Launched in 2020, Past/Present/Pride is a series of filmed conversations celebrating LGBTI+ writers. Hosted by psychologist Dr Paul D’Alton, Past/Present/Pride reflects on the work of writers that have witnessed significant social change for members of the LGBTI+ communities in Ireland & beyond.
Past/Present/Pride is a collaboration between MoLI and UCD’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme. Over the last number of years UCD has made an explicit commitment to promoting an inclusive community where people identifying as LGBTI+ feel safe, valued and provided equal opportunity.
Episode 1: Emma Donoghue
In the first episode of Past/Present/Pride, Dr Paul D’Alton speaks with Emma Donoghue, author of over twelve novels, including Room, Akin, and Stir Fry. Across a rich hour of conversation, Donoghue, born in Dublin in 1969, touches on subjects as diverse as same-sex parenting, the tension between safety and freedom, coming out to her mother, and the power of fiction. Donoghue’s new novel, The Pull of the Stars (Pan Macmillan) is set in a Dublin hospital in 1918 during the height of the Spanish flu pandemic.
Episode 2: Colm Tóibín
In the second episode of Past/Present/Pride, Dr Paul D’Alton talks to Colm Tóibín, celebrated Irish writer and three-time Booker Prize nominee. Tóibín’s work across journalism, non-fiction, short story, drama, and novel is known for its exploration of the inner world of fully realised characters, their flawed inter-relations with those around them, and their struggle to find identity torn between divided worlds. In this hour of conversation, Tóibín discusses topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, his experience with cancer, the role of the novelist in today’s world, and recent forays into the world of poetry.
Episode 3: Mary Dorcey
In the third episode of Past/Present/Pride, Dr Paul D’Alton hears from Mary Dorcey, poet and fiction writer, about learning to read, coming out, her relationship with her mother, and her experience of an oppressive 1970s Ireland. Mary Dorcey has been publishing poetry since her first collection Kindling in 1982. Her poetry has appeared on the Junior Certificate curriculum in Ireland, the O Level curriculum in the UK, and in the BBC anthology A Hundred Favourite Poems of Childhood, and in 1990 she was awarded the Rooney Prize for Literature. Dorcey’s work explores the deep complications and joys of love and relationships. Her poems have been recognised for their touching descriptions of homosexual love and her frank and honest exploration of the relationship between mother and daughter. She is a member of Aosdána and now lives in Wicklow.
Episode 4: Adiba Jaigirdar
In the fourth episode of Past/Present/Pride, Dr Paul D’Alton speaks to Young Adult writer Adiba Jaigirdar. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Adiba Jaigirdar has been living in Dublin from the age of ten. She has a BA in English and History from University College Dublin and an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent. She is the author of The Henna Wars, which was named a best book of the year by Kirkus, and was a semi-finalist for Best Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her sophomore novel, Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating was released earlier this year.
Episode 5: Seán Hewitt
In the fifth episode of Past/Present/Pride, Dr Paul D’Alton speaks to writer and poet Seán Hewitt, on the eve of the publication of his new memoir, All Down Darkness Wide. Seán Hewitt was born in 1990. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, is published by Jonathan Cape. He is a book critic for The Irish Times and teaches Modern British & Irish Literature at Trinity College Dublin. His debut collection, Tongues of Fire, won The Laurel Prize, and was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, and a Dalkey Literary Award.
Episode 6: Sonya Kelly
In the sixth episode of Past/Present/Pride, recorded live at MoLI, Dr Paul D’Alton speaks to Sonya Kelly, a playwright and writer for film and television. Her plays include The Wheelchair on My Face, a look back at a myopic childhood, (Scotsman Fringe First Award 2012, New York Times Critic’s Pick) and How to Keep an Alien (Best Production, Dublin Fringe). Sonya’s work for the acclaimed Druid Theatre Company includes Furniture (Stewart Parker Award, ZEBBIE Award), Once Upon A Bridge (Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, Best New Play nominee) and The Last Return (Scotsman Fringe First Award 2022). She is currently working on a number of TV projects with BBC, Treasure Entertainment and Avalon Television, including Smother for BBC and RTE and Series 4 of Breeders for Sky and FX.