Ngugi wa Thiongo to speak at MIC as part of the LÍON conference celebrating Bliain na Gaeilge

Ngugi wa Thiongo

Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiongo, Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UC Irvine

Ngugi wa Thiongo to speak at MIC as part of the LÍON conference celebrating Bliain na Gaeilge

The world famous writer and champion of African literature, Ngugi wa Thiongo, will be in Mary Immaculate College on Friday 9 November to speak at the LÍON, Limerick and Languages: Revival, resurgence and new beginnings conference and celebration.

Ngugi wa Thiongo, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, is one of the guest speakers at this major one-day international interdisciplinary bilingual event that will bring together leading thinkers to discuss the journey of Conradh na Gaeilge from the Revival period to today’s multicultural and globalised Ireland.

A recipient of numerous literary prizes, Ngũgĩ’s name has been mentioned as a leading contender for the Nobel Literature Prize. A former Amnesty ‘Prisoner of Conscience’, Ngugi was imprisoned at the end of 1977 for staging a controversial play in his native Kenya. While in prison he wrote his next work on prison toilet paper and decided to renounce English in order to write in his native Gikuyu. Ngũgĩ’s work has many parallels with that of Limerick’s own Michael Hartnett who also famously bade “farewell to English” to court “the language of my people”.

Free and open to the public, LÍON is part of the official programme of events for Bliain na Gaeilge, and takes place on Friday 9 November in Mary Immaculate College.

The conference programme has something for everyone. Renowned historian Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, NUIG, is sure to be a big draw as he returns to his native city to provide a personal perspective on Gaelic revivalism in Limerick c. 1930-1962. Cuan Ó Seireadáin, Curator of Conradh na Gaeilge, will discuss Douglas Hyde, first President of Ireland and a founder of Conradh na Gaeilge, in a talk that couldn’t be more timely given that our own President’s inauguration will take place on the same weekend. Professor Timothy G. Mc Mahon of Marquette University will travel from the USA to speak about ‘The Meanings of Revival: The Many Streams of Conradh na Gaeilge.’ Given current tensions and the political impasse in Northern Ireland, Linda Ervine’s talk ‘The Miracle that is Turas/Míorúilt Turas’, is also particularly topical. Now working with the East Belfast Mission, Ervine will share her story of being the first ever Irish language development officer in a loyalist working-class area in Belfast.

There will also be an exhibition on the Gaelic Revival and musical entertainment on the day.

Chief Executive of Conradh na Gaeilge, Julian de Spáinn, believes that 125 years after the foundation of the organisation, the time is right to broaden the Conradh’s membership. He said: “I am hopeful that major events like LÍON will provide fresh inspiration and impetus for discussing the role of language in forming identity.”

According to Dr Úna Bromell, MIC lecturer in History and co-organiser of the conference “Conradh na Gaeilge has had a proud presence in the city and county since the 29 July 1898, when the Limerick branch of the Conradh was founded”.

Her conference co-organiser and MIC lecturer in the Department of Irish Dr Róisín Ni Ghairbhí added: “We are so proud to host this major gathering at Mary Immaculate College and hope that the event will provide a welcoming forum for discussion of identity and culture in a new globalised multicultural Limerick.”

“All are welcome. Come and be inspired, find out more, and take part in the discussion about identity and language in Limerick,” Dr Bromell concluded.

Thanks to generous funding from Mary Immaculate College, Bliain na Gaeilge, Conradh na Gaeilge, Luimneach and Limerick City and County Council the event is free, although booking is advised.

LÍON will take place from 9.30am on Friday 9 November in the Tara Building in Mary Immaculate College.

To book your ticket please go here.

Further information is available at

For more stories on Mary Immaculate College go here.

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