Top author takes creative writing chair at University of Limerick

Bestselling author Joseph O'Connor who will take up the Chair of creative writing at the University of Limerick
Bestselling author Joseph O’Connor who will take up the Chair of creative writing at the University of Limerick

BESTSELLING author Joseph O’Connor has been announced as the inaugural Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Limerick.

The Dublin-born author will officially join the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences this summer and will teach students of the new UL Masters in Creative Writing programme set to commence this September. The esteemed novelist, whose works include ‘Cowboys and Indians’, ‘Star of the Sea’, ‘Redemption Falls’ and ‘Ghost Light’, will also present a number of public literary events in the Mid-West region.

Speaking about the appointment Professor Don Barry, UL President commented: “There is tremendous excitement at the University at the moment as people learn of this appointment. Not only is it great news for UL but also for Limerick City which has a strong literary tradition.”

“For UL students, particularly the future students of the new MA in Creative Writing, it will be a tremendous opportunity to be led by a man of Joseph’s literary stature,” Professor Barry added.

O’Connor, who has also penned collections of short stories and a number of bestselling works of non-fiction, is a former Harman Visiting Professor at Baruch College, the City University of New York. He is also a former Cullman Fellow at New York Public Library and was twice a Writer in Residence at UCD, from where he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in 2011.

“I am thrilled, grateful and deeply honoured to be entrusted with this new position at the University of Limerick,” said the bestselling author.

“Frank McCourt was a writer of immense gifts and extraordinary achievements. But he was a teacher first and last. He knew teaching can change lives. With my colleagues I look forward to building a first-rate Creative Writing department at UL, a programme that is fit for 21st century purpose, and working hard for all lovers of literature and storytelling in Limerick,” O’Connor enthused.

The new Masters in Creative Writing is a one-year programme at UL to enable students to develop their skills in creative writing through careful consideration of the work of established writers, through study of the elements and formal structures of a piece of creative writing; through assignments that enable students to employ and master strategies for revision and refinement of their own work and through an understanding of the requirements of the submissions and publication process.

The late ‘Angela’s Ashes’ author’s wife Ellen McCourt said she was “thrilled with the selection of Joseph O’Connor as the first recipient of the Frank McCourt Chair”.

“Joseph has the whole package: a beautiful writer, passionate teacher and a charismatic personality who will make an excellent Ambassador for the University. He is also compassionate, curious, fearless and mischievous. All qualities Frank admired. Joseph is an excellent and exciting choice for the Chair,” said Mrs McCourt.

Places are currently available on UL’s MA in Creative Writing Programme. For further Information and online application process contact