Upcoming Literary Events

Literary Events Archive

Irish Literary & Historical Society Speaker Series • May 21

Elizabeth Drew on Samuel Beckett

Trinity PhD scholar,  will speak on the presence of Ireland in the writings of Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett.

Samuel Beckett, one of the most acclaimed writers of the 20th century, was born in Foxrock, Co. Dublin in 1904. He completed his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Dublin, spent a decade traveling and working in Europe, and then settled in France for more than five decades. Most of his literary works were composed in French and self-translated into English. Although Beckett left Ireland, Ireland never left him. His relationship with the country of his birth was complicated, but its landscape, clim ate, and people were a continual presence in his work until his death. His ruminations on and dramatizations of memory, self, and consciousness are frequently set in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, along the sweep of Killiney Bay, and in the social vernacular of Irish life. This lecture will follow the trajectory of Beckett’s work from his early adulthood in Dublin through his last writings, tracing the presence of his homeland throughout. It will offer some guidance for the casual reader to explore, and hopefully enjoy, Beckett’s works, which are frequently labeled as bleak, enigmatic, and difficult.

Dr. Elizabeth Drew lived, studied, and worked in Ireland for seven years. Her master’s dissertation on Samuel Beckett’s poetry and her PhD on cognitive science and complexity in Beckett’s late prose were both completed at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. She is an independent scholar and stay-at-home mom living in San Francisco, California.

May 23, 5pm – United Irish Cultural Center 2700 45th Ave, San Francisco
ILHS members free, visitors $5, reception follows.

Bay Area Book Festival • June 3 & 4

Over the weekend of June 3rd and 4th, 2017, the third annual Bay Area Book Festival will fill downtown Berkeley with a literary extravaganza that offers pleasure to anyone who has ever loved a book. Irish writers featured this year on June 4th are: Colin Barrett, Paul Murray, and John Toomey

Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. ‘Young Skins’ won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His work has been published in the New Yorker, A Public Space, Granta, and the Stinging Fly. In 2015, Barrett was named a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35.”

John Toomey is a teacher at Clonkeen College in Dublin, where he teaches English and other things. He has written three novels to date, ‘Sleepwalker,’ ‘Huddelston Road,’ and the new ‘Slipping.’ He has also contributed a short story, “What the Dying Heart Says,” to Dalkey Archive’s Best European Fiction 2015.

Paul Murray was born in 1975. He studied English literature at Trinity College in Dublin and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His debut, ‘An Evening of Long Goodbyes,’ was short-listed for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2003 and was nominated for the Kerry Grove Irish Fiction Award. His second novel, ‘Skippy Dies,’ was short-listed for the 2010 Costa Novel Award, was long-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was ranked third in Times’ ten best books of 2010. Murray’s new novel is ‘The Mark and The Void.’

Sunday, June 4th, 10am. Hotel Shattuck Plaza




Remembering Tom Hayden • 1939 – 2016

Tom Hayden, who passed away October 23, 2016, was an iconic figure in America’s anti-war movement and a campaigner over many years for peace and justice in Northern Ireland. He led an extraordinary life of organizing, writing, and political reform. He put himself on the line during Mississippi Summer in 1964, was a principal opponent of the Vietnam War, a defendant in the Chicago Seven trial, and served nearly 20 years in the California legislature. He was the principal author in 1962 of the founding manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society. wiki

Writing Groups & Workshops •

Crossroads Writers’ Salon • Mar 26

The Crossroads Salon is a forum for writers and artists who have Irish or Irish-American heritages or are interested in exploring Irish-American themes, as well as for readers and viewers who want to participate in this exploration. Participants are invited to bring original work or the work of others (poetry, prose, visual or performance art). This relaxed and convivial event will be held in a private home in San Francisco RSVP for more information. 707-235-9858.

Eanlaí Cronin Workshops


Alameda-based Irish writer Eanlaí Cronin’s workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, which believes that every person is a writer, and every writer deserves a safe environment in which to experiment, learn, and develop craft. Each workshop drops writers easily and instantly into the core content asking to be written through them, whether it is poetry, fiction, memoir or journal and process writing. Participants write to carefully prepared prompts designed to prime the creative pump, read their work aloud (though not required), and give and receive positive feedback using a simple and skillful AWA format. Open to writers of all ability levels.

Six-week program currently running Tuesday nights, and Wednesday mornings to Feb 22. For further info email eanlaicronin@gmail.com

Join Eanlai on Sunday, February 5, 2017, for a monthly writing group full of prompts, positive feedback and chatty tea breaks. Or on Saturday, February 18, 2017 for a One-Day Writing Retreat. No previous writing experience is required. Just book your place in advance and take the Amherst Writers and Artists Method for a test drive.

Have questions? Email Eanlai at eanlaicronin@gmail.com for more information or to save your spot .

The time spent in Eanlai’s writing workshop has been a profound healing experience for me. Eanlai creates a space for creativity with the freedom to express yourself without inhibition.  The healing is not just from my own writing, but from hearing the words and wisdom of the other writers in the group.  It is mystical. – Sharon Kuhn, Fremont, CA

2016: In Memory of Eddie Stack

eddiefrontIn Memoriam – Oct 27th – An evening of stories for Eddie Stack  (1950-2016)

(event has passed)

Eddie Stack, a beloved teacher and friend, admired writer, and talented musician, left us on July 4, 2016.  The Program in Celtic Studies at UC-Berkeley, together with the Irish Literary and Historical Society of San Francisco, propose to hold an evening of story-telling in his memory. Stories about Eddie, stories we heard Eddie tell, stories Eddie would have liked. Scheduled speakers will include Robert Tracy (Professor Emeritus, Department of English) and there will be an open mic after the scheduled speakers.  Refreshments will be served in 371 Dwinelle.   6-9 PM, October 27, 2016, 370 Dwinelle Hall, on the UC-Berkeley campus

See Irish Times obituary