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Irish Author Joseph O’Connor announced as the UL Frank McCourt Chair in creative writing

University of Limerick

University of Limerick

New MA in Creative Writing at UL also announced

Renowned, award-winning author Joseph O’Connor has been announced as the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick. Professor O’Connor will officially join the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences this Summer and will teach students of the new UL Masters in Creative Writing programme set to commence in September 2014. He will also present a number of public literary events in the Limerick area.

The Frank McCourt Chair was established at UL as an acknowledgement of the close ties between the late Frank McCourt and the University of Limerick, reflected not only in his work at the University as a creative writer but, more latterly, in his involvement with the University of Limerick Foundation.

Speaking about the appointment Professor Don Barry, UL President said:  “There is tremendous excitement at the University at the moment as people learn of this appointment.  Not only is it great news for UL but also for Limerick City which has a strong literary tradition.  For UL students, particularly the future students of the new MA in Creative Writing, it will be a tremendous opportunity to be led by a man of Joseph’s literary stature.”

Professor O’Connor is a former Harman Visiting Professor at Baruch College, the City University of New York.  He is also a former Cullman Fellow at New York Public Library and was twice a Writer in Residence at UCD, from where he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in 2011.

Speaking about his new appointment Professor O’Connor said “I am thrilled, grateful and deeply honoured to be entrusted with this new position at the University of Limerick.  Frank McCourt was a writer of immense gifts and extraordinary achievements. But he was a teacher first and last. He knew teaching can change lives. With my colleagues I look forward to building a first-rate Creative Writing department at UL, a programme that is fit for 21st century purpose, and working hard for all lovers of literature and storytelling in Limerick.”

Commenting on the appointment Ellen McCourt said: “I’m thrilled with the selection of Joseph O’Connor as the first recipient of the Frank McCourt Chair. Joseph has the whole package: a beautiful writer, passionate teacher and a charismatic personality who will make an excellent Ambassador for the University.  He is also compassionate, curious, fearless and mischievous.  All qualities Frank admired.  Joseph is an excellent and exciting choice for the Chair.”

The new Masters in Creative Writing is a one year programme to enable students to develop their skills in creative writing through careful consideration of the work of established writers, through study of the elements and formal structures of a piece of creative writing; through assignments that enable students to employ and master strategies for revision and refinement of their own work and through an understanding of the requirements of the submissions and publication process.

Limerick has a rich history in creative writing, memorialized in the Frank McCourt museum, and celebrated annually with several literary festivals – the Kate O’Brien Festival; Eigse Michael Hartnett, Poetry, Arts, and Literary Festival; and Cuisle, the Limerick International Poetry Festival.

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