Emer Liston,  Membership Secretary at Irish PEN.

 

Details of our Next Event are carried on our homepage and at this link http://www.irishpen.com/wordpress/our-next-irish-pen-event/

Irish PEN membership and renewal details are available here

European Writers’ Meeting in Wroclaw , April 20th to 22nd 2012.

 

 

Port Literary Festival logo and site

 The Port Literary Festival 2012 will welcome two Irish Poets to read in Wroclaw. I am adding here the site links for interested members and associates of Irish PEN. The link can be translated via the translate button which appears on the top-bar of the Port site. http://www.portliteracki.pl/festiwal/

“This year we will host two great Irish poetsLeontia Flynn and  Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. They will come to Wroclaw to present poems, which were translated and published in an anthology of Irish poetry published this year by Biuro Literackie.

We would be really pleased if the Irish Pen (Association of Irish Writers) would be willing to assist us in promoting this event abroad Poland.”

We think that Irish poetry shall be better known here in Poland and we would be happy to cooperate with you in this matter.

More information about the festival and poets is available at link : http://www.portliteracki.pl/festiwal/  

Port LITERACKI 2012
17. European Writers’ Meeting
Studio Na Grobli, Na Grobli 30/32, Wrocław
20-22 April 2012

Friday 20.04.2012

18:00 Krystyna MIŁOBĘDZKA
Meeting with the poet and reading from her new book of poems dwanaście wierszy w kolorze. Premieres of two titles: an anthology of plays Gdzie baba siała mak and a collection of critical texts, sketches and interviews with and about the poet Wielogłos. Krystyna Miłobędzka w recenzjach, szkicach, rozmowach.

19:30 6 POETS FROM IRELAND
Reading from an anthology of poems by 6 Irish poets Sześć poetek irlandzkich: Leontia Flynn, Medbh McGuckian, Paula Meehan, Sinéad Morrissey, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill translated by Jerzy Jarniewicz. Meeting with the translator and two special festival guests from Ireland: Leontia Flynn and Eiléan NÍ Chuilleanáin.

21:00 Jane BOWLES and Laura (RIDING) Jackson
Reading from a book by Jane Bowles Dwie poważne damy. W letnim domku (Two Serious Ladies. In the Summerhouse) translated by Andrzej Sosnowski and two books with selected works by Laura (Riding) Jackson: Korona dla Hansa Andersena. Utwory wybrane: opowiadania and Obroty cudów. Utwory wybrane: wiersze i eseje translated by Julia FIEDORCZUK. Meeting with the translators.

22:30 SHOOT A POEM
Screenings of short films from the competition “Shoot a Poem” for the best film adaptation of Krystyna Miłobędzka’s poem and the awards ceremony.

Saturday 21.04.2012

14:00 THE CATCH 2011
Reading from the book Połów. Poetyckie debiuty 2011. Meeting with the budding poets: Kamil BREWIŃSKI, Maciej BURDA, Szymon DOMAGAŁA-JAKUĆ, Katarzyna FETLIŃSKA, Jakub GŁUSZAK, Grzegorz JĘDREK, Katarzyna KACZMAREK, Adrian SINKOWSKI, Maciej TARANEK, and Joanna ŻABNICKA.

15:00 James SCHUYLER and Ezra POUND
Reading from selected poems by James Schuyler Trzy poematy translated by Marcin Sendecki, Andrzej SOSNOWSKI and Bohdan ZadurA as well as a collection of poetic texts by Ezra Pound Wiersze, poematy i Pieśni translated by Leszek Engelking. Meeting with the translators.

16:30 BALLA and Andrij BONDAR
Reading from books by Balla, Świadek and Podszepty, translated by Jacek Bukowski as well as Andrij Bondar’s Historie ważne i nieważne translated by Bohdan Zadura. Meeting with two special festival guests from Slovakia and Ukraine, and the translators.

18:00 Urszula KOZIOŁ, Jacek ŁUKASIEWICZ and Janusz STYCZEŃ
Reading from new books by three Wrocław poets: Fuga (1955-2010), Stojąca na ruinie and Furia instynktu.

19:30 Edmund WHITE
Reading from books by Edmund White: Hotel de Dream, Zapominanie Eleny (Forgetting Elena), Zuch (A Boy’s Own Story) translated by Jacek Dehnel and Piotr Tarczyński, Andrzej Sosnowski, Jerzy Jarniewicz. Meeting with the special festival guest from the United States and the translators.

21:00 John ASHBERY and John CAGE
Reading from selected poems by Johna Ashbery Cztery poematy and John Cage’s Przeludnienie i sztuka translated and presented by Andrzej Sosnowski.

22:30 MUSIC FROM BOOKS
Concert given by the Avant-garde Orchestra of Karol Lipiński Academy of Music in Wroclaw “Sound Factory Orchestra”.

Sunday 22.04.2012

14:00 Tadeusz NOWAK, Maria PAWLIKOWSKA-JASNORZEWSKA, Władysław SEBYŁA
Reading from books with selected poems by three classic Polish authors: Psalmy i inne wiersze, Seans na dnie morza and Dialog w ciemności published in the “44. Polish Poetry Revisited” series. Meeting with the authors of the selections: Bohdan Zadura, Marta PODGÓRNIK and Wojciech Bonowicz.

15:00 Justyna BARGIELSKA, Jacek DEHNEL and Dariusz SUSKA
Reading from new poetic books by the three authors: Bach for my baby, Rubryki strat i zysków and Duchy dni.

16:30 Gottfried BENN and Bertolt BRECHT
Reading from selected works by Gottfried Benn Nigdy samotniej i inne wiersze (1912-1955) translated by Jacek St. Buras, Zdzisław Jaskuła, Andrzej Kopacki, Sława Lisiecka, Tomasz Ososiński and selected poems by Bertolt Brecht Ten cały Brecht translated by Jacek St. Buras, Jakub EKIER, Andrzej Kopacki and Piotr Sommer. Meeting with the translators.

18:00 Tadeusz PIÓRO, Marcin SENDECKI and Eugeniusz TKACZYSZYN-DYCKI
Reading from new poetic books by the three poets: O dwa kroki stąd (1992-2011), Farsz and Imię i znamię.

19:30 Laurie Anderson
Reading from selected works by Laurie ANDERSON Język przyszłości translated by Julia Fiedorczuk. Meeting with the special festival guest from the United States and the translator.

Open afternoon for writers on Saturday 31st March at the Irish Writers Centre

Organised by the Irish Writers Union

Free Open Afternoon Workshops

All are welcome

When :  2-4:30pm, Saturday 31 March

Where :  Irish Writers Centre

      19 Parnell Square,

      .Dublin 2

.
2- 2:30          LECTURE:   ‘Copyright Law in Ireland’

A talk by Ronan Sheehan, novelist and solicitor, co-founder of Irish Writers Co-op.

2:30-2:45 –   questions and comments from the attendees; organise workshops


3 -3:45 pm – WORKSHOPS : 
join a facilitated workshop on one of the following:

A. Children’s Literature – facilitated by Conor Kostick

B. Irish Language Writing- facilitated by Alan Titley

C. Pros and Cons of Internet publishing/social media/blogs for  writers – facilitated by Chris Murray, webmaster for PEN

D. Performance poetry and innovative forms of writing – facilitated by poet Máighréad Medbh

3:45-4pm each group sum up the key discussion points and any conclusions

4-4:30pm: Brief reports back from workshops to total group

This event is organised by the Irish Writer’s Union and is an open event,  for more information please contact :  Irish Writers’ Union, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

PH 086 233 00 84

Email , iwu@ireland-writers.com

Remarks by President Michael D. Higgins at the presentation of the Irish PEN Award for Literature to Joseph O’Connor


 

Remarks by President Michael D. Higgins at the presentation of the Irish PEN Award for Literature to Joseph O’Connor

 

Friday, 10th February 2012

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

 

I am absolutely delighted to be here tonight at the Irish PEN award for literature, and I would like to thank Joe Armstrong, the Chair of Irish PEN, for his kind invitation to join you all here this evening.

 

The work of the writer we honour this evening is replete with themes and issues that go to the heart of personal dignity and human decency. The symbolic empty chair reminds us all that many writers around the world still struggle for the freedom to address those issues and pay a high personal price for their commitment to truth and free speech. As we enjoy our evening, and happily celebrate the achievements of the writer we are honouring, we also remember all our fellow writers for whom PEN continues to hold a torch of concern and solidarity.

 

Cé gur tír bheag í Éire bhíomar ar thús cadhnaíochta sna réimsí ealaíon agus cultúir i gcónaí. Chuireamar go mór le domhan na litríochta ach go háirithe agus bronnadh Duais Nobel na Litríochta ar scríbhneoirí Éireannacha ceithre huaire.

 

Many, many more Irish writers have featured, and continue to feature, on prestigious shortlists for literary awards around the world. Tonight, I am truly delighted to be joining you to honour one of those great Irish diplomats of literature, renowned abroad and loved at home as one of our greatest and most popular contemporary writers.

 

I have always been struck by Joseph O’Connor’s tale of how, in one evening of what he described as ‘dismal hopelessness’, he found himself copying, word for word the text of John McGahern’s short story ‘Sierra Leone’ simply to ease the ache of feeling unable to create a piece of work and put it down on paper. It is a feeling that all born writers will instantly recognise and Joseph O’Connor is truly a born writer.

 

Since those early days of yearning frustration he has, of course, gone from strength to strength, his brilliant novels winning awards, accolades and praise around the world.

He is a brilliant writer and an accessible one. He is an urban realist who also delves beautifully and imaginatively into a past that defines so much of our national character. He is a talented writer, and a truly courageous one, a writer who takes risks, who tries new things, who is determined to constantly stretch and challenge himself, who never ever takes his great and unique gift for granted.

 

With the publication of “Star of the Sea” in 2004 Joe both impressed and amazed the literary world. It is generally regarded as the novel that brought Joe to the admiring attention of a very wide and international readership. Described as ‘a missing link in the Irish literary tradition’ this novel reminds us of the searing reality of our national historical experience as Joseph bravely and imaginatively confronts that bleakest of bleak moments in our past to produce a work of astounding brilliance and originality.

 

Even before that ground breaking piece of work, Joseph had proved himself as a writer who allows us to discover ourselves and, through that discovery, to learn more about ourselves and the situations we must deal with.  This talent was evident from his very earliest novels:  “Cowboys and Indians” where he so brilliantly and poignantly depicted  the final moments of a pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland poised on the brink of change but still trapped in its own past, unaware of the seismic changes to our society and culture that were shortly to come; and “Desperados” where he moved between the decades, and indeed between Ireland and revolutionary Nicaragua, as he explored the necessity to understand our past and to face up to our mistakes in order to deal with current difficulties and sadness. With the apparent ease of the true novelist he forced us into a confrontation with ourselves as he captured the light, the darkness and the shadowed hues of a normal, complex, multi-faceted existence. His involvement with post dictatorshipNicaraguarejected the idealist impulse of his heart.

 

“Star of the Sea” and “RedemptionFalls” represented Joe’s thematic sojourn in theUnited Statesafter which he returned toIrelandfor the focus of his most recent novel. “Ghost Light” not only beautifully tells the story of a doomed love affair between John Millington Synge and Molly Allgood, it also evocatively captures the spirit of a society in crisis in all its political, cultural and social turmoil. In Molly Allgood Joe has surely depicted one of the most compelling female characters in modern literary fiction and her decline and death in the novel is unbearably moving. There is no doubt that Joe O’Connor is one of the brightest stars among a brilliant constellation of contemporary Irish writing.

 

We are, of course, living through very difficult days. At my inauguration, I said that our successes in the eyes of so many in the world have been in the cultural and spiritual areas – in our humanitarian, peace-building and human rights work; in our literature, art, drama and song; and in how that drama, song and literature have helped us cope with adversity, soothed the very pain which they describe so well, and opened the space for new possibilities.

 

When it comes to soothing our collective pain, Joe O’Connor has also done us all great service. Not only is Joe a very distinguished novelist, he is also a wonderful diarist and essayist. In previous years these were catalogued in the published diaries of a hapless young male who was struggling to make sense of life, love and – even more trying – his Irishness. In more recent years, Joe’s reflections on the issues “du jour” have been broadcast to the nation in the form of a radio diary. His preoccupations span the spectrum of life – politics, love, music, family, children, the extraordinarily creative way that Irish people use foul language and the propensity of Irish teenagers to use the word “like” in such a multi-functional manner.

 

Joe’s radio diaries may be satirical but it is a satire that is used for caring and constructive purposes. Underlying all of Joe’s broadcast reflections is a sense of a man who cares deeply about his country, who feels a profound empathy with his fellow citizens who are struggling through tough times, who values and respects the old decencies that were at the heart of community life in Ireland and who is determined to use his unique creative genius to imagine a future society that we can all be proud of and in which all our children can live, grow and prosper.

 

As a people and a country we are closing one sad chapter and opening another that we hope will lead to a new version of our Irishness; one that retains all that was best about our past but is founded on a new wisdom born out of disappointment, hurt and adversity, but also driven by a determination not to be paralysed by a cynical fatalism and by a positive commitment, in a spirit of active citizenship, to play our own individual part in renewing the Republic, strengthening the fabric our society and enhancing the quality of our community.

 

It is a chapter of new possibilities and, as a country, we are fortunate to have contemporary writers of the calibre of Joseph to chart this new chapter; writers who so beautifully and often so poignantly capture those important moments in our national psyche; the parts of our past that are key to our understanding of the society we live in and may wish to change; the complexity and the moral confusion of a rapidly and constantly changing Ireland;  and now the fragility of the aftershock and our great national courage as we gather our strength and move forward to a shared and better future.

 

Ba mhaith liom críoch a chur leis seo agus comhghairdeas a dhéanamh le Seosamh toisc gur roghnaíodh é don dámhachtain cháiliúil seo, ardghradam atá aige anois ar aon dul leis na scríbhneoirí Éireannacha is tábhachtaí agus is cáiliúla dá bhfuil ann. Is gradam é a chuireann Seosamh chun tosaigh mar cheann de na guthanna is tábhachtaí agus is mó tionchair i litríocht chomhaimseartha na hÉireann.

 

I am honoured to be here tonight to present this award to a writer I have long admired and am especially pleased to do so in the presence of Joe’s wife Anne Marie and his parents Seán and Viola. I wish Joseph every success in the future and look forward to reading more of his very brilliant work.

 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.