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Creative Writing

The Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing

The creative writer holds a special place within the literary tradition of Trinity College. The Schools of English, of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, and of Drama, Film and Music, have their own well established strengths in fostering this tradition.

Under the auspices of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, these Schools have embarked on an exciting collaboration, forging new links between the creative and critical, literary practice and the profession of publishing, the market and the media, to provide a new paradigm of interdisciplinary creative literary practice.

Trinity College Dublin has been associated with the leading explorers of the heart and mind of many a generation. Greats such as Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett are joined by the creative genius of contemporaries such as Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry.

The Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing was the conception of the School of English and has developed an important national and international profile for creative writing. Graduates from the first decade of the MPhil in Creative Writing include writers Claire Keegan, Claire Kilroy, Sean O Reilly, Christopher Binchy and Conor O’Callaghan. The Centre administers the prestigious Rooney Literature Prize and hosts the Irish Writer Fellow (1986 to the present) and Visiting Writer Fellow. 

The Oscar Wilde Centre is extending its remit to develop more structured links with the well established creative writing practices and traditions across the Schools of English, Languages, Literature and Cultural Studies, and Drama, Film and Music. These schools have many academic staff who are also active as distinguished creative writers of poetry, drama and fiction. 

The School of English has established writers such as poet Gerald Dawe, novelist Deirdre Madden, whose book Molly Fox's Birthday was short-listed for the 2009 Orange Prize for fiction, and Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, whose collection The Sun-fish won the Griffin International Poetry Prize 2010.

The School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies has many staff engaged in the practice of literary translation and creative writing including Justin Doherty, Roberto Bertoni, David Scott, Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin, Ciaran Cosgrove, Peter Arnds and Giullana Adamo. The School hosts the MPhil in Literary Translation, the first programme of its kind in Ireland. In 2010, Dr Sarah Smyth, was the first Irish recipient of the prestigious Medal of Pushkin for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of Russian language and culture in the world.

Playwright Steve Wilmer is Professor of Drama in the School of Drama, Film and Music and has edited three collections of Finnish drama, translated into English. The School offers a playwriting course taught by Marina Carr, one of Ireland’s leading playwrights and scriptwriting will be embedded into the undergraduate programme of the Lir, the National Academy of Dramatic Art, which is due to be launched by the School in 2011.  The School has also performed plays by Ernst Toller, Franz Kafka, and Max Frisch translated into English by Dr Nicholas Johnson.


Key Features

  • Anchored in the internationally recognised Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, the original conception of the School of English in the birthplace of Oscar Wilde, the Centre is forming a new forum for integrating creative arts programmes within an extensive European and North-American wide creative network;
  • It is building on the important national and international profile for creative writing fostered by the MPhil in Creative Writing, the MPhil in Literary Translation,  the MPhil in Theatre and Performance and the MPhil in Irish Film, Music and Theatre, once the first programmes of their kind in Ireland;
  • It is providing new impetus for interdisciplinary partnerships with existing links within the literary  industry. For instance, in conjunction with the Irish Literature Exchange, Dublin City Public Libraries, the Dublin City Council and the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow), a biennial journal to showcase contemporary Irish Literature in translation into Russian is being launched and an annual Fellowship in Literary Translation.
  • Shared workshops in translation, playwriting and the practice of writing will provide a genuinely creative space without borders where practitioners and critics, national and international, university and society can act and interact;
  • It is providing a platform for more collaborative events such as the ‘Across the Boundaries, talking about Thomas Kilroy' public seminar, panel discussions and readings planned for April 2011 and the International Samuel Beckett  Summer School in 2011;
  • Distinguished writers and literary industry experts will act as catalysts and guides such as Richard Ford, Adjunct Professor in Creative Writing, Marina Carr, Adjunct Professor in Drama, and Hugo Hamilton, the newly appointed Irish Writer Fellow for 2011. It will also benefit from the expertise of newly appointed adjunct professors Sir Terry Pratchett, Peter Fallon and Jonathan Williams, and Trinity's first Visiting Translator in Residence, Russian writer, Vladimir Babkov.


Adjunct Professors

Richard Ford

The distinguished American novelist and short story writer, Richard Ford, is author of several novels and collections of short stories, including the remarkable Bascombe Novels (The Sportswriter, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land).

Sir Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is a British fantasy, science fiction, and children's author, best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels. He is currently the second most-read writer in the UK, and seventh most-read non-US author in the US. He was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire  in 1998, and a knighthood in 2009, both for “services to literature”.

Marina Carr

Marina Carr is a leading Irish playwright with her plays being translated and performed throughout the world. Her best known works include By the Bog of Cats…, Portia Coughlan, The Mai, and Woman and Scarecrow.

Peter Fallon

In 1970, when he was just 18, Peter Fallon founded The Gallery Press. Within a couple of years he was publishing books by two of his TCD lecturers, Brendan Kennelly and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. Since then he has edited and published more than four hundred collections of poems and plays by Ireland's leading writers and he has fostered a generation of outstanding younger poets. Peter returned to Trinity in 1994 as Writer Fellow in the School of English where he completed a dramatization of Kavanagh's Tarry Flynn. More recent books include The Georgics of Virgil (a Poetry Book Society Recommended Translation reissued by Oxford University Press in its World Classics series) and The Company of Horses. He received the O'Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the Irish-American Cultural Institution and is a member of Aosdána. He was the recipient of the 2009 TCD Alumni Award and was Irish Writer Fellow 2010.

Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams is Ireland's senior literary agent and editor, and has been involved with the Creative Writing Masters programme at Trinity since its inception in 1998. Widely respected for his tireless promotion of Irish writing worldwide, his indepth knowledge of the book publishing world, the high literary standards and range of his experience as an editor, are an essential part of the practitioner Masters programmes based in the Oscar Wilde Centre.

Irish Writer Fellow

Hugo Hamilton

Hugo Hamilton, novelist, was born in Dublin of Irish-German parentage. He has published several novels including, most recently, The Hand in the Fire and the international best-selling memoir, The Speckled People.

Translator in Residence

Guilherme da Silva Braga

Guilherme da Silva Braga is Trinity's fourth Visiting Translator in Residence, appointed by the Centre for Literary Translation (School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies) in partnership with Ireland Literature Exchange. Guilherme has a Master's degree in Comparative Literature and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in English-language Literatures at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in his hometown – the city of Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In 2005, while still an undergraduate student, Guilherme completed his first professional translation, and soon afterwards started attending literary translation classes taught by the Brazilian Shakespeare scholar and translator Beatriz Viégas-Faria at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio Grande do Sul. In 2007 he stopped working as an English teacher to become a full-time literary translator. Since then, Guilherme has translated over thirty novels and short story collections in a wide range of styles, including works by Emily Brontë, beat writer Jack Kerouac, weird fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft and Irishman extraordinaire James Joyce – as well as close to one hundred comic books. He has also been actively involved in the translation of works in which language itself plays a major formal role, such as David Lodge's Deaf Sentence, Edgar Allan Poe's "The Gold-Bug" and the comic book series The Unwritten.
Guilherme teaches literary translation at the Translation Studies postgraduate course at the Pontifical Catholic University in Porto Alegre and is currently working on a translation of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Former Translators in Residence

Vladimir Babkov

Vladimi Babkov was Trinity's first Visiting Translator in Residence, appointed in partnership with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin City Council and the Ireland Literature Exchange.Vladimir is Master of Literary Translation from English at the Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow). A physicist by training, Vladimir became involved in literary translation as an undergraduate student of the  Moscow Physico-Technical Institute where he joined an amateur literary group in the early 80s. He subsequently attended the master classes run by V. Golyshev, one of the outstanding translators of the late Soviet period. Vladimir’s first published translation dates to 1984; his first major publication was Huxley’s The Genius and the Goddess, which appeared in the literary journal Inostrannaya Literatura (Foreign Literature) in 1991. That marked the beginning of his professional career as a translator. Vladimir was awarded the Prize of the Inostrannaya Literatura (Foreign Literature) journal for the best translation of the year (1991), the Inolit Prize (1995), and the Unicorn and Lion award (2007); his work has also been shortlisted for the Little Booker Prize (2001). In July 1995 he was appointed Fellow of the Cambridge Literary Seminar.


TCD Staff

Gerald Dawe

Gerald Dawe has published several collections of poetry, including The Lundys Letter (1975), for which he was awarded the Macaulay Fellowship in Literature. His collected criticism, The Proper Word, was published in 2007. My Mother-City, a memoir, also appeared in 2007. His other publications include The Night Fountain: Selected Early Poems of Salvatore Quasimodo (with Marco Sonzogni), the anthology, Earth Voices Whispering: Irish war poetry, 1914-1945, (both 2008) and The World as Province: Selected Prose (2009). Conversations: On Poets & Poetry will be published in 2011. Gerald is the Director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing and of the MPhil in Creative writing. 

Peter Arnds

Peter Arnds directs the MPhils in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation; Professor of German and Italian at Kansas State University until 2008; countless publications (including two monographs) in comparative literature, German Studies, poetry and prose.

Steve Wilmer

Steve Wilmer, Professor of Drama, studied at Yale and Oxford and then worked in the professional theatre for ten years as a playwright, running a small theatre company that toured in Europe and the USA. Six of his plays have been professionally produced in Europe, Asia and the USA at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Manhattan Theatre Club. His play Scenes from Soweto was published in a volume of Best Short Plays edited by Stanley Richards and translated into several languages. He has written and edited 15 books, dealing with a wide variety of subjects such as national identity and representation, Finnish theatre, Samuel Beckett, and modern interpretations of ancient Greek theatre.

Nicholas Johnson

Nicholas Johnson trained as an actor at Northwestern University and was a DAAD Fellow to the Freie Universität Berlin in 2003, where he researched ensemble theatre with a focus on Bertolt Brecht. In 2004 he received the George J. Mitchell Scholarship to study at TCD, where he received his PhD in 2009.  He has served as Artistic Director of Dublin’s Painted Filly Theatre since 2005 and continues to produce or direct 4-5 productions annually, including his own translations of Ernst Toller, Franz Kafka, and Max Frisch.


  • Arts Council
  • Cultural Centres: Alliance francaise, Goethe Institute, Instituto Cervantes, Instituto Italiano di Cultura, "Russkiy mir" Foundation, the Austrian, Polish and Swiss Embassies in Dublin
  • Dalkey Archive Press
  • Dublin City Council
  • Dublin City Public Libraries
  • Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Association / Cumann Aistritheoirí agus Teangairí na hÉireann
  • Ireland Literature Exchange
  • VI Gorky Literary Institute (Moscow)
  • Günter Grass Haus (Lübeck)

Last updated 10 January 2014 by