UCD Imagining: Home


1-2 March 2018


University College Dublin announces Margaret Atwood amongst major authors to feature in ‘Imagining: Home’ - a two-day literary festival celebrating the connections between Canada and Ireland, 1-2 March 2018.

Jane Urquhart, acclaimed Canadian author and current Craig Dobbin Visiting Professor in Canadian Studies at UCD and Dr Paul Halferty, Director of Canadian Studies at UCD, will host ‘Imagining: Home’, a two-day festival at UCD, celebrating the literary connections between Ireland and Canada. The participating authors are: Margaret Atwood, John Banville, Emma Donoghue, Anne Enright, Victoria Glendinning and Frank McGuinness. The festival takes place in Belfield, 1-2 March 2018.


Event 1: OPENING EVENT 7.30pm,1 March @ UCD O’Reilly Hall (Individual ticket required)

The opening event will showcase Margaret Atwood, Emma Donoghue, Anne Enright, and Victoria Glendinning, who will discuss the concept of Home in their work. 

Note: Parking is available in the O'Reilly Hall car park which can be accessed via the N11 entrance.  We recommend use of public transport.  UCD is served by a large variety of bus routes. www.dublinbus.ie

Please be sure to print and bring your ticket(s) with you to each event.


Event 2: AUTHORS IN CONVERSATION & SCREENING 1pm, 2 March @ UCD Student Centre (Individual ticket required)

A dialogue between Victoria Glendenning and John Banville, reflecting on the love affair between Canadian Diplomat Charles Ritchie and Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen, introduced Dr Paul Halferty, Director of Canadian Studies.

Margaret Atwood and Emma Donoghue will discuss taking the book from script to screen,  moderated by Frank McGuinness. The festival will close with Margaret Atwood introducing an episode of the TV adaptation of her novel Alias Grace. 

Note: There is a mix of seat and stand room available at this event. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Public transport is highly advisable as there is only restricted parking available.

Note:  Parking is restrictive during these hours. We recommend use of public transport.  UCD is served by a large variety of bus routes. www.dublinbus.ie 

Please be sure to print and bring your ticket(s) with you to each event.


Both events are FREE. Booking is now open at Eventbrite.ie


Across these events, the authors gathered for ‘Imagining: Home’ will explore the idea of Home in the long history and literature of Irish emigration to Canada that eternally connects the two countries and shapes the narrative of their peoples. Since European contact, Canada has and continues to be one of the new homes imagined by the Irish when they set out from these shores to start a new life. Between 1830 and 1850, more than half a million Irish settlers moved to Canada, then known as British North America. The waves of emigration climaxed during the 1840s Famine period, when the numbers of starving Irish arriving in Canada were so great that the queues of static migrant ships extended for dozens of miles along the St Lawrence River.


Commenting on the inspiration for the festival, Jane Urquhart said: “Our families never forgot Ireland. Because of this, it became an imagined sacred homeland for Irish-Canadians and by extension for the collective unconscious of our country.” She added: “It is fair to say that in Canada, everyone has two homelands in their imagination: the one where they settled; and the mourned homeland they were forced to leave behind.”

 Dr Paul Halferty, Director of Canadian Studies at UCD said: “For more than a decade, the annual Craig Dobbin Visiting Professor in Canadian Studies has made vital scholarly contributions to UCD and the broader community. Jane Urquhart’s tenure as Visiting Professor and Imagining: Home’ are a stunning example of Canadian-Irish connections in the arts and humanities.”

 Commenting on this event, Professor Sarah Prescott, Principal of the UCD College of Arts and Humanities said: “We are delighted to invite students, scholars and the wider community to join us for this once in a lifetime literary event. We are honoured to welcome such acclaimed authors to UCD as they shine their unique spotlight on our rich Canadian-Irish connections.”


About the UCD Centre for Canadian Studies

The UCD Centre for Canadian Studies is housed in the School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing within the College of Arts and Humanities and serves as a forum for academic research and teaching in the interdisciplinary field of Canadian Studies. It also supports the research and teaching of the annual visiting Craig Dobbin Chair in Canadian Studies. 


About the Authors

Margaret Atwood

margaret atwoodMargaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her recent novels are The Heart Goes Last and the McDade trilogy, the Giller and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Oryx and CrakeThe Year of the Flood and MaddAddam. Other novels include Man Booker Prize winner, The Blind Assassin; and Alias Grace, The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, The Penelopiad - a retelling of the Odyssey - and the modern classic The Handmaid’s Tale – now a critically acclaimed television series. Hag-Seed, a novel revisitation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, was published in 2016. Her most recent graphic series is Angel Catbird. In 2017, she was awarded the German Peace Prize, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, and the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award.
(photo credit: Liam Sharp)

John Banville

john banvilleJohn Banville's latest books are the novel Mrs Osmond and Time Pieces: A Dublin Memoir. Among the awards he has received are the Man Booker Prize, the Austrian State Prize for Literature, the Kafka Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award.
(photo credit: Douglas Banville)



Anne Enright

Internationally acclaimed Irish author Anne Enright has written novels, short stories, plays and essays. Her novel The Gathering won the 2007 Man Booker Prize.




Emma Donoghue

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue spent 8 years in Cambridge before settling in Ontario, Canada. She is best known for her critically acclaimed fiction, including the Oscar winner Room, The Wonder and Frog Music. Her adaptation of Room for the screen won her The Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Canadian Award for Adapted Screenplay.
(photo credit: Mark Raynes Roberts)


Victoria Glendinning

vicThe Hon. Victoria Glendinning is the distinguished, award-winning biographer of such well known literary figures as Elizabeth Bowen, Leonard Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and Anthony Trollope, as well as a celebrated journalist and novelist. A frequent visitor to Canada, she also has strong ties to Ireland through her second husband, the writer and former Irish Times Literary Editor, Terence de Vere White, her research for her books and her home for many years in County Cork. Her new novel, The Butcher’s Daughter, will be published in April of this year.

Frank McGuinness

frank mcguinnessFrank McGuinness is the award-winning, internationally celebrated playwright of The Factory Girls and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching towards the Somme. A screenwriter, poet and novelist, he has also adapted a number of classical plays for theatre production in Ireland and abroad. He has twice won a Tony Award for his work. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the UCD School of English, Film, Drama and Creative Writing in the College of Arts and Humanities.
(photo credit: Dominic Martella UCD)

Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart is the current UCD Craig Dobbin Professor in Canadian Studies. She has authored eight internationally acclaimed novels, among them The Whirlpool (winner, Le prix du meilleur livre étranger, France); Away (winner, Trillium Award, Canada); The Underpainter, (winner, Governor General’s Award, Canada; finalist, The Orange Prize, UK); and The Stone Carvers, (finalist, The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, Canada; finalist, Man Booker Prize, UK).  Urquhart is also a poet and has written four books of verse, a collection of short fiction and a biography of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. She was editor of the Penguin Book of Canadian Short Stories, a collection of the finest Canadian work spanning more than 100 years. Her writing has been translated into several foreign languages.