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Anthony Trollope: an Irish writer



Writing the Frontier: Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland

By John McCourt

Nathaniel Hawthorne famously commented that Anthony Trollope’s quintessentially English novels were written on the “strength of beef and through the inspiration of ale … these books are just as English as a beef-steak.” In like mode, Irish critic Stephen Gwynn said Trollope was “as English as John Bull.” But unlike the other great Victorian English writers, Trollope became Trollope by leaving his homeland and making his life across the water in Ireland, and achieving there his first successes there in both his post office and his literary careers. Feeling, at 26, that he was in a dead-end as a post office clerk in London and having as yet failed to actually finish a work of fiction, Trollope believed he had little to lose in accepting a posting that nobody else wanted in the remote County Offaly town of Banagher. Over the following 15 years he would get to know the whole of the island, living in working in Clonmel, Mallow, Cork, Belfast, and Dublin. Once in Ireland, however, he was a man transformed and hardly off the boat, he began to apply himself to his twin trades with great industry. His own words about one of his political heroes, Lord Palmerston, perfectly fit Trollope himself from this time on: “Hard work was to him the first necessity of his existence.”
It was in Ireland that his mighty literary talent finally began to emerge. Even if most of his greatest novels are undeniably English in setting and theme, and are dominated by English characters, his early works were Irish and he would return to Irish subject matter sporadically, if with mixed success, throughout his long career. His Irish writings constitute both a vital and distinct group of works, add significantly to our overall vision of the writer, and represent a rich and underestimated contribution to the canon of the nineteenth century Irish novel tout court, complicating the sometimes arbitrary divisions that are drawn between the English and the Irish traditions. Trollope felt that he was in a unique position as a cultural mediator between Ireland and England, with both the advantages of living for so long in Ireland and the moral obligations that this sojourn imposed upon him. And so he attempted, times over, to give narrative shape to the complexities of  a country whose voice – feeble in Famine-dominated mid-century – was none too willingly heard in Britain.
While it is true that in Ireland, as the early twentieth century scholar John Sadleir put it, Trollope became “an ambassador of England, living in disputatious amity with one of the most race-conscious nations in the world,” he equally became an envoy of his second country, Ireland. Side by side with our appreciation of  Trollope as an acclaimed English novelist, we need to take stock of Trollope as an honorary Irish writer of considerable achievement, one who never shied away from the great and sometimes terrible issues, such as land agitation, Home Rule, starvation and Famine that affected the country at all social levels during and after his long sojourn there.   It is chiefly in his Irish novels that a lesser-known, more unconventional Trollope emerges, a conflicted and sometimes almost subversive figure caught between his ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ opinions as he vacillated between endorsing standard English views about Ireland and offering his own alternative, sometimes awkward, counter readings. By accident rather than design he became a border crosser, one who would have to accept that, following his initiation as a successful public servant and writer in Ireland, he would always be betwixt and between, caught by sometimes conflicting loyalties to both cultures. This would prove to be a creatively productive situation for Trollope even if he would gradually rein in his sympathy for the Irish point of view and retreat to a more defensive ‘English’ position.
But his Irish literary ‘journey’, one that his publishers advised him against,  is one that readers would do well to follow him on today, beginning with the tragic The Macdermots of Ballycoran (1847), which offers a penetrating discussion of the causes of Irish rural agitation, and the far more optimistic and comic The Kellys and the O’Kellys (1848), a valuable prototype for some of Trollope’s later (and greater) marriage plot novels. Worthy of attention, even if its politics is at best questionable, is Trollope’s often deeply moving Famine novel, Castle Richmond (1860) along with the second and fourth Palliser novels, Phineas Finn; The Irish Member (1869) and Phineas Redux (1874), which have as their hero the Irishman, Phineas Finn, struggling to make his way in the English political world and caught between the contrasting pulls of possible marriage in Ireland and England.
The entire series challenges Irish stereotypes and meditates on two of the most common images of Irishness, that of the Stage Irishman and that of Ireland as a feminized victim. His final two Irish novels, the admonitory An Eye for an Eye (1879) and his posthumous and problematic The Landleaguers, deserve to take its place among the series of courageous if flawed attempts to contain the matter of Ireland in novelistic form and serve, in the darkening last decades of the nineteenth century, as a warning to his English readers that to fail to take Irish problems seriously will inevitably result in instability, insurrection, and violence which might well spill across the Irish Sea.
John McCourt was born and educated in Dublin. He has lived and worked in Italy for over twenty years. He has published widely in the field of Irish Studies, focussing on both nineteenth and twentieth century literature. John is currently an associate Professor of English at Università Roma Tre. He holds a Ph.D. from the National University of Ireland (University College Dublin) and is a specialist in Joyce Studies and in nineteenth and twentieth century Irish literature. The co-founder of the Trieste Joyce School (1997), he is widely published and best known for The Years of Bloom: Joyce in Trieste 1904-1920, (University of Wisconsin Press/Lilliput Press). He is the author of Writing the Frontier: Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland (OUP, 2015).



Literary listings: Cúirt; Franco-Irish Literary Festival; Howth; Kells; West Cork; Wilde weekend


Upcoming events in the books world

Sarah Gilmartin

Off to Cúirt
The Cúirt Festival of Literature is well under way in Galway, with five full days of over 100 events ensuring plenty of choice for literary lovers. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the festival hosts a number of Irish authors, including Sara Baume, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Paul Muldoon, John Montague, Mary Costello and Christine Dyer Hickey. Cúirt has a reputation for drawing big-name authors from abroad and the 2015 programme doesn’t disappoint, with Catherine Lacey, Jon McGregor, DW Wilson, Donald Antrim, Rivka Galchen, Irvine Welsh, Jenny Offill, Evie Wyld and Joseph O’Neill among those taking part. Another highlight is a collaborative event between Cúirt and the International Festival of Authors Toronto. ‘Identity, Home & Place in Canada’ is a panel discussion chaired by the CBC broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel with Canadian authors Vincent Lam, Marjorie Celona and Dionne Brand. Other events include a Yeats celebration, as part of the Yeats2015 initiative marking the 150th birth of the poet, poetry slams, live theatre, exhibitions and a number of creative writing courses with recognisable faces at the helm.
Allez les books
Crime fiction is the theme of this year’s Franco-Irish Literary Festival, which takes place this weekend at Dublin Castle and the Alliance Française on Kildare Street, Dublin 2. One of the main attractions is an event on Saturday afternoon at Castle Hall with the French crime writer Didier Daeninckx and John Banville, who will be donning the Benjamin Black mantle to discuss his 1950s Dublin noir series.
French writers taking part in the festival include Didier Daeninckx, Hervé Le Corre, Jérôme Leroy, Chantal Pelletier, Jean-Bernard Pouy and Patrick Raynal. Irish crime writing will be represented by Banville, the RTÉ journalist and author Sinéad Crowley, Irish language author Anna Heussaff, Maighread Medbh, Cormac Millar, Sam Millar, Stuart Neville and Brendan McLoughlin. Now in its sixteenth year, the festival aims to strengthen links between Ireland and France and to showcase literary talent from both countries. An education day for younger readers will take place this Friday, April 24th, where students will be invited to meet with Daeninckx and Anna Heussaff at the National Library of Ireland and the Lycée Français of Ireland.
A Wilde weekend
A new festival celebrating the life and times of Oscar Wilde will take place in Enniskillen and Fermanagh on the May bank holiday weekend, May 1st - 4th. A first of its kind, A Wilde Weekend by Lough Ernest is solely dedicated to celebrating the playwright, poet and novelist through a range of Wildean related art forms.
A programme of Wilde Talks will be given by leading authors, thinkers and academics, including Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst, Eibhear Walshe, Owen Dudley Edwards and Toby Carson. A specially commissioned lecture by Will Self responds to Wilde’s The Soul of Man under Socialism. The British writer Franny Moyle will give an illustrated talk on the life of Constance Wilde. A live video link-up with cartoonist Ralph Steadman features a studio tour and a discussion on how he came to create the illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and other works.
More highlights include the gilding of Coles monument as The Happy Prince, a story inspired by Enniskillen and its lakes; Oscar Wilde at Home at Florence Court House, where actors will perform extracts from Wilde’s most popular texts Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Ernest; Kabosh Theatre Company’s performance of the Ballad of Reading Gaol, at the Old Gaol in South West College; and Adrian Dunbar directing The Decay of Lying in the Morning Room at Castle Coole. Other actors taking part in the festival are Ciaran McMenamin and Stanley Townsend, former Lyric Director David Grant, Paula McFertridge from Kabosh Theatre Company and Festival Associate sculptor Alan Milligan.
Literary arts in Howth
The historic Lutyens Library in Howth Castle is the venue for the inagurual Howth Midsummer Literary Arts Festival from June 5th - 7th. A celebration of contemporary literature, the festival aims to highlight Howth’s literary, historic and architectural heritages. A great line-up for the literary programme includes Pulitzer Prize winners Richard Ford and Michael Cunningham. Irish literature will be represented by the Booker Prize winners John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Anne Enright.
The festival pays homage to Sir Edward Lutyens and his contribution to Howth and its environs with a series of talks. Other events will discuss historical figures with links to Howth, including Granuaile and the writer James Joyce. Burrow National School will host the children’s literature programme, which includes workshops with Fighting Words, Nicola Pearce, Dr Doodle, a series of events for children from Children’s Book Ireland and storytelling with Niall de Burca. Dr Anne Markey of TCD will chair a discussion on the genre.
Shortest way to Tara
James Joyce famously wrote that “the shortest way to Tara is by Holyhead”, meaning that for Irish people to fully understand themselves and Ireland, they had to leave their homeland. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Irish Writers in London Summer School runs from June 11th - July 17th. Guest writers this year include Antrim author Maurice Leitch, the Irish poet and novelist Martina Evans, biographer Roy Foster, Dublin film-maker Sarah Strong and the short story writer Lane Ashfield. First established in 1996, the summer school offers the opportunity to explore the reasons why Irish writers still come to London. The school provides an informal setting for participants to read and discuss the work of five of Ireland’s leading writers across a variety of fields, in addition to meeting the writers themselves. Further details on enrolling can be found here.
West Cork Literary line-up
Michel Faber, David Nicholls, Rachel Cusk, Neel Mukherjee, Louise O’Neill and Graham Norton are among the guests announced for this year’s West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry. The programme, which runs from July 12th - 18th, also features Nick Davies, who exposed the phone-hacking scandal in Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, in conversation with Alison O’Connor. A literary brunch will be hosted by the travel writer Dervla Murphy; readings will take place on Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay. Literary agent Lucy Luck will share her expertise on the publishing industry, while children’s literature agent Julia Churchill will talk on aspects of the genre. Anna Kelly, commissioning editor at 4th Estate, will be Editor in Residence at the Festival. John Boyne, Tessa Hadley, Carlo Gébler, Anthony Sattin and Deirdre Kinahan are amongst those facilitating workshops on novel writing, investigative reporting, playwriting and poetry.
Other highlights include author Sara Baume and her publishers from Tramp Press, Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen, for a discussion on “The Myth of Overnight Success”; Declan Meade of Stinging Fly Press on his experiences working as an editor and publisher; Irish Times cartoonist Martyn Turner on the life and work of a political cartoonist in today’s world. John Fitzgerald and Thomas McCarthy present an afternoon of poetry, while Irene O’Mara will help writers learn to be better public readers of their work. The Children’s Festival remains as popular as ever with events this year featuring Shane Hegarty, Judi Curtin, Sarah Webb, Yasmeen Ismail and the return of the Book Clinic.
Poetry competition deadline
The closing date to enter the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2015 is Friday, July 24th. The annual award is for a first unpublished collection of poems in English. Now in its 45th year, the award is open to poets born in the island of Ireland, of Irish nationality, or long term resident in Ireland. Previous winners include Eileán Ni Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, Thomas McCarthy, Peter Sirr, Sinead Morrissey, Conor O’Callaghan, Celia de Freine and Joseph Woods. This year’s winner will receive €1,000, which will be presented on Friday, September 25th at the opening of the annual Patrick Kavanagh Weekend in Inniskeen.
Hay Festival Kells
An exciting line-up for this year’s Hay Festival Kells, an offshoot of the renowned UK festival, includes the musician Brian Eno and the Booker prize winning authors Ben Okri, Anne Enright and Roddy Doyle. Eno, a singer, visual artist and an innovator in the ambient music genre, will participate in two events. One will focus on his music, while the other looks at environmental concerns. Lots of recognisable Irish authors are also on the billing, including Sara Baume, Michael Harding, Colin Barrett and Paul Murray, who releases his new novel The Mark and the Void in July.
Other events to watch out for include an evening with the poet Paul Durcan; author and journalist Martina Devlin discussing the history of witch hunts in Belfast, which informed her latest novel The House Where it Happened; and journalists Natasha Fennell and Róisín Ingle talking about their recent book The Daughterhood. Elsewhere Derek Landy will discuss his popular Skulduggery Pleasant series of children’s books, while children’s writer Erika McGann, author of the ‘Grace’ series (The Demon Notebook) will conduct a workshop for 8-10 year old readers. The festival runs from June 25th - 28th. More events will be announced in the coming weeks on the festival’s Facebook page.

Contact sarah.gilmartin@gmail.com with your literary listings

A Transition Ahead in BC Irish Programs Leadership


By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor
Published: Apr. 23, 2015

Thomas Hachey, who served as the founding executive director of Boston College’s Center for Irish Programs (CIP) since its inception in 2000, has announced that he will retire after the current academic year. Following a sabbatical in 2015-2016, Hachey will remain at the University as a research professor in residence.
During his 15 years at BC, Hachey has overseen the organizational umbrella for Boston College’s highly acclaimed Irish-related initiatives and resources. 
CIP encompasses the Irish Studies Program, renowned for its interdisciplinary approach to the study of Irish culture and society; the Irish Institute, whose corporate, professional and educational development programs have drawn praise for promoting social and economic progress in Ireland and elsewhere; the John J. Burns Library’s esteemed Irish Collection of famous authors, artists and other personalities; and BC-Ireland, which encompasses a growing range of activities and services housed at, and coordinated through, the Dublin-based facility within Boston College’s Center for Irish Programs.
Reflecting on his tenure as CIP director, Hachey spoke of the talented faculty members, administrators, staff and students with whom he has worked through the Irish Studies Program, Irish Institute, BC-Ireland and Burns Library. He cited the numerous distinguished lecture series, book launches, prominent guest speakers and other special events sponsored through CIP as a highlight of the past 15 years.
“My job was to make it possible for these programs to undertake initiatives and projects that would enable them to achieve their goals,” said Hachey, who expressed gratitude to University President William P. Leahy, SJ, for his support of the center. “Seeing those come to fruition were some of the most rewarding moments for me.”
Oliver Rafferty, SJ, an expert on the Catholic Church’s role in the development of Irish nationalism, will succeed Hachey as CIP executive director effective Aug. 15.
Fr. Rafferty has published or co-published such books as Irish Catholic Identities; George Tyrell and Catholic Modernism; The Catholic Church and the Protestant State: Nineteenth Century Irish Realities; The Church, the State and the Fenian Threat, 1861-75; and Catholicism in Ulster, 1603-1983: An Interpretative History. He is working on two other forthcoming books, The Church and the 1916 Rising and Violence, Politics and Catholicism in Ireland.
“Oliver Rafferty is a leading historian of the Catholic Church in modern Ireland, and he will bring great energy and vision to the Center for Irish Programs,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. “I look forward to working with him as we build on the legacy of Tom Hachey’s 15 years of leadership here on campus and in Ireland.”
“This appointment is an immense honor, and a tremendous responsibility,” said Fr. Rafferty, a native of Belfast who entered the Society of Jesus in 1981. “Boston College has a great reputation in the field of Irish studies, and it’s very well-deserved: There are outstanding teachers and researchers here. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to work in such an exciting place.”
Fr. Rafferty cited the Burns collections, where years ago he conducted some research for his doctoral thesis, as one of the most visible of BC’s Irish resources, along with the library’s Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies Chair.
“The roster of eminent writers, historians, authors and poets who have served as Burns Scholars is most impressive, and adds to the prestige of BC’s Irish programs.”
Fr. Rafferty said that in the coming months he plans to “do a lot of listening” to administrators, faculty and staff in BC’s Irish programs. “I want to hear what their visions, hopes and expectations are. Coming in as an outsider, I see things from a different perspective, but they are the ones who have the experience and the day-to-day knowledge.”
The field of Irish studies itself is at a crossroads, Fr. Rafferty said, especially in its examination of Irish history.
In contrast to the generally high visibility of Irish literature – notably through the work of figures like Joyce, Yeats and Shaw, which forms part of the canon of English literature – Irish history has typically been viewed as a more specialized area of scholarship. But that may be changing, he said, as aspects of Irish history – such as the Great Famine or The Troubles – are increasingly seen as pertinent to the wider discipline. For example, 19th-century Irish nationalism as represented by Daniel O’Connell was, in some ways, “the first mass democratic movement in Europe.”
He added, “Another consideration is that, unlike in the past, not all those who are interested in Irish history, literature or art are of Irish descent. There is far greater diversity among students and scholars in Irish studies. What are the implications of this, for teaching and research? There are many fascinating questions for us to explore.”
Last fall, Fr. Rafferty taught the course Ireland at War in the 20th Century and is currently teaching Ireland Since the Famine. His previous appointments include as the Wade Chair at Marquette University; visiting professor of Jesuit studies, history and theology at Loyola University Chicago; visiting professor of history at the University of Western Australia and Sogang University (South Korea); international Jesuit scholar at the College of the Holy Cross; and Hopkins Chair at John Carroll University.
In addition to authoring or co-authoring articles in a variety of academic publications, Fr. Rafferty has written for popular media such as The Guardian, The Irish News, America and The Tablet. He also has discussed various historical, theological and religious topics on BBC radio and TV, RTE radio and TV and Ulster Television, as well as in US outlets.
Fr. Rafferty holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Oxford University, a master’s degree from Trinity College Dublin’s Irish School of Ecumenics, and a master’s degree in church history from Heythrop College at London University, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree.
The success and scope of BC’s Irish programs has given the University a high profile throughout Ireland, said Hachey, recalling how the Irish government had offered to host the Irish Institute’s 10-year reunion at Dublin Castle – one of Ireland’s most iconic sites. As another example, Hachey pointed to the University’s 2011 acquisition of the archive of documents chronicling the decommissioning of Northern Ireland’s paramilitary groups — widely regarded as one of the most crucial facets of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
“I genuinely believe that, as Mary McAleese [former Irish President and Burns Visiting Scholar in the fall of 2013] said, Boston College indisputably has achieved the highest possible visibility among American colleges and universities in Ireland, and enjoys an equally high reputation.

“I am confident that my good friend and colleague Oliver Rafferty, SJ, has the talent, commitment and vision to lead the CIP to an even greater level of achievement.”

The Tipperary-born author was one of 12 winners. ©The European Prize for Literature




Irish author Donal Ryan has won the 2015 European Union Prize for Literature with his debut novel The Spinning Heart.

Story by Anita McSorley @Anita_UTV

The Tipperary-born author was one of 12 winners at the opening ceremony of the London Book Fair on Tuesday.
The award recognises the best new and emerging authors in Ireland.
He was nominated alongside Irish authors Mary Costello and Deirdre Sullivan for the prestigious award, which awards each of the 12 winners €5,000 (£3,667).
He joins winners from Austria, Croatia, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden.
The Spinning Heart, which tells the tale of small-town life in Limerick in the aftermath of Ireland’s financial collapse, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013 and won the Guardian First Book Award the same year.
Mr Ryan will receive his award during a gala ceremony at the Concert Noble in Brussels on 23 June.


Irish author Donal Ryan wins European Union Prize for Literature for 'The Spinning Heart'


HEARTBREAKING: Donal Ryan’s narrative is told from the perspective of village idiot, Johnsey Cunliffe, who is left to fend for himself when both his parnets die. Photo: David Conachy
Irish author Donal Ryan is one of twelve writers to win the 2015 European Union Prize for Literature at the London Book Fair.
Fellow Irish writers Deirdre Sullivan and Mary Costello had also been nominated for the prestigious award which aims to highlight emerging talent in literature and offers a prize of €5,000 for each of the twelve winners.
Winners are also given the opportunity to apply for funding to have their books translated into different languages.
Donal, who hails from Tipperary, published 'The Spinning Heart', about the impact of the financial crash on various inhabitants of a small Irish town, in 2012.
The book was also nominated for the Booker Prize.
The winners of the 2015 European Union Prize for Literature were announced today at the Opening Ceremony of the London Book Fair by Mr. Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
The other 11 winners are: Carolina Schutti (Austria); Luka Bekavac (Croatia); Gaëlle Josse (France); Edina Szvoren (Hungary); Lorenzo Amurri (Italy); Undinė Radzevičiūtė (Lithuania); Ida Hegazi Høyer (Norway); Magdalena Parys (Poland); David Machado (Portugal); Svetlana Žuchová (Slovakia) and Sara Stridsberg (Sweden).
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said: “My warmest congratulations to the winners of the European Union Prize for Literature!
"This is the only book award dedicated to the best up-and-coming authors from all over Europe, regardless of their country of origin or language.
"With this prize and our continued support for translations of literary works, we are helping literature cross borders and enabling readers to enjoy the wealth of writing talent we have.
"This is crucial: Literature opens the mind, allowing us to come closer together and understand each other better, which is now more vital than ever.”
This year's Prize winners will be presented with their awards during a gala ceremony at the Concert Noble in Brussels on 23 June, in the presence of Commissioner Tibor Navracsics; Mrs. Silvia Costa, MEP and Chair of the Culture and Education Committee and representatives of the Latvian Presidency of the EU.







Baylor University English Professor Receives Prestigious Award for Literary Scholarship and Criticism


March 31, 2015

Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (March 31, 2015) – “Seamus Heaney’s Regions,” a book by Richard Rankin Russell, Ph.D., graduate program director and professor of English in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, has been awarded the 2014 Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for literary scholarship and criticism.
“When I heard I won the award, I was in shock and disbelief,” Russell said, “especially because the previous winners, including Sir Frank Kermode, John Hollander, Richard Strier, Marjorie Perloff and Ron Schuchard, are all such wonderful and influential poetry critics. I don’t really belong even in that sentence with them!”
In “Seamus Heaney’s Regions,” Russell examines how the region of Northern Ireland provided much of the subject matter for the work of poet Seamus Heaney, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in literature. In his work, Heaney explored, recorded and preserved both the disappearing agrarian life of his origins and the dramatic rise of sectarianism and the subsequent outbreak of the Northern Irish “Troubles” beginning in the late 1960s. At the same time, he consistently imagined a new region of Northern Ireland where the conflicts that have long beset it and, by extension, the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom might be synthesized and resolved. Finally, there is a third region Heaney committed himself to explore and map—the spirit region, that world beyond our ken. According to Russell, these regions offer the best understanding of Heaney’s poetry, prose, translations and drama. Russell examines Heaney’s work from before his first published poetry volume, “Death of a Naturalist,” to his most recent volume, “Human Chain,” providing the most comprehensive examination of the poet’s work to date.
The Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award honors the legacy of Robert Penn Warren, a poet who shared with Seamus Heaney a commitment to the ongoing relevance of regional culture in an interconnected world.
“I’m delighted to learn that Dr. Russell has received such a prestigious award,” said Jim Bennighof, Ph.D., Baylor vice provost for academic affairs and policy. “We have long known that his work is absolutely first-rate and are deeply gratified that the judges have recognized his ability to articulate the rich way that he perceives Seamus Heaney’s poetry to relate his own individual experience to larger concerns and themes. Establishing this sort of connection between the personal and the universal is a central focus of the arts and humanities, and it thus speaks eloquently on behalf of Baylor.”
According to the letter sent to Russell announcing his award, the judges were struck by the rigor and depth of scholarship “Seamus Heaney’s Regions” possesses, namely the original assessment of Heaney as a poet whose work connects the local and immediate with the wide-angle concerns of modernity.
“The award certainly will garner more recognition for my work on a national, even international, basis,” Russell said, “but more important, it will gain recognition for Baylor.”
Russell’s research interests include modern and contemporary British and Irish literature. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina and his M.Phil. from the University of Glasgow. His additional publications include “Modernity, Community, and Place in Brian Friel’s Drama” and “Poetry and Peace: Michael Longley, Seamus Heaney, and Northern Ireland.” He was the Baylor University Centennial Professor of 2012.
“I know the award recognizes close reading, and my book does a great deal of that with Heaney’s poems, dramas, essays and translations while also grounding them in their cultural, historical and religious contexts,” Russell said.
by Ashton Brown, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES
The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 24 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit www.baylor.edu/artsandsciences.


The rise of the short Irish Story



A new generation of Irish authors is coming to prominence through the short story
 Sarah Gilmartin

What do the Irish writers Kevin Barry, Mary Costello and Anne Enright have in common, aside from successful literary careers? All three authors published debut short story collections before going on to write novels. Barry launched his career with the award-winning These are Little Kingdoms in 2007. Enright’s The Portable Virgin (1992) and Mary Costello’s more recent The China Factory (2011) brought both authors acclaim at home and abroad. Enright won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; Costello’s collection was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award.
Ireland’s history with the short story form is well documented. James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Maeve Brennan, William Trevor and Mary Lavin are just some of a long list of internationally recognised writers. According to O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice, the bible on the short story, Ireland suits the form for being a nation on the margins, a land of people who understand what it is to be isolated.
A new generation of Irish authors is coming to prominence through the short story. Sara Baume had already accrued fans, among them the author Joseph O’Connor, months before the launch of her debut novel by winning the 2014 Davy Byrnes competition with her short story ‘Solesearcher 1’. Colin Barrett is the current golden boy of the form, having won the Frank O’Connor International Award, the Rooney Prize and the Guardian First Book Award for his debut Young Skins (2013). Other debutants with recently or soon-to-be released collections include Andrew Fox, Aiden O’Reilly, Claire-Louise Bennett and Danielle McLaughlin.
While short stories have always been a favourite of writers, readers traditionally gravitate towards the novel. In her introduction to the Granta Book of the Irish Short Story (2010), Anne Enright writes that the form is more satisfying for authors than readers, likening it to the “cats of the literary form, beautiful but a little self-contained.”
Changing attitudes
Does the recent spate of debuts and anthologies with Irish affiliations mean that attitudes to the form here is changing? Declan Meade of Stinging Fly Press, who launched Barry, Costello and Barrett, says he believes the short story is having a moment.
“More than anything,” Meade says, “I think this is to do with the fact that there are writers of the calibre of Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore, Edith Pearlman and George Saunders publishing great stories.” Meade also mentions the Canadian writer Alice Munro as a major influence: “She has steadily built up a readership for her remarkable stories and her Nobel win came as a validation for her readers and for other writers of short stories.”
As a publisher and editor, Meade has noticed a rise in the number of people writing stories. The growing popularity of creative writing courses may be a factor. “[There are] varying degrees of success,” he says. “I'd be concerned that some people submitting a short story for publication are content to provide a piece of prose writing with x number of words.”
The author Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, whose first book was the collection of short stories Blood and Water (1988), says the resurgence of the form is in part thanks to the “burgeoning creative writing programme phenomenon”, but also as a result of competitions such as the Frank O’Connor award.
Ní Dhuibhne, a recent recipient of the Irish PEN Award, has gone on to write numerous novels since her debut, including the Orange shortlisted The Dancers Dancing. She remains, however, “more at home” with the shorter form: “I found it difficult to move from short story to novel. I think I am a natural short story writer, in the way that some writers are ‘natural’ poets.  I found novels hard work. They demand more planning. The novel is not a spontaneous genre.”

Digital age
One of the perks of the digital age for writers, and readers, is that devices such as the Kindle make it easier for authors to get shorter work published. The Irish author Julian Gough, who has written in a variety of forms from novel to poetry, says it is now more viable for writers to choose the form that suits the work.
“The short story was always popular,” he says. “It's what parents tell their children before bed, it's what cavemen told each other round the campfire, it's what all fairytales are, it's what myths are made out of. The Odyssey is a collection of linked, self-contained short stories, not a novel. If it was hard to find for a while, that's because industrial, capitalist publishing briefly found it difficult to make money from it. But digital makes the single story much more viable. So they're back.”
Henrietta McKervey, whose short story ‘The Dead of Winter’ won this year’s Hennessy First Fiction Award, agrees: “Short stories were out by the bins for a long time, but never really went away, just out of fashion. I’m enjoying the current enthusiasm for the short-stories-as-novel form. It encourages writers to experiment in form and character while still giving us readers plenty to chew over.”
McKervey’s debut novel What Becomes of Us is published this week. She says she finds the longer form more rewarding: “For me, writing a novel is a dissection of a body in its entirety, whereas short stories examine a detail through a microscope. Even as a child I remember feeling frustrated by short stories because I always wanted more from the characters than the story could provide.”

‘Grim sales figures’
Brendan Barrington has published “many collections-worth” of short stories in his role as editor of The Dublin Review over the years. In his other day job, as an editor with Penguin Ireland, Barrington says he has always been open to collections, but that conventional wisdom, “which I find depressing, but which has a basis in the grim sales figures,” is that publishers are willing to chance a debut collection, on the basis that a novel is coming next.
“In artistic terms, I don't buy the idea that the novel is a higher form than the story,” he says. “But in practical terms it is hard for a young writer – particularly on this side of the ocean – to plot a career based on short stories alone. That's something I regret.”
Barrington notes an “uptick” in the form, but points out that it’s from a “dispiriting” low base: “It's still the case that if an established mid-career novelist publishes a collection of stories, sales are likely to be a fraction of what their most recent novel sold. Even after winning the Nobel prize, Alice Munro – a highly accessible and entertaining writer, as well as a genius – didn't sell a lot of books on this side of the ocean. If she were a novelist operating on the same level, her sales would be dramatically higher.”
From the writer’s perspective, the choice of form is often organic. “I never made a conscious decision to write a collection of stories,” says the Galway author Mary Costello. “I started writing in my early twenties simply because I needed to write, and stories were the obvious way in. I had many isolated characters and disparate images and ideas and the short story was a form that could accommodate them. There’s an intuitive quality to stories – nothing is transparent, the reader must glean things. Something usually lurks beneath the surface. Joy Williams says that short stories are devious. They pretend to be transparent, about ordinary things, ordinary matters, but it’s all a masquerade.”
Costello says the idea for her debut novel Academy Street, which won Novel of the Year at the 2014 Irish Book Awards, grew out of a story in The China Factory: “The reach of Tess’s life required a longer form, and that’s how the novel came about.” But which does she prefer? “When I’m writing a novel I prefer the short story form, and when I’m working on a short story I want to write a novel. There’s no pleasing us.”

Transition between forms
Making the transition between forms had a similarly natural feel to it for the novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir, whose third novel Miss Emily publishes this August. “I wrote my first published novel in my early thirties,” says Ní Chonchúir. “I was five years writing stories in a serious way at that point and You grew out of one of my stories.
“There are differences between the two genres. Stories are switchy and intense and, as a writer, you are always starting anew. Whereas with the novel it is long work, the work of years, so it can be a more comforting place to be in as a writer. There is a place to go to at the desk each day.”
Is there pressure on short story writers to graduate to a novel at some point in their career? “That’s a publishing industry driven perception,” says Ní Chonchúir. “It is difficult to sell a collection of short stories. Not impossible, mind. There are presses willing to take a punt, usually smaller ones like New Island, Arlen House, Lilliput Press and The Stinging Fly, who are very supportive of short fiction.
“There are writers making a career from short fiction – Philip Ó Ceallaigh, Alice Munro, Lydia Davis – but publishers and readers are hungry for novels. If we can get more great short stories into the hands and minds of readers we might see a bigger demand for collections.”
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne says that while most readers prefer novels, from an artistic point of view, authors don’t need to write novels to create great fiction: “There are examples of world class writers who never graduated to the novel.  Anton Chekhov, Katharine Mansfield, Frank O’Connor, Alice Munro, Raymond Carver. It’s just that there aren’t all that many of them and, with a few exceptions, they don’t get the same attention from the ‘ordinary reader’ or from the critics. There’s always more fuss about new novels. Then there is the Booker factor, and the Baileys factor – only novelists may apply.”

Showcasing stories
Anthologies have always been a popular way of showcasing stories from new and established voices, none more so than in recent years. In December, O’Brien published Surge, a collection of short stories from the various creative writing courses in universities around the country. Liberties brought out Love on the Road in February, a collection of international voices depicting the highs and lows of love, edited by Sam Tranum and Lois Kapila.
In May, Faber publishes All Over Ireland, an anthology edited by Deirdre Madden with new writing from, among others, Colm Tóibín, Eoin McNamee and Mary Morrissy. In autumn, Sinéad Gleeson is at the helm of The Long Gaze Back, with the title from a Maeve Brennan quote an apt choice for a collection of Irish female writers including Ní Dhuibhne, Ní Chonchúir, Anne Enright and Christine Dwyer Hickey.
Of current interest is the launch of The Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction 2005-2015 (New Island) this week. Edited by Dermot Bolger and Ciaran Carty, the third anthology in the series chronicles an emerging literary generation. Carty believes the form has always been popular, pointing to Ireland’s history of short story writers. “O'Connor, O'Faolain and O'Flaherty were household names when I grew up in the 50s,” he says. “Neil Jordan and Des Hogan established themselves with short stories in the 70s. William Trevor was probably the most popular Irish writer, followed later by Bernard MacLaverty during this period.”
The New Irish Writing programme was viewed by Carty as a national platform for the form: “Since 1988 we've published over 300 new writers and probably read maybe 15,000 more. The form has changed away from the O'Connor and O'Faolain style to a more open-ended New Yorker style offering fragments of life or moments in relationships, but good writing is always good writing, whatever the trend.”
While acknowledging that readers generally find more satisfaction in novels, Carty says this can work in the writer’s favour: “When readers discover novelists they like, they'll then read their story collections. Joe O'Connor's first story ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ became his first novel Cowboys and Indians, but people then went on to buy his collections.”
Declan Meade says he can understand the appeal of getting lost in a novel for an extended period of time but that he is “first and foremost” a lover of the shorter form. “It’s the sharper focus, its more scrupulous intensity,” he says. “I think that a good collection of stories will be just as satisfying for the reader as most novels are. Readers do seem to be somewhat suspicious of the form and of the writer's intentions, but really good collections manage to break down whatever reservations the general reader might have about them.”

Top short reads: Irish publishers and writers pick a much loved story

Brendan Barrington – Friend of My Youth, Alice Munro
Ciaran Carty – The Necklace, Guy de Maupassant
Nuala Ní Chonchúir – Good Country People, Flannery O’Connor
Mary Costello – My Lord You, James Salter
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne – The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
Sinéad Gleeson – The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Henrietta McKervey – Strings Too Short to Use, Lorrie Moore
Declan Meade – Differently, Alice Munro


The rise of the short Irish Story


A new generation of Irish authors is coming to prominence through the short story

Sarah Gilmartin

What do the Irish writers Kevin Barry, Mary Costello and Anne Enright have in common, aside from successful literary careers? All three authors published debut short story collections before going on to write novels. Barry launched his career with the award-winning These are Little Kingdoms in 2007. Enright’s The Portable Virgin (1992) and Mary Costello’s more recent The China Factory (2011) brought both authors acclaim at home and abroad. Enright won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature; Costello’s collection was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award.
Ireland’s history with the short story form is well documented. James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Maeve Brennan, William Trevor and Mary Lavin are just some of a long list of internationally recognised writers. According to O’Connor’s The Lonely Voice, the bible on the short story, Ireland suits the form for being a nation on the margins, a land of people who understand what it is to be isolated.
A new generation of Irish authors is coming to prominence through the short story. Sara Baume had already accrued fans, among them the author Joseph O’Connor, months before the launch of her debut novel by winning the 2014 Davy Byrnes competition with her short story ‘Solesearcher 1’. Colin Barrett is the current golden boy of the form, having won the Frank O’Connor International Award, the Rooney Prize and the Guardian First Book Award for his debut Young Skins (2013). Other debutants with recently or soon-to-be released collections include Andrew Fox, Aiden O’Reilly, Claire-Louise Bennett and Danielle McLaughlin.
While short stories have always been a favourite of writers, readers traditionally gravitate towards the novel. In her introduction to the Granta Book of the Irish Short Story (2010), Anne Enright writes that the form is more satisfying for authors than readers, likening it to the “cats of the literary form, beautiful but a little self-contained.”

Changing attitudes
Does the recent spate of debuts and anthologies with Irish affiliations mean that attitudes to the form here is changing? Declan Meade of Stinging Fly Press, who launched Barry, Costello and Barrett, says he believes the short story is having a moment.
“More than anything,” Meade says, “I think this is to do with the fact that there are writers of the calibre of Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore, Edith Pearlman and George Saunders publishing great stories.” Meade also mentions the Canadian writer Alice Munro as a major influence: “She has steadily built up a readership for her remarkable stories and her Nobel win came as a validation for her readers and for other writers of short stories.”
As a publisher and editor, Meade has noticed a rise in the number of people writing stories. The growing popularity of creative writing courses may be a factor. “[There are] varying degrees of success,” he says. “I'd be concerned that some people submitting a short story for publication are content to provide a piece of prose writing with x number of words.”
The author Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, whose first book was the collection of short stories Blood and Water (1988), says the resurgence of the form is in part thanks to the “burgeoning creative writing programme phenomenon”, but also as a result of competitions such as the Frank O’Connor award.
Ní Dhuibhne, a recent recipient of the Irish PEN Award, has gone on to write numerous novels since her debut, including the Orange shortlisted The Dancers Dancing. She remains, however, “more at home” with the shorter form: “I found it difficult to move from short story to novel. I think I am a natural short story writer, in the way that some writers are ‘natural’ poets.  I found novels hard work. They demand more planning. The novel is not a spontaneous genre.”

Digital age
One of the perks of the digital age for writers, and readers, is that devices such as the Kindle make it easier for authors to get shorter work published. The Irish author Julian Gough, who has written in a variety of forms from novel to poetry, says it is now more viable for writers to choose the form that suits the work.
“The short story was always popular,” he says. “It's what parents tell their children before bed, it's what cavemen told each other round the campfire, it's what all fairytales are, it's what myths are made out of. The Odyssey is a collection of linked, self-contained short stories, not a novel. If it was hard to find for a while, that's because industrial, capitalist publishing briefly found it difficult to make money from it. But digital makes the single story much more viable. So they're back.”
Henrietta McKervey, whose short story ‘The Dead of Winter’ won this year’s Hennessy First Fiction Award, agrees: “Short stories were out by the bins for a long time, but never really went away, just out of fashion. I’m enjoying the current enthusiasm for the short-stories-as-novel form. It encourages writers to experiment in form and character while still giving us readers plenty to chew over.”
McKervey’s debut novel What Becomes of Us is published this week. She says she finds the longer form more rewarding: “For me, writing a novel is a dissection of a body in its entirety, whereas short stories examine a detail through a microscope. Even as a child I remember feeling frustrated by short stories because I always wanted more from the characters than the story could provide.”

‘Grim sales figures’
Brendan Barrington has published “many collections-worth” of short stories in his role as editor of The Dublin Review over the years. In his other day job, as an editor with Penguin Ireland, Barrington says he has always been open to collections, but that conventional wisdom, “which I find depressing, but which has a basis in the grim sales figures,” is that publishers are willing to chance a debut collection, on the basis that a novel is coming next.
“In artistic terms, I don't buy the idea that the novel is a higher form than the story,” he says. “But in practical terms it is hard for a young writer – particularly on this side of the ocean – to plot a career based on short stories alone. That's something I regret.”
Barrington notes an “uptick” in the form, but points out that it’s from a “dispiriting” low base: “It's still the case that if an established mid-career novelist publishes a collection of stories, sales are likely to be a fraction of what their most recent novel sold. Even after winning the Nobel prize, Alice Munro – a highly accessible and entertaining writer, as well as a genius – didn't sell a lot of books on this side of the ocean. If she were a novelist operating on the same level, her sales would be dramatically higher.”
From the writer’s perspective, the choice of form is often organic. “I never made a conscious decision to write a collection of stories,” says the Galway author Mary Costello. “I started writing in my early twenties simply because I needed to write, and stories were the obvious way in. I had many isolated characters and disparate images and ideas and the short story was a form that could accommodate them. There’s an intuitive quality to stories – nothing is transparent, the reader must glean things. Something usually lurks beneath the surface. Joy Williams says that short stories are devious. They pretend to be transparent, about ordinary things, ordinary matters, but it’s all a masquerade.”
Costello says the idea for her debut novel Academy Street, which won Novel of the Year at the 2014 Irish Book Awards, grew out of a story in The China Factory: “The reach of Tess’s life required a longer form, and that’s how the novel came about.” But which does she prefer? “When I’m writing a novel I prefer the short story form, and when I’m working on a short story I want to write a novel. There’s no pleasing us.”

Transition between forms
Making the transition between forms had a similarly natural feel to it for the novelist Nuala Ní Chonchúir, whose third novel Miss Emily publishes this August. “I wrote my first published novel in my early thirties,” says Ní Chonchúir. “I was five years writing stories in a serious way at that point and You grew out of one of my stories.
“There are differences between the two genres. Stories are switchy and intense and, as a writer, you are always starting anew. Whereas with the novel it is long work, the work of years, so it can be a more comforting place to be in as a writer. There is a place to go to at the desk each day.”
Is there pressure on short story writers to graduate to a novel at some point in their career? “That’s a publishing industry driven perception,” says Ní Chonchúir. “It is difficult to sell a collection of short stories. Not impossible, mind. There are presses willing to take a punt, usually smaller ones like New Island, Arlen House, Lilliput Press and The Stinging Fly, who are very supportive of short fiction.
“There are writers making a career from short fiction – Philip Ó Ceallaigh, Alice Munro, Lydia Davis – but publishers and readers are hungry for novels. If we can get more great short stories into the hands and minds of readers we might see a bigger demand for collections.”
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne says that while most readers prefer novels, from an artistic point of view, authors don’t need to write novels to create great fiction: “There are examples of world class writers who never graduated to the novel.  Anton Chekhov, Katharine Mansfield, Frank O’Connor, Alice Munro, Raymond Carver. It’s just that there aren’t all that many of them and, with a few exceptions, they don’t get the same attention from the ‘ordinary reader’ or from the critics. There’s always more fuss about new novels. Then there is the Booker factor, and the Baileys factor – only novelists may apply.”

Showcasing stories
Anthologies have always been a popular way of showcasing stories from new and established voices, none more so than in recent years. In December, O’Brien published Surge, a collection of short stories from the various creative writing courses in universities around the country. Liberties brought out Love on the Road in February, a collection of international voices depicting the highs and lows of love, edited by Sam Tranum and Lois Kapila.
In May, Faber publishes All Over Ireland, an anthology edited by Deirdre Madden with new writing from, among others, Colm Tóibín, Eoin McNamee and Mary Morrissy. In autumn, Sinéad Gleeson is at the helm of The Long Gaze Back, with the title from a Maeve Brennan quote an apt choice for a collection of Irish female writers including Ní Dhuibhne, Ní Chonchúir, Anne Enright and Christine Dwyer Hickey.
Of current interest is the launch of The Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction 2005-2015 (New Island) this week. Edited by Dermot Bolger and Ciaran Carty, the third anthology in the series chronicles an emerging literary generation. Carty believes the form has always been popular, pointing to Ireland’s history of short story writers. “O'Connor, O'Faolain and O'Flaherty were household names when I grew up in the 50s,” he says. “Neil Jordan and Des Hogan established themselves with short stories in the 70s. William Trevor was probably the most popular Irish writer, followed later by Bernard MacLaverty during this period.”
The New Irish Writing programme was viewed by Carty as a national platform for the form: “Since 1988 we've published over 300 new writers and probably read maybe 15,000 more. The form has changed away from the O'Connor and O'Faolain style to a more open-ended New Yorker style offering fragments of life or moments in relationships, but good writing is always good writing, whatever the trend.”
While acknowledging that readers generally find more satisfaction in novels, Carty says this can work in the writer’s favour: “When readers discover novelists they like, they'll then read their story collections. Joe O'Connor's first story ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ became his first novel Cowboys and Indians, but people then went on to buy his collections.”
Declan Meade says he can understand the appeal of getting lost in a novel for an extended period of time but that he is “first and foremost” a lover of the shorter form. “It’s the sharper focus, its more scrupulous intensity,” he says. “I think that a good collection of stories will be just as satisfying for the reader as most novels are. Readers do seem to be somewhat suspicious of the form and of the writer's intentions, but really good collections manage to break down whatever reservations the general reader might have about them.”

Top short reads: Irish publishers and writers pick a much loved story

Brendan Barrington – Friend of My Youth, Alice Munro
Ciaran Carty – The Necklace, Guy de Maupassant
Nuala Ní Chonchúir – Good Country People, Flannery O’Connor
Mary Costello – My Lord You, James Salter
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne – The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
Sinéad Gleeson – The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Henrietta McKervey – Strings Too Short to Use, Lorrie Moore
Declan Meade – Differently, Alice Munro