In this episode of Turning Points, Patricia Killeen welcomed Dr. Dúnlaith Bird, a Senior Lecturer in English at the Université Sorbonne Paris Nord. As well as her monograph, Travelling in Different Skins: Gender Identity in European Women’s Oriental Travelogues, 1850-1950 (OUP, 2012), Dúnlaith has published articles and chapters on women travellers including Isabella Bird, Isabelle Eberhardt, and Freya Stark. She also researches the role of electricity in the work of Samuel Beckett, and has published in Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, Samuel Beckett and Technology (2021), and Beckett’s Afterlives (2023). She is a theatre reviewer for The Beckett Circle and the founder of the Beckett Brunch. Her research interests include vagabondage, postcolonialism, gender identity, Irish modernism, and Samuel Beckett. Her first published fiction, ‘Bullaun’, which she read for WRP listeners, won the Panorama Flash Fiction Contest 2023 and was published in Sonder Magazine in October 2023.
They chatted about Dúnlaith’s life in Paris. Arriving in the City of Light in 2008 and finishing writing her doctorate while teaching in Paris to fund it was a major Turning Point in her life. She also spoke about the many cultural activities she enjoys in Paris, including the preparation of ‘Not Beckett’ an international world premiere festival of six new short plays that will be staged in Paris and other international cities in 2024.
She also reflected that the word ‘Expatriate’ is no longer how she would like to be described in the current French context. The playing field is so far from being level, and if all foreigners living in France adopted the label ‘immigrant,’ it could be an affirmation toward rekindling and preserving Equality, one of the sadly threatened 3 famous pillars…
‘Bullaun’- Sonder Magazine:
Travelling in Different Skins: Gender Identity in European Women’s Oriental Travelogues, 1850-1950 (OUP, 2012)