ENG10130 Contemporary Irish Writing

Academic Year 2024/2025

What distinguishes contemporary Irish writing? What are its chief thematic preoccupations and formal innovations? Who are its leading authors, what are their chosen subjects and who were their influences? How are contemporary Irish literary works received by their readers, nationally and internationally, and how can the ongoing diversity in literary texts, and in readers’ reactions, be studied, and interpreted? Is contemporary writing defined by its relevance, its artistry, or its socio-political concerns? How do writers compose and structure their works?

This module will introduce readers to a range of contemporary Irish writings, spanning non-fiction, the novel, short stories and poetry, closely examining the choice of theme, the significance of form, and the nature of the works' impact. In analysing the depiction of contemporary Irish urban and rural society in contemporary fiction, we will engage with ongoing debates concerning the function and importance of literary representation in the context of social crisis and change. The interrogation of irishness and identity in the course texts will be examined as will writers' preoccupation with the transnational and the global.

Workshop discussions, supporting the core lectures, will also examine how these contemporary writings have been received to date by readers and critics, and trace the ongoing processes whereby the reputations of texts and their writers are formed and shaped. Each workshop will also incorporate formal exercises designed to ensure that first year students acquire the necessary skills for studying English: writing and close-reading; note-taking, research, and referencing; and effective use of electronic resources such as online journals, dedicated websites, reviews in news media.

Required Reading:
Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music (Canongate, 2020)
Oein DeBhairduin, Why The Moon Travels (Skein Press, 2020).
Anne Enright, Actress (Penguin, 2020)
Derek Mahon, Washing Up (Gallery, 2020)
Melatu Uche Okorie, This Hostel Life (Skein Press, 2018)

These five texts are available for purchase at a reduced price in the campus bookshop as a course bundle. They are also available as e-books, in most bookshops, or can be borrowed from your local library.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning Objectives
- Familiarity with a range of contemporary Irish writing across a diversity of genres
- Ability to analyze and compare the significance of theme and form and to identify a range of formal devices within the works studied
- Critical scrutiny of existing reviews of contemporary Irish writing, and analysis of the characteristics and impact of literary reviewing
- Engagement in current debates concerning the function of literary representation in the context of contemporary social change
- Development of critical reading skills for a range of genres;
- Acquisition of basic skills in research, study, and writing
- Ability to use electronic resources such as online journals, databases, dedicated websites and media outlets

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This course is taught through online lectures (one per week) and online small-group tutorials (one per week). 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music (Canongate, 2020)
Oein DeBhairduin, Why The Moon Travels (Skein Press, 2020).
Anne Enright, Actress (Penguin, 2020)
Derek Mahon, Washing Up (Gallery, 2020)
Melatu Uche Okorie, This Hostel Life (Skein Press, 2018)

UCD campus bookshop will provide a discounted package of all 5 books for purchase in the first week of term; these are also widely available for borrowing in your local public library where library staff will assist you in ordering copies by inter-library loan if the local branch does not have a copy.
Name Role
Dr Catríona Clutterbuck Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Lucy Collins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Anne Fogarty Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tim Groenland Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Margaret Kelleher Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Adam Kelly Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Naomi McAreavey Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Emma Radley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Rebecca Stephenson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Leanne Waters Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Loic Wright Lecturer / Co-Lecturer