Tuesday, May 14, 2013

John McGahern Summer School coming soon

Leitrim Co. Council, in partnership with National University of Ireland Galway, have announced that the seventh International Seminar will take place in Co. Leitrim during 23rd – 25th May 2013 to commemorate the work and literary achievements of John McGahern, one of Ireland’s best known and respected modern writers.
McGahern in the U.S.A. c. 1966 from the Patrick Gregory-McGahern Collection

Contributors to the International Seminar will include eminent writers, critics and academics as well as local writers. The keynote address ‘Handrails to the Past: McGahern and the Memory of the Irish Revolution’, will be delivered by Professor Roy Foster. As well as appealing to all lovers of McGahern’s own work, the International Seminar will be of interest to literary researchers and to book clubs, to readers of contemporary fiction and modern writing, and to all national and international students of Irish literature and culture.

The James Hardiman Library is proud to hold the McGahern Archive amongst its holdings. Fully catalogued and available for consultation by readers, (see catalogue list here) the McGahern archive is an incredible insight into
1963 Letter to James Rigney
the literary mind and the writing processes of McGahern as is represented by vast amounts of research notes and drafts of his greatest published and also unpublished fiction works in novel, short fiction, essays and drama. The personal and professional relationships that shaped the work and life of McGahern is explored through the series of correspondence and letters in the archive.
The library also holds a number of related collections including correspondence between John McGahern and his fried Niall Walsh (a medical doctor from Balinasloe) and a collection of correspondence between John McGahern and his American editor Patrick Gregory (This later collection is currently being catalogued).  We also occasionally receive individual items from members of the public.  For example we recently received this letter from the daughter of James Rigney one John McGahern’s lecturers in St. Patrick’s teacher training College in Drumcondra. 

Fergus Fahey, Institutional Repository & Digitisation Librarian at the James Hardiman Library, who catalogued the McGahern archive, will give a talk at the Summer School entitled The John McGahern Archive at NUI Galway. His talk will give a general overview of what’s involved in cataloging a literary archival collection and describe the experience of cataloging the John McGahern collection in particular.  The drafts and other material relating to John McGahern’s 1979 novel The Pornographer will be looked at in detail.  As well as drafts of the published novel the archive includes drafts of some unpublished short fiction which was incorporated into the novel and also several drafts of a film script for an adaptation of the novel which was never produced.  The Pornographer was particularly well received in France and at one point it seems there was a plan for a French director to direct the film adaption.

John McGahern appearing on French Television

The annual summer school is a must for McGahern scholars and the full programme and further details is available here.

To see more of the archive holdings of the James Hardiman Library, view our digital online guide.

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