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

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