On Joyce and Intimacy with writers Vigdis Hjorth and June Caldwell

James Joyce is known for writing about life’s intimate moments. When Ulysses was published, it was considered obscene and unreadable by some critics. Joyce responded “if Ulysses isn’t fit to read, then life isn’t fit to live”.

On 12th June, The James Joyce Centre invited Norwegian writer Vigdis Hjorth and Dublin-based author June Caldwell for an intimate panel discussion where they confronted the challenges and pleasures of shedding light on dark and complex aspects of modern life. Actor Janet Moran, who played Molly Bloom in the Abbey Theatre Production of Ulysses, illustrated the discussion with readings from Joyce’s works and letters.

Dimitra Xidous, June Caldwell, and Vigdis Hjorth.

Vigdis Hjorth is a celebrated Norwegian author with a keen eye for current issues. Her new novel Wills and Testament starts as a classic story of inheritance and sibling dynamics. But during the inheritance discussions another story emerges. It’s all about family history.

June Caldwell’s short story collection Room Little Darker was published In 2017. The Times described it as “an unflinching collection which thuds with life and kicks with horror” and the Independent wrote “Caldwell’s stories are ferocious beasts, kicking and screaming in rabid, frothing rage.” Her debut novel Little Town Moone is due in 2020.

Janet Moran reading from Joyce’s works and letters.

The panel was hosted by Dimitra Xidous, author of Keeping Bees. Her work has been published in gorse, The Stinging Fly, and Room Magazine.