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Why study this course?

James Joyce wrote, "The shortest way to Tara is via 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 Writers in London Summer School celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021. You can watch a video about the history of the Summer School.

The 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 relationships writers have with place and identity, whether born in Ireland or of Irish descent. 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?

More about this course

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 genres during the course and gain valuable insights into the different approaches involved.

During its 25-year history, the summer school has hosted over 90 different writers including Edna O'Brien, Eimear McBride, Matthew Sweeney, Emma Donoghue, Ronan Bennett, Martina Evans, Maurice Leitch, Julia O'Faolain, Shane Connaughton, Anne Devlin, Blake Morrison, Polly Devlin, John Healy and Kit de Waal.

The summer school was founded in 1996 by Tony Murray, who will also be teaching on the course again this year. He has taught English Literature and Irish Studies for many years and is also Curator of the Archive of the Irish in Britain. Tony has published widely on literary and cultural representations of migration and diaspora and his book, London Irish Fictions: Narrative, Diaspora and Identity was published by Liverpool University Press in 2012.

This course is now a part of our Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre.


There is no assessment for this course. The final session will include optional student readings.

Fees and key information

Course type
Short Course
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

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.

Course structure

The summer school runs for two nights a week for five-and-a-half weeks.

Each Thursday evening, an established Irish writer comes to read and speak about their work. On 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.

What our students say

“It's been such a wonderful and enjoyable experience in every way, and I can say with confidence that it's one of the best things I've ever done. From the reading list and lectures to meeting the other participants and, of course, the writers themselves, it's all been fantastic.”

“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.”

“It was perfect! Well-prepared and engaging tutor, balanced presentation: seminars and 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.”

“The format meant that we explored the work in our group and then had the chance to discuss with the writers themselves after hearing them read.  The overall process led to some fascinating discussions, the lectures provide context and insights and I feel completely enriched by the course. It’s been just fantastic.”

“Very well organised. Welcoming and very friendly atmosphere promoted. High standard of participants from whom I learnt. Excellent range of writing and writers. Wonder to have them present to discuss work with and also to dine with them afterwards.”

Course dates

Course dates

Dates for 2024 Summer School will be announced in February 2024

Days Tuesdays and Thursdays with an additional class on last Friday 
Time 5.45pm to 8.15pm 
Price TBC
Maximum class size 25

Further information

For more information about the application process or fees, please contact the Research and Postgraduate Office:


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


For updates about guest writers and related cultural matters, follow the Summer School on Twitter @LonIrishWriters

How to apply

Unfortunately, the Summer School will not be running in 2023. We hope to resume the course in summer 2024.

If you have questions about course arrangements, please get in touch.

When to apply

Bookings for 2024 Summer School will open in February 2024. If you are interested in joining us next year, please get in touch.