Irishmen abroad

For James Joyce (or at least for Stephen Dedalus, in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), Ireland was “the old sow that eats her farrow”. Joyce avoided being gobbled up by running off to the Continent, first to Trieste and then to Paris and Zurich. Three other writers who have slipped away for various reasons contributed this month to a Radio 4 series titled “Irish International”, reflecting on links between new home and old: Nick Laird, who is living in New York, Phillip Ó Ceallaigh (Bucharest) and Robert McLiam Wilson (Paris). McLiam Wilson had drafted his piece before the massacre at the office of Charlie Hebdo. It turned out to be, in his own words, “unforgivably prescient”. You can still listen to the whole series on the BBC iPlayer.

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