Reflection on Textualities Conference 2015


The mini-conference held by MA English students of UCC went (almost) without a hitch on the 27th of February 2015. After rising early to make a brief appearance on the airwaves of UCC’s radio to publicise the event along with Margaux and Elaine (Listen here:, it was time to take to the council room. Nervous excitement was palpable. I was looking forward to sharing my presentation on Maeve Brennan with an audience of like-minded scholars and to receive feedback. The question my presentation posed was whether it is still accurate to consider her a ‘forgotten’ writer. After conversations with several fellow scholars, I have come to the conclusion that she was both not as widely known as she deserves, and also that those who do know her are only aware of her tragic personal life or (mistakenly) view her work as dull and hackneyed. I hoped to set up the aim of my thesis (an in-depth exploration of her marriage-related short fiction) by presenting the accounts that are well known about Maeve Brennan, and to consider whether it is accurate to view her only in terms of her beauty, tragedy or madness.

The initial fear about giving a presentation in Pecha-kucha style (20 slides, 20 seconds each) was evidently ill-founded as it emerged as a fluid and manageable means of presenting.

I was kept busy taking photographs throughout the conference which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had been concerned that it would take from my ability to focus on my colleague’s speeches but thankfully, it was not much of a distraction. Seán’s presentation on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks kick-started a new addiction for me and I also headed out to buy Myles na gCopaleen’s An Béal Bocht after Sam’s engaging discussion of the novel.

Acting as chairperson for Margaux, Rachel and Donal was also a great addition to my experience as it gave me the opportunity to become better acquainted with Harry Potter, James Joyce and Thomas Hardy, as well as the speakers presenting on them.

Donal, Rachel, Margaux, Jane

My own group, chaired by Elaine, also offered much support in the run up to the conference and I was very interested in their presentations; especially given that they were in an area very far outside of my own. Ciarán spoke about Fight Club and Peter about Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.

Ciarán, Jane, Peter, Elaine
Ciarán, Jane, Peter, Elaine

Links to the MA English student’s blogs can be found at the top of my homepage or at the link below:

Link to the website and live blog:

Link to my presentation:

Thank you to all who did so much hard work, it was a very memorable experience!

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