Exploring Dublin’s Literary Culture

Clodagh Schofield

Visiting Student

Departments at Trinity: Economics, English, Sociology

Home University: University of Sydney, Political Economy and Cultural Studies

Trinity College is known for its literary history, with accomplished writers Anne Enright, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker, Jonathon Swift, and Oscar Wilde counted among the university’s alumni. With Dublin named a UNESCO City of Literature, visiting & international students would be remiss to miss out on some of the amazing independent writing and arts happening in the city during your time here. I’ve been loving heading out to the events recommended to me by LitSoc & my English professors.

Trinity Literary Society (LitSoc) has coffee hours from 12-3pm on all weekdays in ‘the Attic’ at the top of Mandela house where you can chat with members and students on the exec with their fingers on the literary pulse. There’s a library up there and a lovely window seat with a view over College Green. The society runs frequent ‘speakeasys’ (which from what I can understand means an event kind of like an open mic), workshops, and write ins – it’s a great place to start and meet other people who are interested in writing.

Slam Sunday at Accents Coffee and Tea Lounge (a 5-10 minute walk from campus) is a slam poetry event held on the first Sunday of every month and open to all – anyone can put their hand up to contribute, though the standard of performers is high. Myself and Lexi, another visiting student, went last month and it was amazing. Some of the Dublin cultural references may have gone over our heads a little but it enriched rather than took away from the experience. Here’s a video taken at Slam Sunday last year if you’re not familiar with what spoken word poetry looks like.

Those in the know (or rather those who seem like they’re in the know, I’m too fresh to tell the difference) are saying that 2016 is a fantastic time for independent publishers in Ireland. One such publisher is Tramp Press, which is a feminist publishing company that aims to give a platform to innovative & previously muted voices. Sign up to their mailing list to hear about book launches and other events. I went to the launch of Joanna Walsh’s short story collection Vertigo on Thursday, and it was a great opportunity to hear some of her work and meet friendly people in the scene.

On campus, the Department of English is hosting Visiting Fellow Gavin Corbett who runs a creative writing course I was lucky to get into. If you are reading this in a semester in the future, definitely check out whether something similar is running again – it’s a great opportunity.

Coming up in the summer, Listowel Writers Week runs from June 1-5th in Kerry (Listowel is actually where my grandfather’s family is from). The festival has great talks from noted writers, workshops on a variety of skills and in different genres, and stalls from different literary organisations and institutions. See you there 🙂

 

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