Second Call for Papers

Metamorphoses: The III International Flann O’Brien Conference
Charles University, Prague, 16-19 September 2015

Second Call for Papers:
Extended Deadline!

250 word abstract
1 April 2015!

Scroll down for details

Guest Writer Kevin BarryKeynote Speaker Joseph BrookerKeynote Speaker Catherine Flynn
IFOBS Conference 2015
Call For Papers

The III International Flann O’Brien Conference

Charles University, Prague, 16-19 September 2015

Keynote Speakers
Joseph Brooker (Birkbeck, University of London)
Catherine Flynn (University of California, Berkeley)
Brian Ó Conchubhair (University of Notre Dame)

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

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 (Charles University, Prague, 16-19 September 2015), the organisers propose to build on the current sea change in O’Brien studies to foster a scholarly and critical debate dedicated to these themes of metamorphosis in the writer’s work. At stake throughout these debates will be the ways in which O’Brien’s English and Irish language novels, short stories, column-writing, non-fiction, teleplays, theatrical work, and archive:

• Engage and transform literary, cultural, political, and economic upheaval at home &

• Test the limits and possibilities of the transformed body as a site for negotiating
  problems of identity through tropes such as drinking, sport, prosthetics, hybridity,
  biopower, post-humanity, &c.;

• Are transformed in the acts of reception, rewriting, translation, & adaptation, or by
  genetic analysis via his vast collections of under-analysed ‘works in progress’
  (manuscripts, drafts, correspondence);

• Process radical paradigm shifts in the sciences, from Darwinian evolution theory to the
  ‘Mollycule Theory’ of quantum physics;

• Explore (anti-)modernist reconstructions of myth, whether Irish or Ovidian; 

• Attend to linguistic, generic, & formal mutations, as well as the resonances between 

   metamorphosis, metaphor, & metafiction; 

• Provide sites for revisiting anew O’Nolan’s encounters and engagements with the Irish
   Literary Revival and other Irish writing from the canonical to the marginalised;

• Are amenable to new comparative readings with Prague’s sons Franz Kafka and Karel
   Čapek, as well as other modernist writers and movements of transformation, from
   Jarry & Joyce, Borges & Beckett, to the Absurdists, Futurists, & Surrealists. 

Abstracts: If you would like to propose a paper (not exceeding 20 minutes), or panel (maximum 3 speakers) please submit your title and an abstract of 250 words accompanied by a short biographical sketch to by 1 April 2015.

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

Flann O'Brien Book Launch
New collection from organisers of 100 Myles

Recently published and successfully launched: Flann O'Brien: Contesting Legacies is an exciting new volume of essays on Flann O'Brien, Myles na gCopaleen, et al, edited by Ruben Borg, Paul Fagan, & Werner Huber.

Testing popular commonplaces about this undervalued author, the volume offers overdue attention to Flann O'Brien's overlooked short stories, plays, & non-fiction writing while exploring his linguistic inventiveness, his gender politics,  his ideology of science, & his treatment of the themes of nationalism, Gaeldom, & justice.

With contributions by Keith Hopper, Jack Fennell, Marion Quirici, Paul Fagan, Thierry Robin, Ute Anna Mittermaier, John McCourt, Tom Walker, Neil Murphy, Ondrej Pilny, Alana Gillespie, Maebh Long, Thomas Jackson Rice, and Jennika Baines, this collection once and for all reveals as outdated prejudice the dismissal of O'Brien's talent as a matter of local interest.

Copies for libraries or personal purchase can be ordered here.

The Parish Review
Issue 2.2 out September 2014!

IFOBS members have received the latest issue of The Parish Review, with articles, reviews, & Myles columns unseen in decades!

The Parish Review 2.2 (Spring 2014) republishes, for the first time in a generation, Brian O'Nolan's complete contributions (columns, letters, and mock-reviews) to the short-lived journal Kavanagh’s Weekly.

The issue is guest-edited by Gerry Smyth (Liverpool John Moores University), who has assembled renowned Mylesians John Wyse Jackson (Myles Before Myles), Frank McNally (An Irishman's Diary), and Joseph Brooker (Flann O'Brien) for their considered insights into this rare material, as they reframe O'Nolan's troubled relationship with Patrick Kavanagh and investigate this oft-overlooked period of O’Nolan’s writing career.

The issue also boasts interviews with artists Michael O’Shaughnessy and Eddie O'Kane, as well as Katherine Ebury's review of Assembling Flann O’Brien (Maebh Long) and Alana Gillespie's review of Flann O’Brien: Plays & Teleplays (ed. Daniel Keith Jernigan) ... not to mention the usual round up of news, views and CFPs from the world of O'Nolan scholarship in The Parish Bulletin.

To sign up for your free copy, email us at

The Parish Review 2015
Call For Papers

‘Flann O’Brien and the Culture Industry’
The Parish Review

The journal of the International Flann O’Brien Society

As a writer who straddled the divide between modernism and postmodernism, Flann O’Brien appears to have had an ambivalent relationship to Western popular culture, veering from an almost Frankfurt School-type abhorrence of mass culture to gleeful postmodern experimentation with form, genre, and intertextuality. In At Swim-Two-Birds we find fictional characters rebelling against the plots into which they are forced by their author – lurid, sensationalist stories that the characters resent being part of – and various popular signifiers/signifieds are lampooned, most notably cowboy stories and the politicised imagery of Irish heroic myth. Under the guise of Myles Na gCopaleen, he played the part of a snob, not only mocking the vulgar tastes of the Plain People of Ireland, but also cocking a snook at the pretensions of Dublin’s literati. At the same time, Cruiskeen Lawn was filled with Myles’s take on aspects of popular culture, from badly-worded advertisements to the films of Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, and Fritz Lang.

As Flann looked into the abyss of popular culture, that abyss also looked back into him.  Sly references to Flann’s corpus abound: The Third Policeman’s Parish appears in the appendix of Volume II of Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (as a strange place visited by the series’ protagonists, along with Laputa and King Solomon’s Mines); Professor de Selby is mentioned, appropriately enough, in numerous science fiction texts (often in footnote form), and, of course, there is the appearance of a copy of The Third Policeman on an episode of the ABC TV series Lost.

A forthcoming peer-reviewed issue of The Parish Review (Spring 2015) will seek to expand upon the research already undertaken into the issues of influence and context in Flann O’Brien’s work. Rather than focusing exclusively on genetic criticism, however, the editors invite essay proposals from multiple theoretical perspectives and approaches, the better to probe some intriguing questions about O’Brien’s place in popular culture. To what degree are his pronouncements on mass media and commercialised art merely ironic, and to what extent are they sincere? How did he feel about producing literature in an age of mechanical reproduction? How have authors, artists, and ‘content creators’ utilised his work? Has Flann had an appreciable impact on popular culture, or is he still a marginal figure, alluded to but seldom openly acknowledged?

Potential topics for essays include, but are by no means limited to:

•    O’Brien’s engagement with/critique of popular culture
•    Popular culture’s engagement with O’Brien – adaptation, appropriation, & homage
•    The distinction (or non-distinction) between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture in O’Brien’s work
•    Flann, genre, & form
•    O’Brien and cultural theory

Essay proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by 1 December 2014.

Once accepted, the successful proposals should be expanded into essays, limited to 5,000 words and adhering to the Chicago Manual of Style, and returned to the editors for peer review by 28 February 2015. Contributors can expect to receive feedback by 15 April 2015.

The Parish Review 2014
Call For Papers

‘Reading Brian O’Nolan’s Libraries’
The Parish Review
The journal of the International Flann O’Brien Society

The expanding field of Brian O’Nolan (Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen) scholarship has undergone a remarkable transformation in the wake of the writer’s 2011 centenary. This renewed scholarly interest has given rise to a range of Cultural Materialist, Deconstructionist, and Genetic approaches, amongst others, that have explored the representation, and indeed the limits of, knowledge within O’Nolan’s oeuvre. His writing continues to resonate within the public sphere, as is attested by the many reissues, adaptations, and collections of his works, including the recent publication of his dramatic works and short stories by Dalkey Archive Press. As Flann O’Brien (At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman) and Myles na gCopaleen (Cruiskeen Lawn, An Béal Bocht), O’Nolan is celebrated, in part, for his savage parodies of academic institutions, erudite individuals, and pedagogical methods; a reputation that appears to rest uneasily alongside this increasing scholarly attention.

The John Burns Library at Boston College acquired Brian O’Nolan’s papers and personal library in February 1997, yet a complete inventory of the latter has only just been compiled and published for the first time in the most recent issue of The Parish Review (2.1, Fall 2013), guest edited by Maebh Long. (A copy of the issue, including the full inventory, is available from the International Flann O’Brien Society by contacting the general editors at This is an important and exciting resource for O’Nolan scholars: the library contains over four hundred books, periodicals, and newspapers in French, German, Greek, Irish, and Latin on subjects as diverse as archaeology, philosophy, politics, psychology, science, and theology. Additionally, there are literary texts from the Classical, Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, and Modern periods. Due to the complexity of this collection, its potential as a resource for scholarship is only beginning to be examined.

A forthcoming issue of The Parish Review (October 2014) will take up the question of how to assess Brian O’Nolan’s personal library, particularly in light of the representation of archives, marginalia, and scholarship across his oeuvre. We will encourage dialogue between frequently polarized critical approaches, asking which O’Nolan we might find between these shelves. Is O’Nolan’s work invigorated or exhausted by questions of influence? Does the representation of scholarship within his work mark a point of potential or resistance for archival approaches? What might be gathered from the annotations and marginalia within this wide-ranging collection of texts? Or should O’Nolan scholarship be spared from such lines of inquisition?  The editors invite proposals on any aspect of O’Nolan’s writing, but are especially interested in papers that explore the holdings at the Burns Library and/or investigate the wider epistemological issues that arise within his work. Potential topics for papers include, but are by no means limited to:

   * How models of influence are sustained by and/or undermined by O’Nolan’s work
   * The complexities of O’Nolan’s national and intellectual contexts
   * The representation of libraries and/or scholarship within modernist & post-modernist texts
   * O’Nolan’s engagement with, or response to, specific literary movements
  * How emerging methodologies & technologies might inform our use & understanding of O’Nolan’s library 

Essay proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted to by 31 January 2014

Essays will be limited to 5,000 words and adhere to the MLA style guide. They will be submitted for peer-review to the editors by 31 May 2014. Contributors can expect to receive feedback by 31 July 2014.

The Parish Review
Issue 2.1 out October 2013!

We are delighted to bring you the latest issue of The Parish Review. Guest-edited by Maebh Long (Assembling Flann O'Brien, Bloomsbury 2014), The Parish Review 2.1 (Fall 2013) boasts articles by Ian Ó Caoimh, Jonathan O’Neill, Baylee Brits, and Thierry Robin.

With an original cover image by Irami Buli, the issue offers readers the first full inventory of Brian O’Nolan’s Library (compiled by Catherine Ahearn and Adam Winstanley) at Boston College, as well as Carol Taaffe's review of Dalkey's latest Flann collection, Catherine Ahearn's account from the IFOBS conference in Rome, and reports from the far-flung corners of the IFOBS empire in The Parish Bulletin.

The issue also looks to the future with a Call For Papers for a 2014 edition of The Parish Review on the subject of ‘Reading Brian O’Nolan’s Libraries’.

Have you signed up for your copy yet?

Society Awards 2013
 And the winners are...

Problems with Authority:
The II International Flann O'Brien Conference
Rome, 19-21 June 2013

Il Giardino di Albino, Rome was the proud venue of the first Father Kurt Fahrt S.J. Memorial Prize award ceremony. After lavish baskets of Sardinian appetizers, three pasta tastings, and a main course for which no measure of appetite was prepared, over grappa and tiramisu, the winners were announced. Ruben Borg, the presenter, looked elegant as ever in a light tan jacket, navy blue polo shirt, and beige flannel trousers. His voice betrayed some emotion as he read out first the nominees, then the winners.

The Winners:

Best book length study on a Brian O’Nolan theme, 2011-12:
Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper, eds., Flann O’Brien: Centenary Essays, The Review of Contemporary Fiction 31.3 (Fall 2011).

Best essay length study on a Brian O’Nolan theme, 2011-12:
Jon Day, ‘Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn: Bibliographical Issues in the Republication of Myles na gCopaleen’s Journalism’ in Jennika Baines, ed., ‘Is it about a bicycle?’: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty- First Century (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011), pp. 32-48.

The Parish Review 2013
Issue 1.2 is Here!

We are thrilled to bring the new issue of The Parish Review to members of The International Flann O'Brien Society!

The Parish Review 1.2 is a special issue dedicated to the theme of 'Flann and the Archive'. Guest-edited by Jennika Baines (‘Is it about a bicycle?’: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty-First Century, Four Courts Press 2011) the edition includes wonderful contributions from Jack Fennell, Maebh Long, John McCloskey, Neil Murphy, Adrian Naughton, Amy Nejezchleb, Breandán Ó Conaire, Marion Quirici, and Andrew Sherlock - as well as the long-awaited nominations for the inaugural International Flann O'Brien Society Awards (the Father Fahrt, S.J Memorial Prizes, big & small).

To get your copy make sure you've registered for membership of IFOBS: just drop us an email! We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Society Awards 2013
The first IFOBS Awards nominees are in...

Dear friends and members of the International Flann O'Brien Society,
We thank you warmly for your nominations for the International Flann O'Brien Society Awards (the soon-to-be world-famous Father Fahrt, S.J Memorial Prize) for excellent contributions to Flann O'Brien Scholarship. We are pleased to announce the results of the first popular vote determining the Fahrt nominations for 2011-2012.

The nominees for the “Big” award are:
Jennika Baines, ed., ‘Is it about a bicycle?’: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty-First Century (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011).
Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper, eds., Flann O’Brien: Centenary Essays, The Review of Contemporary Fiction 31.3 (Fall 2011).

The nominees in the “Small” category:
Jon Day, ‘Cuttings from Cruiskeen Lawn: Bibliographical Issues in the Republication of Myles na gCopaleen’s Journalism’ in Jennika Baines, ed., ‘Is it about a bicycle?’: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty- First Century (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011), pp. 32-48.
Adrian Naughton, ‘Naduir-Fhil ocht na Gaedhilge and Flann O’Brien’s Fiction’, in Jennika Baines, ed., ‘Is it about a bicycle?’: Flann O’Brien in the Twenty- First Century (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011), pp. 83-97.
Thierry Robin, 'Representation as a Hollow Form, or the Paradoxical Magic of Idiocy and Skepticism In Flann O’Brien’s Works', in Neil Murphy and Keith Hoppers, eds., Flann O’Brien: Centenary Essays, The Review of Contemporary Fiction 31.3 (Fall 2011): 33-48.
Maciej Ruczaj, 'Infernal Poetics/Infernal Ethics: Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman between Medieval and Modern Netherworlds', in Neil Murphy and Keith Hoppers, eds., Flann O’Brien: Centenary Essays, The Review of Contemporary Fiction 31.3 (Fall 2011): 91-105.

The winners will be chosen by an impartial judge, appointed ad hoc from outside the society. The results will be announced at "Problems with Authority: The II International Flann O'Brien Conference" (19-21 June, 2013), at which prizes will be awarded to the best book-length publication, and best essay-length publication on a Flann O’Brien theme.

May the best Flann(eur) win!

IFOBS Conference 2013
Call For Papers

Problems With Authority:
The II International Flann O'Brien Conference

Rome, 19-21 June, 2013

Keynote Speakers
Jed Esty (University of Pennsylvania)
Carol Taaffe (Author of Ireland Through the Looking-Glass:
Flann O'Brien, Myles na gCopaleen & Irish Cultural Debate)
Dirk Van Hulle (University of Antwerp)

Guest Writers & Performers
Mikel Murfi (Director of John Duffy’s Brother)
Mark O’Halloran (Star of John Duffy’s Brother; screenwriter of Adam and Paul and Garage)
Julian Gough (Author of Jude in Ireland and Jude in London)
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Author of Acts and Monuments and The Sun-Fish)
Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh (Author of Péacadh)
Aifric Mac Aodha (Author of Gabháil Syrinx)

The International Flann O’Brien Society is proud to announce that a conference on the works of Brian O’Nolan will be hosted by the Department of Comparative Literatures, at the Università Roma Tre under the title Problems with Authority: The II International Flann O’Brien Conference.

It is an exciting time for the expanding field of O’Nolan scholarship. Despite the significant increase in events and publications since his centenary year in 2011, a great deal of work remains to be done in exploring O’Nolan’s under-analysed minor texts and in closing the many critical gaps in the academic record. At the centre of these critical projects are explorations of O’Nolan’s texts as fertile territory for mediating between conflicting authorities: between traditional and modern scripts, local and international perspectives, and between avant-garde and conservative approaches to the authorities of science, history, and literary tradition.

With these issues in mind, the conference aims to address questions of canonicity and authority in Brian O’Nolan’s work.  2013 sees the publication of collections of O’Nolan’s short stories (Neil Murphy & Keith Hopper, Dalkey Archive) and dramatic works (Daniel Jernigan, Dalkey Archive). As these collections give us greater access to a rich variety of overlooked texts in the O’Nolan literary canon, they also prompt and challenge us to broaden and retrace its borders. Indeed, given the amount of pseudonyms and apocryphal texts in play, we might ask whether these borders can ever be definitively drawn. Similarly, the vast collections of O’Nolan’s correspondence, manuscripts, and drafts housed in Illinois, Boston, and Texas, – as well as The Irish Times’s online digital archive – have recently given rise to emerging fields of  Genetic and Cultural Materialist approaches that seek to explore the borders of authorship and authority in O’Nolan’s ever-expanding oeuvre.

And while longer-running critical conversations continue to be finessed about the ways in which O’Nolan’s texts are shaped by towering 20th Century figures such as Joyce and Beckett (and the more local authorities of Church and State), the increasingly international contexts in which O’Nolan is being read have brought a new set of names to the table: from Calvino, Borges, and Kafka, to Nabokov, Danielewski and Bolaño. This international gaze brings with it other issues, such as the challenges of adaptation and translation, and the opportunities of exploring O’Nolan’s broader canon as a fertile ground for a range of critical perspectives, from Cultural Materialism, Queer Theory, and Feminism, to Metafiction, Genre Theory, and Deconstruction.

The organisers invite proposals on any aspect of O’Nolan’s writing, but are especially interested in papers that explore questions of authorship and authority in O’Nolan’s work, including, but not limited to:

Broadening the Canon
– Problems of canonicity and the reception of minor works
– O’Nolan on Screen and Stage: The forgotten scripts
– O’Nolan as letter writer
– Challenges in adapting/translating O’Nolan’s writing

On Whose Authority?
– Ideological critique & the comedic subversion of authority in O’Nolan’s writing
– Conflicting Authorities: The traditional vs. the avant-garde, the local vs. the international in O’Nolan’s writing
– Writing Under the Influence: O’Nolan and his contemporaries
– The Clowning of Science: Menippean Satire and the encyclopaedic ideal

Theoretical Authorities
– Death of the Author: O’Nolan and Capital "T" Theory
– O’Nolan and theories of Genre
– Cultural Materialist and Genetic Approaches
– Male Authorities / Feminist Readings
– The Reception of Flann O’Brien in Ireland and beyond

Please submit abstracts & panel proposals to by 1 February 2013.

John McCourt (Università Roma Tre)
Ruben Borg (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Paul Fagan (University of Vienna)

The Parish Review 2012

1.1 (Summer 2012)

It's finally here!

The International Flann O'Brien Society is now getting ready to circulate the first edition of its society journal The Parish Review 1.1 (Summer 2012), with news and (re)views from the world of Flann scholarship.

The issues includes pieces, reviews, and reports by noted Flanneurs, including David Wheatley, Ronan Crowley, Maebh Long, Erika Mihálycsa, Keith Hopper, and Frank McNally, as well as musician Ergo Phizmiz and artists Kevin Atherton and David O'Kane, whose beautiful cover artwork for the edition you can see to the left.

Anybody interested in receiving editions of The Parish Review, please email the founders:

The IFOBS Newsletter & Conference announcements!

Coming soon

Make sure to sign up for your free membership by emailing us to get your copy of the first edition of the IFOBS journal, The Parish Review.

We have high ambitions for this inaugural issue, with numerous Flann O'Brien research resources, reports, books reviews, as well as articles by leading Flann scholars on the current state of  Flann research, the latest and ongoing Flann projects, and, of course, the  Society Awards. We will also  reveal our very exciting plans for future IFOBS events and conferences!

Members will be hearing from us soon on all of these exciting plans - make sure you're  included!

Please send all suggestions for news stories and info on Flann events to