Words Ireland is proud to present an afternoon of conversation and debate hosted by The Stinging Fly, following on from the publication of their special In the Wake of the Rising issue.
Saturday 16 April
In the Wake of the Rising
2pm – 3.30pm
Paula Shields in conversation with guest editor Sean O’Reilly and contributors Evelyn Conlon, Martina Evans and Donal O’Kelly
“The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”
George Orwell, Why I Write
- Who owns the story of the Rising?
- When we consider the role played by the Irish Literary Revival in the movement towards an independent republic, what does it mean for a writer to take a side in an historical or a contemporary political debate?
- What is left of the original emancipatory aims of Realist fiction?
Our first panel will reflect on and examine these and other questions raised by the publication of our In the Wake of The Rising issue. A Q&A session will follow.
Oblivious of the Differences
4pm – 5.30pm
Sean O’Reilly in conversation with Niall Griffiths, Jon McGregor, Lisa McInerney and Nuala Ní Chonchúir
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.”
Revisiting the Proclamation offers us the opportunity to examine the society we live in, and to question the extent to which aspirations such as equality and the acceptance of diversity have been achieved. This panel discussion will take as its main theme the under-representation of working class voices and life in contemporary writing from Ireland and Britain.
Is the invisibility of working class communities in literature today due to a prejudice among publishers about working-class experiences? Is there an assumption that working-class characters are somehow less profound, less literary, and that there is no readership for “these kind of books”? Or are there other factors involved – such as educational opportunities, or an inherited sense of exclusion? And how does the act of publishing alter or complicate a writer’s relationship with his or her own background?
The writers present will talk about the challenges they have faced on their own literary journeys from their home towns and cities, and the resistance they have struggled against – both internal and external, social and aesthetic – in their attempts to dramatise their own people in a predominantly middle-class literary culture.
The panel will reflect also on the changing nature of the debate around privilege – and consider the place of class in the shifting battles for representation and the permission to write.
“a frequently visceral but immensely stimulating collection that succeeds in showcasing original and challenging new Irish writing and showering the reader with memorable and evocative new perspectives”
Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times
The Stinging Fly has worked since 1997 to publish and promote the very best new Irish and international writing.
The Stinging Fly receives funding support from The Arts Council and Dublin City Council.