October 30th, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street
London, WC1B 3NN
In light of social and legal changes in Ireland over recent years the ILS is drawing together Irish writers to consider the representation of queer people in Irish literature. Our panel will be reflecting on London as a place of escape, queer representation in Irish writing, homosexuality in the discourse of what constitutes Irishness, and the integration of queer characters and narratives into the wider culture. Here in London the 50-year anniversary since it stopped being illegal for two men (criminal law, until Section 28, targeted only men) to be in a relationship in England and Wales has been widely celebrated, the law changed in Scotland and Northern Ireland later – not until 1993 was same-sex sexual activity decriminalised in Ireland. Historically many Irish queer people felt compelled to emigrate in search of a more supportive social climate, the attraction of London was obvious as a metropolitan centre associated with tolerance of sexual diversity and established queer communities. Yet now Ireland now has gay marriage (passed by 62% vote share), a young, openly gay taoiseach and progressive trans recognition legislation – the influence of Catholic dogma has clearly waned. The rich and varied work of our panel will be discussed in the context of these changes and each writer will read from their work. More details here.