The Nerve: An English & Arts Podcast
By The Nerve
The Nerve: An English & Arts PodcastNov 16, 2023
Ep. 62: Alexander MacLeod
Joining Dr Jenny O’Connor in studio for this episode is the award-winning Canadian author Alexander MacLeod. A Professor of Creative Writing at St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Alexander has been published in the prestigious New Yorker and Granta magazines and has won the Atlantic Book Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the O.Henry Award. His first collection Light Lifting was published in 2010 and his latest, Animal Person, was released in 2022. Both collections explore the fragile connections that define us, the collision of the mundane and the extraordinary and the invisible forces that drive people to behave in unexpected ways. Alexander also facilitated a creative writing masterclass at SETU thanks to support from the Canadian Embassy, the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies at SETU, and the Department of Arts at SETU, Waterford.
Ep 61: Orwell scholar Martin Tyrrell
This episode of the podcast features a discussion with the facilitator of this semester’s English and Theatre Studies Day, Martin Tyrrell. Martin is the author of the forthcoming George Orwell: from Class War to Cold War and a contributing editor for the academic journal George Orwell Studies. His highly entertaining lecture on Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Orwell’s essays offered context and commentary on the social, political and personal influences in George Orwell’s work. After the lecture, Martin also ran a workshop in which he discussed approaches to creative writing. The podcast also features Dr Christa de Brún, who teaches Nineteen Eighty-Four to second year students on the Literature and Society module. Both contributors discuss the importance of Orwell’s work alongside the paradox of his own intolerance, the prevailing relevance of his ideas and his often-overlooked wife Eileen who is a fascinating figure in her own right.
Ep 60: Shakespeare Squared
In this episode, members of Waterford’s newest theatrical company, Shakespeare Squared, join Jenny in the studio to talk about the genesis of the organisation and their recent production of Twelfth Night, an open air promenade piece that used the backdrop of Waterford’s Viking Triangle to bring their interpretation to life. Along with theatre professional Eimear Cheasty, co-directors Joe Meagher and Deirdre Dwyer won the maximum available funding from the Arts Council’s Theatre Project Awards 2023 to stage the production and here, they discuss their creative approach to getting the project off the ground. Performer (and former graduate of English and Theatre Studies) Natasha Everitt tells us what it’s like to inhabit one of Shakespeare’s most mischievous Fools and English and Theatre Studies lecturer Dr Helena Walsh-Kiely joins us to give her thoughts on the show.
Ep 59: Generative Artificial Intelligence vs The Essay
In this first episode of a new season of the podcast, Dr Jenny O’Connor is joined by Pete Windle, the Head of the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning at SETU, and Dr Kate McCarthy, researcher and lecturer in Theatre Studies to discuss the way generative artificial intelligence (GenAI, e.g. Chat GPT) has affected the teaching of subjects that traditionally relied on the essay (or other text-based methods) for assessing students. The discussion includes philosophical questions about teaching and learning but also the challenge posed by large student groups and how AI can teach us how to think more critically about the information we consume.
Ep 58: Film in Waterford - Andy Kelly and Frank Ryan
Andy Kelly is a nationally recognised archivist and collector of photography and film in Waterford and in this episode, he discusses the collection he has amassed, his time as a projectionist and filmmaker, and the innovative methods he employed when faced with technical challenges over the years (like building cranes and setting fire to a specially built thatched cottage for a movie set piece!). Frank Ryan is a long-time member of Waterford Film For All and recalls the venues, films and audiences that have sustained the film society over the years. The conversation leads to memories of Waterford from another time, and the many people who have helped to document the life of the region.
To find out more about Andy, you can watch a documentary about him on TG4 entitled “Scannáin Bhaile Andy” which includes clips of his films and some of the photographs he has preserved. It is available on the TG4 website at this link: bit.ly/3LChf8J
To find out more about Waterford Film For All, find them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and learn more about their current season by visiting the Garter Lane Arts Centre website: https://garterlane.ie
Ep 57: Molly Twomey
Molly Twomey grew up in Lismore, County Waterford, and graduated in 2019 with an MA in Creative Writing from UCC. She has been published in The Irish Times, Banshee, The Stinging Fly and Poetry Ireland Review and her first poetry collection, Raised among vultures, is now available from The Gallery Press. The collection’s unflinching style deals with the complexities of modern living, the realities of dealing with an eating disorder and the intricacies of family dynamics. During the podcast, she reads from the collection and discusses the relationship between her anorexia and her writing, and the forms and shapes her poetry has taken.
Ep 56: Frank Bosman on Morality, God and Netflix
Frank Bosman of the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology in The Netherlands visited SETU in March 2023 to deliver a lecture as part of the Theology in the Public Square series on the connection between culture, theology and religion in three recent TV series. Each of the shows (Squid Game, Jaguar and The Good Place) explores theological themes such as morality, theodicy, truth and hope, and in this episode, he discusses the importance of popular culture in considering such issues in the contemporary moment. Frank has also written extensively on religious themes in video games. Also in studio is SETU’s Dr Paul Clogher, whose own work on theology, film and culture brought him into contact with Frank, and has resulted in a lasting friendship between the two academics and a connection between the two institutions.
Ep 55: Joe Lambert of StoryCenter
StoryCenter has worked with nearly a thousand organisations around the world and trained more than fifteen thousand people in hundreds of workshops to share stories from their lives. Through its wide-ranging work, it has transformed the way that community activists, educators, health and human services agencies, business professionals, and artists think about the power of the personal voice in creating change. The co-founder of the organisation, Joe Lambert, started out with a degree in Theatre and Political Science at UC Berkeley and a passion for activism, and moved from theatre work to digital storytelling as a way of furthering his principles of social justice and equity. In this episode of the podcast, he discusses the path that led him here, and the potential of digital storytelling to cross disciplines and break barriers.
Discover more about StoryCentre at storycenter.org
Ep 54: Deirdre Grant
In this first episode of the new semester, Jenny welcomes Deirdre Grant, a dance practitioner and choreographer who also works as a lecturer at SETU Waterford, teaching on courses as diverse as Theatre Studies, Early Childhood Studies, and Social Care. She is also the current Dance Artist in Residence at Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford. During Covid, when her work with community groups and regional artists could no longer take place, the idea for a book about how to reconnect with the body post-pandemic started to grow. The resulting publication, Prompts for the Mover, was developed in conjunction with her brother, a fine art photographer, and is due to be launched in March. Dee talks about how she ended up following her passion, the benefits of dance for people with a variety of abilities and needs, and her hopes for her new publication.
Dee writes a blog which can be found at promptsforthemover.com/blog
Ep 53: Aingeala Flannery
This episode of the podcast features award-winning author, journalist and broadcaster Aingeala Flannery, whose debut novel The Amusements has won high praise from the national press, and from authors such as Anne Enright, Donal Ryan and Marian Keyes. Set in Tramore, Co. Waterford, the story revolves around Helen Grant, who dreams of escaping the seaside town and running away to art college, and follows her family and neighbours over three decades. During the course of the conversation, Aingeala discusses giving up a stable job in national media to pen her debut, her connection to Tramore and her fondness for the characters in her books.
Ep 52: William Keohane and Dr Christa de Brún
On Tuesday 25thOctober, poet and essayist William Keohane visited SETU to perform ‘Boxing Day,’ a 52-poem sequence that offers one poem for each week of the year. Each one offers a fragmentary glimpse into the experience of gender transition and taken together, the 52 poems present a narrative account of a year of change, apprehension, and grief. The event was organised by English lecturer Dr Christa de Brún and funded by the EDI office at SETU Waterford.
In this episode of the podcast, William and Christa join Jenny in studio to talk about the importance of this type of poetry work and how literature can challenge stereotypes and provide representation for marginalised groups. William also discusses his role in setting up the Trans Limerick Community (TLC) to support trans people in Limerick city and county.
Ep 51: Dalal Sayed, Lani O’Hanlon and Sinead O’Higgins
In this episode of the podcast, Jenny talks to the facilitators of this semester’s English and Theatre Studies Day, Dalal Sayed and Lani O’Hanlon, as well as Sinead O’Higgins of Waterford Libraries. Dalal’s recent memoir Escape from War to Live in Peace tells of her family’s experience of fleeing from Syria and settling in Cappoquin, Waterford and Lani has recently won the Trócaire Ireland Poetry Competition with her poem, “When I visit Dalal” about their relationship. Sinead was instrumental in securing funding to get the book published and has been involved in organising launch and publicity events that centre Dalal’s story. The three of them discuss the way the book came about, its importance, and how writing and sharing one’s story can become a way of healing. English and Theatre Studies Day was supported by the Department of Arts, Waterford Libaries and Creative Ireland.
Ep 50: Extra-Curricular Events
In this episode of the podcast, we check in with third year English and Theatre Studies students Dawn Murray and Naja Klemme, who discuss what they have gained from taking part in extra-curricular activities at SETU. They discuss how they got to know one another via online bingo sessions organised by the Students’ Union during Covid, how important it is to connect with lecturers and guest speakers at organised events, and what it’s like to work with performance artists and theatre practitioners as part of the Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford.
Ep 49: Aislinn O’Loughlin (and werewolves and vampires)
In this special, fifth anniversary episode of The Nerve, author Aislinn O’Loughlin discusses writing in the Young Adult genre in advance of the release of her new book, Big Bad Me. The novel tells the story of Evie and her sister Kate, who encounter a litany of suspicious murders in the wake of Evie’s revelation that she is a werewolf. A novel about identity, difference, family and love, it relies on vibrant and sparky characters along with witty dialogue to engage its readers. Aislinn talks about writing books in her teens, how to appreciate rejection letters from publishers and what it’s like to dream a werewolf into existence.
Ep 48: Poet, academic Emily Cullen
In this final episode of the podcast for this academic year, Jenny is joined by poet, scholar, harper and Arts curator, Emily Cullen. Emily is currently the Poet in Residence in the University of Limerick and combines that role with poetry writing as well as curating literature and poetry events. On foot of Poetry Day Ireland, Emily talks about the importance of poetry in Irish life, her “scenic” route to where she is now, and teaching as a mutually enriching experience for students and teachers alike. She also reads and discusses a poem from her collection, Conditional Perfect (2019).
Below is the list of texts referred to during the podcast.
No vague utopia by Emily Cullen
In between angels and animals by Emily Cullen
Conditional Perfect by Emily Cullen
Letters to a young poet by Rainier Maria Rilke
Poetry Writing: An Expert Guide by Fiona Sampson
Writing down the bones by Natalie Goldberg
Straw for the Fire by Theodore Roethke
Various texts by Annie Finch
Ep 47: Vincent Devine (painter of The Vicky Phelan Triptych)
In this episode of the podcast, Jenny is joined by the artist Vincent Devine, who recently travelled the country with his painting ‘The Vicky Phelan Triptych,’ and its owner, David Brennan. Vincent attended WIT’s International Women’s Day celebrations, where he talked the audience through the symbolism of each section of the painting, and the collaborative process that he and Vicky went through during its planning and development. He discusses the importance of the painting in generating conversations around women’s health, trauma and resilience, and how it has impacted his own life and work. During the episode, Jenny and Vincent also discuss Dr Christa de Brún’s poem, “Triptych in Blue” written about the artwork.
Ep 46: English and Theatre Studies Day in the Theatre Royal, with Jamie Beamish
On Wednesday 9th March, students of English and Theatre Studies at WIT attended a workshop on Shakespeare facilitated by actor Jamie Beamish in the wonderful environs of Waterford’s Theatre Royal. Jamie is the current Theatre Artist in Residence in the Theatre Royal and in this episode, he joins Jenny in studio alongside the manager of the theatre, Mary Boland, who has an ambitious new vision for how the venue might open itself up to the people of the south east. They discuss the impact of the English and Theatre Studies Day, the changing role of theatre in our society, and how important it is to embrace Shakespeare!
Jamie Beamish has appeared in Bridgerton and Derry Girls and has recently wrapped on the new series Billy the Kid and Halo (based on the video game). He has also recently performed in the Abbey production of Marina Carr’s Portia Coughlan, has acted on the stage of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and has played a wide range of Shakespearean roles over the course of his career.
Ep 45: Postgraduate Study
In this episode of The Nerve, we are guided by our third-year students, who have lots of questions about how to find the right postgraduate course, and how to navigate the PAC and UCAS systems. In studio with Jenny are Angela Collins, Head of Careers and Careers Advisor at WIT, and final year English students Katie Chance and Ben Harper.
If you’re still not sure what you want to do, how do you go about narrowing your selection? What kinds of documentation do colleges look for upon application? How do you write a personal statement? How early should you start to think about postgrad courses? These are some of the questions that Angela provides answers to in the episode, as well as offering sound and practical advice for all students thinking about postgraduate study.
Ep 44: Edward Hayden, Drama League of Ireland
In this episode of the podcast, Dr Jenny O’Connor chats to WIT’s own Edward Hayden in his capacity as editor of the Drama League of Ireland magazine. Edward is the course leader for the Higher Certificate in Culinary Arts and is well known to viewers of Virgin Media’s Ireland AM where he occupies a guest chef slot. In his spare time, Edward is a very active member of the award-winning New Ross Drama Workshop, and in his role as editor of the DLI magazine, has interviewed and curated content for the first issue of 2022. He speaks about the challenges facing drama societies around the country during the pandemic and the many exciting opportunities that now present themselves as the country opens up once more.
Ep 43: Annemarie Ní Chuireáinn and Dr. Christa de Brún
In this episode, Dr. Jenny O’Connor talks to the award-winning poet Annemarie Ni Churreáin, who gave an online seminar this semester at WIT on the way in which literature can develop a critical consciousness in students. This event was organised by English lecturer Dr Christa de Brún, who joins Jenny to chat about using one of Annemarie’s poems to challenge and stimulate students’ thinking. Annemarie has had her poetry published in the Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly and her first collection, Bloodroot, was shortlisted for highly prestigious awards in Ireland and the U.S. She is a member of the Writers in Prisons Panel co-funded by the Arts Council and the Department of Justice and was also the artist in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris. Her new collection, The Poison Glen, is out now.
Note: The Critical Thinking through Literature event, featuring Annemarie Ni Churreáin, was funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Ep 42: Iron Annie Cabaret
In this episode, Jenny is joined by Luke Cassidy, the author of the novel Iron Annie, and writer of the stage show adaptation of the text, the Iron Annie Cabaret. Luke talks about setting his debut novel in his home town of Dundalk, writing two female lead characters, and what is involved in getting a stage show off the ground in Covid times.
Ep 41: The Little Robber Girl
In this episode of The Nerve, Jenny talks to theatre makers Deirdre Dwyer and Nicholas Kavanagh, who facilitated this semester’s English and Theatre Studies Day at WIT. Deirdre’s new work is the audio drama The Little Robber Girl, which, along with the accompanying postal pack, brings to life the story of tearaway Mattie and her dog, Arthur. This work was written by Deirdre in her role as Theatre Artist in Residence at Garter Lane Arts Centre, and employs the voice talents of several local actors, one of whom is the mercurial Nicholas Kavanagh. They discuss the process of bringing this unusual project to life, the importance of deadlines and the experience of recording your voice in the hot press.
Ep 40: Returning To Campus After Lockdown
In this (celebratory!) episode of The Nerve, Dr Jenny O’Connor is joined in studio by second year student Anthony Finn and third year students Aoife Manville and Katie Chance, who have returned to the WIT campus after 18 months. They discuss the remote online learning experience, making friends with people who used to be virtual classmates on Zoom and what it’s like preparing for your first ever college exam in your final year of college.
Ep 39: Write by the Sea Festival with Lucy Moore
Welcome back to the first episode of The Nerve for the new semester. In this episode, Dr Jenny O’Connor speaks to Lucy Moore of the Write by the Sea Festival which normally takes place in Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford. This year, the festival remains online and will host the likes of Douglas Kennedy, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Colm Tóibín, Melatu Uche Okorie, Billy O’Callaghan and WIT’s very own Dr. Fiona Ennis. Lucy discusses community support for the festival, the high quality of entries for the writing competition and storytelling in sitting rooms.
Tickets can be bought from www.writebythesea.ie
Ep 38: Tomm Moore of Cartoon Saloon
In this episode of the podcast, Jenny speaks to Tomm Moore of Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon. Its most recent film, Wolfwalkers, is currently nominated for the 2021 Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature, and was also nominated for a Golden Globe. Prior to this, The Breadwinner, Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells and the short film Late Afternoon were also nominated for Oscars and other prestigious awards. The studio produces content for television and streaming services too, and has thrived during the pandemic creating an impressive slate of new productions that will come to fruition over the next five years. During the podcast, Tomm chats about setting up the studio, writing stories collaboratively, the importance of multitasking and what it’s like to go to the Oscars.
Ep 37: Joanne McCarthy of The Waxed Lemon
In this episode, Jenny is joined by Joanne McCarthy, one of the co-founders of literary magazine, The Waxed Lemon. Joanne discusses the responses to the latest edition’s call for submission, offers advice for budding contributors and reads from her own poetry which has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Honest Ulsterman, and The Bangor Literary Review.
Ep 36: John Patrick McHugh
In this episode of the podcast, Jenny chats to writer John Patrick McHugh, whose recent collection of short stories, Pure Gold, has received rave reviews from The Irish Times and Vanity Fair. Prior to the publication of the collection, JP’s stories were published in literary journals like Granta, Winter Papers and The Stinging Fly. The conversation veers from how long it takes to produce two good sentences to working in a supportive writing bubble with Nicole Flattery and Sally Rooney, and how it feels to find out you’ve been published. JP also reads from a couple of stories in the collection.
Ep 35: Bernie McGill
Bernie McGill’s novel The Watch House was nominated in 2019 for the Ireland/European Prize for Literature and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes nominated The Butterfly Cabinet as his novel of the year in 2012. Her short fiction has been nominated for several awards and in 2008, she won the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Award in the United States. Bernie is a former Writing Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University, Belfast and she teaches and facilitates workshops with the Irish Writers’ Centre (one of which is coming up in April of 2021).
In this episode, Jenny talks to Bernie about what a typical day in her life is like, what it has meant to her to contribute to anthologies that highlight the work of women writers and how teaching keeps her awake at night!
Ep 34: Royal Irish Academy Librarian, Barbara McCormack
In this season of episodes, Jenny conducts one-to-one interviews with people who are important to the Arts in Ireland in one way or another. This first episode features Barbara McCormack, the Academy Librarian with the Royal Irish Academy. The discussion focuses on what it means to be in this type of role and how the pandemic has affected the work that can be done. There is also some valuable advice for students looking to follow this career path.
Ep 33: Christmas Recommendations
Ho ho ho! Five of the regular podcast hosts from WIT got together to record a joint episode recommending some books, TV programmes, films, podcasts and tech that you (or a loved one) might enjoy over the Christmas period. Features Jenny O’Connor from The Nerve, Bruce Wardrop from Win Win, Niamh Maguire from Engendering Change, Tom Grinsell from WIT Talks Student Life and Rob O’Connor of The Machine.
A very Happy Christmas to all our listeners.
- (Book) Atomic Habits – James Clear https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits
- (Podcast) Real Science of Sport https://twitter.com/sportsscipod
- (Podcast) Where Is George Gibney? https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/p08njhrm
- (Book) Girl Woman Other – Bernadine Evaristo https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41081373-girl-woman-other
- (TV Show) - Rita https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/70285368
- (Documentary) The Wolfpack Insider [Tour de France 2020] https://youtu.be/NOEoqwi9Mls
- (TV Show) Queen’s Gambit https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/80234304
- (Book) Actress – Anne Enright https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45993330-actress
- (Film) God’s Own Country https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5635086/
- (Film) Only You https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/81111212
- (Film) The Midnight Sky https://www.netflix.com/ie/title/80244645
- (Tech) Nintendo Switch https://www.nintendo.com/switch/
Ep 32: If I knew then what I know now…
In this episode of The Nerve, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by three English graduates who are currently engaged in postgraduate study. Lauren Browne, Michael Power and Dylan Phelan reflect on what they might tell their first year selves about opening themselves up to new experiences, taking feedback on board and fostering self-belief, and they discuss how the BA Arts programme has prepared them for the current challenges of their postgraduate work.
Ep 31: English and Theatre Studies Day with Billy O’Callaghan
In this episode of The Nerve, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by Billy O’Callaghan, our special guest for this semester’s English and Theatre Studies Day. Billy is the winner of a Bord Gais Energy Book Award and has been nominated for a raft of other awards for his writing. He has had over a hundred short stories published in literary journals around the world and has had his work translated into eleven languages. Billy ran two sessions with our students: one on the art and craft of the short story, and another on the how to get published. Dr Fiona Ennis is also a guest on this episode of the podcast. Winner of the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award for her short story “Debt”, Fiona was also nominated for the Bristol Short Story Award this year for her story “Host” .
Ep 30: Global Undergraduate Awards and life after the BA Arts programme at WIT
In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor talks to Dr. Christa de Brun about being on the judging panel for the Global Undergraduate Awards, which receives approximately 4,000 entries each year from across the world. She is also joined by two former English, Aaron Kent and Alessia Zuccarelli, who discuss being highly commended in the Awards and how their time at WIT led to their current postgraduate opportunities. Aaron has recently won an Irish Research Council scholarship and has taken up a PhD position at WIT, working alongside Dr. Una Kealy and Dr. Kate McCarthy on the underrepresentation of Irish women playwrights following the War of Independence. Alessia is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Ep 29: Online Teaching & Learning
In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor speaks to Dr. Áine Furlong, Dr. Úna Kealy and English and Theatre Studies student Jack Reid about the process of moving from face-to-face to emergency online teaching and learning. They discuss the things that scared them the most, the opportunities they see in the digital space, and top tips for maximising time and energy online.
Ep 28: Books on the Nightstand
We continue our Books on the Nightstand tradition in the final episode of The Nerve for this semester. However, while we normally invite staff from other departments to give their recommendations, we had to improvise a little in these abnormal times. Instead, this episode comes to you from the sitting room of Dr. Jenny O’Connor, who is joined by her husband Rob O’Connor from the Department of Computing and Mathematics, and their four daughters Sophie, Elise, Wendy and Stella. From science fiction to modernist literature, adventure stories to rhyming books about naughty musical notes, there is something here for everyone.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan
Ratburger by David Walliams
The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Harry Potter by JK Rowling
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
The Diddle that Dummed by Kes Gray and Fred Blunt
Ep 27: Waterford’s Magdalene Heritage
In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by Dr. Jennifer O’Mahoney and Dr. Kate McCarthy of the Magdalene Heritage and Waterford Memories projects which aim to document survivors’ narratives about their time in Magdalene laundries and to offer educational resources to schools and the general public that focus on the social history, cultural and built heritage of Waterford’s former Magdalene Laundry and Industrial School. Dr. O’Mahoney and Dr. McCarthy have developed Waterford Memories website (www.waterfordmemories.com) and have recently launched a resource called Exploring Waterford's Magdalene Heritage: An Activity & Resource Pack, a set of cultural and heritage-informed educational resources.
Please note that due to restrictions arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, this podcast was recorded via Zoom, which may affect the audio quality in places.
Ep 26: Donal Ryan. English Day at WIT
English Day at WIT takes place once per semester. This semester, we were delighted to welcome the multi-award winning author and lecturer in Creative Writing, Donal Ryan to the Institute for a workshop with our English major and minor students. In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by Donal who speaks about the process of writing and the emergent beauty of simple, precise language. Dr. Fiona Ennis, Dr. Christa de Brún and third year student Angela Sutherland also offer their thoughts on Donal’s work and what they learned from the workshop about their own writing.
Ep 25: Theatre trip: Gone Full Havisham
As part of the extracurricular programme of events on offer to students of English and/or Theatre Studies at WIT, staff and students attended a production of Gone Full Havisham at Garter Lane Arts Centre. The play documents the wedding night of Emily Halloran, who has been jilted at the altar and is live streaming the fallout via social media. Written and performed by Irene Kelleher and directed by Regina Crowley, it uses innovative staging techniques and challenges the audience to think about their own complicity as they enjoy the spectacle that unfolds. Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined in the studio by Dr. Kate McCarthy, lecturer in Theatre Studies and English, and third year students Grainne Kavanagh and John Power who were in attendance on the night.
Link to Irene Kelleher’s Mary and Me: https://www.rte.ie/culture/2019/0220/1031653-mary-and-me-listen-to-irene-kellehers-drama-on-one-play/
Ep 24: Students of English at WIT
In the first episode of The Nerve for the new semester, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by three English students to talk about the content of the English programme: first year Rebecca Byrne, second year Beibhinn O’Sullivan and third year Lauren Browne. The students discuss the modules they’re studying, the extra-curricular English activities facilitated by staff and the benefits of studying at WIT (there are many!).
Ep 23: Books on the Nightstand
In this episode, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by colleagues from the School of Humanities to discuss the current books on their nightstand. Dr. Hazel Farrell (Music), Philip Cremin (Religious Studies) and Dr. Christa de Brún (English) talk about the texts they have been enjoying recently and that they would recommend to others. The books include a biography about a woman who created Ireland’s first concert hall and youth orchestra; a bildungsroman about growing up in pre-Troubles Derry; a classic of gay literature that investigates themes of self-denial and the concept of home; a fantasy adventure and theological tome that we all think we know; and a story about the contemporary racial divide in America. These books might make good Christmas presents for the awkward bibliophile in your life! For details on all of the books discussed, see the podcast notes below.
Olive Smith: A Musical Visionary by Gillian Smith
Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Ep 22: Translating Irish Plays
In this episode of the podcast, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by Dr. José Francisco Fernández Sánchez, a Beckett scholar and expert in translation from the University of Almería in Spain, as well as WIT lecturers Dr. Úna Kealy (English and Theatre Studies) and Andrés Romera (Spanish) who have recently collaborated on a translation of Teresa Deevy’s The King of Spain’s Daughter. The discussion ranges from Samuel Beckett and Teresa Deevy to how to translate colloquial Waterford sayings and how to convey humour in another language.
Ep 21: Imagine Arts Festival and Waterford Writers’ Weekend
In this episode, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by Jane Keane of the Imagine Arts Festival committee who highlights this year’s not-to-be missed events and talks about how important the Arts scene is for Waterford. The festival incorporates Waterford Writers’ Weekend and also in studio are Dr. Una Kealy and Dr. Fiona Ennis who speak about their festival event, which is entitled “Impossible Situations: Waterford women writing on love and loss”. The Imagine Arts Festival takes place from 18th – 27th October, 2019.
Ep 20: Theatre trips: Synge and O’Neill
Upcoming productions: The Playboy of the Western World, Long Day’s Journey into Night and the Eugene O’Neill Festival
In this, our twentieth episode of The Nerve, we discuss upcoming theatre productions and the texts behind them. Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined in studio by Dr. Richard Hayes, an O’Neill scholar who tells us about the extraordinary journey of Eugene O’Neill’s family from New Ross to America and the festival that celebrates his life and work in New Ross this October. Also in studio are new first year students Catherine Bradley and Brendan Ahearne who discuss their thoughts on JM Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, which is part of 2019’s Dublin Theatre Festival.
Ep 19: Jamie Beamish
In this episode, Dr. Jenny O’Connor is joined by fellow English and Theatre Studies lecturer, Dr. Kate McCarthy and special guest, WIT alumnus and London-based actor Jamie Beamish. Jamie discusses playing Iago in a Waterford accent, what he learned during his time studying music at WIT, and how a willingness to diversify and adapt is key to the success of any Arts graduate.
Ep 18: Flash Fiction
In the final episode of The Nerve for this academic year, Jenny is joined by Margaret O’Brien, lecturer in Creative Writing at WIT and second year English students Michael Power and Eleanor O’Connor. The discussion is focused upon flash fiction: stories of 1,000 words or less that, through their brevity, offer freedom from the traditional rules of writing and yet, require great attention to detail. Students of English at WIT talk about their experiences of writing flash fiction, and Margaret outlines the potential offered by this narrative form.
Ep 17: The Country Girls
In this episode of the podcast, Jenny is joined by Dr. Úna Kealy, lecturer in English and Theatre Studies, and students from both of those disciplines, Aoife Molloy, Sinead Croarkin and Bronagh Sharpe. The topic under consideration is the production of The Country Girls now playing in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, which WIT staff and students travelled to last week. The Country Girls, a novel banned upon its release in 1960 for its sexually explicit content, was adapted for the stage by the novel’s author Edna O’Brien, and this production (directed by Graham McLaren) invites lots of discussion over the rendering of its key themes and the fate of its protagonists, not to mention the role of the predatory Mr. Gentleman..!
Ep 16: Shakespeare the author? Shakespeare the screenwriter!
In this episode, Jenny is joined by Dr. Kate McCarthy, fellow English lecturer (and our resident Shakespeare conspiracy theorist) and first year students Béibhínn O’Sullivan and Dean Cusack Lynch, who are currently studying the module Shakespeare: Drama and Film. The podcast discusses our enduring attachment to Shakespeare, the film adaptations and reinterpretations of his plays, and whether he, in fact, is the real author behind the best known works in the English language.
Ep 15: Counterparts and Creative Writing with Danielle McLaughlin
This special episode of The Nerve sees writer Danielle McLaughlin join Dr. Jenny O’Connor in the studio, alongside Creative Writing lecturer Margaret O’Brien and English students Brandon Collins and Dylan Phelan. Danielle McLaughlin is the current UCC Writer-in-Residence and her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Southword, The New Yorker and have been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. Her debut collection of short storiesDinosaurs on Other Planets was published in Ireland, the UK, the US and Slovakia. Last year, she edited Counterparts, an anthology of work by writers with legal backgrounds, and on the day of the podcast, she also gave a seminar and writing workshop to our lucky English students.
Ep 14: Books on the Nightstand
The first English at WIT podcast of 2019 sees Dr. Jenny O’Connor and Dr. Fiona Ennis of English discussing “Books on the Nightstand” with Mairéad Meagher and Rob O’Connor of the Department of Computing and Maths. Topics range from short story collections about gender, law and politics to novels about music and physics, as well as genocide and the Nuremberg trials. We also mention Danielle McLaughlin’s edited collection Counterparts in advance of her visit to WIT next Tuesday 5th February.
More info on the books discussed can be found at:
Fresh Complaint - Jeffrery Eugenides. https://bit.ly/2UNbs2X
Counterparts: A Synergy of Law and Literature - Danielle McLaughlin, ed. https://bit.ly/2BoPtIf
The Time Of Our Singing - Richard Powers. https://bit.ly/2TB1yRQ
Sweet Home - Wendy Erskine. https://bit.ly/2UEqUOK
East West Street - Philippe Sands. https://bit.ly/2Tv774c