Grace Wilentz announced as inaugural Writer in Residence at University of Notre Dame Dublin

Author: Margaret Arriola

Grace Wilentz in front of stacks of books and poetry on the wall.
Grace Wilentz at Notre Dame Dublin's O'Connell House

Grace Wilentz, a native of New York City who now calls Ireland home, has been selected as the University of Notre Dame Dublin’s inaugural Writer in Residence.

Wilentz will spend the 2023-24 academic year with the students, staff, and faculty of O’Connell House, the historic home of Irish politician Daniel O’Connell and current home of the University of Notre Dame’s scholarly endeavors in Dublin.

The Writer in Residence will teach classes, facilitate writing workshops, professional development and mentorship sessions with University of Notre Dame students, deliver a keynote public lecture and reading, and participate in arts and culture events at the Dublin Global Gateway.

“It’s an honor to be entrusted with the inaugural Writer in Residence role, and a privilege to have a hand in shaping what this programme can become,” said Wilentz. “O'Connell House is a warm, inviting and important center for supporting literature and the arts and I look forward to spending more time within this community.”

After completing an undergraduate degree at Harvard University and postgraduate masters at Oxford University, Wilentz moved to Dublin in 2005 to study the Irish language at University College Dublin and has since made Ireland her home, becoming an Irish citizen in 2015.

Wilentz has published poems internationally in The American Poetry Journal, Cyphers, The Harvard Advocate, The Irish Times, The Seneca Review, and The Stinging Fly, and broadcast on RTÉ Radio. She is a creator and co-editor of SEED, a creative mixed media journal born of the “virtual platform fatigue” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her poetry has been recognized by Ireland’s Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon with the award of a bursary for her 2019 chapbook Holding Distance and selection for the Next Generation Artist award in 2021. She has taught Creative Writing courses at University College Dublin and Dublin City University and facilitates writing workshops for The Gallery Press.

Wilentz was connected to the University of Notre Dame after the publication of her debut collection, The Limit of Light, in 2020. The collection was published by The Gallery Press, Ireland’s pre-eminent publisher of poetry in the 21st century.

The Limit Of Light Book Cover

The Gallery Press writes of Wilentz's debut collection:

The Limit of Light is a record of experience, a widely lived life. There are poems set in her native New York City, in the Everglades, in Morocco, in the Anasazi villages of the American West and in her adopted country, Ireland. Poems in the voice of her mother undergoing treatment for cancer and others that explore her Jewish heritage. Her succinctness of thought and her epiphanies are evident in ‘In this desert landscape / there is little enough to measure yourself by’ and ‘children are always / at the mercy / of the deal’. In her style and subject matter Grace Wilentz broadens the reach of recent Irish poetry.

The collection went on to critical acclaim and was regareded as one of the best books of the year by both The Irish Times and The Irish Independent.

Iggy McGovern, writing for the Dublin Review of Books, considers The Limit of Light "an impressive debut" due to Wilentz's "sharp eye for the unusual, pitch perfect language and strong end lines."

Wilentz hopes to find inspiration for new work during her residency year, whether through sessions with students or in the art and artifacts of O’Connell House — particularly in the Brian Friel Library, Irish playwright Brian Friel’s personal collection now housed at the University of Notre Dame Dublin.

Originally published by Margaret Arriola at on October 06, 2023.