Paige Reynolds, UC Berkeley • April 16
FALSE COMFORT: SEX, PRAYER AND MODERNISM IN EIMEAR MCBRIDE’S A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING
Co-sponsored by the Department of English and the Institute of European Studies – Irish Studies Program, join the Irish Studies Program at UC Berkeley for an engaging conversation with Paige Reynolds on Eimear McBride’s recent novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (2013)
Paige Reynolds, Professor of English at College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, has published widely on the subjects of modernism, drama and performance, and modern and contemporary Irish literature. She is the author of Modernism, Drama, and the Audience for Irish Spectacle (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and editor of Modernist Afterlives in Irish Literature and Culture (Anthem Press, 2016), as well as special issues of Éire-Ireland on Irish material culture (2011) and Irish University Review on Kate O’Brien (2018). Currently completing a monograph on contemporary Irish women’s fiction, she is also editing two forthcoming collections for Cambridge University Press, The New Irish Studies: Twenty-First Century Critical Revisions and Irish Literature in Transition, Volume 6, 1980-2020 (with Eric Falci). The 2013 Neenan Fellow at Boston College Ireland, she currently serves as co-chair of the Modernism Seminar at the Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University.
April 16, 5-6:30 pm, 300 Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley campus more
Irish Writers at Bay Area Book Festival • April 28
Breaking Literary Ground: Ambitious Young Writers from Ireland features Eimear McBride, David Hayden, and Liz Nugent, April 28, 10am
For the third year in a row, the festival showcases some of today’s most powerful writers who come from our land of literary pioneers. Surrealist feminist author Eimear McBride creates a literary mosaic with her disjointed, artful syntax; NPR called her “one of the most exciting young talents in fiction.” Of David Hayden’s debut short story collection, the Guardian wrote, “Once in a blue moon, a book comes along that really is like nothing you’ve ever read before.” Liz Nugent is a rising star who has written a dark thriller that Publisher’s Weekly, in a starred review, called “an intense character study” that plays with truth.
10am. Berkeley City College – Auditorium more
Fierce Originality: Eimear McBride interviewed by Sylvia Brownrigg, April 28, 1.30pm
With her first published novel, “A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing,” Eimear McBride was compared to a feminist James Joyce in how she broke language to capture fleeting consciousness itself, in this case in the mind of a young girl struggling to remain intact amidst trauma. The New York Times called it “a future classic.” NPR said, “Shattering…Be prepared to be blown away by this raw, visceral, brutally intense neomodernist first novel.” In her second, even more sophisticated novel, “The Lesser Bohemians,” she also aimed “to write truthfully about female experience,” this time about a consuming love affair with an older man. “Writing is painful,” she told the Guardian, “but it’s the closest you can get to joy.” McBride talks about writing, life, feminism and more with novelist Sylvia Brownrigg. Berkeley City College – Auditorium more
The Nature of Evil: Stories on Darkness, April 28, 3.15pm
Karo Hämäläinen, Steffen Jacobsen, Liz Nugent, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, moderated by Brian Cliff
Villains allow readers to explore the darkest depths of the human psyche, from the overtly malicious to the insidiously hateful. Evil is more than a plot device—it’s a universal truth. These authors harness this powerful truth in their captivating novels: Karo Hämäläinen’s “Cruel is the Night,” a dark locked-room mystery comedy; Steffen Jacobsen’s thriller “Trophy,” in which the dark, murderous pleasures of powerful men are unveiled; Liz Nugent’s “Unraveling Oliver,” which explores the darkness that drives lovers to violence; and Yrsa Sigurdardóttir’s “The Legacy,” complete with a taunting murderer and a child who witnesses murder. You won’t want to miss the writers on this diverse panel as they discuss how they capture the worst of humanity between the pages of a book. The Marsh – Cabaret more
Knots of Wonder: Stunning Short Fiction, April 28, 3.15pm
Gunnhild Oyehaug, David Hayden, Masatsugu Ono. Short stories and novellas are like knots: compact on the surface, but containing intricately woven ideas that, when unraveled, point to something much larger. How do writers do it? These three authors are world-class exemplars of the form: Norwegian short story writer Gunnhild Oyehaug, who can “produce stabs of emotion, unexpected ghost notes of feeling, from pieces so short and offbeat that they seem at first like aborted arias” (in a profile of her by The New Yorker); Irish writer David Hayden, whose short stories The Guardian calls “brilliantly disturbing and unclassifiable”; and, coming to us from Japan, Masatsugu Ono, whose jewel-like novella mixes the surreal with the profound in a story of a shy, traumatized boy overcoming the shame, anger, and sadness that silence him. Hotel Shattuck Plaza – White Cotton Room more