Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

School of English Research Seminar

Marilynn Richtarik, Stewart Parker: Bard of Belfast

Marilynn Richtarik is a Professor of English at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the author of two books published by Oxford University Press: Acting Between the Lines, about the early years of the Field Day Theatre Company, and Stewart Parker: A Life. She also edited Parker’s autobiographical novel Hopdance, forthcoming from Lilliput Press in 2017. As a Fulbright Scholar at Queen's, she is working on a book about literary reactions and contributions to the peace process in Northern Ireland. Stewart Parker: Bard of Belfast During an interview in 1987, Stewart Parker agreed to be described as a “Belfast playwright,” adding, “it’s the only kind of description that makes any sense to me.” This seems a surprising admission for a writer who, twenty years earlier, had recorded in his journal his desire to become a “stateless person” and who had spent much of his adulthood living and working outside his native city.

Nevertheless, although Parker’s achievements transcend any parochial classification, he was born in Belfast and resided there for two-thirds of his life, and this background conditioned everything he wrote. Clearly, it was something other than a mere accident of geography that made Parker think of himself as a Belfast playwright. As for many of his literary contemporaries, the Troubles reinforced his dedication to a Northern Irish audience and subjects for his work. Ultimately, Parker’s intense engagement with the history of his native city most justifies his claim to the title “Bard of Belfast”. In a number of his most enduring dramas Belfast becomes a character in its own right, with its history and quest for a viable identity placed squarely at the center of the stage.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 3-4pm
Location: Room 2.12 O'Rahilly Building UCC
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Clíona Ó Gallchoir
021 4903288

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