Every two years The International Flann O’Brien Society presents the International Flann O’Brien Society Awards, otherwise known as the Father Kurt Fahrt, S.J. Memorial Prizes. There are two awards, for the best book-length and best article length-work on a Flann O’Brien theme. These awards are affectionately known to members of the society as The Big Fahrt and The Small Fahrt, and are presented Flann O’Brien conference which the society hosts.
As the nomination process begins, a number of Fan-written works are nominable in both the Big Fahrt and Small Fahrt categories, and have been long-listed.
James Bacon explains. “Last year we published A Half Pint of Flann as issue 44 of Journey Planet, edited by Michael Carroll, Chris Garcia, Pádraig Ó Méalóid and myself, and it’s been long listed for the Big Fahrt. This is an amazing honour, as it sees us on the same list as Maebh Long’s Letters of Flann O’Brien, which is a fabulous work.
“Works published in the zine have also been long-listed for the Small Fahrt and these include; ‘Mise agus Myles,’ by Johan Anglemark, ‘The Case for John Shamus O’Donnell,’ By Jack Fennell, ‘Extractum Ó Bhark i bPrágrais (A Flann O’Brien A to Z): Interim Version II,’ ‘Object Found in a Book – I: An Béal Bocht Publisher’s Note; II: The Brochure,’ and ‘The Cardinal and/or the Corpse: An Exegesis of Rumour or The Revelation of Stephen Blakesley,’ all by Pádraig Ó Méalóid, and ‘Introduction,’ by myself (James Bacon) and Pádraig.
“I’m also very proud to have had my own two articles, ‘Off the Rails: Flann on Track,’ and ‘Single Narrow Gold Band: Flann’s Pen,’ on the long list,” added James.
I decided to pursue investigating the railway elements in Flann’s Cruiskeen Lawn columns in the Irish Times last year, and I’ve since had a paper for the Dublin Flann O’Brien Conference at University College Dublin accepted. It’s entitled Off the Rails: Flann – An Expert Community Advocate for Rail Transport. My esteemed colleague Pádraig Ó Méalóid will also be presenting a panel at the conference, on Flann’s Column Bawn columns in the Sunday Dispatch in the early fifties.
This conference, entitled “Palimpsests: The Fifth International Flann O’Brien Society Conference,” is taking place on the 16th to 19th July in Dublin, and is already looking quite impressive for Flanneurs and/or Mylesians.
The organizers have just added acclaimed authors Joanna Walsh and Gavin Corbett to the line-up of keynote speakers and writers, which already included Anne Enright, Patrick McCabe, Maebh Long, Louis de Paor, Katherine Ebury, Blindboy Boatclub (from the Rubberbandits), Lisa McInerney, Erika Mihálycsa, David, Eddie, and Joanna O’Kane, as well as a special exhibition of items from the holdings of Burns Library’s Special Flann O’Brien Collection.
Details on how to attend the conference will be published shortly.
Joining the International Flann O’Brien Society is free. Members also receive issues of the Parish Review, the society’s regularly irregular electronic publication.