Writers Festival engages on many levels
Hugely excited by the prospect, Dr Jan Cronin, senior lecturer in English will be interviewing the much-lauded contemporary Irish writer Claire Keegan as part of The University of Auckland’s engagement with the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival next month.
Currently teaching “Reinventing Ireland” a paper in contemporary literature at undergraduate level Jan says the timing of Claire’s visit to the festival is fortuitous.
“Obviously Ireland is going through a period of economic crisis now but when Walk the Blue Fields came out 2007, and Antartica before that, there was a lot of discussion about what Irish literature was doing in the Celtic Tiger age. I’m very interested to hear her take on that, on her version of Ireland, her sense of the Ireland ofher texts and what she sees in the Ireland around her.
Claire’s visit coincides with the student reading of the author’s 2007 short story collection Walk the Blue Fields - a text that has courted controversy in terms of its engagement with contemporary cultural identity.
“It is so rare that students actually have the prospect of talking to the author. It’s exciting for them on many levels; the work comes alive in a whole new way. It’s useful for the students to consider question of ‘authoriality’, to explore the relationship between this flesh and blood person in the room and the version of the author they understand from the text.
“Often there is an assumption that the author is the font of all meaning – it is important to realise that authors frequently do not see themselves as the be all and end all in terms of the interpretation of their texts. So Claire’s visit will hopefully allow students to think about the process of interpretation while they avail of the opportunity to get the author’s perspective on this provocative text. .”
“Also, like many others. I’m keen to hear Claire Keegan read, because she is a fantastic reader!”
Jan is one of a number of academic staff speaking, chairing or performing during the upcoming interface of Auckland’s cultural and intellectual community.
Furthermore, this year the University has signed on as a Gold Sponsor of the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival, beginning of a three-year partnership celebrating and inspiring excellence and emphasising a steadfast commitment to the Arts.
The Festival will run 11-16 May at the Aotea Centre. In addition to the main programme of events will be the the Poetry Slam with Rives featuring John G. Rives - performance poet, storyteller, and author on Friday 13 and the inaugural “Wordy Day Out” on Saturday 14 dedicated to Young Adult authors. Both events will be held on campus at the Owen G Glenn Building.
More information about the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival