We look forward to welcoming the following speakers appearing at Hinterland, Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco 8-10 November, 2019. Click on the images below for a short biography.
Brian Murphy is one of the most popular and respected sports journalists in the Bay Area. In tandem with Paul McCaffrey he presents the KNBR Radio morning sports show from 6-10 am. “Murph and Mac” have been entertaining sports fans in the Bay area since 2006. A former sportswriter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Murph, a North Bay native, covered every Bay Area sports team during a 15-year writing career and brings an almost encyclopaedic memory of sports knowledge, trivia and Bay Area sports history to the show. He’s authored six books, including three labors of love on the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series champion Giants. He is also well known to Irish sports fans as the erudite ‘US Murph’ of the Second Captains podcast.
Catherine Flynn lectures on British and Irish modernist literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her recently published James Joyce and the Matter of Paris looks at the experience of the author of Ulysees in the city in which the book was published and Finnegan’s Wake was written. She is also the author of James Joyce, Walter Benjamin and the Matter of Modernity, She has published articles on Joyce, Benjamin, Brecht, Kafka, and Surrealism and on theories of the Avant-Garde and of Modernism. She is co-editor, with Richard Brown, of a special issue of the James Joyce Quarterly titled "Joycean Avant-Gardes." She is also at work with David Wheatley on a scholarly edition of Flann O’Brien’s Cruiskeen Lawn.
David Nihill is a US based Irish entertainer and bestselling author. In what doesn't sound like the best plan ever, David decided to try and overcome his fear of public speaking by pretending to be an accomplished comedian called "Irish Dave" who just happened to be on tour in America for one full year, crashing as many comedy clubs, festivals and shows as possible. One part of the plan was at least logical: he was already Irish and already called Dave. In one year, David went from being deathly afraid of public speaking to hosting a business conference, regularly performing stand-up comedy, and winning storytelling competitions in front of packed houses. He did it by learning from some of the best public speakers in the world: stand-up comedians. He also told a lot of funny stories along the way. David shares them along with the principles, techniques and tools of the world’s best speakers in a humorous talk based on his bestselling book Do You Talk Funny? 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (And Funnier) Public Speaker.
Elizabeth Creely is a writer and public historian whose passion is researching and documenting the Irish community of San Francisco’s Mission District. As a community historian, Elizabeth also works with the Irish American Crossroads Festival, founded to promote the arts, culture, history and traditions of Irish America. In March, 2016 Elizabeth produced a walking tour for the festival, entitled “Walking the Rebellion: Irish-Americans and the 1916 Easter Rising in the Mission District”, which explored and examined Irish and Irish American culture at home, and in meeting halls, churches and places of business within the Mission District. Her essays have been featured in journals such as The Fourth River, The Mississippi Review and The New Hibernia Review and Found SF, an online encyclopaedia of San Francisco-based history.
Emer Martin is a Dubliner who has lived in Paris, London, the Middle East, and various places in the USA. The Cruelty Men, her most recent novel is published by Lilliput Press and has been nominated for Irish Novel of the Year 2019. Her first novel Breakfast in Babylon won Book of the Year 1996 in her native Ireland at the prestigious Listowel Writers’ Week. Houghton Mifflin released Breakfast in Babylon in the U.S. in 1997. More Bread Or I’ll Appear, her second novel was published internationally in 1999. Emer studied painting in New York and has had two sell-out solo shows of her paintings at the Origin Gallery in Harcourt St, Dublin. Her third novel Baby Zero, was published in the UK and Ireland March 07, and released in the U.S. 2014. She released her first children's book Why is the Moon Following Me? in 2013. Pooka is a Halloween book for children released in 2016. Her latest children book The Pig who Danced was released in 2017. She completed her third short film Unaccompanied. She produced Irvine Welsh’s directorial debut NUTS in 2007. Emer was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000. She now lives between the depths of Silicon Valley, CA and the jungles of Co. Meath, Ireland.
Glen Gendzel is an historian and author of numerous articles on aspects of California history. He is Professor of History at San Jose State University and has published articles, book chapters, encyclopaedia entries, and reviews on subjects ranging from California mythology, politics, and migration, to the baseball business, social memory, and McCarthyism. A regular contributor to Hinterland:Kells, where he has spoken about the Vietnam War and other American subject matter.
Dr. Gray Brechin is an historical geographer and author whose chief interests are the state of California, the environmental impact of cities upon their hinterlands, and the invisible landscape of New Deal public works. A graduate of UC Berkeley he returned to the U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography in 1992 to write a dissertation using San Francisco as a case study of how all great cities operate at the expense of their environs for the benefit of dynastic elites, especially the Thought-Shapers who control mass media. Published by U.C. Press in 1999 as Imperial San Francisco: Urban Power, Earthly Ruin, the book spent sixteen weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle’s best-seller list and is now considered a classic of urban studies. Dr. Brechin is a frequent radio and television guest and a popular public speaker. He is currently a visiting scholar in the U.C. Berkeley Department of Geography and founder and project scholar of the Living New Deal (https://livingnewdeal.org)
Jim is one a founding member of one of the most successful Irish rock bands, Horslips. Founded almost fifty years ago Horslips are regarded as the ‘fathers of Celtic rock’ and continue to play together on a regular basis, although they formally ‘retired’ in 1980. Their music is inspired by traditional Irish airs and is heavily influenced by the work of the great Irish composer Sean O’Ríada. Jim is one of the group’s vocalists (in English, Irish and Manx) and is also a multi-instrumentalist, playing keyboards, pipes, whistle and flute. Jim was also, for many years, a music producer in RTÉ, working with, among others Dave Fanning, and has been partly responsible for the nourishing of much Irish musical talent of the last thirty years.
Kathleen Walkup is the inaugural Lovelace Family Chair in Book Art. She has lectured widely on the history of women and printing and on contemporary artists’ books practice. In Fall, 2019, she will have a solo exhibition of her printed books and ephemera in the Mills College Library, and in Fall, 2020, she will curate an exhibition examining the role of women in the rise of artists’ books in the 1970s and 1980s, with satellite exhibitions at the Book Club of California and Mills. She has written extensively on the recent history women and artists’ books on the East and West coasts. She also keeps an occasional blog, New Irish Journal.
Kellie is a highly trained theatre-artist with twenty years of professional experience as a director, performer and creator. She has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Highlights include; Galway International Arts Festival, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, The National Theatre, London, Barbican Arts Centre, London, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Avila Theatre Festival, Spain, FESTCOInternational Theatre Festival, Bucharest, Istanbul Theatre Festival, Turkey, Tampere Theatre Festival, Finland, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Adelaide Theatre Festival and Sydney Theatre Company, Australia. Recent theatre collaborations with The Emergency Room include the concept, design and staging of Samuel Beckett’s prose pieceLessness and co-direction of Olwen Fouéré’s award-winning Riverrun. For the 2019 Hinterland Festival Kellie collaborated with dramatist Matthew Spangler (The Kite Runner) in an adaptation of Mary Manning's account of the 1984 Dunne's Stores strike, Striking Back. This process began at Matt's annual theatre adaptation session at the 2018 Hinterland Festival.
With her debut novel, Unravelling Oliver, Liz Nugent made spectacular entrance on to the Irish and international literary stage. Unravelling Oliver has been published in fourteen languages, longlisted for the Dublin International Literary Award (formerly the IMPAC) and selected as Best Crime Novel at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Her second novel Lying in Wait was published in 2016, went straight to Number One and spent eight months in the top ten of the Irish bestseller lists. It also won Liz a second Irish Book Award. It was hailed by Sebastian Barry as ‘taut, crisp clear a storm-warning of a book’ and has also been long listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. Liz was named Irish Tatler Woman of the Year in Literature in 2017. Her third novel, Skin Deep, was published by Penguin Books in the Spring of 2018. It has been described by Donal Ryan as ‘monumentally good’ and Marian Keyes said the story was ‘brilliantly done’.
While the ‘day job’ as a professor of immunology in Trinity College, Dublin keeps him busy, Luke O’Neill has also become the public face of science in Ireland, largely through his weekly appearances on Pat Kenny’s radio programme on RTE Radio 1, and then on the rival Newstalk Radio, where he explains science to the layman in a witty, informative and charismatic style. Winner of the prestigious Boyle Medal in 2009, and a long-standing member of the Royal Irish Academy, Luke is the author of the 2018 book Humanology: a Scientist’s Guide to our Amazing Existence which advised readers that sex with a caveman was a good idea and that robots will become part of everyday life. A passionate advocate of the mitigation of climate change Luke will be tackling the issue in his talk, which goes by the chilling but cautionary title ‘we are in the midst of an extinction event’.
A native of Kells, Co. Meath, artist Mark Smith, spent a decade working as a production designer in the fashion industry in Paris before returning to Ireland to establish the Sawmills Arts Centre in Kells, and to originate the annual Type Trail. The Type Trail consists of a number of art installations positioned around the town of Kells during the months of June and July, based on a different word each year. In 2016, for example, that word was ‘rise’, to coincide with the centenary of the 1916 Rising. Mark is also behind the Printworks project in Kells. This will use half a dozen meticulously restored Victorian and Edwardian printing presses, to initiate and train a new generation in the arts of letterpress and block printing.
Dunnes Stores cashier Mary Manning knew little or nothing about apartheid when, in 1984, at the age of twenty-one, she refused to register the sale of two Outspan South African grapefruits under a directive from her union. She was suspended, and nine of her co-workers walked out in support. They all assumed they would shortly return to work. They didn’t. Instead they became the central figures in a prolonged strike and boycott that captured world attention, a dispute waged at considerable financial and emotional cost to themselves. After the Dunnes Stores strike ended, Mary Manning emigrated to Australia until her name had been forgotten by potential employers, who associated her with the ‘anti-establishment’ label. Now living in Dublin, she has given talks throughout Ireland, as well as in London, New York and Washington. She has two daughters. Striking Back: the Untold Story of an Anti-Apartheid Striker is her account of the Dunnes Stores strike and much more besides.
Matt is Hinterland’s ‘writer in residence’. He teaches performance studies at San José State University and is best known for the worldwide triumph of his adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (London West End). Another recent success has been his critically acclaimed adaptation of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Off-Broadway). Last year Matt’s annual Hinterland adaptation session took wing. Paired with Mary Manning in a workshop that dissected her autobiographical account of the 1984 Dunnes Stores strike (Striking Back) the session was such a positive experience that Matt has been working on a theatrical adaptation. This was ‘premiered’ in a rehearsed reading at this year’s Kells festival in June.
Myles Dungan is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster and is also Programme Director of the annual Hinterland Festival in Kells, Co. Meath. He currently presents the weekly RTE Radio 1 programme The History Show, writes a weekly column (‘Fake Histories’) for the RTE Radio 1 Drivetime programme, and has worked as presenter of various RTE radio and TV programmes for the last thirty years (Five Seven Live, Rattlebag, Prime Time). He is an Adjunct Lecturer in the UCD School of History and is the recipient of two Fulbright Awards. He has taught Irish history in UCD, Trinity College and the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of more than a dozen books on Irish and American history (including Irish Voices from the Great War, How the Irish Won the West and Mr. Parnell’s Rottweiler. He lives in Kells, Co. Meath where he is trying to write detective novels!
Tony Bucher, a Berkeley resident and a graduate of most of its educational institutions (Berkeley High, University of California, Berkeley) has been, for a number of years now, President of the San Francisco Irish Literary and Historical Society. His job, among others, is to programme (or as he would prefer it ‘to program’) up to a dozen events a year for that august organisation. Partly as a consequence of his regular participation in Hinterland (Kells) he is the motive force behind its sister festival in San Francisco. As is required by Hinterlands the world over (both of them) Tony will be conducting a number of public interviews with festival guests (Emer Martin, Ethel Rohan).