Dr. Randall Maggs has received a 2007 Coracle Fellowship.
Dr. Maggs, a professor of English at SirWilfredGrenfellCollege, is one of three recipients this year; Dr. Steven Wolinetz, a political science professor at Memorial’s St. John’s campus, and Dr. Rory Quinn, a senior lecturer in marine geoarcheology at the University of Ulster’s Environmental Sciences Research Institute, were also awarded fellowships.
The Coracle Fellowship promotes exchanges between Ireland and Newfoundland and Labrador, with the aim of addressing common challenges and goals.
Dr. Maggs has an impressive track record of creative and productive engagement with Ireland both in his capacity as a professor of English at GrenfellCollege and as a practicing artist and one of Newfoundland’s most accomplished poets.
Through his work as a visiting scholar and reader at the Waterford and Dun Laoghaire Institutes, as a writer and editor for a number of Ireland/Newfoundland literary collaborations and as artistic director of the March Hare Festival of Literature and Music, Dr. Maggs has made an enormous contribution to the forging of links between our artistic communities and post-secondary institutions.
“He has helped provide important opportunities for other artists and, particularly, for faculty members and students at Memorial to engage in dialogue and further exchanges with their Irish counterparts,” said Dr. John Ashton, principal of GrenfellCollege. “This has helped to enhance Grenfell’s reputation as a centre for literary scholarship and the performing and creative arts for a whole new trans-Atlantic audience. The Coracle Fellowship is a prestigious award and represents not only a personal recognition for Dr. Maggs but also an endorsement of our efforts to develop and strengthen scientific and artistic links with Ireland.”
Dr. Maggs will use the fellowship to provide guest lectures and readings from his own poetry in Waterford and Dun Laoghaire, as well as to extend his network of academic contacts to other Irish post-secondary institutions. He will also endeavor to further strengthen existing links with the Irish literary and artistic communities.
He says the centre piece of his Coracle proposal is a literary review that he and fellow English department colleagues Dr. Adrian Fowler and Dr. Martin Ware plan to establish at GrenfellCollege.
“This review will provide a needed voice not only for established and emerging writers and scholars from this province and Canada, but from Ireland as well,” said Dr. Maggs. “This is what I want to make known in the Irish literary world.”
He said the proposed review will strengthen Grenfell’s links with Ireland, which have been established through various Grenfell initiatives, the March Hare and the Irish/Newfoundland and Irish/Canadian poetry anthologies he’s worked on with Dr. John Ennis of the Waterford Institute of Technology and former Grenfell English professor Dr. Stephanie McKenzie.
“A friend in the offices of Poetry Ireland mentioned to me that if we’re successful in establishing this international review, we’ll be inundated with work from the writers of that country,” said Dr. Maggs. “Great. What I’ll also be looking for when I’m over there is a reciprocal arrangement with an Irish periodical or two so that our writers can make their work known in that country.”
The Coracle Fellowship was established in 2005, deriving its name from the legendary craft that sixth-century monk St. Brendan the Navigator is said to have sailed from Ireland to Iceland, Greenland and perhaps all the way to the island of Newfoundland. While it’s a Memorial University-funded initiative, fellows can be drawn from a broad range of fields and professions including academia, civil service, business, literature, the arts, science, technology and innovation, and can be based in either this province or in Ireland. However, their work must aim to build the relationship between these two jurisdictions, and provide a clear benefit to MemorialUniversity.