If you are enamored of Irish literature - and maybe even have your own writerly aspirations - the Frank McCourt Summer School, which takes place this June at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House in New York, looks to be the experience of a lifetime.
The course, which runs from June 22 - 25, is in its second year after launching in summer 2016 to great interest. Run by the University of Limerick (in the city where McCourt was raised) and hosted in New York (the city where he was born and made his career as an educator and Pulitzer Prize winning author), it offers attendees the chance to develop their skills in a series of workshops, master classes, and performances.
Highlights will include readings by Joseph O’Connor, broadcaster, playwright and author of eight novels including the million-selling Star of the Sea. Booker Prize-longlisted Donal Ryan, author of The Spinning Heart (recently voted Irish Novel of the Decade) will reveal the secrets of writing captivating short stories. Acclaimed Young-Adult author and University of Limerick professor Sarah Moore Fitzgerald will outline the essential motivational and time-management tools that all writers need.
Irish stars from other genres of art will also share their wisdom. Acclaimed actress Lisa Dwan will be sharing her unique perspective on reading and acting Beckett and will give a reading from his work.
Iarla Ó Lionáird of trad supergroup The Gloaming will perform with O’Connor when he reads from his internationally bestselling novel of the Irish Famine, Star of the Sea, in an interplay of words and music that is absolutely not to be missed!
Celebrated Irish poet Mary O’Malley will offer exciting sessions on Poetry and the City, focusing on the streetscape of the Lower Manhattan/Greenwich Village where the Summer School has its base, and the counterculture of downtown NYC provides a vivid context for Professor Eoin Devereux’s talk on long-time New York resident David Bowie.
Kerry Neville joins the summer school as this year’s special guest. Teacher, Huffington Post contributor and award-winning short-story writer (Necessary Lies), Kerry is a dazzlingly talented wordsmith whose take on the creative process in our contemporary era is fascinating. Writer in Residence for the Summer School, Darrach McKeon, author of acclaimed debut novel All that is Solid Melts into Air, will be on hand to offer advice, answer questions, give his insights over coffee, share perspectives and respond to students.
The Guest of Honor, Ellen Frey McCourt, Frank’s wife, remarked: ‘Three cheers to Shannon Airport Authority for continuing their enlightened support for the ambitious UL/Frank McCourt Summer School in New York. In one divine stroke they have enabled the two things Frank loved most—teaching and writing. Thank you also to Joseph O’Connor and his UL colleagues for putting it all together with NYU (Frank’s Alma Mater) Glucksman Ireland House and the Irish Arts Center. Frank would feel triply blessed."
The Summer School is open to application from everyone, whether resident in New York or willing to travel from Ireland. No previous writing experience is required, but willingness to prepare for the programme is a must. Price $300/$200student/unwaged. Visit the website for more info.