• morganfagg

2nd Radio Interview

Updated: Nov 4

While I really enjoyed engaging with everyone on social media about their interest in James Joyce, my second radio interview, just after the centenary celebration on Groundhog Day didn't go as well as I had hoped and I wonder if the interviewer was sick of hearing about Ulysses and Joyce by Groundhog Day.


There was no love lost for Joyce, and the interviewer seemed determined to attack the Irish writer, and I'm not such I was able to do him justice as I would be equally critical about parts of Joyce's confusing and challenging writing. This is not a quick read and one you hand over to a friend to borrow for the weekend. It demands your attention.


I was caught a little off guard as I had hoped to talk about the Groundhog Day Challenge and the global interest I've experienced interacting with a handful of people from around the world. From Kurdish translators to Brazilian writers, American authors with Joyce themed books and people with beloved books.


This was not the first time I'd seen a serious indifference for Joyce in the Irish Midlands as I had posted on a Facebook group in my hometown in June, seeing if there was either a Bloomsday Society or interest in setting one up.


The comments surprised me, and one person questioned why there would be a Bloomsday Society in Athlone when there isn't a John McCormack society in the town.


I presumed there were societies in the town that honoured Athlone's most famous son but nobody is stopping people from setting one up, if there is such interest.


Count McCormack and Joyce were close friends of course and McCormack encouraged Joyce to become a tenor. Both men are well remembered and Joyce actually became our tenner before we adopted the Euro note over Irish punts.


The two talented individuals have both been commemorated with silver €10 coins in recent years but I am surprised there isn't more interest in cashing in on the Count's connection connection to James Joyce.


Back to the radio interview and the strong criticism that Joyce was receiving.

THE CRITIC: The cartoon critic Jay Sherman

I was disappointed that the interview hadn't gone as well as I would have liked but then I remembered that Joyce was very critical himself. Judge lest you be judged, and all that.


I remembered reading in Senator Norris' book Introducing Joyce A Graphic Guide that the James Joyce was a very harsh critic and book reviewer and clashed with editors over his criticism. I can't imagine it was ever a profitable career choice for him.

GUIDEBOOKS: Introducing Joyce A Graphic Guide and Romping Through Ulysses.

I won't worry about defending Joyce on the airways since he was such a harsh critic himself but I will focus on encouraging everyone to rise to the challenge and at least pick up a guide to Joyce if tackling Joyce is too much to do.


For anyone interested in taking on Joyce as a challenge in 2022, you can still win one of four Joycean collections still available as part of The Groundhog Day Challenge's monthly book giveaways, courtesy of Wordsworth Editions.


All you have to do is tag @thegroundhogdaychallenge on Instagram with a Joycean themed post about Ulysses such as a selfie with your copy of the book.


Congratulations to Eugenia Sánchez Acosta in Uruguay who won February's book giveaway. Her books are scheduled to arrive just in time for Saint Patrick's Day. Lucky.




Supported by


UNESCO City of Literature


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