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Jews in Irish Literature – 19 Feb
February 19 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Irish Literary Society is engaging with writers and academics to reflect on ‘Representations of Jews in Irish Literature’. The innovative research project of the same title was developed out of NUI Galway and Ulster University and forms the centre of tonight’s event. The main objective of the project is to analyse representations of Jews in Irish literature from the earliest times to the present. The project is investigating references to Jews in Irish literature, whether in Irish or English, and is collecting more substantial references into an anthology of such writing. In addition to a talk on the findings we will be welcoming a novelist, poet and scriptwriter to read from and reflect on their work which explores Jewish-Irish connections.
The academic and creative work presented explores the processes of othering by investigating the forces in consciousness and culture which generate the assumptions, biases, stereotypes and myths out of which the Jewish other is produced. The representation of the Jew in Irish literature actually tells us much more about Irish than about Jewish identity, how in fact a whole psychohistory of Irishness is hidden in these neglected representations.
Presented in association with the Representations of the Jews in Irish Literature Project:
Dr Barry Montgomery
Barry Montgomery is an Irish literary scholar specialising in Irish Jewish Studies and Irish Fiction. He has contributed seven chapters (from the Early Modern Period to the present in Irish fiction, drama and poetry) to the forthcoming co-authored critical volume of the AHRC funded Ulster University and NUI Galway Representations of Jews in Irish Literature project. He forms part of the project team for the accompanying Exhibition, which he has promoted on RTÉ radio, Irish television, and newspaper interviews, delivering lectures on Irish Jewish Literary Studies at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, at The Linen Hall Library, Belfast (to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, 2017), and related conference papers at The University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and Georgetown University, Washington DC. He has written on Ruth Gilligan’s Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan, has contributed to the forthcoming Crime Fiction – A Critical Casebook (Peter Lang), writing on Richard Head’s The English Rogue (1665), and contributed several entries on early nineteenth century fiction to The Cambridge Guide to the Eighteenth-Century Novel, 1660-1820.
Ruth Gilligan is an Irish novelist and journalist now living in London and working as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. She has published four novels to date, and was the youngest ever person to reach number one on the Irish bestsellers’ list. Her most recent novel, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan (2016), was based around the history of the Jewish community in Ireland, and garnered major critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as The Istanbul Review, The Irish Pages, Ambit and Banshee Lit. She writes regular literary reviews for the Guardian, the TLS, the LA Review of Books and the Irish Independent where she was a columnist for a number of years. She is also part of the global organisation Narrative 4 which uses storytelling as a tool to foster empathy between diverse communities.
Simon Lewis was the winner of the Hennessy Prize for Emerging Poetry and the runner up in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2015. He also featured in Poetry Ireland’s Introductions series the same year. He has been shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award, Listowel Poetry Prize, Strokestown International Poetry Prize and Bridport Prize and received commendations in the Gregory O’Donoghue prize and Dromineer Literary Prize. He has also been published in many literary journals and magazines including The Stony Thursday, Boyne Berries, Literary Orphans, The Stinging Fly, Bare Hands, and Irish Literary Review. His first collection, Jewtown, was published in 2016 by Doire Press.
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