The late Frank McCourt was a hero of the Irish and Irish American literary scenes, emerging out of the woodwork to win the 1996 Pulitzer for Angela’s Ashes, a memoir of his childhood in Limerick.
Before becoming an author, McCourt worked for decades as a teacher in New York City’s public school system, so it’s incredibly fitting that two institutions from the cities that shaped his life, Limerick and New York, have come together for a new project in his honor that combines his two greatest passions, teaching and writing.
This July, the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Limerick will launch the first-ever Frank McCourt Summer School in Creative Writing at beautiful Glucksman Ireland House, NYU, from July 7 -10 inclusive.
The summer school will be led by the renowned novelist and Frank McCourt Chair of Creative Writing, Professor Joseph O’Connor. It will feature the talents of University of Limerick faculty including Joseph O’Connor, Donal Ryan, Giles Foden, Mary O’Malley, Sarah Moore-Fitzgerald and Eoin Devereux. In addition to creative writing workshops and lectures, the program will feature a literary brunch and other social activities and a performance by Martin Hayes (The Gloaming).
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Announcing the summer school, Professor O'Connor said: “2016 sees the twentieth anniversary of publication of Frank McCourt's masterpiece Angela's Ashes, a book that became a success all over the world, shedding light on the unique relationship that exists between Ireland and the United States, specifically between Limerick and New York. Frank's tale of two cities was translated into dozens of languages, stirring recognitions for millions of readers. We at UL's new Creative Writing Program wished to honor him and his achievement, in this special year. We're establishing a New York-based Creative Writing Summer School in his name, bringing together his two great loves: teaching and writing.”
He added: “In founding the UL/Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School New York, we've had the immense assistance of so many people who loved Frank: his family and friends, his colleagues and collaborators. We thank Ellen McCourt and Loretta Brennan Glucksman for their help with the project, Rose Hynes at the Shannon Airport Authority for their most generous sponsorship, Barbara Jones, our Consul in New York, the Department of Tourism and Trade, the Irish Writers' Center in Dublin, Gabriel Byrne, John McColgan and Moya Doherty, and our magnificent pals at the Irish Arts Center in New York and at Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, which will be the Summer School's home this July. This project has seen UL work with many transatlantic friends and colleagues, to honour a great writer we think of as one of our own and to highlight the exciting and innovative programme we at UL Creative Writing are building in his name.”
The UL Frank McCourt Summer School is open to applications from those based in the US and to those willing to travel from Ireland. A discount is offered for block bookings and a limited amount of scholarship funding is available.
The organizers emphasize that no previous experience of creative writing is necessary - all that is required is enthusiasm!
In advance of the Summer School, UL and the Irish Arts Center in New York will An Evening for Frank McCourt at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan on Sunday June 26, featuring Gabriel Byrne, Jean Butler, Paul Muldoon, Maeve Higgins, Pierce Turner, Joseph O'Connor and others.
Further details available here on the program website.