“My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
Almost 100 delegates participated in the 13th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference which took place in Waterford from July 6th to 10th.
Waterford Institute of Technology hosted the conference which featured research presentations on all aspects of Fitzgerald’s life and work and a special focus on the Irish Influences and aspects of his writing and career.
Keynote speakers at the conference included Fitzgerald scholars, Kendall Taylor, Carlo Gébler, James West, Scott Donaldson, Horst Kruse and Dr. Sarah Churchwell.
Dr. Churchwell, Professor of American Literature at the University of East Anglia, is a world-renowned expert in twentieth and twenty first century fiction and spoke about Fitzgerald, on the topic “Careless People”, her latest book which attempts to “piece together the chaotic and inchoate world behind The Great Gatsby.”
Dr. Dustin Anderson, from Georgia Southern University was instrumental in bringing the International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society Conference to Ireland. With strong links to WIT, Dustin believes the Institute is ideally placed to attract and host international conferences of all scales.
“Waterford and in particular, WIT, really is punching above its weight when it comes to facilitating events such as the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society conference. Not only were these delegates introduced to a host of renowned literary specialists and speakers, they were in the childhood home of Raymond Chandler—still one of our most important crime fiction writers—and were able to take the time to explore the culture and heritage of an 1100 year old city. It was an exceptional opportunity for these scholars to explore one of Fitzgerald’s key influences in a brand new way. We are very excited about the research will come out of this event.”
Walter O’ Leary, WIT Law Lecturer and USA Summer School Coordinator, said it was an honour for WIT to have been chosen to host the international conference. “We were delighted to welcome the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society to our Institute. The calibre of the plenary speakers, experts, critics and literary reviewers was exemplary. The conference certainly put Waterford on the map of the international literary landscape.”
Prof Michael Howlett, Head of the department of Applied Arts addressed this prestigious group of literary experts on the spiritual aspects of Ulysses and took the group on a tour of some of the key sites identified in Joyce’s most renowned work.
According to Prof Howlett, “From a literary perspective the WIT Bachelor of Arts English course offers a comprehensive introduction to all the major writers, particularly Irish writers, modern literature, poetry and the classics.
The delegates, from the US, Canada, Brazil, Japan and across Europe, enjoyed several days exploring Ireland’s oldest city and visited many of Waterford’s heritage and cultural sites including The Viking Triangle, Reginald’s Tower, Waterford’s Medieval Museum, Bishop’s Palace, Theatre Royal and Greyfriars Municipal Art Gallery, followed by a closing banquet at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Museum in New Ross, Co. Wexford.