VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has selected noted Irish novelist and scholar Glenn Patterson as the 2016 Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies in its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The visiting artist-in-residence program offers Irish Studies students the enriching experience of a close classroom experience with one of Ireland’s finest novelists.
The author of ten novels and various plays and stories, Patterson will teach a course in Creative Writing, with a special emphasis on writing for the screen, and an Honors course on Belfast narratives during the spring semester. His most recent novel, The Rest Just Follows (Faber & Faber, 2014), follows the experiences of the Nimmo family in Belfast beginning in the 1970s.
A Belfast native, Patterson attended the University of East Anglia, Belfast, earning a Master’s in Creative Writing. He is currently a senior lecturer in the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast. Patterson has also been writer-in-residence at Queen’s University Belfast, Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia and writer-in-residence at University College Cork.
“Villanova is honored to host Northern Irish novelist, Glenn Patterson, as the 2016 Heimbold Chair,” Joseph Lennon, PhD, associate professor of English and director of Villanova University’s Irish Studies Program said. “His wit is as unerring as his evocations of the cities he has known, particularly Belfast. His books exercise readers' empathy, humor, and intelligence, giving us new looks at old troubles.”
Craig Bailey, PhD, associate professor of History and interim director of Villanova’s Irish Studies Program, adds, “Glenn Patterson's writing is as dynamic as the people and places that serve as his subject matter. Patterson's exploration of urban landscapes tells us much about the Irish experience, but also moves far beyond that particular focus to grapple with broader questions about the human condition. Villanova looks forward to welcoming him as the next Heimbold chair.”
Patterson’s essays have appeared in The Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Independent, Irish Times and Dublin Review. Many of his plays and stories have been broadcast on the radio as well as performed on stage. He has received praise for his novels from The International, The Sunday Tribune, and The Times and has been called “one of the best contemporary Irish novelists” by acclaimed author Colm Toibin.
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 arts including Peter Fallon, Nuala NiDhomhnaill, Eamon Greenan, Marina Carr, Vona Groarke, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Coady, Sebastian Barry, Justin Quinn and Claire Keegan, Gerald Dawe, John McAuliffe, Moya Cannon, Hugh Hamilton, Mary O’Malley and Eamonn Wall.
Villanova’s Irish Studies Program, now in its 36th anniversary, is one of the nation’s oldest and largest undergraduate curriculums of its type. It has recently expanded to include an exchange program with the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland.