Laureate for Irish Fiction 2022-2024 Blog

Reading Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’

When Ulysses is finished after seven years labour (diversified by eight illnesses and nineteen changes of address from Austria to Switzerland, to Italy, to France), I shall need six months rest-not necessarily in jail.’

Joyce to John Quinn, 7 January 1921

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Aosdána elects 5 new members

Today, Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland, elects five new members. The five newly elected members are: Anne Enright (Literature); Amanda Coogan (Visual Art); Rachel Joynt (Visual Art); Diana Copperwhite (Visual Art); Linda Buckley (music). This brings the total membership to 250 members.

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Aosdána expresses great sadness on the death of John Kinsella

Born in 1932, John Kinsella was one of Ireland’s foremost composers .He spent much of his early life as a composer while also working in RTÉ, initially in radio production and later as Director of Music. He retired as Director of Music in RTÉ in 1998 to concentrate of full-time composition.

He produced a substantial compositional output, initially in serialist-modernist styles, before a major re-evaluation and shift of approach in 1979 after which he developed a more personal tonally-centred style.  A masterful orchestrator, amongst the large output of predominantly instrumental music are a remarkable eleven symphonies, several concertos for different instruments and a great diversity of chamber music, including a series of very fine string quartets.

His work has been widely performed and recorded, and he received the Marten Toonder Award in 1979 and was a founder member of Aosdána in 1981. In 2019 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Concert Hall.

Arts Council Chair Professor Kevin Rafter commented: 

“John Kinsella leaves behind a great legacy, both the large body of musical work which will live on and delight audiences in concert halls and recordings for many generations to come, and his place in the affections by so many people who were fortunate to know him as a gentle and warm artist and human being. He will be sorely missed, but leaves us greatly the richer for his time amongst us.”

Aosdána expresses great loss at the passing of poet and former member Máire Mhac an tSaoi

The poet Máire Mhac an tSaoi photographed near her home in Howth, Co Dublin. Photograph Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Aosdána expresses great loss at the passing of poet and former member Máire Mhac an tSaoi. A tribute from fellow Aosdána member and poet, Thomas Mc Carthy.

“What a poet was Mhac an tSaoi, brave, scholarly, passionate, loyal, uncompromising. With her, poetry belonged to a moral universe, it was part of that immortal, necessary, vital grammar of humanistic thought. Each poem she wrote was as permanent as a stone monument, and as carefully planned and chiselled out of words and spirit. She couldn’t conceive of a poem that didn’t intend to be immortal and everything she wrote has the mark of her fastidious grandeur and national essence. She wrote the most dramatic poems about love, the possessive love of lovers, but also the most tender, yearning poems about motherhood and childhood. ‘Codhladh an Gaiscigh,’ ‘Cré na Mná Tí’ and ‘Ceathrúintí Mháire Ní Ogáin’ are works that have already attached themselves to the permanent fabric of Irish culture; they teach us what love is, what womanhood is, and what it means to have the energy to renew culture by simply being fully alive within it. She will be missed terribly, yet she will live forever.”

Thomas Mc Carthy

Aosdána 40th Anniversary

This year, 2021, marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of Aosdána in 1981. A publication is planned to celebrate this anniversary. Due to current restrictions this publication will be celebrated with a public launch in Spring 2022 instead of later this year.

The 41st General Assembly

The 41st General Assembly of Aosdána will not take place in 2021. It is hoped that the 41st General Assembly will take place in Spring 2022. A decision has been taken not to hold the General Assembly due to continuing uncertainty on gatherings. In its place a postal vote will take place for the election of new members as was the case in 2020. All 246 current members will receive a postal vote by 2 November for return no later than 12 November. The ballot count will take place in the Arts Council and it is expected new members will be announced mid November 2021.

Aosdána and the Arts Council express great sadness at the passing of Seamus Deane

Photograph Joe St Leger

Aosdána and the Arts Council express great sadness at the passing of writer Seamus Deane. Arts Council Chair Prof. Kevin Rafter said: “A gifted writer and a profound intellect, Seamus Deane was a master of every writing form. As a critic, an editor, a poet and a novelist, Deane brought concentrated rigour and empathy to his work. An inspiring teacher and continual advocate for Irish writing, Seamus Deane leaves behind a powerful literary and cultural legacy.”
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