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New Irish Fiction: a Symposium

General Programming

dateMarch 25, 2023 timeSaturday, 10:30am–5:00pm EDT location Pulitzer Hall (Journalism School), Columbia University
  • The Moore Institute
  • Glucksman Ireland House
  • The Consulate General of Ireland in New York
  • NYC Irish Consortium
  • Dart Center
  • Trinity Long Room Hub
  • School of General Studies
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Celtic cross in green with text reading "New Irish Fiction"

Irish writers have long been at the forefront of formal experimentation in English-language fiction. Now, a hundred years after James Joyce and Samuel Beckett shattered expectations of the conventional novel, Irish writers are asking new questions about what fiction is capable of doing. Their works represent remarkable innovations in the representation of subjectivity, identity, and time in fiction. They are also deeply attuned to politics, writing in the wake of the global economic downturn, the collapse of the moral authority of the Catholic church, the Good Friday Agreement, and the creation of new forms of identity in Ireland.

Our day-long symposium consists of three panels and brings together some of the most widely acclaimed and adventurous Irish writers of the twenty-first century to discuss the way forward for Irish fiction in a time of migration, right-wing populism, and increasing demands for gender, racial, economic, and climate justice.

This event was originally scheduled for the Spring 2020 Semester but had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're thrilled to offer it as part of the Spring 2023 Semester.


Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo. In 2009, he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. "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.”

Luke Cassidy (he/him) is a writer and theatre-maker from Dundalk, Ireland. His debut novel Iron Annie was published by Bloomsbury Books in September 2021, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize in 2022. He toured a theatre adaptation of Iron Annie to theatres around Ireland in 2021 and 2022, and is currently developing new work for the stage. His second novel, Tooth & Nail, will be published in early 2024, also by Bloomsbury Books. He is published in North America by Vintage/Anchor Books.

Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. Her debut novel Exciting Times was published by W&N in the UK and by Ecco in the US in 2020 and became an international bestseller with translation rights sold into thirty languages. She is the winner of the 2021 Hawthornden Prize and has been shortlisted and longlisted for awards, including the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Her second novel, The Happy Couple, will be published in 2023.

Rob Doyle is the author of four internationally acclaimed books: Autobibliography, Threshold, This Is the Ritual, and Here Are the Young Men, which has been adapted for film. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Observer, Dublin Review, and many other publications, and he is the editor of two anthologies.

Nicole Flattery's short story collection Show Them a Good Time was published by Bloomsbury in 2019. Her work has appeared in The White Review, The Stinging Fly, and the London Review of Books. Her novel, Nothing Special, will be out in the US in July 2023. She lives in Dublin.

Mike McCormack is an award-winning novelist and short story writer from Mayo. His previous work includes Getting it in the Head (1996), Notes from a Coma (2005), which was shortlisted for BGE Irish Novel of the Year, and Forensic Songs (2012). In 2016, Solar Bones won the Goldsmiths Prize, the Dublin Literary Award, and was BGE Irish Book of the Year, and in 2017, it was longlisted for the Man Booker prize. He teaches fiction writing and contemporary literature at the University of Galway.

Eimear McBride is the author of three novels A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, The Lesser Bohemians, and Strange Hotel. She held the inaugural Creative Fellowship at the Beckett Research Centre, University of Reading, with the resulting performance work ‘Mouthpiecessubsequently recorded for RTE Radio. Her long-form essay "Something Out of Place: Women and Disgust" was published in 2021. She is a recipient of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Goldsmiths Prize, Kerry Prize, Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Desmond Elliot Prize, and James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Lisa McInerney is the author of three novels: The Glorious Heresies, The Blood Miracles, and The Rules of Revelation. She has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the RSL Encore Award, and the Premio Edoardo Kihlgren for European literature, and has been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the Premio Strega Europeo, the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and twice for the Dylan Thomas Award. Lisa is the editor of the Irish literary magazine, The Stinging Fly.

Belinda McKeon is a novelist and playwright. Her novels, Solace (2011) and Tender (2016), were both Irish bestsellers and won awards, including the Faber Prize and Irish Book of the Year. She lived in New York for many years and is now back in Ireland, where she is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Maynooth University, Ireland.


Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including Brooklyn and The Master. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University.

Kevin Power is a novelist and critic. He graduated from University College Dublin with a BA in 2002, an MA in 2003, and a PhD in American Literature in 2013. His first novel, Bad Day in Blackrock, was published in 2008 and was filmed as What Richard Did (2012), directed by Lenny Abrahamson. He is an assistant professor at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin.

Mike McCormack (see speaker bio above) will also moderate.