Bloomsday 2023

Ulysses. James Joyce. 2023 Young Writers annual Competition from the Museum of Childhood Ireland and Marsh’s Library Dublin. 

Did you ever think of Leopold Bloom as an epic hero?  In Ulysses, the public and private Bloom seems incredibly ordinary, but his sympathetic nature and infinite capacity for compassion make him anything but. He is elevated to the status of hero over the course of the novel. 

Bloom’s empathic nature, demonstrated especially in relation to animals…cats, birds, horses, dogs, echoes Odysseus’s ability to adapt to the many challenges he faces. Leopold Bloom’s compassion frequently dictates the course of his day, and the course of the novel.

We are asking children and youth this year, inspired by the character of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, to empathise with and write an imaginative essay from the perspective of any animal, bird, insect they know, or that they have had an interaction with. If that story happens to include a reference/s to an unlikely hero we’ll be only delighted. 

May your imagination ripripple!

Meet our judges:

Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy

Dr Anne Marie D’Arcy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, and has held lectureships in University College Dublin, and National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She was Associate Professor in Medieval and Renaissance English Language and Literature in the School of Arts, and former director of the Medieval Research Centre, at the University of Leicester (2008-18). She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (2019); a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2020), and a Trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation (2022). Her research interests lie in the areas of medieval and Renaissance Wisdom literature, medieval and Renaissance iconology and political theology; the patristic sources of Old and Middle English, and nineteenth and twentieth-century medievalism, especially James Joyce. She has published a number of articles on Joyce’s treatment of such topics as libel law, freemasonry, medieval Irish placelore, Dublin’s water supply, anti-Semitism, medieval Irish manuscripts (most notably the Book of Kells), the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, and ‘Araby’ as a grail quest. She is a member of the editorial board of Annotations to James Joyce’s Ulysses (Oxford, 2022). In addition to a number of articles and two edited books on medieval and Renaissance literature, she has published a major study on the grail legend, Wisdom and the Grail: The Image of the Vessel in the Queste del Saint Graal and Malory’s Tale of the Sankgreal (Dublin, 2000), and was the Principal Investigator of a landmark exhibition, ‘James Joyce: Apocalypse and Exile’ in Marsh’s Library Dublin (2014-15), now online. She is currently completing Joyce and the Irish Middle Ages: Saints, Sages, and Insular Culture, which is the first monograph devoted to Joyce’s engagement with the Insular period, specifically the influence of Irish learning and artistry on Britain and the Continent from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. She is also the author of The Artifice of Eternity: Mariology in the English Poetic Tradition (Oxford, forthcoming). In the longer term, she is working on a monograph on Chaucer and the Later Crusades.  

Susie Lopez 

Susie Lopez. Arts and Literature philanthropy.

Glenn Johnston

Glenn Johnston has been collecting works by and about James Joyce for more than 30 years. He is an adviser to the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) and Treasurer of the James Joyce Society in New York. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the United Nations, in risk and security consulting, and in financial services.

Hilary Fannin

12/08/2012-FEATURES-Hillary Fannin.Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Hilary Fannin is an award-winning playwright, novelist and newspaper columnist. Born in Dublin, where she still lives, she was writer in association at the Abbey Theatre in its centenary year, 2004. Her plays have been performed in Ireland, London, Europe and North America. For the past decade she has been writing a weekly column for The Irish Times and was named Irish Broadsheet Columnist of the Year in 2019. Her memoir, Hopscotch, was published to critical acclaim in 2015. Her first novel, The Weight of Love, was published in 2020 and won the John McGahern Award for debut Irish fiction. She is currently working on her second novel and on an adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun for Rough Magic theatre company.

Nathan Finn

Nathan Finn is a technical writer from Dublin. He is a graduate of Dublin City University and Munster Technological University (formerly Cork Institute of Technology). His undergraduate thesis focused on a comparative analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses using the literary theories of Mikhail Bakhtin – for which he received first class honours and the John Killeen medal for English literature from DCU.

Dr Mary Lawton

Dr Mary Lawton is a Joyce scholar whose primary area of research is the interrelationship of Joyce’s literary works and specific Scandinavian literature in translation, employing an onomastic and etymological framework. When studied together, these Irish and Nordic texts reveal the impact Scandinavian narratives, writing cultures, and authors had on Joyce throughout his lifetime. Mary was awarded the UB Humanities Institute and UB Libraries James Joyce Fellowship for research access to the Special Collections Libraries. She hopes to visit Buffalo soon. Creatively, her short stories have been featured in Daily Science Fiction, TL;DR Press, and  Sci-Fi Shorts.  

Child Safeguarding and Governance 

Results and Online Exhibition

We will announce our overall winner, runners-up, and shortlisted authors on Bloomsday (June 16th 2023) 

23 entries will later be showcased as part of our Bloomsday 2023 Online Exhibition.

We are hoping to have some of the entries recorded this year. 

There will be a prize giving ceremony at Marsh’s Library, Dublin. 

More information to follow…

Guidelines for Entrants

Entrants must be under 18 years of age at date of submission. 

Stories, 500 words or less.

Parents/Guardians/Teachers send entries to:

Please title your story and include the author’s name, age, county/country of abode

Competition Deadline: June 6th 2023

If entrants/schools send original copies and would like them returned, please let us know and we will arrange this. However, it is always best to send a copy of the work.

Here are some fun Joycean links for children to explore: