Ireland is synonymous with such literary greats as Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, one of the most influential and innovative writers in the English language. Four Nobel Prizes for literature have been awarded to writers associated with Dublin - playwright George Bernard Shaw, poet W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, and the multi-faceted Samuel Beckett. Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature, one of only four in the world.
Sent by Nora, a postcrosser from Ireland.
"While Dublin tourist guides attempt to coach visitors in the pronunciation of the Dublin greeting, ‘howaya?’ the equally common accompaniment to this – the enquiry, ‘what’s the story?’ reveals the remnants of an oral tradition which is alive and well, while also demonstrating Dubliners’ appetite for the world of books.
Ever eager for stories of themselves and others, Dubliners’ sensitivity to literary matters is acute, reinforced by an awareness of the works of the past as much as it is attuned to contemporary offerings – news of which is spread through the media, and through frequent readings, discussions and debates hosted by publishers, universities, libraries, literary organisations, book shops, pubs and cafes. The appreciation of writing and the richness of all its forms and genres is something that Dubliners display as a matter of course. Literary awareness is a form of currency in the capital, a bonding agent where pride is evident. Scepticism too fosters the famous ‘license with the Queen’s English’, for which the Irish are noted.
Writers in Dublin are not remote figures, out of step with the thrust of 21st century life but are part of the everyday landscape, much valued by Dubliners. The city has officially recognised writers by such diverse means as the conferring of the Freedom of the City, (George Bernard Shaw, Douglas Hyde and most recently, Thomas Kinsella) and through the Lord Mayor’s Awards, which in 2009 honoured the writer, Sebastian Barry. Further underlining the city’s literary credentials, the Man Booker International Prize was presented in Dublin for the first time in June 2009. (read more)