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The Mary Lavin Centre for Creative Writing

Mary Lavin

Creative Writing at UCD

The UCD Mary Lavin Centre for Creative Writing is Recognised Research Centre of University College Dublin (UCD) and is based in the UCD School of English, Drama a nd Film in the College of Arts and Humanities.

The Mary Lavin Centre for Creative Writing has been established to enhance UCD’s visibility and reputation for research, teaching, and the promotion of creative writing, and will place creative writing at the forefront of practice-led arts research in the university. The Centre will build on a well-established commitment by the UCD School of English, Drama and Film to fostering and supporting creative writing. The university has long been associated with some of Ireland’s greatest writers, including James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Anthony Cronin, John McGahern, Neil Jordan, Conor McPherson, Marina Carr, Colm Tóibín, Emma Donoghue, Maeve Binchy and many others.

The Centre’s members will include acknowledged experts and world leaders in the novel, life writing, non-fiction, and poetry. Individually, they already make very significant contributions to writing and include the Booker Prize-winning novelist Anne Enright, Professor of Creative Writing, and novelists Paula McGrath, Sarah Moss, and Declan Hughes as well as poets Ian Davidson, Eireann Lorsung, and Jonathan Creasy.

The Centre aims to provide a coherent narrative for the development of creative writing (CW) in UCD and its role in the past and future of Irish culture and the Irish State. It will therefore support the development of traditional approaches to Irish writing, while taking into account the increasing breadth and range of current practice. The Centre will be outward facing, making the work of creative writing in UCD visible to a wider audience through publications, research projects and public engagements, in multi and interdisciplinary contexts. The overall impact will therefore function at a local, community, national and international levels.

The Centre is named after Mary Lavin (10 June 1912 – 25 March 1996), a prolific and renowned Irish short story writer and novelist and UCD graduate. She is regarded as a pioneering female author in the traditionally male-dominated world of Irish letters. Born in Massachusetts to Irish parents in 1912, Mary Lavin first visited Ireland at the age of four with her mother Nora. She would return, permanently this time, five years later. Lavin’s début collection of stories, Tales from Bective Bridge (1943) won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and marked her out as a short-story writer of brilliance who brought a new and piercing female perspective to that form. Mary Lavin’s work received numerous international awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Katherine Mansfield Prize. Many of her stories were first published in the prestigious New Yorker. Joyce Carol Oates called her one of the finest short-story writers of the twentieth century. Her papers reside in the UCD Library collections.

The Centre publishes the literary journal (opens in a new window)Belfield Literary Review, hosts a Reading Series at MoLI, as well as running a BA in English with Creative Writing, and MA, MFA and PhD programmes in CW. Post doctoral researchers, funded by the IRC and SFI, and Enterprise Partnership Postdoctoral Fellowships with Poetry Ireland, and the UCD/ACI Writer in Residence are all housed within the centre. Many of our graduates have gone on to publish and win awards for their writing.

The Centre also hosts lectures and workshops with the Ireland Professor of Poetry and the Laureate for Irish Fiction, in conjunction with the Irish Arts Council.

For more information, and upcoming Centre events, please contact (opens in a new window)englishdramafilm@ucd.ie or see https://www.ucd.ie/englishdramafilm/ or contact the centre administrator Ms Stacy Grouden, UCD School of English, Drama & Film Newman, Belfield, Dublin 4. TEL: +353 1 716 8323

Our Team

The UCD Mary Lavin Centre for Creative Writing is based in the UCD School of English, Film, and Drama in the College of Arts and Humanities.

The Centre Director is Professor Paul Perry.

Professor Paul Perry is an award-winning poet and novelist. His books include The Garden, Gunpowder Valentine, and Jamais Vu. Professor Perry  teaches at all levels in Creative Writing at UCD, and supervises at PhD level. His awards include the Hennessy Award for Irish Literature, The Listowel Prize for Poetry, and The Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship for Poetry.

The Chair of the Centre’s Advisory Board is Professor Gregory Betts, Brock University, and the Centre's Advisory Board includes Mr. James Ryan, former director of the UCD Creative Writing Programme, Professor Ruth Gilligan, University of Birmingham, and Evelyn Flanagan, UCD Special Collections.