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Playwright and Writer Hannah Khalil named 2021 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University

Photo of Hannah Khalil from the shoulders up. She is a white woman with chin-length brown hair. She is wearing a blue v-neck top and is looking at the camera.
Photo credit: Richard Saker

Villanova, Pa. – Villanova University has selected award-winning Palestinian Irish playwright and dramatist Hannah Khalil as the 2021 Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the spring 2021 semester. The visiting writer-in-residence program offers Irish Studies students the enriching experience of a close classroom experience with one of Ireland’s finest authors.

Khalil’s theatre work includes A Museum in Baghdad, which opened at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Swan Theatre in 2019; Interference for The National Theatre of Scotland; The Scar Test for London’s Soho Theatre; and Scenes from 68* Years for London’s Arcola Theatre. The latter work was nominated for the James Tait Black award and has subsequently been produced by Golden Thread Theatre in San Francisco as well as in Tunisia, supported by British Council Tunisia and Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. Khalil was awarded The Arab British Centre's Prize for Culture 2017.

Khalil is currently under commission to write new work for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Kiln and Golden Thread San Francisco. Along with her theater work, Khalil has written numerous radio plays, including The Unwelcome, Last of the Pearl Fishers and The Deportation Room, all for BBC Radio 4. Her television work includes multiple episodes of the BBC Channel 4 drama Hollyoaks.

Her screenplay, The Record, won the Tommy Vine screenplay award at the Underwire film festival, and it went on to become her first short film. It was selected for inclusion at London Palestine Film Festival and Almagro Festival as well as Filmets Badalona Film Festival and was a finalist in the Tolpuddle Radial Film Festival.

Khalil will present a digital lecture and reading as part of the 2021 Villanova Literary Festival on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at XX pm.

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 Owen McCafferty, Peter Fallon, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Eamon Greenan, Marina Carr, Vona Groarke, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Coady, Sebastian Barry, Justin Quinn, Claire Keegan, Gerald Dawe, John McAuliffe, Moya Cannon, Hugh Hamilton, Mary O’Malley and Eamonn Wall.

About the Center for Irish Studies: Villanova’s Center for Irish Studies provides collaborative, interdisciplinary courses open to all Villanova University students to study Ireland and its diaspora. Home to of one of the nation’s oldest and largest undergraduate curriculums of its kind, the Center also offers an exchange program with the Abbey Theatre, the National Theatre of Ireland, and internships at the Jackie Clarke Museum and Library in Ballina, Co. Mayo, among other programs in Ireland. The Center for Irish Studies has been made possible by a generous gift from the Connelly Foundation.

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.