NUI Galway co-hosts Judging Shaw exhibition at Columbia University on Monday

NUI Galway and The Royal Irish Academy, in association with the Heyman Center, Columbia University, New York, will host a Judging Shaw Day, featuring a roundtable discussion entitled, ‘Shaw, Our Contemporary?’ a keynote lecture by Fintan O’Toole and a Judging Shaw Exhibition, on this Monday April 16 at Columbia University.

George Bernard Shaw was the most famous Irishman in the world for much of his life – yet, for many, the prodigious nature and quality of his output is forgotten. As well as being a prolific writer and polymath, he was one of the first global celebrities who carefully created and managed his personal brand of ‘GBS’. With his passionate interest in social justice and poverty, in human rights, in public discourse and in entertainment, he was a man with much to say to our times. This event will include discussion with academics, archivists and a publisher who will debate the relevance of Shaw today, on the stage, in the classroom and in print.

Speakers at the roundtable discussion include Catriona Crowe (Chair ), Member of the Royal Irish Academy; Adrian Paterson, Lecturer in English, NUI Galway; Ruth Hegarty,Managing Editor, Royal Irish Academy; Barry Houlihan, Archivist, NUI Galway; Lucy McDiarmid, Professor, Montclair State University; and Keri Walsh, Associate Professor, Fordham University

In the keynote lecture, Fintan O’Toole will explore Shaw’s ambivalent relationship with Ireland and Irish nationalism. George Bernard Shaw described Irish nationalist fervour in 1913 as “a burning fire shut up in the bones, a pain, a protest against shame and defeat, a morbid condition which a healthy man must shake off if he is to keep sane”. The only cure was national independence. Shaw always remained a paradoxical nationalist, arguing simultaneously that Irish freedom would do no good in itself and that it must be gained in order for the Irish to be able to think about other things. Author of a new book, Judging Shaw, Fintan O’Toole is a columnist and literary editor with The Irish Times and a Leonard L. Milberg lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton University. He has written books on Irish history, politics, society and culture. He has been awarded the European Press Prize 2017 and the Orwell Prize for Journalism 2017.

The lecture will be followed by a reception to launch the Judging Shaw exhibition co-curated by Ruth Hegarty, Barry Houlihan, Fintan O’Toole and Jeff Wilson. This event is part of the Judging Shaw program to mark the publication of Judging Shaw by Fintan O’Toole, published by the Royal Irish Academy.

The Judging Shaw event will take place in the Butler Library, Columbia University, New York on Monday, 16 April from 4pm to 7.30pm. The Judging Shaw Exhibition will run at the Heyman Center for the Humanities for the month of April.

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