The III International Flann O’Brien Conference

Centre for Irish Studies, Charles University, Prague

16-19 September 2015


Registration | Accommodation | Programme | Useful Information

Written at a time of profound transformation in post-independence Ireland and war-torn Europe, and displaying an acute awareness of the epochal changes bearing on modern notions of literature and the self, Flann O’Brien’s œuvre offers a sustained engagement with the representation of cultural, political, and personal metamorphosis. This is a body of writing in which the human always bears the potential to be radically remade in the forms of horses, bicycles, and trains; in which genre, language, and literary form are constantly reorganised and refashioned; in which a programme of pseudonymity presents the comic writer as a master of disguise and identity as a matter of constant flux. At Metamorphoses: The III International Flann O’Brien Conference, the organisers propose to build on the current sea change in O’Brien studies to foster a scholarly and critical debate dedicated to the theme of metamorphosis in the writer’s work.


Keynote Speakers

Joseph Brooker (Birkbeck, University of London)

Joseph Brooker

Joseph Brooker is Reader in Modern Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, where he is Director of the Centre for Contemporary Literature. He is the author of Joyce’s Critics (2004), Flann O’Brien (2005) and Literature of the 1980s (2010), and has edited special issues of New Formations, Journal of Law & Society, Textual Practice, and Critical Quarterly. He organised the conferences Joycean Literature (2011) and 100 Dubliners (2014) and is a member of the host committee for the International James Joyce Symposium 2016.


Catherine Flynn (University of California, Berkeley)

Catherine Flynn

Catherine Flynn is Assistant Professor of English at UC Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University’s Introduction to the Humanities Program. Her book project, James Joyce, Walter Benjamin and the Matter of Modernity, considers Joyce and Benjamin’s radical rejections of the conventions of fiction and theory within a context of urban writing that ranges from nineteenth-century realist fiction to twentieth-century surrealist works. She is co-editor, with Richard Brown, of a forthcoming special issue of James Joyce Quarterly on ‘Joycean Avant-Gardes’. She is a member of the Advisory Board of The Parish Review. She is currently at work with David Wheatley on a scholarly edition of Cruiskeen Lawn.


Brian Ó Conchubhair (University of Notre Dame)

Brian Ó Conchubhair

Brian Ó Conchubhair is Associate Professor of Irish Language & Literature and Director of the Center for the Study of Languages & Cultures at the University of Notre Dame. In 2009 he published a monograph on the intellectual history of the Irish revival entitled Fin de Siècle na Gaeilge: Darwin, An Athbheochan agus Smaointeoireacht na hEorpa. He has edited numerous titles including Gearrscéalta Ár Linne (2006), WHY IRISH? Irish Language and Literature in Academia (2008), Twisted Truths (2011), Dorchadas le Liam Ó Flaithearta (2011), The Language of Gender, Power and Agency in Celtic Studies (2013), Lost in Connemara/Cailte i gConamara (2014), a special issue of Éire-Ireland dedicated to ‘Ireland and Sport’, and Pádraic Breathnach: Rogha Scéalta (2014). He was also Series Editor for Mercier’s Kerry’s Fighting Story 1916-1921, Limerick’s Fighting Story 1916-1921, Rebel Cork’s Fighting Story 1916-1921, and Dublin’s Fighting Story 1916-1921 (2009). In 2011-13, he served as the Executive Director of the IRISH Seminar. He was elected President of the American Conference for Irish Studies for 2015-2017. His current research project is a monograph concerning the impact on of high modernism on Irish-language authors with specific reference to the novel in Irish.


Guest Writers & Performers

Kevin Barry (City of Bohane; winner of the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award)

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry’s new novel, Beatlebone, will be published by Canongate in October 2015. His previous books include the Rooney-prize winning short story collection, There Are Little Kingdoms (2007), the Edge Hill-winning short story collection, Dark Lies The Island (2012), and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award-winning novel, City of Bohane (2011). He lives in Sligo.


Gerry Smyth & Co. (Liverpool John Moores University)

Gerry Smyth

Gerry Smyth is a Reader in Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. He researches in the areas of Irish cultural history (particularly popular music), modern fiction, post-colonialism, and contemporary critical theory. He has lectured across Europe and the United States, and held fellowships at institutions in Prague, Monaco and Vienna.

Gerry Smyth is also a musician and actor. In 2012 he completed his sixth and seventh studio albums. His own adaptation of Flann O’Brien’s ‘The Brother’ was one of the highlights of the IFOBS inaugural conference in Vienna in 2011, and was subsequently performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Gerry and his fellow theatre makers are bringing to Prague their new show, entitled ‘Will the Real Flann O’Brien …? A Life in Five Scenes’.


Book of Abstracts

Organizing Committee

Ondřej Pilný (Charles University, Prague), Paul Fagan (Salzburg University), Ruben Borg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Conference Venue

Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Palachovo nám. 2, 116 38 Prague 1 (at the metro A Staroměstská station), Room 111 (1st floor) and Room 200 (2nd floor)


Galina Kiryushina (registration coordinator), galina.kiryushina(at)

To join the International Flann O'Brien Society and receive updates on society conferences and your free copy of the society's peer-reviewed journal The Parish Review, send your details to viennacis.anglistik(at)

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland

The Embassy of Ireland to the Czech Republic

The Programme for the Development of Research Areas at Charles University P09, ‘Literature and Art in Intercultural Relations’, sub-programme ‘Transformations of the Cultural History of the Anglophone Countries: Identities, Periods, Canons’

Centre for Irish Studies, University of Vienna

Department of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, Charles University

Faculty of Arts, Charles University

Liverpool John Moores University



The Centre of Irish Studies wishes to acknowledge the financial assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland. Irish language teaching is funded from a grant awarded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland. Our special thanks are due to the Embassy of Ireland to the Czech Republic for their unrelenting encouragement and support.