Irish PEN Newsletter: Winter 2009

Irish PEN would like to wish all its members and associates a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Productive New Year in 2010. 2009 has been busy, with packed house events and lots of interesting speakers, panel discussions and a debate, and we look forward to you joining us for an equally great line-up planned for the upcoming year.

The Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Irish Literature 2009

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the winner of the 2009 Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Irish Literature is Brendan Kennelly.

Poet, personality, raconteur and professor, Brendan has published over 30 books of poetry, which most famously include ‘Cromwell’ (1983/1987), ‘The Book of Judas’ (1991), ‘Poetry me Arse’ (1995) and recent publications ‘Familiar Strangers: New and Selected Poems 1960-2004’ (Bloodaxe, 2004) and ‘Now’(Bloodaxe, 2006).

In a career which spans 40 years, Brendan’s work also includes prose and his Greek play trilogy, Antigone, Medea & The Trojan Women. As Professor of Modern Literature in Trinity College, Dublin, a position he held for 30 years, he is forever associated with that university and its environs, as the native Kerryman made Dublin his adopted home.

The Award will be presented at The Irish Pen Annual Dinner on Friday 29th January 2010 at The Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Writer, broadcaster and Joyce expert, former TCD colleague Senator David Norris will make the presentation to Brendan.

The Dinner and Award Presentation is one of the highlights of the Irish Pen year and we advise early booking, as the dinner so often gets totally booked out.

Dates for your Diary

Thursday, December 10th: Patricia Scanlan & Aidan Storey, United Arts Club, 8.00pm.

Friday, January 29th 2010: IrishPEN Annual Dinner, Royal St George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin. 8.00pm

Thursday, February 11th 2010: Associate Members’ Night, United Arts Club, 8pm. Panel TBA.

Other News

Chairperson Anne Hartigan invited an enthralled audience to join her in conversation with Frank McGuiness at the Irish PEN event, 12th November 2009.
Anne’s gentle and intuitive style gave the audience a rare insight into the writer and the man. We learned to our surprise that Frank’s childhood was one devoid of books, despite his subsequent stellar achievement in literature.

Frank relayed how the diversity of his work has seen him writing for rock legends such as Marianne Faithful, who he found very talented and extremely knowledgeable on the subject of music and who calls on him to this day to write lyrics for her songs.

The atmosphere in the United Arts Club remained intimate, despite the packed room, and the appreciative audience warmed to Frank’s anecdotes, one of which recalled how when Monaghan reached a GAA final, one newspaper made a play on his title – ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Sam’, (artistic licence allowed) and Frank joked that it was then that he knew he had arrived.

The evening ended with enthusiastic and prolonged applause for a generous and warm speaker.

Workshops work!

The first full-day Irish PEN subsidised workshop took place on Saturday November 14th to an enthusiastic response from the aspiring novelists who participated. Led by Patricia O’Reilly, novelist, non-fiction author and Creative Writing lecturer, the group covered an extensive range of topics and exercises, relevant to the experienced writers present. The United Arts Club proved a quiet and reflective venue and Anthony and the catering staff looked after all creature comforts, providing an excellent lunch and delicious home-made cake and cookies at coffee time.

Imbued with new energy, the participants broke up in the late afternoon, but not before the vigilant committee members present had persuaded the walk-in writers to take out a Pen membership! Congratulations to Caroline Brady, Associate member representative on her organisation of the day.

Membership Renewal

We would like to remind Members and Associates that it is time to renew your membership for Irish PEN.

Your subscription gives you priority booking for The Annual Dinner and other Irish PEN events, reduced admission to some events and ensures that you are on the newsletter and regular email update list. As a voluntary organisation, we depend on your subscriptions to help fund our busy programme throughout the year.

There is now a PAYPAL button for the payment of subscription renewals on the website. Just go to the membership page, then on the appropriate button for members or associates. You don’t need to have a PAYPAL account, merely a credit or debit card to take advantage of this service. This can also be used for the dinner payment.

Full Membership is Euro 40.00 and Associate Membership is Euro 30.00.

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