Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Book Club: Translations by Brian Friel

Event Summary Book Club “Translations” – 25 October 2020

This was our first book club event with 19 participants joining us from all over the globe as far as Canada, Egypt and Ukraine. Riocárd Ó hOddail gave a very interesting talk about the Irish language, the background of the play and its significance today. This was followed by a lively discussion which easily could have gone on for much longer than the hour we had allocated. It was especially fascinating to share different viewpoints and experiences with regards to language and identity. Thank you very much to all who attended.

Join members of the Midlands Network for a book club night via Zoom. You are invited to read the play “Translations”, a modern classic by the Irish author Brian Friel (1929-2015) and then join in a remote meeting on Zoom to discuss the play and reflect on its message.

The play deals with what the Irish novelist Colm Tóibín calls “the clash between language and culture”. The main setting is a hedge school in Donegal, Ireland, in 1833, a time when the majority of the population in the country spoke Irish (Gaelic) but an English-language national education system was being introduced. British soldiers who are carrying out an ordnance survey involving the anglicisation of place names come to the fictional town of Baile Beag (Ballybeg) where residents react in very different ways to the undertaking. As one of the characters states, “It’s only a name. It’s the same me, isn’t it? Well, isn’t it?”.

If you would rather listen to the play, you can find it here:

The Zoom meeting will be on Sunday 25 October at 5pm so please make sure you have read or listened to the play before then. You will receive a link to join the meeting by email, together with a few discussion questions to think about if you wish. Feel free to bring a glass of something to the discussion! We aim to recreate a face-to-face book club as closely as possible.

Please email to book your place

October 25th, 2020 5:00 PM   to   6:00 PM
Online event (Zoom)
Events +
Category Midlands Network
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CIOL Midlands Network