What’s Next?

Current and Forthcoming Activities in 2017.

This is the outline of my forthcoming talk at Readers’ Day on Saturday 18 November 2017:

Austen’s Father Figures
Jane Austen portrays some peculiar papas in her fiction: sardonic, selfish, or plain soft-headed. Join Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University for a discussion of far-from-perfect patres familias.
Readers’ Day is run jointly by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Libraries. This year it will be on Saturday 18 November. Details to follow.


* Loogabarooga Festival

  • The Giant’s Causeway and other stories
    Thursday 19th November 2017, 11am – 12.00 Charnwood Museum, Loughborough
    I’ll be telling 
    some old Irish tales. There’s a chance to join in with some audience participation, but only if you want!
    Fun for all the family.
    FREE Activity for all ages.

  • Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows

    Thursday 19th November 2017, 7pm, Charnwood Museum, Loughborough

    I will be discussing the enduring themes of this classic, and how it continues to appeal to adults as well as children. Come along and identify your inner Mole, Ratty, Badger or Toad! As the festival focuses on illustrated books, I will be discussing how Ernest Shepherd helped to bring Kenneth Grahame’s creations to life.
    As Grahame almost wrote: there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in books.
    Suitable for Adults and older children (Age 12+)



I was back in Crawley in August, telling stories at Crawley Irish Festival.
I ran an Irish storytelling session on Tues 12 Sept at Nottingham Women’s Centre Open Day. I met great people, and got very rewarding feedback.
The Open Day event ran from 10am – 1pm: http://www.nottinghamwomenscentre.com/2017/09/06/nottingham-womens-centre-open-day-invitation/

Lowdham Book Festival

On Fri 1st Sept, I gave a talk at Lowdham Methodist Chapel on ‘Nottingham in Literature’, looking at poems and stories from DH Lawrence, Derrick Buttress, John Lucas and Rosie Garner, among others.

Saturday 24th June 2-3pm. I ran a session on Jane Austen’s depiction of men and masculinity – mostly examining the representation of men as love objects, desirable husband material and so on.
I got lots of nice positive comments from audience members who enjoyed the presentation.

* I collaborated with Sheelagh Gallagher on an event as part of Inspire Poetry Festival: Fri 14th July 2pm @ Mansfield Library – ‘Poems Please!’ People suggested their favourite poems, and Sheelagh and I read them (and a few of our own favourites).

* I participated in the book-launch of Ten Poems About Home (Candlestick Press), edited by Mahendra Solanki at Nottingham Central Library. I read the opening poem, W B Yeats’s ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’.
The readings and commentaries were repeated as part of Inspire Poetry Festival at Southwell Library on Sunday 16 July 4.30pm – 6pm. Info  https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/poetry-festival/

* On Thurs 18 May, I gave a brief introduction to the film The Journey, at Nottingham Broadway Cinema. The film is a fictionalised representation of a journey shared by Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley, who, after years of political strife, ended up working together as power-sharing colleagues, and developed an unexpected friendship.

For other Nottingham Irish Studies Group events, see https://nottinghamisg.wordpress.com/

* St Patrick’s Day Festival 2017:
I worked with artist Brian McCormack on a project with local schoolchildren. The theme story this year was Fionn MacCumhaill and the Giant’s Causeway. I told the story to the children, Brian played Fionn, and we helped them make some props to carry in the parade.
Read one version of the story here: http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/textonly5639-finn-maccool-and-the-giants-causeway.html

* I am researching the history of Southwell Workhouse, looking for evidence of Irish visitors (mostly classed as ‘vagrants’ and only allowed to stay one night) at Southwell Workhouse. I presented some of my findings at a Creative Retreat at the Workshouse 18-19 March.
More information about the event here





I’m open to invitations from groups and institutions, and am prepared to travel reasonable distances. Email me on d.obyrne@lboro.ac.uk.



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