Past Imperfect, Present Tense: Creative Writing in contemporary Ireland. 15th October 2011

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The Open University in Ireland
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Keynote speaker: David Park

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The perception of Irish literature in the latter half of the 20th Century is that it is context-bound, struggling under the 'burden of history'. Dominant Irish literary themes are exile, displacement, identity, the relationship between the writer and his or her homeland. It is a rich literary legacy, but also one which many writers seek to challenge or reject.

This one-day conference seeks to investigate what it means to be a writer in contemporary Ireland/Northern Ireland. Are contemporary Irish/Northern Irish writers 'burdened' by the legacy of the past? Are current issues being adequately explored and represented by Irish/Northern Irish writers? Is it possible to write about the present without reference to a difficult past? Do writers need to move beyond the subject matter presented by Ireland/Northern Ireland? How useful is the term 'post-colonialism' to contemporary Irish literature? What can be learned from writers outside Ireland? We welcome papers from writers, postgraduate and undergraduate creative writing students, and teachers of creative writing.

Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please send a 300 word abstract to by 30th March 2011

General enquiries should be sent to

An e-book publication of the conference proceedings is planned.