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Irish Writers in London, Summer School (short course)

Why study this course?

James Joyce famously wrote, "The shortest way to Tara is by Holyhead", meaning that in order for Irish people to understand themselves and Ireland, they historically had to leave their homeland.

First established in 1996, the Irish Writer in London Summer School provides an informal but informed setting for you to read and discuss contemporary literature. It's also an opportunity to explore the different reasons why Irish writers still come to London. How has the experience of migration influenced their work? How in turn has their writing helped express and mediate Irish culture and Irishness at home and abroad?

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On this course, you won’t just read and discuss work by contemporary writers, you'll meet and talk with them about their work and careers. There will also be lectures, seminar discussions and optional visits to associated Irish cultural events in London.

You'll read and learn about a wide range of writing during the course and gain valuable insights into the different approaches involved. This year’s set texts include fiction, drama, poetry and memoir. Lectures will cover topics such as the Irish short story, memory, migration and writing, and Irish theatre in Britain.

During its 20-year history, the Summer School has hosted over 80 different writers including Edna O’Brien, Matthew Sweeney, Emma Donoghue, Ronan Bennett, Martina Evans, Maurice Leitch, Julia O’Faolain, Shane Connaughton, Anne Devlin, Blake Morrison, Polly Devlin, John Healy and Jess Kidd, winner of the 2016 Costa Short Story Award.

Summer 2018’s guest writers

This year's writers will be announced shortly so keep an eye out as we have another great line up in store. 



There is no assessment for this course, but the last session will have an optional student reading.

This is not a creative writing course, but it provides an excellent accompaniment to such courses at London Metropolitan University or elsewhere. No prior qualifications are required.

The Summer School runs for two nights a week for five and half weeks. Each Thursday evening, an established Irish writer comes to read and speak about their work. On the Tuesday evening prior 
to this, you'll discuss the writer’s work with fellow students and the course tutor. This unique format provides time for you to digest and reflect on reactions to set texts before meeting the writer in question.

"It is obvious why the Summer School is now going into its third decade. Where else would you get a chance to meet such a range of contemporary Irish Writers to discuss their work? As well as being interesting and stimulating, it's always relaxed and a lot of fun. I'll be back!" - Peter Hammond, student.

"It was brilliant. The course material was both stimulating and thought-provoking and the visiting writers were excellent." - Shirley Culley, student.

"My involvement with the summer school has hugely contributed to my life as a writer." - Martina Evans, writer and poet.

"I think the Summer School is a fantastic model. The range and depth of discussions, between students, tutor and authors is truly impressive and rewarding to be part of. My reading and thinking have been challenged, stretched and stimulated." - Carolyn Morris, student.

"The Summer School is unique. Its gentle, inclusive atmosphere encourages real debate. Being invited is both an accolade and a very good night out." - Bridget Whelan, writer.

"It was perfect! Well prepared and engaging tutor, balanced presentation: seminars & group discussion, exciting and stimulating opportunities to meet varied and interesting authors and a chance to meet like minded learners and compare Irish related backgrounds and interests." - Former student

"I loved the format of this course. A real privilege to meet the writers." - Former student

Course dates

Thursday 7 June to Friday 13 July 2018

Days Tuesdays and Thursdays with an additional class on the final Friday
Time 6pm to 8.30pm 
Maximum class size 25

For more information about the application process or fees, please contact The Cass short courses:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7320 1842


For further information about the course itself, please contact Tony Murray:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7133 2593

How to apply

Booking for this course isn't open at this time. Please get in touch for further information or register your interest to receive notification as soon as booking opens.

When to apply

Please note, the deadline to book a place on one of our short courses is one week before the start date. If you have missed the deadline, please get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Fees and key information

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