Skip to main content

Burns Visiting Scholars


Current Visiting Scholar


Since 1991, the Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program has brought to Boston College a long and distinguished series of academics, writers, artists, journalists, librarians, and notable public figures who have made significant contributions to Irish cultural and intellectual life. Burns Visiting Scholars teach courses, offer public lectures, and engage with the rich resources of the John J. Burns Library in their ongoing research, writing, and creative endeavors.

The Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies program is a cooperative venture between the Boston College Center for Irish Programs and the Boston College Libraries. It was established by and receives continuing support from the family and friends of the Honorable John J. Burns (Class of 1921), who also generously contributed to the creation of the John J. Burns Library and support the growth of its extraordinary collections pertaining to Irish history, literature, music, and culture. The Burns Visiting Scholar program has also benefited from support from the Office of the Provost.

In recognition of its 25th anniversary, Boston College Communications profiled the Burns Visiting Scholar program in a November 7, 2016 article.  In October 2016, Irish America magazine also published a special supplement in celebration of this milestone. Read the article or download a copy.

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne - Fall 2020

Dr. Éilís Ní DhuibhneDr. Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is the Burns Scholar for Fall 2020. Born in Dublin, where she still lives, she is a writer, lecturer in creative writing, and folklorist. Her B.A. from University College Dublin was in pure English (Old, Middle and Modern). She also has an M.Phil. in Medieval Studies and and a Ph.D. in Folklore. Her dissertation dealt with the relationship of oral tradition and literature, particularly in the work of Chaucer. Éilís has worked as an Assistant Keeper in the National Library of Ireland, in the Manuscripts Department, and as a lecturer in Creative Writing in UCD. She has also lectured in Folklore Studies in UCD. Her current folklore research focuses on the early nineteenth-century collector, Thomas Crofton Croker, and his connection with the Brothers Grimm.

Éilís is best known as a novelist and short story writer, her favourite genre being the short story. She has published almost thirty books, including novels, collections of stories, plays, and non-fiction. Her most recent books are Selected Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2018) and a memoir, Twelve Thousand Days (Blackstaff Press, 2019). Her books have been widely translated. Forthcoming publications are her seventh collection of short stories, Little Red, and a collection of essays by Irish women writers born in the 1950s, Look! It’s a Woman Writer, of which she is editor. Publication of both was due in May 2020 but has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Éilís writes in both Irish and English. She has received many literary awards, including the Irish PEN Award for an Outstanding Contribution to Irish Literature, The Stuart Parker Award for Drama, the Hennessy Wall of Fame Award, and the Burns Prize for Fiction (for her novel, The Dancers Dancing, which was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.) Her books in Irish have received several awards, as have her books for children. She is a well-known literary critic, reviewing regularly for the Irish Times, and a frequent adjudicator of literary competitions, most recently the Dublin International Literature Award 2019 (which was won by the young American novelist, Emily Ruskovich).

As well as teaching and writing, Éilís is active in literary societies. She is an ambassador for the Irish Writers’ Centre, President of the Folklore of Ireland Society, and sits on the board of the Joyce Centre in Dublin. She is a member of Aosdana, the academy of Irish artists.

During her semester at Boston College, Éilís will facilitate a weekly seminar on creative writing, focusing on fiction. She will work on her own novel in progress, and carry out research on early Irish folklorists.


Course and lecture information forthcoming.


Follow the link below to read about each of the more than thirty Burns Visiting Scholars whom we have welcomed to campus since the program began in 1991. For several of our more recent scholars, you will find links to streaming recordings of their public lectures.

Previous Burns Visiting Scholars


Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast, twentieth-century historian 2021 Spring
Emilie Pine, University College Dublin literary scholar 2021 Fall
James Kelly, Dublin City University, eighteenth-century historian 2022 Spring
Paul Murray, novelist 2022 Fall