4 May is Finneganight – ‘a one-off pop-up Dadaist cabaret’

I just dusted off my copy of Faber and Faber’s 1989 paperback edition of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce in preparation for Saturday’s inaugural Finneganight celebrations, convened by author and critic David Collard, and featuring an incredible array of writers and performers including Eley Williams, Jennifer Hodgson, Susan Tomaselli and many, many more.

I see from the barely ‘legligible’ (p.356!) date on the 55 bus ticket I’d been using as a bookmark – as was my habit in those days, and which I just found still tucked into the novel’s closing pages – that I finished reading Finnegans Wake on or around 5 October 1993.

I’m truly thrilled to be a late addition to the bill of what promises to be an extraordinary evening, on the 80th anniversary of the original publication.

I’d say ‘Come along!’ but brilliantly/sadly it is completely SOLD OUT. And looking at this line-up, it’s no wonder.

If you were lucky enough to get a ticket I’ll see you there ;)

If not, I’ll try and post some pictures . . .

Here’s the blurb:

Let us propel us for the frey of the fray! Us, us, beraddy!

Finneganight will take place on Saturday 4th May (the actual publication date of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in 1939).

This is a gathering of enthusiasts, sceptics and the well-disposed uncommitted who would all like to celebrate the world’s most difficult book.

This is emphatically not an academic bunfight. Finneganight is a one-off pop-up Dadaist cabaret, created to mark the 80th anniversary of the publication by Faber & Faber of Joyce’s astonishing masterpiece. It’s an antidote to the commercial cavortings of Bloomsday but is nevertheless likely to get a bit rowdy. There will be live music, songs, readings, performance, film, and an all-woman panel discourse.

Taking part will be an illustrious cohort of poets and performers, musicians, artists, publishers and literary luminaries from Dublin, Paris, the United States and London. Confirmed names are:

Alba Arikha London-based writer and musician. Her latest novel is Where to Find Me (Alma Books, 2018).

Jessica Boyd London-based violinist.

June Caldwell Irish author whose debut short story collection is Room Little Darker (New Island Books, 2017).

David Collard reviewer, critic and author of About a Girl (CB editions).

David Henningham artist, writer, performer and publisher, one half of Henningham Family Press.

Jen Hodgson editor of The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments by Ann Quin (andotherstories, 2018).

Dan O’Brien American poet and playwright. His most recent poetry collection is Scarsdale (CB editions).

Melanie Pappenheim: singer, composer and performer.

Alex Pheby author of Lucia (Galley Beggar Press), joint winner of the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize.

Jessica St Clair American actress and improvisational comedian from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.

Susan Tomaselli founder and editor of gorse, Ireland’s leading literary journal.

Tony White author of novels including The Fountain in the Forest (Faber, 2018), and publisher since 1994 of the artists book series Piece of Paper Press.

Eley Williams author of Atrib. (Influx Press), winner of the 2018 Republic of Consciousness Prize.

Alice Zawadzki singer, violinist and songwriter/composer

So much for the first Finneganight!

I hope it’s not the last.

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