Contemporary Irish Literature


The wide-ranging consequences of the 1922 partition of Ireland, 100 years on, are no less relevant now than then; with discussions of Brexit and the Northern Irish Protocol dominating the news, thinking about Irish culture and politics is more important than ever. Irish writers, from both sides of the border, have always had to write against a consideration of what it means to be, or identify as, Irish – with questions of national identity intersecting with debates around language, class and religion.

In this day school we will discuss a range of works by contemporary Irish writers (poets, novelists, short story writers and playwrights) to see how the events of the last 100 years have shaped, and continue to shape, Irish literature. Each genre has its special place in the debate, while several writers have seen their works adapted for television or have also written for film. The writers discussed will include, but not be limited to: Marina Carr, Seamus Heaney, Claire Keegan, Martin McDonagh, Frank McGuinness, Bernard McLaverty, Sally Rooney, Colm Tóibín and William Trevor.

This course will close for enrolment 2 days prior to the start date

Programme details

Registration (in-person attendees only)

Seamus Heaney: from Death of a Naturalist to Human Chain
Dr Sandie Byrne


Contemporary Irish fiction: Colm Tóibín and Sally Rooney
Dr Tara Stubbs


Staging Ireland: performing the contemporary Irish nation
Dr Hannah Simpson


Matters of consequence: the art and compass of Irish short fiction
Prof Michael Parker

Course disperses


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £85.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £75.00
Baguette £6.10
Hot lunch (three courses) £16.50


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Sandie Byrne


Sandie Byrne is Associate professor of English Literature and Director of Studies in English, OUDCE and a Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. She is the author of a number of books and articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing.

Prof Michael Parker


Michael Parker has worked as a tutor in Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education since 2015. He has written extensively on Irish, British and Postcolonial poetry, fiction and drama, and the contexts that shape them. His edited/ co-edited collections include The Hurt World: Short Stories of the Troubles (1995), Contemporary Irish Fiction (2000) and William Trevor: Revaluations (2013). He is currently completing Seamus Heaney: Legacies, Afterlives, a substantial study of the poet's writing from his middle and late career, which will appear in 2023 from Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr Hannah Simpson


Hannah Simpson is Lecturer in Drama and Performance at the University of Edinburgh. Her research is in modern and contemporary theatre, with a focus on political representation and staging the body. She is the author of two recent monographs, Samuel Beckett and the Theatre of the Witness: Pain in Postwar Francophone Drama (Oxford University Press, 2022) and Samuel Beckett and Disability Performance (Palgrave, 2022).

Dr Tara Stubbs

Speaker and Course Director

Tara Stubbs is an Associate Professor in English Literature and Creative Writing at OUDCE, and a Fellow of Kellogg College Oxford. For 2017–2020 she was the Academic Programme Director of the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford. Her first book was American Literature and Irish Culture, 1910–1955 (2013), which was re-issued in paperback in 2017. Her interests include American and Irish literature, modernism and poetry, and she has published widely in these fields. In 2017 she co-edited the essay collection Navigating the Transnational in Modern American Literature and Culture (2017), and her second monograph, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2020, was The Modern Irish Sonnet: Revision and Rebellion.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.