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Bloom all around
By John J. Daley
Republican-American, Waterbury, CT
June 13, 2004
We celebrate the 100th anniversary of James Joyce's Bloomsday, the day that provided the Dublin backdrop for the adventures of Leopold Bloom Stephen Dedalus and Molly Bloom in "Ulysses," on Wednesday.
There are special commemoratives all around the world, and certainly Joyce gave readers a good sense of the world in his 18 major segments that make up Blooms-day in "Ulysses." Playwright and lyricist Isaiah Sheffer directs Broadway, television and film actors and others through an annual reading of much of Ulysses in "Bloomsday on Broadway," at the Peter Norton Symphony Space on New York's upper West Side every year since 1982. Writer Frank McCourt, now of Roxbury, and his brothers are usually in the cast.
But Bloomsday is not just New York, or Dublin, where pilgrims follow Bloom's footsteps on June 16, and where the Dublin City Public Libraries maps Joyce and Bloomsday in the city and world in a special exhibition. The following day the winner of the IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award, one of the richest literary prizes of all for a single book (100,000 euros) and funded by [IMPAC] Litchfield's James B. Irwin, IMPAC's founder, is announced, and the award is presented at a special dinner Friday evening attended by Irish and international literary lights as well as a host of Dublin, Irish and European political figures.
But if you stop by Martha's Vineyard, or Champaign-Urbana in Illinois or Melbourne, Australia, or Philadelphia — there the Rosenbach Museum and Library displays the original Ulysses manuscript of more than 800 pages in Joyce's own handwriting — or Sarasota, Fla., San Diego, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Syracuse, N.Y., or Toronto, Canada, you're going to come across a Joyce Celebration on Wednesday. Vintage Books' "Yes I said yes I will Yes." ($11), the title lifted from Molly Bloom's declaration, tells you more about Joyce and this grand tradition. Nora Tully is the editor, Frank McCourt provides the foreword and Isaiah Sheffer, the introduction.
IMPAC this year invited the state winners of its Young Writers competition and their families to the Dublin awards Friday. If you follow awards, the IMPAC-Dublin shortlist includes:
Paul Auster's "The Book of Illusions," William Boyd's "Any Human Heart," Sandra Cisneros' "Caramelo," Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex," Maggie Gee's "The White Family," Tahar Ben Jelloun's "This Blinding Absence of Light," Amin Maalouf's "Balthasar's Odyssey," Rohinton Mistry's "Family Matters, " Atiq Rahimi's "Earth and Ashes," and Olga Tokarczuk's "House of Day, House of Night."
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