Frank O’Connor stories ‘deserve more notice at home’ in Cork

9 March 2016
By David O’Sullivan
david@TheCork.ie

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A symposium will be held at UCC this Thursday (March 10) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cork-born writer Frank O’Connor’s death and celebrate his legacy.

A major figure in both critical and creative contexts, Frank O’Connor was born Michael O’Donovan in Cork in 1903. He went on to become one of the foundational writers and theorists of the short story in the twentieth century, though critics have yet to fully chart the significance of O’Connor as writer, translator, autobiographer, playwright and letter writer, in Ireland and America.

Funded by an Irish Research Council New Foundations award and supported by UCC School of English, the event will feature papers by scholars including Dr Paul Delaney (TCD), Dr Ellen McWilliams (University of Exeter), Professor Frank Shovlin (University of Liverpool) and Professor Alan Titley (UCC).

“Frank O’Connor was a man of many voices – a master of the poetic realist short story, a superlative translator of Irish language poetry, a formidable public intellectual, and an inspiring lecturer. The UCC symposium builds on and contributes to the growing research field of Frank O’Connor Studies, while importantly assessing his impact and legacy at national and international levels,” commented Dr Hilary Lennon, School of English, UCC.

Topics to be explored on the day include Frank O’Connor’s short stories, his letters, translations of Irish language poetry, and his place in this history of Irish periodical publishing.

The day will also feature the presentation of over 700 original O’Connor letters, generously donated to UCC Library by O’Connor’s son, Professor Emeritus Oliver O’Donovan FBA (Edinburgh University).

A group of distinguished Irish and American writers will gather to mark the event: Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Danielle McLaughlin, Mary Morrissy, and Brendan Matthews will read from a selection of O’Connor stories and discuss his craft and technique.

“With these events, UCC develops its special relationship with the life and writings of Frank O’Connor. O’Connor’s brilliantly accomplished stories continue to attract international scholarly attention and deserve yet more notice at home,” said Professor Claire Connolly, Head of School, School of English, UCC.

“As we mark the centenary of 1916 and begin to reflect upon the years of war and revolution to come, it is good to remember the rich variety of dissenting voices heard in Ireland in the aftermath of revolution and independence,” she added.

The final event will be a public lecture by Fintan O’Toole, columnist, literary editor, and drama critic for the Irish Times; to be held in Boole 2 Lecture Theatre at 6pm. O’Toole’s lecture is titled ‘The Normal Heart: Frank O’Connor’s Ordinary Lives’. All are welcome to the events and admission is free.

Programme of events: http://www.ucc.ie/en/english/frankoconnor/

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