Acclaimed writer Adam Mars-Jones in residence at Trinity
Photograph L-R:, Professor Aileen Douglas, Professor James Meaney, Mr Adam Mars-Jones, and Dr Kevin Power
Last Wednesday special guests, friends, staff and students of the School of English joined members of the public for an evening in celebration of the residency of Adam Mars-Jones as the inaugural Briena Staunton Visiting Fellow in the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre.
The School of English and the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre hosted the event in the Trinity Long Room Hub, during which the author, a distinguished voice in British fiction and criticism for nearly forty years, read from his work and took part in an interview with award-winning novelist and assistant professor in literary practice in the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre, Dr Kevin Power.
The fellowship has been generously endowed by Clinical Professor in Radiology James Meaney in memory of his aunt, Briena Staunton. Introducing Adam Mars-Jones, Dr Power said: “We couldn’t have been luckier with our first Briena Staunton Visiting Fellow,” and he went on to pay tribute to his wit and acuity in reviewing (he writes regularly for the London Review of Books and the Times Literary Supplement, among others), and the extraordinary detail and precision of his fiction.
The author read extracts from his novels The Waters of Thirst (1993) and Pilcrow (2008), and his ground-breaking short story ‘Slim’ (1986), which was among the first fictional engagements with the AIDS crisis published in Britain. In conversation, Adam Mars-Jones and Dr Power discussed the difficulties of plot, the experience of having one’s work reviewed, and Adam Mars-Jones’s longstanding interests in fiction.
The memory of Briena Staunton, herself a writer, was honoured during the event. Professor Aileen Douglas, head of the School of English, read a tribute to her from the 2011 collection of her poetry, prose, and drama, Rainbows in the Sky. Later, Professor Meaney made a presentation to Adam Mars-Jones of a special limited edition of Briena Staunton’s writings. The Briena Staunton Practice of Writing Seminar in the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre, through which a series of distinguished writers come to talk to postgraduate students, is also enabled through the generosity of Professor Meaney.
The fellowship is held alternately by Trinity College Dublin and Pembroke College, Cambridge, and writers appointed are invited to participate in the literary activities of each city. In addition to this public reading, Mr Mars-Jones has been teaching students on the MPhil in Creative Writing in the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre.
Portrait of Adam Mars-Jones credit: Keith King