Fringe Flann

"The most important was a body that met every Saturday night for the purpose of debate and disputation; its meeting, however, were availed of by many hundreds of students for shouting, horseplay, singing and the use of words, actions and gestures contrary to the usages of Christians" 
                                                                                                                     - At Swim-Two-Birds

We have received so many interesting offers of Flann-related creative projects that we've decided to accommodate all of these flannalia with a 100 Myles 'Fringe Flann' arts programme, where artists have an opportunity to exhibit material art objects and music, give readings of original works, screen films, and present a broad variety of Flann-related creative projects. Return to this page for more details as they emerge...

NEW: Art
Details of our Flann O'Brien Art Exhibition "Myles Away From Illustration: The Influence of Flann O'Brien on the Visual Arts," curated by Kevin Atherton.
NEW : Performance
 A two-man adaptation of Flann's writings "The Brother."
NEW: Q&A session with famed Irish actor Eamonn Morrissey.


The Science of Flann O'Brien 

Fergus Cronin, star of The Science of Flann O'Brien, in Krapp's Last Tape (2009)

The Science of Flann O'Brien is a two-man show in which Dermot Diamond and Fergus Cronin prise open the comic world of Flann O’Brien - in which policemen become more bicycle than man, night is an accumulation of black sooty substances in the atmosphere, travel is an illusion, and a pint of plain is your only man - through the theories of fictional scientist De Selby.

The show was originally written in the mid-1990's for a one-off event organised by the Werner Society, Trinity College Dublin (1995). Since then it has been regularly presented in response to invitations, including the SAC Conference (1999), BAAS ‘Festival of Science’ (2005), Merriman Winter School (2002), Cork Arts Week (2001), Kilkenny Arts Festival (2006), Connemara Sea Week Conference (2008) and the Cúirt International Festival of Literature (2009).

Professor Dermot Diamond (DCU), a named inventor in 13 patents, has published over 200 peer-reviewed papers in international journals, and is co-author and editor of three books. He is currently director of the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University. Details of his research can be found here.

Fergus Cronin has performed in works by Beckett, Pinter, Friel, Stoppard, and Shakespeare. Most recently, he performed Krapp’s Last Tape at the 2009 Galway and Kilkenny Arts Festivals. He is a director of the Lisa Richards Agency and Kilkenny Arts Festival, and chairperson of Kilkenny Carlow Local Radio.

The Brother
A new, two-man adaption from the works of Flann O'Brien by Gerry Smyth (Dept. of English, Liverpool John Moores University) and David Llewellyn (Head of Drama, LJMU), and directed by Andrew Sherlock (Consultant Dramatist and Senior Lecturer, LJMU), to be performed in Charlie P's Irish Pub as part of 'Fringe Flann'.

The Brother takes place in a Dublin pub in 1952, and concerns the developing relationship between three men, one of whom - the eponymous 'brother' - is not about to let the fact that he is absent get in the way of having an opinion on everything from the danger of eggs to the French art tradition.

Andrew Sherlock is a Vivian Ellis Prize-winning Theatre Writer and Director with national, international, and West End credits to his name. His CV includes a long list of award-winning productions, including Them’s The Breaks (North West Vision award) and Capture The Moment (BBC new writing award), as well as work in radio - including Digging Of The Tunnel and Best Of Order (both Sony awards nominees), and Jimmy’s Letters (Radio 4 ) - and TV - The Girls Who Came To Stay (ITV1), On The Out (Royal Television Society Award - Best Programme in the North West).

Gerry Smyth has published widely on Irish cultural history - especially  Irish popular music - including The Novel and the Nation (1997), Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination (2001), and Music and Irish Cultural History (2008). As Gerry McGowan he has recorded four albums of progressive folk music, and is currently working on 'Atlantic Sounds', a project of Liverpool sea songs and shanties featuring local professional and amateur artists. Gerry's acting roles include Cesare (The Cabinet of Dr Caligari) & Eddy (Stags and Hens) at the Liverpool Polytechnic under David Llewellyn's direction.

David Llewellyn has worked as a professional actor and theatre-maker for several years, with credits both in theatre and television. Since taking up a lectureship in Liverpool, David has been commissioned to write plays for the theatre, has directed professionally and intermittently published as an actor for the BBC. David specialises in teaching acting and applied drama and is currently researching and writing in the area of Ethno-Drama.


              Julian Gough                        Roger Boylan                           David Wheatley

We are proud to announce that Julian Gough will be reading from his short story "The Orphan and the Mob," Roger Boylan will be reading from his trilogy of "Killoyle" novels, and David Wheatley will be sharing his "Further Misadventures of Keats and Chapman" as part of the 100 Myles Fringe Flann event.
Julian Gough
Julian Gough is the author of two novels, Juno & Juliet, and Jude: Level 1. He won the largest prize in the world for a single short story (the BBC National Short Story Prize) in 2007, and was shortlisted for the Everyman Bollinger Wodehouse Prize in 2008. His poetry collection, Free Sex Chocolate, was published in 2010. He now lives in Berlin, from which base he blogs, twitters, and steals pigs.

His third novel, Jude in London, will be published in September. For more details see his homepage.

The Orphan and the Mob is the comic story of a Tipperary orphan who is forced to go on a quest, after accidentally burning down his orphanage. It is also an allegorical history of post-independence Ireland.The story won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2007, and represented Ireland in the Dalkey Archive anthology, Best European Fiction 2010, and forms the prologue to Jude: Level 1, which was shortlisted for the PG Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

Roger Boylan
Roger Boylan is the author of "Killoyle" (1997), which Publishers Weekly dubbed "a virtuoso performance." Boylan's second novel, "The Great Pint-Pulling Olympiad" (2003), was praised by The Village Voice as “resembl[ing] Joyce at his comically prolix best.” German versions of both novels, translated by award-winning German translator and 100 Myles keynote speaker Harry Rowohlt, have been critically and commercially successful. The third volume in the Killoyle trilogy, The Maladjusted Terrorist, was published in Germany as Killoyle Wein und Käse (2006), and is forthcoming in English.

As a critic and essayist, Boylan is a regular contributor to Boston Review, and his work has appeared in The Economist, The New York Times Book Review, The Literary Review, and The Texas Observer. He currently lives near Austin, Texas, and is finishing a novel, provisionally titled "Ohiowa Impromptu."

Boylan will read excerpts from his Killoyle trilogy that refer directly to Flann O'Brien - such as the "Soldiers of Brian O'Nolan" section of The Great Pint-Pulling Olympiad - or show unmistakable signs of his influence, such as the novels's footnotes, the De Selbeyesque "spirit-sleuth" Glossovitch sections in Killoyle, and the "non-epic" poem that concludes The Olympiad.

David Wheatley
David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970 and is the author of four collections of poetry with Gallery Press: ThirstMisery HillMocker and A Nest on the Waves. His prizes include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize, and he appears in anthologies including Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets and The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry.
He lectures at the University of Hull.

For the 'Fringe Flann' event David will be reading "Further Misadventures of Keats and Chapman with David Wheatley'

Eamon Morrissey

We are delighted to host a Q&A session with renound Irish actor Eamon Morrissey, whose 1974 one-man show The Brother, adapted from the writings of Brian O'Nolan, continues to be an enduring hit with audiences throughout the world.

The Q&A will be held live via satellite link up from New York, where Eamon will be rehearsing for Druid Theatre's production of Sean O'Casey's The Silver Tassie, scheduled for the Lincoln Centre Festival.

For clips of Eamon as the Brother see here and there. Also, in his Myles-esque satire as The Minister for Hardship from Hall's Pictorial Weekly, as appropriate now as it was then...

Art Exhibition

The Influence of Flann O'Brien on the Visual Arts

An Exhibition of Work by Kevin Atherton, Jeff Edwards, Andrew Folan, Anthony Hobbs, Phelim McConigly, Margaret O’Brien, and Tim O’Riley, to be exhibited throughout 100 Myles: The International Flann O'BrienCentenary Conference as part of its 'Fringe Flann' programme.

The relationship between the visual and literary arts is historically often a problematic one where both parties are unwilling to be at the service of the other – I recently heard Gary Coyle say in one of his spoken-word performances that some of the worst visual art to come out of Ireland has been in the service of Irish literature. In Flann O’Brien’s case, despite the fact that he is well served by Ralph Steadman’s drawings for ‘The Poor Mouth’, it would be wrong to think that his influence on the visual arts stopped at illustration. I personally first discovered Flann O’Brien whilst an art student and living in similar cramped lodgings to the student narrator of ‘At Swim-Two-Birds’ and can attest that his influence amongst visual artists of my generation - who went to art school in the 60s and 70s - is an extensive one.

Although surrealism is the first thing that springs to mind when one thinks of Flann O’Brien and the visual arts, an instant link to that other hat-wearing dweller in the suburbs; Réne Magritte, is almost inevitable, but there are perhaps equally significant connections between Flann O’Brien and the visual in addition to those provided by his Belgian contemporary. The American artist Robert Morris’s minimalist sculpture from 1961:‘Box With the Sound of its Own Making’, literarily a wooden box containing a tape recording of the hammering and sawing sounds made during its own construction, is comparable in its self-reflective questioning of the ontological nature of itself to ‘At Swim Two Birds’ and similarly constitutes a first step from the modern to the post-modern.

The Fluxus group’s dramatization of existence through a detailed retrospective scripting of events that have already occurred, as in Daniel Spoerri’s artists book: ‘An Anecdotal Topography of Chance’, is surely indebted to O’Brien’s/na Gopaleen’s engagement with/and transformation of everyday life. Likewise, conceptual art in the manner in which it repeatedly questions the idea of authorship and the construct of the artist, is surely also indebted to O’Brien in his recurrent use of pseudonyms and multiple identities.

Within the art world the use of text in general plays a significant role in ascribing meaning to contemporary art exhibitions tempting one on this occasion to veer towards the pretentious for its own sake simply in order to create the potential for a Flann O’Brien style satirical put-down. It is also a good reason to stop.
Kevin Atherton. June 2011.

Contributing Artists
This prestiguous and innovative group of artists have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Europe and North America. More detailed information on each artist's past exhibitions will be provided at the exhibition in Vienna.

Kevin Atherton graduated from Leeds Polytechnic Fine Art Dept. in 1972, since which he has  taught at Chelsea College of Art, London, and served as the inaugural Head of the Fine Art Media Dept. at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, where he coordinates the MA in Fine Art. Kevin's contribution, ‘Reading Table – For Myles’, consists of a table in which a constantly scanning pair of eyes offer to read your library books for you. This ‘book reading service’ echoes Myles na Gopaleen’s ‘book-handling service’ which was offered - with a ‘Five per cent discount for literary university students’ - to readers of his Irish Times column in the 1940s.

Jeffery Edwards - Formerly senior lecturer in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, London, conducting practice-based research into alternative picture spaces definable by plane anamorphosis, involving the projection of still and moving computer generated anamorphs into real and virtual spaces.
Andrew Folan graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 1981, since which he has practised in print, photography, and sculpture. His recent works combine digital processes and print in multi-layered composite photo-montage. Andrew's contribution, "De Selby Discovers Vienna 2011," offers a series of interventionist book works which chart how De Selby might cogitate on the prospect of a visit to the city of Vienna and what theories he might divine from such a visit.

Anthony Hobbs has been teaching photography and related media since 1976. His practice and research has largely revolved around the notion of representation of reality. His background in photography and interest in technology informs much of his work, and he has worked extensively in collaboration with other artists in exploring digital imaging and printing.

Phelim McConigly is currently studying fine arts at the Akademie of Fine Arts Vienna, painting (Daniel Richter / Expanded Pictorial Space). He also works with various aspects of digital media involving algorithm based image manipulation and generation. Phelim’s contribution involves a natural template for the generation of a percieved fictional state. For more info, see Phelim's homepage.

Margaret O’Brien is currently completing an MPhil in Irish Art History by research at Trinity College, Dublin and is a Lecturer in Fine Art in the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. Her contribution will explore if, or how, the occurrence of repetition in an artwork can render the meaning or interpretation of that work unstable or shifting.

Tim O’Riley
is a London-based artist teaching at Chelsea College of Art and Design. He recently published Accidental Journey, a book on astronomy, space, and a small Irish flag that accompanied the astronauts on the Apollo 11 moon mission. His contributions are made from computer-generated models, and are driven by affection for the absurd, love of the science of phenomena beyond the realm of everyday experience, and an admission that comprehension has its limits.

Film Screenings

In Schwimmen-Zwei-Vögel
Director: Kurt Palm, 1997, 93 mins German w/ English subtitles


Directed by 100 Myles keynote speaker Kurt Palm, this adaptation of At Swim-Two-Birds, re-set in Vienna, remains the only full-length film adaptation of Flann's novels to date

Park Films'
John Duffy's Brother (2006) & The Martyr's Crown (2007)

Based on the short stories of Flann O'Brien
with an introduction by Keith Hopper


John Duffy's Brother (dir: Mikel Murfi, 2006. Runtime: 12 min)

A Short Film, with a screenplay by Eoghan Nolan based on a 1941 short story by Flann O’Brien, John Duffy's Brother is the story of a man who thinks he’s a train. Starring Mark O’Halloran (Adam & Paul, Garage) and Michael Gambon (Dancing at Lughnasa, The King's Speech).

The Martyr's Crown (dir: Rory Bresnihan, 2007. Runtime 10 min)

Based on Flann O'Brien's short story of the same name, starring David Kelly (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Into the West) and Brian Cox (Braveheart, Adaptation).

In an attempt to pass himself off as a man of distinction and prestige, the shabby but self-assured Mr.Toole has a habit of spinning a colourful tale to the more trusting of his compatriots.  The Martyr’s Crown is the exorbitant tall story of courage and virtue. Toole is himself the champion of his own inordinately garnished bud decoratively deliberate yarn.

Babble (2008)
Directed by David O'Kane

Flann O'Brien (Myles Breen)
Franz Kafka (Sascha Tschorn)
Jorge Luis Borges (Oscar Hernandez Rodriguez)

"In an impressively well produced video, reminiscent of the work of Gerard Byrne, David O'Kane imagines a sombre wordy meeting between Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges and Flann O'Brien. Since all speak in their native tongues, a dictionary or two might be handy."

(Aidan Dunne, March 19, 2008, The Irish Times)

In Babble -  the recipient of e v+a open award from the curator Hou Hanru - Flann O'Brien, Franz Kafka, and Jorge Luis Borges converse about infinity and the implications of logical order in language and society through quotations from their literature, spoken in their native tongues.

The conceit of Babble references Borges's idea that everyone can be Shakespeare and Barthes's postulation that literature is nothing but a spectrum of quotations. O’Brien, however, preceded Barthes in At Swim-Two-Birds with the assertion that “the entire corpus of existing literature should be regarded as a limbo from which discerning authors could draw their characters as required.”

For more details see


Ergo Phizmiz's neuropera "The Third Policeman"

We are delighted to announce that instrumental cuttings and remixes from Ergo Phizmiz's forthcoming neuropera adaptation of "The Third Policeman" will form the official incidental music of 100 Myles: The International Flann O'Brien Centenary Conference.

Ergo Phizmiz's “neuropera” of The Third Policeman opens at Tete-a-Tete: The Opera Festival, London, during August 2011, with a string of performances following in the UK and Europe between September – December.

The opera is a truly 21st century adaptation of Flann O'Brien's work, using a wide array of creative methods and approaches in handmade and digital art to bring Ergo Phizmiz's idiosyncratic take on O'Brien's already idiosyncratic world to life.

Created in collaboration with a host of artists and performed by a cast of non-trained singers and comedians, with visual influences from Eastern European animation and musical references ranging from British dance bands to intricate electronic music, it promises to be a unique sensory experience.

In co-operation with the 100 Myles Vienna Conference, Ergo Phizmiz and his collaborators have graciously provided instrumental backgrounds from the opera, mixed in with exclusive remixes of Ergo's music by a range of sound-artists and composers from across the globe, as the official incidental music of the conference.