As a belated and tangential contribution to last month’s One City One Book focus on literature in Dublin here’s a plug for an interesting new venture just starting.
The Flying Book Club aims to offer an actual engagement with Dublin’s literature for tourists (and indeed natives) who want to discuss the celebrated literary works of the writers of this city rather than simply visit their old drinking haunts. There are four different programmes to choose from, covering everyone from old favourites like Oscar Wilde, WB Yeats, and James Joyce, to modern writers like John McGahern, Colm Toibin, and Anne Enright. Each programme includes discussions of the writers in question, readings of their work, walking tours of the literary city, and special guest speakers of the ilk of Hugo Hamilton. Experienced tutors lead the discussion sessions to offer a deeper critical engagement than the traditional book club but without turning the informal proceedings into didactic college classes.
The four programmes available are:
1 A General Introduction to Irish Writing
This would explore the key movements in Irish literary history; from the Irish Literary Revival and Irish Modernism, to the explosion of new writers in the 1960s and the current generation of prizewinning novelists and playwrights.
2 Ireland’s Four Nobel Laureates (Shaw, Yeats, Beckett, Heaney)
This programme runs the rule over the aesthetic development of Yeats’ poetry, the satirical didacticism of Shaw’s plays, the ground-breaking innovations of Beckett’s drama, and the developing abstraction of Heaney’s poetry.
3 The Author Based Programmes (James Joyce or Oscar Wilde or W.B. Yeats, etc)
Each author would have selected texts examined including Joyce’s Dubliners and Ulysses, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Yeats’ Collected Poems.
4 A Bespoke Programme for your Book Club
At least 12 people would be needed for a book club to order their own bespoke programme on an author of their choice.
All programmes run over three days. Midweek programmes run from Tuesday to Thursday, with weekend programmes running from Friday to Sunday. All programmes include both discussion of the relationship between the writer(s) and the city of Dublin and visits to appropriate sites of interest, so the obligatory wander out to the Martello Tower in Sandycove would not be neglected. Programmes would also reflect literary events of interest in Dublin, like the Theatre Festival in October, and the Writers’ Festival at the end of May. All the programmes are designed to encourage understanding and appreciation of the works under discussion, and to help readers contextualize each work within a wider literary tradition.
More detailed information on each of the four programmes is available on the website www.flyingbookclub.ie