Conversations on Stories Conference 19/20 October

October 14, 2012Lisa Caulfield


The Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre, Dublin will host CONVERSATIONS ON STORIES. This interdisciplinary conference will re-evaluate the potential and pitfalls of storytelling in a rapidly changing world. Can storytelling thrive in the digital era? What stories should we, and shouldn’t we, tell our children? Do technology and science offer a reinvigoration of narrative or an elision? Is a rich oral inheritance a blessing or a curse to contemporary Irish culture? Are spirituality and belief in other possible worlds essential to storytelling or vestiges of an outmoded tradition? Please join us as we explore storytelling as a narrative activity in which we participate rather than as an object which we consume.


Conversations On Stories

Speaker List

Lisa Caulfield graduated from the University of Toronto after she completed an Honors BA in English and History. She also attended Ryerson University where she completed a business diploma in Book Publishing. She completed an MA in Modern Irish Literature from the National University, in Maynooth, County Kildare. She is currently the Assistant Director at the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre in Dublin. Her academic interest focuses upon the role of the mythic hero in Irish literature, drama, art, and poetry. Lisa is a PhD candidate at University College Dublin.

Seamus Deane is a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a founding director of the Field Day Theatre Company, the general editor of the Penguin Joyce, and the author of several books, including A Short History of Irish Literature; Celtic Revivals; Essays in Modern Irish Literature; The French Revolution and Enlightenment in England, and Strange Country: Modernity and the Nation. Deane also edited the monumental Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing in 3 volumes, and has written four books of poetry and a novel, Reading in the Dark, which has been translated into more than 20 languages. Currently he is general editor of a series, ‘Critical Conditions,’ published by Field Day, Cork University Press and the University of Notre Dame Press. He has co-edited, with Krzysztof Ziarek, a collection of essays, Future Crossings: Literature Between Philosophy and Cultural Studies (2001). His book, Foreign Affections: Essays on Edmund Burke (2004), is volume 15 in the Critical Conditions series; he is editor of the annual Irish Studies journal, Field Day Review.

John Dillon (B. A. Harvard University) is a Notebaert Graduate Presidential Fellow in the English Department at the University of Notre Dame. His primary interests are Folklore and European Modernism. He organized the international conference entitled Hybrid Irelands, which contributed to the project of locating Ireland in a global literary context. He speaks Irish fluently and has presented papers in Irish and in English. An edited translation of Seán Ó Ríordáin’s important preface to Eireaball Spideoige is forthcoming by Cló Iar-Chonnachta. He is the recipient of a Field Day Fellowship and has worked with Seamus Deane and Field Day Press in Dublin. Currently he is the editor of Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies.

Declan Kiberd is the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. A leading international authority on the literature of Ireland, both in English and Irish, Kiberd has authored scores of articles and many books, including Synge and the Irish Language, Men and Feminism in Irish Literature, Irish Classics, The Irish Writer and the World, Inventing Ireland, and, most recently, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece.

Ríona Nic Congáil is a lecturer in the Irish Department of St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. Her research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century Irish-language literature, and women’s and children’s studies. She is the author of several books and articles, ranging from award-winning children’s fiction to academic works. Her first monograph, Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh agus an Fhís Útóipeach Ghaelach (2010), was awarded both an Oireachtas Award and the American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS) Prize for Research Book of the Year in the Irish Language. She is the founder and director of the Irish-Language Young Writers’ Association, Cumann Scríbhneoirí Úra na Gaeilge.

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne was educated in Dublin, at UCD and at the University of Copenhagen. She has a BA, an M. Phil in Middle English, Old and Middle Irish and a PhD in Irish Folklore. Her fiction includes: Blood and Water (1988); The Bray House (1990);Eating Women is Not Recommended (1991); Singles (1992); The Inland Ice (1999); The Dancers Dancing (1999); The Pale Gold of Alaska (2000); Dúnmharú sa Daingean (2000); and plays: Milseog an Samhraidh (1997) and Dún na mBan trí Thine (Peacock Theatre 1994). Among her awards are the Stewart Parker Playwright’s Award and The Butler Award for Prose.

P. J. Mathews completed his doctoral research at Trinity College Dublin and joined the UCD in 2004. Prior to that he lectured at St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University (2001-2004) and Trinity College Dublin (1999-2001). He was Director of the Parnell Summer School from 2002-05 and was appointed Naughton Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame for 2007-08. Dr Mathews is the founder and Director of UCD scholarcast ( and a member of the Humanities Institute of Ireland. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to J.M. Synge (CUP, 2009) and author of Revival (Field Day / Cork UP / NDUP, 2003).

Gary McDarby is the CTO of Fifth Province Ventures and has a background in Electronic Engineering and Neuroscience. He has a 1st Class honours degree in Electronic Engineering (UCD 1988), a Master’s Degree in Engineering Science (UCD 1995) and an MIT endorsed PhD in Biomedical Engineering (UNSW 2000). Fifth Province Ventures is an Irish company that incubates and prototypes clever technology ideas that have the potential to have a profound positive effect in society. Over the last 18 months the company has focused on developing WISP, a fully mobile location based social networking platform that runs on both IOS and Android operating systems. WISPwell is now available as an app on the Apple and Google Play appstores.

Barry McCrea is scholar of comparative literature and a novelist. His research focuses on modern literature in English, French, Irish, Italian, and Spanish. As well as articles and essays about modern Irish and European literature, he is the author of The First Verse, a novel, which won the 2006 Ferro-Grumley prize for fiction, In the Company of Strangers: Narrative and Family in Dickens, Conan Doyle, Joyce and Proust (Columbia University Press, 2011), and of the forthcoming Minor Languages and the Modern Literary Imagination (Yale University Press).

Frances Quinn is a Professional Storyteller from County Armagh. Frances has told at all the major storytelling festivals in Ireland and has performed The Cúchulainn Saga in twelve states in the USA. She has told her stories in heritage and arts centres, at art exhibitions, bookshops, theatres, clubs, pubs, colleges, universities, museums, private houses, and in day centres for the elderly, people with physical disability and to those with mental illness and on a 24-hour train journey from New York to Milwaukee! She particularly enjoys working on projects in conjunction with other artists and is interested in the cross-cultural possibilities of storytelling in education.

Kevin Whelan is the Director of the Keough Naughton Notre Dame Centre in Dublin since 1998. He has written or edited sixteen books and over one hundred articles on Ireland’s history, geography, literature and culture.