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, progamme and booking here:


In 2018, I’ll be making a return visit to Birmingham Irish Centre, to talk to the Birmingham Irish Heritage Group about Irish Famine emigrants and the English Workhouse system: Wed 7 Feb 7pm.


* Loogabarooga Festival

  • The Giant’s Causeway and other stories
    Thursday 19th November 2017, 11am – 12.00 Charnwood Museum, Loughborough
    I told some old Irish tales. Some of the audience joined in to make bullish noises.
  • Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows
    Thursday 19th November 2017, 7pm, Charnwood Museum, Loughborough
    I discussed the enduring themes of this classic, and how it continues to appeal to adults as well as children.
    As Grahame almost wrote: there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in books.
    Suitable for adults and older childrne (age 12+)



I was back in Crawley on Sunday 27 August 2017, telling stories at Crawley Irish Festival. The weather was beautiful, and as usual, it was a splendid 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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