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Paula Meehan & Stephen James Smith

Literary Weekend: What it means to be a writer in Ireland in 2017

DateFriday 10 Nov  Time: 12-4pm   Admission :€6/€5    

This year the Courthouse Arts Centre’s Literary Weekend will focus on ‘Being a writer in Ireland in 2017’.  The weekend will also feature a performance of Paula Meehan’s ‘Cell by UCD Drama Society.

We are delighted to Welcome back Paula Meehan after many years and welcome for the first time, Stephen James Smith.   Two Wicklow writers Jane Clarke and Philip St John will join the panel chaired by Caroline Nash.

Paula Meehan was born and reared in the north inner city of Dublin. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin and at Eastern Washington University in the United States. She has published six original collections of poetry, the most recent, Painting Rain, in 2009. She has written plays for both adults and children, including Cell and The Wolf of Winter. Music for Dogs:works for radio, collects three plays concerned with suicide during the economic boom years in Ireland. Selections of her poetry have been published in French, Spanish, German, Galician, Japanese, Estonian, Greek, and smaller selections have been published in other languages, including Irish. She has received the Butler Literary Award for Poetry presented by the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award for her poetry collection Dharmakaya, published in 2000, and the PPI Award for Radio Drama for The Lover. 

Dedalus Press have recently republished Mysteries of the Home, a selection of seminal poems from the 1980s and the 1990s. She was honoured with election to Aosdána, the Irish Academy for the Arts, in 1996. She is currently Ireland Professor of Poetry, 2013 to 2016.

Stephen James Smith is a Dublin poet and playwright central to the rise of the Irish spoken word scene.  His poetry videos have amassed over 1 million views online, including ‘My Ireland’, a short poetry film commissioned by St. Patrick’s Festival.  Stephen has performed extensively at top venues and events such as Electric Picnic, Other Voices, the National Concert Hall, the Abbey Theatre (Noble Call), Vicar Street (alongside Oscar winner Glen Hansard), the London Palladium, the Oscar Wilde Awards (LA), Glastonbury Festival and George Town Literary Festival (ML).  His debut collection, Fear Not, is published by Arlen House with a launch due in Autumn 2017.

Jane Clarke’s first collection, The River, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2015 to both public and critical acclaim. In 2016 she won the Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year Award, the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and The River was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Literary Award. Jane has an MPhil in writing from the University of South Wales. She lives in Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow. 

Philip St. John is a writer of fiction and drama. His short stories have been published in Ireland and internationally and shortlisted for The Hennessy Literary Awards and The Bristol Short Story Award. His play Maxine(2011) won an award from the International Playwright Forum and has been translated into German and Filipino. It was also shortlisted for The Kings Cross Award at The Courtyard Theatre, London. The Sylvia is the first production of his work on stage. He was awarded Literature Bursaries by the Arts Council in 2010 and 2011, and an Artslinks Bursary in 2012. Philip has completed two parts of a ghost triology : The Temptress 2015 and The Restoration of Hope 2017, opening in Mermaid arts centre Nov 2017. 


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Cell By Paula Meehan performed by UCD Drama Soc.

Date: Friday 10 Nov     Time: 8:30pm    Admission: €14/€12

Three women of different ages from Dublin’s inner city, imprisoned for drug offences, have made a world of sorts for themselves, one with its own desperate rules and conventions. But their world within a world collapses when an apparently naïve country woman, found guilty of murder, is sent to share their cell


Or Phone: 00353 402 38529 or email