Dr Padraig Kirwan

Staff details

Position Senior Lecturer in the Literature of the Americas
Email p.kirwan (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7438
Dr Padraig Kirwan

Padraig’s research focusses primarily on indigenous writing in the United States and Canada. He takes an interdisciplinary approach, and considers various reflections of tribal culture, experience, history, and presence in the work of Native American and First Nations authors. Padraig is most interested in the productive friction that might underline various forms of sovereignty and continuance, while also glossing and acknowledging the various junctures—both historical and geographic—during which indigenous communities have experienced forms of settler violence. A large part of his work studies the way writers and artists grapple with complicated questions regarding indigenous realities, occupancy, colonialism, and continuance in the contemporary moment. Deeply committed to collaborative practice, Padraig has worked closely with Choctaw writers, artists, and historians in order to tease out moments of intercultural and international connection between the Choctaw and the Irish.

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) English and History, University College Dublin 1997
  • MA (Hons) American Literature, University College Dublin 1998
  • PhD, University College Dublin 2002

Teaching and Supervision

Research interests

Padraig’s most recent research has been on the relationship between the Choctaw Nation and the people of Ireland. He recently contributed two chapters to Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Gift Exchange, 1847-Present, which he co-edited with LeAnne Howe. He also contributed to Heroes of the Ireland’s Great Hunger (Christine Kinealy, Jason King and Gerard Moran eds). His first book was Sovereign Stories: Aesthetics, Autonomy and Contemporary Native American Writing (2013). Prior to that, he co-edited Affecting Irishness (with James Byrne and Michael O’Sullivan). He is currently co-editing and contributing The Art of Resistance (with David Stirrup). Padraig has published essays in NOVEL, Comparative Literature, the Journal of American Studies. More recent essays include “‘Mind the Gap’: Journeys in Indigenous Sovereignty and Nationhood” (Comparative American Studies), and “An Indian’s Journey & Tribal Memoir(y): David Treuer’s Rez Life” (forthcoming in Enduring Critical Poses, SUNY).

Padraig welcomes research proposals on any aspect indigenous literatures and has also supervised several students taking the MPhil/PhD in Creative Writing. Select completed and currently supervised PhD theses include:

• A First-Class Man and Surgery on the Battlefield: Mobile Surgical Units in the Second World War and the Memoirs they Produced (Kate Venables)
• Approaching the Apocalyptic: an exploration of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic tropes in relation to Wire Diamonds (Rachael Thomas)
• The uprooted writer, and how is creativity influenced by our perspectives on home? (Sarah Leipciger)
• Blood Sports: Hunting, Ecologies, and More-than-Human Animals in Twenty-First-
Century American Literature (Nadhia Grewal)
• Louis Riel, Justice, and Métis Self-identification: Literary Politics for Survival in the Evolution of Canadian Nationhood (Robin White).
• The Observances and Observations of Walks by the Sea (Kate Miller, winner of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize).

Publications and research outputs


Kirwan, Padraig. 2013. Sovereign Stories : Aesthetics, Autonomy and Contemporary Native American Writing. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 9783034302036

Edited Book

Howe, LeAnne and Kirwan, Padraig, eds. 2020. Famine Pots: The Choctaw Irish Gift Exchange, 1847-Present. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press. ISBN 9781611863697

Byrne, James P.; Kirwan, Padraig and O'Sullivan, Michael, eds. 2009. Affecting Irishness: Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-03911-830-4

Book Section

Kirwan, Padraig. 2021. An Indian’s Journey and Tribal Memory: David Treuer’s Rez Life. In: Gordon Henry Jr.; Margaret Noodin and David Stirrup, eds. Enduring Critical Poses: The Legacy and Life of Anishinaabe Literature and Letters. New York: SUNY Press, pp. 51-77. ISBN 9781438482538

Kirwan, Padraig and Howe, LeAnne. 2020. Introduction. In: LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan, eds. Famine Pots: The Choctaw Irish Gift Exchange 1847-Present. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press, xix-xxxv. ISBN 9781611863697

Kirwan, Padraig. 2020. Recognition, Resilience & Relief: The Meaning of Gift. In: LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan, eds. Famine Pots: The Choctaw Irish Gift Exchange, 1847-Present. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University Press. ISBN 9781611863697

Kirwan, Padraig and Stirrup, David. 2013. “'I'm indiginous, I'm indiginous, I'm indiginous': Indigenous Rights, British Nationalism, and the European Far Right". In: Padraig Kirwan and David Stirrup, eds. Tribal Fantasies: Native Americans in the European Imaginary, 1900-2010. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 59-84. ISBN 978-1-137-28881-3

Byrne, James P; O'Sullivan, Michael and Kirwan, Padraig. 2009. Introduction. In: James P Byrne; Michael O'Sullivan and Padraig Kirwan, eds. Affecting Irishness: Negotiating Cultural Identity Within and Beyond the Nation. Oxford: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3039118304

Kirwan, Padraig. 2007. 'Elizabeth Cook-Lynn,' 'Carter Revard' and 'W.S. Penn,'. In: Alan R Velie and Jennifer McClinton Temple, eds. Encyclopedia of American Indian Literature. New York: Facts On File Inc. ISBN 978-0816056569

Kirwan, Padraig. 2002. "Native American Individuality and Cultural Chronology in Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven". In: Karen Vandevelde, ed. New Voices in Irish Criticism 3. 3 Dublin: Four Courts Press, pp. 143-156. ISBN 9781851826339

Kirwan, Padraig. 2000. Type(ing) Cast: Early Euro-American Literary Representations of the Native American. In: Fiona O'Sullivan and Hilary Lennon, eds. ROPES. 8 Galway: National University of Ireland, Galway, pp. 12-25. ISBN OCLC 52752316


Kirwan, Padraig. 2017. Review of: The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature. Ed. Deborah L. Madsen. Routledge, London, 2016, 524pp ISBN 978 1 13 802060 3. Wasafiri, 32(2), pp. 75-76. ISSN 0269-0055

Kirwan, Padraig. 2017. Choctaw Tales: An Interview with LeAnne Howe. Women: A Cultural Review, 27(3), pp. 265-279. ISSN 0957-4042

Kirwan, Padraig. 2015. Review of: Queequeg's Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and Early American Literature by Birgit Brander Rasmussen. Modern Language Review, 110(3), pp. 783-784. ISSN 0026-7937

Kirwan, Padraig. 2015. ‘Mind the Gap’: Journeys in Indigenous Sovereignty and Nationhood. Comparative American Studies, 13(1-2), pp. 42-57. ISSN 1477-5700

Kirwan, Padraig. 2012. Review of: Awake in America: On Irish American Poetry. By Daniel Tobin. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 2011. Modern Language Review, 107(4), pp. 1245-1247. ISSN 0026-7937

Kirwan, Padraig. 2011. Transatlantic Irishness: Irish and American Frontiers in Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy. Comparative Literature, 63(1), pp. 3-24. ISSN 0010-4124

Kirwan, Padraig. 2011. “All the Talk and All the Silence”: Literary Aesthetics and Cultural Boundaries in David Treuer's Little. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, 44(3), pp. 444-465. ISSN 0029-5132

Kirwan, Padraig. 2009. Language and Signs: An Interview with Ojibwe Novelist David Treuer. Journal of American Studies, 43(1), pp. 71-88. ISSN 0021-8758

Kirwan, Padraig. 2007. Remapping Place and Narrative in Native American Literature: David Treuer's "The Hiawatha". American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 31(2), pp. 1-24. ISSN 0161-6463

Kirwan, Padraig. 1999. The Emergent Land: Nature and Ecology in Native American Expressive Forms. PaGes 6, pp. 83-92.

Further profile content

Professional projects

Padraig has held many roles within ECW and has served on committees within the department and at College level. He currently has responsibility for handling extenuating circumstances and extensions within the department and was ECW’s Head of Admissions from 2009-2013. Padraig currently serves on the department’s Research Committee. Prior to that he was a member of both Academic Board (two consecutive terms) and Extenuating Circumstances Special Topics Group as well as ECW’s Undergraduate Teaching & Learning Committee.

As co-applicant, Padraig is hosting, along with Professor David Stirrup (primary applicant), the Decolonizing Research Methodologies workshop series. Having successfully applied for CHASE funding, Padraig and David will host workshops that introduce students to the key readings in Indigenous and Decolonizing Research Methodologies, and will work together with BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) scholars engaged with methodological development in this timely and vital arena.

Media engagements

2020: CBS News Morning Show
Interview with Michelle Miller

2020: Time Magazine
Quoted in “Irish Donors Are Helping a Native American Tribe Face the Coronavirus Crisis”

2018: The Conversation
Author of “How a small American Indian tribe came to give an incredible gift to Irish famine sufferers.”

2013: Times Higher Education
Author of review of the National Portrait Gallery's “George Catlin, American Indian Portraits.”

Conferences and talks

2021: “Contextualizing Famine Pots.”
Invited guest speaker at Irish Famine Summer School, Strokestown Park.

2021: Choctaw-Irish Connections with LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan
Chahta Tosholi Virtual Speaker Series, organized by Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation.

2020: Famine Pots Roundtable.
Organized by the Consulate General of Ireland, Austin, Texas, and moderated by Naomi O’Leary, The Irish Times.

“LeAnne Howe and Padraig Kirwan in conversation.”
Invited guest speaker at The Trailblazery Hedge School.

2020: “The Story of the Choctaw Gift: Interview with LeAnne Howe, Christine Kinealy and Padraig Kirwan."
Invited guest speaker, Institute for Famine Studies, Dublin.

2020: “Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Gift Exchange.”
Invited guest speaker, with LeAnne Howe, Milton Public Library, Massachusetts.

2020: “Hereness, Awayness and the Work of 2Ro Media.”
Religion, Nature and Culture Conference. University College Cork.

2019: “Hereness in Jackson 2Bears & Janet Rogers’s ‘For this Land’ Series.”

2017: Co-organizer of the 38th American Indian Workshop (London).
3-day international conference held at Goldsmiths, University of London.

2016: “The Gift: Irish and Native American Exchanges.”
Public Engagement event at the Goldsmiths, University of London.

2016: “Rousing Mirth: Craig Womack’s Short Fiction.”
Roundtable (organizer and co-presenter). American Indian Workshop, Odense, Denmark.

2021: "Famine Pots: The Choctaw-Irish Relationship", University of Missouri-St-Louis Irish Studies Lectures
Invited guest speaker, along with LeAnne Howe

Grants and awards

2021: 2021 Shelley Fisher Fishkin Prize for International Scholarship in Transnational American Studies
The prize is awarded for excellent publications that present original research in Transnational American Studies (including original interdisciplinary research in Transnational American Studies).

2020: AHRC (network member)
Project title: ‘Indigenous Literatures and Languages in the Americas: Translanguaging and Education in Global Contexts’

2015: Public Engagement Grant Awardee, Goldsmiths, University of London
Project title: ‘Transatlantic Reciprocity: Exchanges between the Choctaw and the Irish’

2003: Fulbright Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles
Project title: “‘The Border Crossed Us’: Spiritual, Political, and Cultural Borders in Native American Literatures of the American Southwest”

2001: Irish Research Council for the Humanities & Social Sciences Scholar
Postgraduate studentship

2020: Co-applicant on the CHASE funded Decolonizing Research Methodologies workshop series
In collaboration with Professor David Stirrup, University of Kent

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