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Literary Arts Officer

The School of English in Trinity College Dublin has a long history of association with writers and the world of the literary arts. The School honours great writers through the Oscar Wilde Centre and the Seamus Heaney Chair in Irish Writing, and readings by writers of international renown are an important part of the School’s annual calendar of events. The School also hosts a website dedicated to writers associated with Trinity College Dublin which can be accessed at:

The School of English includes among its staff a number of award-winning writers, including novelist Deirdre Madden, and emeritus/emerita professors such as Gerald Dawe, Brendan Kennelly and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, the current Ireland Chair of Poetry. In 2016 the writer Ian Sansom became the first Associate Professor in Literary Practice in the School, and we are also honoured to have Richard Ford as International Professor of Prose Fiction. The School also hosts an annual Arts Council of Ireland Writer Fellow (Colette Bryce in 2017).

The School of English hosts the website of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Trust and prides itself on the many ways in which its staff and students engage in and promote the practice of writing. This page showcases some of that work. The following links will take you to recent articles, book reviews, poems, and stories written by staff and students of the School published online. If you would like to have a link considered for inclusion on this page, please email Elaine Maddock for assistance: For further news and updates about School of English events, see:

We are on social media, and we welcome followers: you’ll find us on Facebook at, and on Twitter @tcdenglish. You can keep an eye on events being organised by Trinity Literary Society here:, and you can enjoy literary news and features at any time in College publications including Icarus and The Quill.

Dr Rosie Lavan
Literary Arts Officer

The School of English is delighted to announce a varied programme of literary events this term, reflecting the diversity of literary activities among colleagues and students. We are also pleased to support and promote literary events, festivals and special occasions elsewhere in College, in Dublin, and across the country, many of which feature contributions from members of the School. For the first time this term we will be partnering with Trinity Literary Society on a special event featuring readings and discussion with current and recent Trinity students now enjoying success with their writing. At the end of term, Danielle McLauglin, Visiting Writer Fellow in the Oscar Wilde Centre, will give a special reading to celebrate her residency. The full programme of events is listed below: we hope to see you some time soon.

Literary Arts Events, Hilary Term 2019

Irish Women Writers: Looking Back and Looking Forward
Thursday 24 January, 5.30pm, Trinity Long Room Hub
To mark the publication of A History of Modern Irish Women’s Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018), edited by Heather Ingman and Clíona Ó Gallchoir, the School of English (Trinity), the School of English (UCC), and the Trinity Long Room Hub will host an evening of readings and discussion focusing on women's writing in Ireland. The evening will feature readings by Deirdre Madden and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, and a panel discussion including Professor Aileen Douglas (Trinity), Professor Margaret Kelleher (University College Dublin) and Professor Eve Patten (Trinity).
The event will be followed by a reception, to which all are warmly invited.
Advance booking on Eventbrite:
Please note this event is now fully booked, but we are operating a waiting list: please email if you wish to be added to this.

Seamus Heaney, the Critic, and the Philologist: Helen Vendler and Alfred David
Wednesday 20 February, 6.30pm, Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building
Professor Edward O’Shea, visiting Fulbright scholar, will deliver a lecture exploring the seminal influence of two American academics on the writing and thinking of Seamus Heaney: the Harvard professor Helen Vendler, and Alfred David, Heaney’s editor at Norton, with whom he worked on his acclaimed translation of Beowulf. This discussion of these two critics raises issues about how a critic can help shape a poet’s career and audience. It also highlights how “originality” evolved in Heaney’s career, and how his work intersected with powerful literary institutions. 

Adam Mars-Jones: reading and conversation
Wednesday 20 March, 6.30pm, Trinity Long Room Hub
In March the School of English welcomes the distinguished novelist, short story writer and critic Adam Mars-Jones as the inaugural Briena Staunton Fellow, an appointment made jointly by Trinity College Dublin and Pembroke College, Cambridge. Full details to follow.

Mary O’Malley: poetry reading
Wednesday 10 April, 7pm, Trinity Long Room Hub
This term the Oscar Wilde Centre welcomes Mary O’Malley as the Arts Council/TCD Writer Fellow in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing. She will read from and discuss her work in a special event to celebrate her residency. Full details to follow.

Silencing The Country Girls:Edna O’Brien and the Censor
Tuesday 30 April, 7pm, Edmund Burke Theatre, Arts Building
In 1990, Edna O’Brien gave an interview to Julia Carlson for her seminal book, Banned in Ireland: Censorship & the Irish Writer, which examined the personal, social, and literary impacts of censorship in twentieth-century Ireland. As part of a programme of events co-hosted by the School of Law and the School of English for Trinity Week 2019, and to celebrate the selection of Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls Trilogy as Dublin One City One Book 2019, SilencingThe Country Girls: Edna O’Brien and the Censorrevisits O’Brien’s interview and the issues it raised which continue to resonate today, both within and far beyond the literary world. Julia Carlson (NUIG) joins us to speak about her work on Banned in Ireland, which also featured interviews with John McGahern, Benedict Kiely, and Brian Moore, and about the question of gender and censorship.Eoin O’Dell, Associate Professor of Law at Trinity and a leading expert on freedom of expression and copyright, will discuss the legal and historical significance of Banned in Ireland. Finally, we welcome the acclaimed actor and writer Noni Stapleton (Penny Dreadful, Charolais)who will bring Edna O’Brien’s witty, candid, and serious interview to life in a special performance. Booking opens on Eventbrite on 1 February 2019.
Silencing The Country Girls is the last of three events at Trinity on 30 April exploring the history and impact of censorship in Ireland. From 5-6pm, law professors and practising barristers Neville Cox and Ailbhe O’Neill will outline the history of censorship in the Irish State, and from 6-7pm the historian Conor Kostick will discuss the history of book censorship. All these events, which form part of Trinity Week 2019, are free and open to the public. Full details to follow.

Events beyond Trinity

Herod’s Dispensations,Tuesday 26 March, Hodges Figgis
Harry Clifton, one of Ireland’s leading poets, and an adjunct professor in the Oscar Wilde Centre, launches his new collection Herod’s Dispensations, in an event co-sponsored by the School of English and Bloodaxe Books.

SL&NCR, Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 March
March 2019 sees the debut of a new play by Carlo Gébler of the Oscar Wilde Centre. SL&NCR celebrates the loves, losses and landscape of the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, and is based on stories gathered from members of active age groups, historical societies and railway enthusiasts. Written with and for young people from Fermanagh and Leitrim, this cross-community and cross-border youth theatre performance is presented by Kabosh Theatre Company and is the culmination of a nine months of youth engagement activity as part of The Glens Centre’s Across the Lines International Fund for Ireland programme. It will be performed at the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim on Saturday 30 March 2019 at 8pm, and at the Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, the following night, Sunday 31 March 2019 at 7.30pm. Booking is now open on the Glens Centre website for the 30 March performance:

Literary Arts Events, Michaelmas Term 2018

Marley & Me: An Evening with John Grogan
Wednesday 3 October, 6.30pm, Thomas Davis Theatre
Advance booking at
The School of English and the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, Trinity College Dublin, present an evening with the American journalist John Grogan, author of the international bestseller Marley & Me. This autumn, John Grogan will be in residence at Trinity, and in this public interview with Professor Deirdre Madden he will read from and discuss his work as a journalist, memoirist, children’s author, and teacher of creative writing.

Paul Muldoon will deliver the annual Edmund Burke lecture on Tuesday 30 October: booking, which is essential, opens soon. Full details available here.

Frankenweek, 24-31 October
Dr Clare Clarke is leading Trinity’s contributions to Frankenreads, a worldwide celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Events include a Frankenstein read-a-thon which will run all day on Hallowe’en, Wednesday 31 October, in the GMB, and a lecture on Frankenstein at 200 by Professor Darryl Jones followed by a free screening of the National Theatre Live production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in the Trinity Long Room Hub from 6-10pm on Thursday 1 November (booking details to follow). Throughout October Trinity will also participate in a One University One Book initiative, encouraging people across the College to read and discuss Shelley’s novel: look out for full details soon.

Celebrating Thomas Kinsella: Poetry Reading
In early December the School will host an evening of readings in celebration of Thomas Kinsella’s ninetieth birthday year, and marking sixty years since the publication of his celebrated collection Another September (1958). Full details to follow soon.

Ongoing Events

The Staff-Postgraduate Seminars return on Thursday 20 September: Professor Nicholas Grene begins the series with a talk entitled ‘John McGahern and the Alternative Life of the Farm’ at 5pm in the Oscar Wilde Centre, and the full programme is available here.

And from Tuesday 2 October the Evening Lectures will be running each week, with members of the School delivering public lectures on authors including Shakespeare, Adrienne Rich, and Marina Carr: the full line-up, and booking details, are available here.

Events beyond Trinity

Across the city later this month and on into October the Dublin Theatre Festival is taking place – the full programme is here – and the Dublin Book Festival is coming up in November. Finally, on Saturday 6 October Poetry Ireland will host Missing Voices: Irish Women Poets, 16th – 20th Century, a day-long seminar which examines and celebrates the work of some of those Irish writers who until now have not found a home in the national canon. Look out for full details and booking information at

Literary Arts Events 2017 - 2018