Mary O'Donoghue Named 2023 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University

Mary O'Donoghue

Villanova, Pa. – Villanova University selected Mary O'Donoghue, an award-winning Irish poet, fiction writer, editor and translator as the 2023 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the spring semester. The visiting writer-in-residence program offers Irish Studies students the opportunity to participate in a close classroom experience with one of Ireland’s finest authors.

O'Donoghue will teach a course focused on modern Irish literature and translation and visit with students in other writing and literature-based classes. “In these classes, students can expect to encounter many provocative questions raised by modern and contemporary Irish literature. I want students to be weekly enriched—and ready to take pleasure and perplexity in equally productive measures,” she says.

Originally from County Clare, Ireland, O’Donoghue now divides her time between Boston, where she teaches in the Arts and Humanities division at Babson College, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where she lives with her husband and stepdaughter. O’Donoghue is the author of the novel Before the House Burns (The Lilliput Press, 2010) and the poetry collections Among These Winters (Dedalus Press, 2007) and Tulle (Salmon Poetry, 2001). Her forthcoming short story collection will be published by Stinging Fly Press in 2023.

O'Donoghue's writing awards include two artist's fellowships from Massachusetts Cultural Council (2006 and 2012), Irish Times’ Legends of the Fall prize for short fiction in response to Ireland's economic crisis (2013), and residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Her fiction has appeared in many notable US and European publications including Subtropics, The Common, Granta, Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Irish Times, Sunday Times UK, Stinging Fly, Dublin Review and more. O'Donoghue has also translated some poems published in Leabhar na hAthghabhala / Poems of Repossession (Bloodaxe Books/ Clo Iar-Chonnachta, 2016) and Sean O Riordain Selected Poems (Yale University Press, 2014).

As part of the 2023 Villanova Literary Festival, O'Donoghue will present a reading on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception starting at 6 p.m., in the Presidents’ Lounge, Connelly Center on Villanova’s campus. The Center will also host “Writers and Editors, Ethics and Craft: A Conversation with the 2023 Irish Studies Heimbold Chair Mary O’Donoghue and Irish writer Lisa McInerney” on Wednesday, April 19 at 4 p.m. in the Speakers’ Corner in Falvey Memorial Library. O'Donoghue and McInerney will discuss the craft of writing, translation and editing.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies, inaugurated in 2000, has become one of the most prestigious Irish Studies positions in the United States. Former Heimbold Chairs include luminaries from the Irish literary arts including Emma Dabiri, Hannah Khalil, Owen McCafferty, Peter Fallon, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Eamon Greenan, Marina Carr, Vona Groarke, Conor O’Callaghan, Sebastian Barry, Justin Quinn, Claire Keegan, Gerald Dawe, John McAuliffe, Moya Cannon, Hugh Hamilton, Mary O’Malley and Eamonn Wall.

About the Villanova Center for Irish Studies: The Center for Irish Studies at Villanova University has been a leader for four decades in interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship on Ireland in a global framework. The Center connects students to local community organizations while also preparing them to become citizens equipped to take on the world’s most pressing challenges. Through liberal arts-focused academics, multi-disciplinary scholarship and key partnerships, the Center provides students with research, study abroad and employment opportunities.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.