The Irish Literary Society was set up in London in 1892 and has since met in various London venues to reflect on life as expressed via Irish literature and art.
The Honorary President of the ILS is Seamus Heaney, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995. He is the most recent in a notable line of Presidents which has included Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, a founder of the Young Ireland Movement, Richard Barry O’Brien, Parnell’s friend and biographer, and Anne Yeats, the poet’s daughter. The current Honorary Vice Presidents are Professor Roy Foster and Professor Raymond Chapman.
The society’s monthly lecture series runs from September until May. Recent lectures have covered a wide range of topics: the campaigning documentary films of Louis Lentin; analysis of Yeats’ Purgatory and its relevance to the ghost estates of post-crash Ireland; the connected careers of the great Irish theatre figures Anew McMaster and Micheál Mac Liammóir.