Skip to Main Content

Burns Library Past Events



Former events held at Burns Library


Senior Creative Writing Concentrators Reading

Hosted in conjunction with Boston College Arts Festival and Department of English

Friday, April 28, 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Burns Library

Graduating seniors from the Creative Writing Concentration program will read from their portfolios. Light refreshments will be served.


Writing Boston College’s History
A Conversation on the Contributions (and Limitations) of Institutional Histories

In collaboration with the History Department, Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, and Office of the University Historian

Thursday, April 20, 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Burns Library

Boston College enjoys a rich history – from its founding in 1863 as a small commuter college to educate children of immigrants, to its status 170 years later as a major university of national and international standing. University Historian James O’Toole’s new book, Ever to Excel: A History of Boston College, explores that transformation and the people and events that have shaped it.
This program will engage O’Toole in a conversation with Greg Kalscheur, SJ, dean of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, and Margaret McGuinness, emerita professor at La Salle University and a specialist in American Catholic history.

Reflecting together on O’Toole’s book, these three scholars will explore questions such as: Why write the history of an institution? What are such a book’s larger contributions, and those to the university community? What are the advantages as well as the limitations particular to the writing of an institutional history?

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Burns Library Irish Room. RSVPs are not necessary but appreciated to assist with catering:

Copies of Ever to Excel will be available for purchase through the Institute of Jesuit Sources.


Elizabeth Graver Shares Her New Novel, Kantika

In collaboration with Boston College Department of English

Wednesday, April 19, 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Burns Library

A kaleidoscopic portrait of one family’s displacement across four countries, Kantika—“song” in Ladino—follows the joys and losses of Rebecca Cohen, feisty daughter of the Sephardic elite of early 20th-century Istanbul. When the Cohens lose their wealth and are forced to move to Barcelona and start anew, Rebecca fashions a life and self from what comes her way—a failed marriage, the need to earn a living, but also passion, pleasure and motherhood. Moving from Spain to Cuba to New York for an arranged second marriage, she faces her greatest challenge—her disabled stepdaughter, Luna, whose feistiness equals her own and whose challenges pit new family against old.

Elizabeth Graver is co-director of the Creative Writing Concentration at Boston College, where she teaches fiction and nonfiction writing workshops. Kantika is her fifth novel.

Light refreshments will be served following the program. Copies of Kantika will be available for sale and signing.


An Island at War: Reframing Irish Political Violence, 1922-23

Eunan O’Halpin
Spring '23 Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies

Thursday, March 2, 4:45pm to 7:30pm
Burns Library

Spring '23 Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies Eunan O’Halpin, Professor Emeritus of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, will challenge the conventional chronology of events in Ireland in 1922-23.

The government’s attack on the Four Courts on 28 June 1922 is generally held to mark the start of the civil war. Yet hundreds of Irish civilians had already been killed in the preceding six months – far more than were to die during the civil war proper, which was almost exclusively a fight between two armed forces. And the majority of those civilian deaths were the result of targeted violence.

O’Halpin will also ask why political violence waned so swiftly and dramatically across the island following the armed conflict. It can be argued that the Cosgrave government’s comparatively tolerant treatment of its defeated foes explains why the new Free State stabilized so quickly. In Northern Ireland, by contrast, policy towards the nationalist minority generally remained unyielding, even when political violence had all but disappeared. But in Northern Ireland, as in the Free State, tranquility quickly succeeded chaos. Why?

The program will begin with a wine, beer, and hors d'oeuvres reception beginning at 4:45pm in the Burns Library Irish Room, with the lecture to follow at approximately 6:00pm in the Thompson Room.