31 January 2014

CfH Writer in Residence 2014: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Writer in Residence at the CfH in 2014

The Centre for the Humanities, in cooperation with City2Cities festival and the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication at Utrecht University, has announced this year’s Writer in Residence: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. She will be visiting Utrecht from 5 till 13 April and will take part in a number of public as well as academic events.

Revealing the 'real' woman

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill was born in Lancashire, England in 1952. She studied English and Irish. In her poetry, Ní Dhomhnaill uses language as a tool to liberate the marginalised in contemporary Irish society. She writes solely in Irish in a nation where Irish monoglots are non-existent, and in a subversive female narrative that challenges stereotypes of women in Ireland.

By writing about women's power, desire, emotions, and struggles, she enables the 'real' woman to emerge from patriarchal stereotypes. Ní Dhomhnaill dispels traditional myths of women and instead delivers to global audiences a self-confident, multi-dimensional view of women who openly display sexuality and a multiplicity of desire.

No more excuses

She also strives to move beyond the fragmentation that pervades Irish consciousness as a result of a repressive colonial past. Ní Dhomhnaill asserts that the whole 'postcolonial thing' is no longer an excuse for Ireland’s lack of psychic energy. Ní Dhomhnaill's poetry portrays women and the postcolonial subject as strong and active, as well as fragile and vulnerable. This plurality of identity helps to liberate both marginalised roles from their traditional stereotypes in contemporary Irish culture. Her reimagined roles for women and the formerly colonised attain a national and international context through the medium of English translation.

Athair (Father) by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. (From Nead an Dreoilín / The Wren's Nest, 2008)