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The Flying Book Club Welcomes Barbara Scully

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | From the Front Row


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The Flying Book Club is not so much for readers who are in a huge hurry but rather for readers who would like to dip into a more in-depth appreciation of a book….

Dr Eibhlin Evans is the founder and director of this unique club aimed at readers both at home and abroad.  She is retired from academia but retains a passion for writing and literature.  She wrote the successful application to have Dublin designated a UNESCO City of Literature.  “There is a great deal of interest in Irish writing from abroad but until now visitors could only engage with this writing in a superficial way.  The Flying Book Club aims to change that.”   It offers a variety of programmes including

  • A General Introduction to Irish Writing
  • Ireland’s Four Nobel Laureates
  • The Author based programme – single author focus from Maeve Binchy to Oscar Wilde.
  • The Bespoke Programme.

But Eibhlin went on to explain that the Flying Book Club also wants to reach out to Irish book clubs.  “We know that there are over 5,000 book clubs in England and although there are no statistics for Ireland we know there are a huge number here too.”  The Flying Book Clubs bespoke programme is ideally suited to book clubs allowing them to make their own choice of writer.

flyingbookclub2I went along to one of their special events recently.  Called ‘Feel The Fear and Read It Anyway’ this was an afternoon session to explore James Joyce’s Ulysses, to mark Bloomsday.  Like many of us, Ulysses is the kind of book that I would love to be able to say I have read but doubt I ever will.  So I was certainly feeling the fear as I took my seat with the rest of the group to begin to de-mystify this famous tome.

Eibhlin began by outlining where the book came from, giving us a most interesting reminder of how life was in Ireland in the first decades of the last century.  As I listened to her softly spoken explanation I thought how great it was to get the benefit of such informed and well defined context, which is rarely found outside the walls of our universities.

After a break for coffee we resumed with Eibhlin’s colleague Dr Mark Williamson who took us through some of the text of the book explaining how Joyce’s changes of language and of viewpoint is often confusing.  He also reassuringly told us that if when reading we don’t really ‘get’ a particular section or passage – carry on, don’t stress over it.  Sound and practical advice indeed.

The afternoon finished by bringing the book to life courtesy of actor Jack Lynch who did a reading in proper Dublinese.

I left The Flying Book Club feeling very satisfied with an afternoon well spent… as to whether I will actually read Ulysses…. well I might.

So if you are entertaining visitors to our city or if you want to give your own book club a more meaty session than is usually the case in the wine fuelled discussions that are most book clubs evenings – check out www.flyingbookclub.ie

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