Life Stories: Literature as Biography, Autobiography & Beyond

About this Event
Life writing can encompass many forms and genres: memoir, biography and autobiography, hagiography, letters, diaries, personal essays, confessions, clinical and psychoanalytical case studies, eyewitness testimonies and many more. Life writing has even been understood to encompass the biographies of material objects and institutions. Currently, we are in the middle of a vogue for "autofictions," i.e. texts which blur the classical distinction between novel and memoir.

Why do we take the trouble to write down a life? Maybe because it gives a form to life which it would otherwise lack? Would we even be ourselves without the stories we keep telling about ourselves? And doesn't every life story contain an element of distortion and fictionality, either intentionally or inadvertently? This series of evening lectures will engage with the aesthetic, ethical, and psychological aspects of life writing across its many forms, focusing on the fringes where biography blends with other genres.

€50 for the entire series. Individual lectures are €5 each. Concessionary rates for the full series will be €40 or individual lecture €4 each. The concessionary rate applies to: students, OAPs, unemployed, groups of 20+; TCD staff and Graduates. 

Date, Time and Place

Tuesdays 19:00-20:00 Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin. This will be a hybrid event and also avialble online. Tickets available via Eventbrite. 

Online/Video Recordings of Lectures

The lectures are happening live in the Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin. However they will also be recorded. If you purchased a ticket to a particular lecture, to several lectures, or to the entire series, you will be emailed a link to the video recording of the lecture or lectures as soon as these are available (usually the very next day). 

The recordings will be available and watchable at any time until the end of the Evening Lecture series in May.

We regret that it has not been possible to livestream the lectures as they happen. 


There will be ten weekly lectures beginning on Tuesday 24th January 2023. Registration for individual lectures will close at 6pm on the relevant day. Lecture recordings will be uploaded shortly after the live event.

24th Jan- Dr. Alice Jorgensen: Life as Lesson: St Æthelthryth in Two Different Early Medieval Genres

31st Jan- Dr. Mark Sweetnam: Conversion Narratives from Cromwellian Dublin

7th Feb- Dr. Amy Prendergast: Women's Diaries from Eighteenth-Century Ireland

14th Feb- Dr. Bernice Murphy: The Letters of Shirley Jackson (Q&A)

21st Feb- Prof. Darryl Jones: M. R. James: The Ghosts of His Life

28th Feb- Prof. Stephen Matterson: Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life


14th Mar- Prof. Nicholas Grene: John McGahern's Autobiographical Novel That They May Face the Rising Sun'

21st Mar- Dr. Rebecca Long: Writing A Way Through Grief: Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking

28th Mar- Dr. Björn Quiring: "The Dream Is a Second Life": Dream Diaries in Literary History

4th Apr- Dr. Rosie Lavan: Mothers and Daughters in Modern British Life-Writing


Tickets from Eventbrite:
Please book tickets online via Eventbrite

Contact Details:

Ms Sophia Ni Sheoin