Preliminary Call for Papers



Exploring Irish Childhoods /

An Irish writer in her time



Long Room Hub,

Trinity College Dublin

6–7 March 2020

in association with the School of English, TCD


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Born in Galway, Eilís Dillon grew up with the new Irish state. She started writing in the 1940s, and over the next half-century published more than fifty works charting the concerns of a changing Ireland following the war of independence. Her range was extraordinary: three literary novels, three detective stories, five historical novels, thirty-eight books for children and young people, two stage plays produced in the Abbey and Peacock, two edited books, some poems, short stories, autobiographical essays, translations and radio plays. She lived at various times in Italy and America, served on the Arts Council, and helped to develop cultural organizations including the Irish Writers’ Centre, Children’s Books Ireland, and Aosdána. Her first publications were written in Irish, but the vast majority were in English; so far, her works have been translated into fifteen languages. Her last children’s book was set in Hungary during the Holocaust.


eilís dillon centenary conference,

tcd, 6–7 march 2020


We now invite proposals for papers or panels at a colloquium marking the centenary of Eilís Dillon’s birth. Possible topics include:


History as background or foreground

Ireland in the mid-century

Modernizing Ireland

Irish women writers

Irish language


Translation, translations

Myths, Stories and Archetypes

Influences and tradition

Sources and Successors

Text and illustration

Irish crime fiction

Description and dialogue


Characters of Irish fiction

Communities and conflict

Family life


Intergenerational relationships

Humour and satire

Islands and isolation



The Wild Atlantic West

Music and song

Dealing with the past


The sea

Rome and environs


These are some suggestions, but everyone will have their own ideas, which are welcome. Proposals are invited which address specific topics, or make a contribution to broader cultural or historical debates. Registration for the conference is free.


In this first call, the deadline for proposing panels, topics or individual 20-minute papers is Wednesday 31 August 2019. Please send all proposals to


Other centenary events will also take place. The Eilís Dillon website ( is currently being updated and will change to


Contacts: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Cormac Ó Cuilleanáin.

Advisory committee: Jane Suzanne Carroll, Celia Keenan, Patricia Kennon, Amanda Piesse, Mary Shine Thompson, Pádraic Whyte.