Monday, July 16, 2012

"Walter Macken - Galway Playwright" - New exhibition and lecture series

Walter Macken - Galway Playwright", an exhibition on the theatrical career of Walter Macken, will take place from 16th July - 26th August, looking at his early life, career in the Taibhdhearc, Abbey and elsewhere, as well as his writing of plays.

The venue is the foyer of the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, where the exhibition will run from the 16 July until the 26 August 2012. This period covers the Galway Arts Festival, Galway Races and the final week coincides with Heritage Week. The exhibition will include materials held at the Bergische University Wuppertal, Germany, as well as our own holdings here at the James hardiman Library, including the Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe collection and Siobhan McKenna collection.

In parallel with the exhibition there will be a series of talks on Walter Macken’s life and writings for the theatre. These will take place in the exhibition area on Tuesdays at 19.30. The schedule is:

17 July: 'Dreams on Paper' by Ultan Macken. An account of the life and works of Walter Macken.

24 July: 'The Realistic World of Walter Macken' by Fr. Walter Macken. A view of some of the characters from his plays.

07 August: 'Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe' by Kieran Hoare (NUIG archivist). The Taibhdhearc focused on the Macken years, 1932-1937, 1939-1948.

14 August: 'Macken's Contribution to Irish Theatre' by James Reid. An open discussion ranging through Macken's 35 titles written for the theatre which includes his 21 completed plays.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"How McGahern Did It" - From the Dublin Review

The John McGahern archive consists primarily of drafts of McGahern’s published works, it also includes a small amount of correspondence and other material which relate to publication and John McGahern's writing career in general. The collection includes drafts of all six of John McGahern's published novels as well as drafts of his unpublished novel 'The End or the Beginning of Love'. It also includes drafts of all 37 of his published short stories, and 10 different dramatic pieces, some of which are adaptations of his own work, others of which were never produced.

John McGahern
The collection also includes drafts of most but not all of John McGahern's published non-fiction and several drafts of his autobiographical work Memoir . For the purposes of description drafts are characterized as being either handwritten, typescript or faircopy. 'Faircopy' describes any draft that is almost identical to a published piece and contains few if any handwritten amendments. The vast majority of typescript drafts contain handwritten amendments or additions. In many instances drafts are considered partial in that only part of a longer draft has survived or the original draft was of only part of the complete work. Where drafts consisted of a small number of pages, typically ten or less for novels or three or less for short stories they are described as fragments and grouped together with other fragments of the same format and work for the purposes of description e.g. 'Handwritten fragments of Amongst Women '.

It is clear from the presence of fragments and from the pagination on drafts that not all drafts of every work survive. Indeed this is true for the vast majority of works. The number of drafts of each work in the collection varies considerably, for example while only two drafts and a number of fragments of the short story 'The Recruiting Officer' are included in the collection, in contrast 15 drafts and a number of fragments of the short story 'Parachutes' are included in the collection. This may of course be a reflection of the different writing processes involved in writing the two stories.

In the current issue of the Dublin Review, Anthony Caleshu’s article, “How McGahern Did It” examines the very writing processes that have made McGahern so well recognized as a master of many forms. You can read the article in full here:

You can view the catalogue of the John MCGahern archive in full here: