NLI announces details of programme examining borders in literature

Border Literatures runs from September 2021 to March 2022

14 September 2021
Graphic for Border Literatures

Graphic for Border Literatures

The National Library of Ireland has today (14.09.21) announced details of a new online reading and conversation programme exploring borders in literature.

The ‘Border Literatures’ programme will share diverse literary perspectives of the experiences of borders, in Ireland and elsewhere, and examine how writers from different backgrounds and perspectives represent ideas of partition in their art. 

Border Literatures will run from September 2021 until March 2022 and will reflect on the century that has passed since the partition of the island of Ireland. The programme will begin with a comparative conversation about borders, with a view to sharing multiple perspectives on borders in different cultural contexts. It will continue with events focused on readings of four authors: Eugene McCabe, Andrea Carter, Sue Divin, and Seamus Heaney. Each reading will focus on one of these four authors, and will be hosted by three writers and critics, who will lead the discussion. The series will close with a conversation with four contemporary writers on their work and the border.

The programme has been co-curated by Professor Nicholas Allen and the National Library of Ireland, in association with the Willson Centre for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia.

Speaking at the announcement, Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins said: “As we continue to commemorate the Decade of Centenaries, the National Library sees Border Literatures as an opportunity to add literary perspectives to conversations about the centenary of partition. The programme has been curated to facilitate experience of a range of literary representations of the border, from the historical to the contemporary. 

“As Ireland’s memory-keeper, the National Library is particularly pleased to have worked with Professor Allen on this series, as our collections offer such an important resource for students of all aspects of Irish literature and culture to consider the themes that will be discussed.”

Co-curator of the series, Professor Nicholas Allen said: “Literature, performance and the visual and sonic arts, were a deep part of the imaginative transformation that drove political change in Ireland a century ago. They remain a place where other ways of seeing each other can emerge, and in this spirit Border Literatures is an opportunity to explore how writers from different backgrounds and perspectives represent experiences of living by borders, in landscape and community, in their art.”

Border Literatures: A Conversation, the first event of the programme will take place on Wednesday, 22nd September at 7.00pm. Contributors will include Director of the NLI, Dr Sandra Collins; Professor Nicholas Allen; Kapka Kassabova; Garret Carr; Dónal Hassett; and Suchitra Vijayan.