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Declan Kiberd

Declan Kiberd (born 24 May 1951) is an Irish writer and scholar. He is known for his literary criticism of Irish literature in Irish and English, and his contributions to public cultural life.

In 2011, he was included by John Naughton in The Observer among his three hundred "public figures leading our cultural discourse".[1]

Early life and education

Kiberd was born in Dublin and went to Belgrove Primary School, where he was taught by the distinguished novelist John McGahern, before moving to St. Paul's College, Raheny. He is the brother of journalist Damien Kiberd. In 1969, he won an award to study Irish and English at Trinity College, Dublin, where he got a double first and a Gold Medal. He then went to Oxford where he took a DPhil under the late Richard Ellmann, the biographer of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and W. B. Yeats.

Academic career

Kiberd is the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.[2] Before this he held the Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College, Dublin. He joined UCD as lecturer in Anglo-Irish literature in 1979. He taught English previously in the University of Kent at Canterbury (1976–77), and Irish in Trinity College Dublin (1977–79). He was appointed Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at UCD in 1997.

He has also been Director of the Yeats International Summer School (1985–87), patron of the Dublin Shaw Society (1995–2000), a columnist with The Irish Times (1985–87) and The Irish Press (1987–93), the presenter of the RTÉ arts programme, Exhibit A (1984–86), and a regular essayist and reviewer in The Irish Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and The New York Times.

Other works of note

1987 he co-edited Omnium Gatherum: Essays for Richard Ellman, which had been intended as a festschrift[clarification needed] for Richard Ellmann, but became a memoriam when Ellmann died the same year.[3]

Another publication of note is Irish Classics, which was given the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2002.

Kiberd also wrote the introduction to the Penguin Classic Annotated Student's Edition of Ulysses, which re-released the Bodley Head/Random House text of 1960/1961.

In 2009, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living was published by Faber and Faber. It argues that Ulysses is a work of popular fiction, always intended for a mass readership, and examines how Joyce's modernist masterpiece reflects and satirises aspects of daily life.[4]

Research supervision, and interests

Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama, Children's Literature and Post-colonial theory. Kiberd serves on the advisory board of the International Review of Irish Culture[5] which describes itself as influenced by the critical theory developed by the neo-Marxist intellectuals of the Frankfurt School.[6]



  • Synge and the Irish Language, Macmillan: London 1979; second edition with new Introduction, London 1992.
  • Men and Feminism in Modern Literature, Macmillan: London 1985; second edition 1987.
  • Idir Dhá Chultúr (Essays on Interaction of Gaelic and English-language culture), Coiscéim Áth Cliath 1993; second edition with new preface 2002.
  • Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, Jonothan Cape London 1995; Harvard University Press 1996; Vintage Paperback 1996; Winner Michael Durkan Prize of American Committee of Irish Studies for Best Book of Cultural Criticism 1996; Oscar Wilde Award for Literary Achievement, 1996; Winner of Irish Times Literature Prize for Non-Fiction
  • Irish Classics, Granta London 2000; Harvard University Press 2001; Granta and Harvard Paperback 2001; Winner Truman Capote Prize for Best Work of Literary Criticism in the English-Speaking World 2002; Winner Robert Rhodes Prize of American Committee of Irish Studies for Best Book of Literary Criticism 2001.


  • An Crann Faoi Bhláth: Contemporary Irish Poetry with Verse Translations, Wolfhound Press Dublin 1989; 1997 (with Gabriel Fitzmaurice)
  • The Student's Annotated Ulysses, Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics, London 1992
  • The London Exiles: Wilde and Shaw' and 'Contemporary Irish Poetry' sections, Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Derry 1991
  • Two issues of The Crane Bag magazine


  • Anglo-Irish Attitudes, Field Day Derry 1985
  • Multiculturalism and Artistic Freedom: Rushdie, Ireland and India, Cork University Press 1992
  • Multiculturalism: The View from the Two Irelands (with Edna Longley), Cork University Press 2000

Scripts written:

  • A Short History of Ireland, BBC TV, 1986:
  • Plus many scripts for BBC Radio 3 on Irish themes 1990–present

Public roles

  • Chair, Public Libraries and Arts Government Commission 1996-9
  • Member, Forum on Future of Broadcasting 2002
  • Visiting Lecturer in over 30 countries 1982–present
  • Funding Awards

In addition to Books' Prizes listed above, received President's Award for 1998-9 and Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowship 2003-4.


External links

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