Campus News

UB to host virtual Bloomsday celebration

James Joyce portrait.

James Joyce is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and is among the most highly researched literary figures of all time.

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published June 8, 2020

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James Joyce lovers worldwide are welcome to join UB for the James Joyce Collection Virtual Bloomsday Celebration, an evening to honor the famed writer’s landmark book “Ulysses,” considered by many to be the novel of the 20th century.

Held on June 16 ─ the same day the novel takes place ─ Bloomsday is an annual celebration across the globe that remembers the enigmatic story of a day in the life of “Ulysses” protagonist Leopold Bloom in Dublin, Ireland. Nearly 100 years after its publication in 1922, the novel continues to capture the hearts, minds and imaginations of readers.

Since its inception, Bloomsday has been celebrated in many ways, including walking tours in Dublin that retrace Bloom’s wanderings in the book, period-costume pub crawls and theatrical performances. Amidst the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomsday celebrations will primarily take place virtually, and UB is leading the fun.

With the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of James Joyce materials, the UB Poetry Collection is hosting a distinctive Bloomsday event featuring readings from Ireland’s Ambassador to the United States Daniel Mulhall, acclaimed Irish authors Edna O’Brien and Colm Tóibín, New York State Sen. Tim Kennedy and other notable guests.

The event, scheduled from 3-4:30 p.m. EDT on June 16, is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to register online to receive a link to participate.

James Maynard, curator of UB’s Poetry Collection, discusses one of the pieces of UB’s James Joyce Collection with Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall. At right is Mulhall’s wife, Greta Mulhall; at far left is state Sen. Tim Kennedy. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki.

James Maynard, curator of UB’s Poetry Collection, discusses one of the pieces of UB’s James Joyce Collection with Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall during Mulhall's visit to the Poetry Collection last July. At right is Mulhall’s wife, Greta Mulhall; at far left is state Sen. Tim Kennedy. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki.

Organized by the UB Poetry Collection and Office of Alumni Engagement, the program includes remarks by President Satish K. Tripathi, Poetry Collection Curator James Maynard, Poetry Collection Assistant Curator Alison Fraser and Michael Groden, a Joyce scholar and distinguished university professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario.

Featured guests include:

  • Edna O’Brien, Irish novelist and poet, and author of “The Country Girls” trilogy.
  • Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s 18th ambassador to the U.S. 
  • Colm Tóibín, Irish novelist, playwright and poet, and author of “Brooklyn.”
  • David Norris, Senator in Ireland, Joyce scholar and civil rights activist.
  • Katherine McSharry, deputy director of the National Library of Ireland.
  • Brigid Hughes, founding editor of literary journal and publisher “A Public Space​.”
  • Michael Silverblatt, host of “Bookworm,” a nationally syndicated program on KCRW.
  • Simon O’Connor, director of the Museum of Literature Ireland.
  • Vincent O’Neill, artistic director of Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre Company and director of theatre performance in the UB Department of Theatre and Dance.
  • Anne Fogarty, director of the James Joyce Research Centre at University College Dublin.
  • Margaret Kelleher, chair of Anglo-Irish literature and drama at University College Dublin.
  • Molly Peacock, Buffalo-born poet and essayist.
  • Gillian McCain, poet and author.
Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall takes a photo of a portrait of James Joyce during his visit to the UB Poetry Collection last July.

Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall takes a photo of a portrait of James Joyce during his visit to the UB Poetry Collection last July. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Joyce is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and is among the most highly researched literary figures of all time.

UB is home to the largest collection of materials on Joyce in the world, including more than 10,000 pages of his working papers, notebooks and manuscripts, as well as photographs, portraits, memorabilia and private library, providing unmatched glimpses into the author’s writing process and literary relationships.

The James Joyce Collection — part of the UB Poetry Collection, the library of record for 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone poetry — is a destination for scholars around the world.