Wednesday, September 20, 2006

IMPAC Dublin Winner Toibin Featured At UConn

American Conference for Irish Studies

The New England Region of the American Conference for Irish Studies will be holding its 2006 annual meeting at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The theme of this conference, planned for October 20th and 21st, is “Changing Ireland.”

The panels and keynote speakers will address the dynamism, growth, and change that are so much a part of the Irish landscape today, and a constellation of scholars of national and international reputation is expected. With two receptions, two meals, a music session, céilí, and informal tavern gatherings, we expect fruitful scholarly conversations and warm interactions. Our aim in staging this meeting is to generate a heightened regional awareness of the exciting field of contemporary Irish Studies.

NEACIS 2006 promises to be a truly exceptional event!

Featured Keynote Presentations:

We are delighted to have arranged three truly outstanding keynote speakers.

Colm Toibin , winner of the 2006 €100,000 ($140,000) International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, is the author of The Blackwater Lightship, short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, and the acclaimed The Master, honored by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2004.

In praise of The Master, Reynolds Price writes, “With the uncanny power of a bright light shone through a broad hand, Colm Toibin illumines the life and work of Henry James.” Shirley Hazzard describes this extraordinary novel as “A deep, lovely, and enthralling book that engages with the disquiet and drama of a famous writing life: splendidly conceived and composed by a writer who is himself a master of his art.”

Colm Toibin will speak at 7:30 pm Fri., Oct. 20, in the Alumni House Great Hall, after a public reception at 6.30 pm. His talk is free and open to the public.

Emma Donoghue , author and scholar, is a rising star and author of Hood and Slammerkin. Hood is recognized in the New York Times Book Review as a “confident, touching novel.”

Donoghue is an award-winning Irish writer who lives in Canada. At 36, she has published four novels, three books of short stories, two works of literary history, two anthologies and two plays.

Kenneth Simpson, who will speak on eighteenth-century Irish author Laurence Sterne, served in 2005 as the Neag Distinguished Visiting Professor of British Literature at Storrs. He is the Founding Director of the Campus for Scottish Cultural Studies at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, and a scholar of international reputation.

All participants are invited to join us for a Closing Reception and Dinner on Saturday, October 21. In addition to fine food and friends, the evening will feature traditional Irish music by Full Gael.

For information about the conference program, proposals, or other conference logistics, contact:

Mary Burke, Assistant Professor
Department of English,
University of Connecticut,
215 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4025,
Storrs, CT 06269-4025, USA
(860) 486-2732 (office)


Rachael Lynch, Associate Professor
Department of English
University of Connecticut
215 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4025
Storrs, CT 06269-4025, USA
(203) 236-9856 (office)

New from Toibin:

Mothers and Sons

Released: September 1 2006 in UK and coming January 2007 in US.

"Colm Toibin's new and challenging collection of stories paintrich and textured portraits of individuals at different pivotal momentsin their lives. In each case, Toibin shows how their relationship with eithera mother or a son, or their relationship to their own role as mother or son, reveals something unique and important about them. The stories featureIreland or Irish narrators, but they are also truly universal.

In "Famous Blue Raincoat," unwelcome memories are stirred when a mother, once a singerin an Irish folk-rock band of some popular renown in the 60s, finds thather son has been listening to their old records - songs she hoped never to hear again. In "Water," a son buries his mother and goes out to a drug-fuelled rave on a remote beach outside Dublin. In the course of this one night, his grief and desire for raw feeling combine with exquisite and devastating intensity.

At once beautifully playful, psychologically intricate, emotionally incisive, finely-wrought and fearless these stories tease out the delicate and difficult strands which are woven between mothers and sons. Sometimes shocking and always powerful, this masterful new collection confirms Toibin as great prose stylist of our time." -


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