Department of English Event: ‘Come, let the blazing truth blind': readings by Irish writers on the subject of Mother and Baby Homes

Iontas sky
Saturday, April 17, 2021 - 16:00 to 17:00
Online, tickets from Eventbrite

About this Event

How can we bear witness in literature to suffering, trauma and historical memory? What are the challenges? What are the responsibilities? Bringing together a range of contemporary Irish poets, this online event will feature readings on the subject of Irish Mother and Baby Homes, as well as the wider system of institutions run by church and state.

Introduced by Caelainn Hogan, author of Republic of Shame, with readings and/ performances by Kimberly Campanello, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Connie Roberts, Vicky Langan and Jess Kavanagh, the event is co-funded by Poetry Ireland, Maynooth University and The Arts Council.

Kimberly Campanello’s most recent project is MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page poetry-object and reader's edition book comprising conceptual and visual poetry on the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam published by zimZalla Avant Objects. She has performed its entirety at The Oonagh Young Gallery and for University College Dublin's Irish Poetry Reading Archive. She was recently awarded an Arts Council Ireland Literature Project Award for a digital writing collaboration with Christodoulos Makris and Fallow Media, as well as a Markievicz Award and residencies at the Heinrich Böll Cottage on Achill Island and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. She leads the BA English Literature with Creative Writing and supervises PhDs in innovative poetry at the University of Leeds.

Connie Roberts, a County Offaly native, is the author of Little Witness (Arlen House, 2015), a collection of poetry inspired by her experiences growing up in an industrial school in the Irish midlands. The collection was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award. She is a recipient of the Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Award. She was selected as the Exceptional Offaly Person of the Year 2016. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University, New York.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her publications include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) and Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). Her work has been shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the 2018 Julie Suk Award in the U.S.A. She has been awarded literary fellowships by Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany, The Jack Kerouac House of Orlando and Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. Ní Churreáin is a recipient of the Next Generation Artist Award from the Arts Council and a co-recipient, alongside collaborators Kimberly Campanello & Dimitra Xidous, of the inaugural Markievicz Award. Ní Churreáin was a 2019-2020 Writer in Residence at National University of Ireland, Maynooth and a 2020 Artist-in-Residence at Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris. She is an active panelist on the Writers In Prisons Scheme. In 2021 her second full-length poetry collection is forthcoming with The Gallery Press.

Vicky Langan is a Cork-based artist whose practice operates across several often-overlapping fields – chiefly performance, sound, and film. She both embraces and projects vulnerability, offering an intimate territory loaded with raw sensuality, personal symbolism and unguarded emotion. Her work is resolutely personal and rooted in the internal processing of intense private feeling. At a moment in Irish society where long repressed voices are taking centre stage, Langan’s insistence on articulating a private space of disturbance and trauma is a stark reminder that, beyond the public discourses, a legacy of submerged wounds remains. She is affiliated with the Dublin based Experimental Film Society, and is a recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Next Generation Award.

Jess Kav has been a key figure in creative communities in Ireland and abroad and a prominent fixture in the Irish music scene. Raised by an Irish-Nigerian mother and Soul enthusiast, she was fed a musical diet of Motown, Jazz and Irish Indie. After studying at London’s Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Jess has focused on songwriting, touring, recording, writing and social change. Jess has toured worldwide as a vocalist with The Waterboys, while also writing and releasing music with original band BARQ until 2020. She has worked with top Irish and international artists including Hozier, Villagers, Kodaline, The Commitments, Jape and Le Galaxie. Jess has written features for The Irish Times Magazine and is a contributor to RTE's Arena. In Jan 2021, Jess was a guest on acclaimed series ‘The Tommy Tiernan Show’, talking candidly about sex positivity and polyamory. In the same month she was profiled in The New York Times, discussing her creativity and the importance of racial activism in Ireland. This year, Jess is writing and releasing new music with new collaborative project, Sister Fenix, recording with the RTE Concert Orchestra, and working with The Abbey Theatre.

Caelainn Hogan is a writer and journalist from Dublin. Her first book Republic of Shame published by Penguin explores and documents the ongoing legacy of Ireland's religious-run institutions and the shame-industrial complex that created them. She has reported internationally on conflict, migration and inequality for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Guardian, VICE Magazine, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, The Dublin Review and more.

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