Aug 19, 2019

Margaret Atwood, George RR Martin and Anthony Scaramucci to Visit Trinity Societies

Slavoj Zizek, Lenny Abrahamson and Emma Donoghue are also included on this year's speaker lists for the Phil, the Hist and Law Soc.

Cormac Watson and Aisling Marren

Authors George RR Martin and Margaret Atwood, and former Trump spokesperson Anthony Scaramucci, are among a long list of celebrities, politicians and intellectuals who will be visiting Trinity’s biggest societies this year.

Three of Trinity’s largest societies, the College Historical Society (the Hist), Trinity Law Society (LawSoc) and the University Philosophical Society (the Phil), have announced the names of the honorary patrons and guests who will visit their societies this year.

Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones book series, is set to visit the Hist on August 27th. Former Trinity students David Benioff and DB Weiss adapted the book series for TV, and the show ran for eight seasons. While wildly successful, its season finale was met with shock and disappointment from fans.


Atwood is another author who has gained renewed fame after her book, The Handmaid’s Tale, was adapted into a successful TV series, which stars Elisabeth Moss. She will be addressing the Hist, alongside LGBT activist Ailbhe Smyth, on November 1st.

Anthony Scaramucci, the loud-mouthed former White House director of communications, will visit the Phil on February 6th. He was sacked from his post by Donald Trump after just 11 days, after the New Yorker published an expletive-ridden interview with Scaramucci in which he insulted former staffers of the White House.

Trinity graduate and Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson is expected to address LawSoc this year. Abrahamson directed the critically acclaimed film Room, which was written by Emma Donoghue. Donoghue has also been invited by the society to speak.

Abrahamson is directing the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s hit novel Normal People, currently being filmed on campus.

Actor Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, best known for playing Michelle in Channel Four’s Derry Girls, will be visiting LawSoc on September 2nd. Jack Reynor, who starred in Sing Street and What Richard Did, has also been confirmed.

Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things, which won the Man Booker prize for fiction, will also be addressing LawSoc during the year.

Kumi Naidoo, the current secretary-general of Amnesty International, is set to visit the Hist. Naidoo, who was born in South Africa, was the first head of Greenpeace, acting as its international executive director for six years.

Some of the Big Names

Margaret Atwood
The Hist
George RR Martin
The Hist
Anthony Scaramucci
The Phil
Emma Donoghue
Law Soc
Lenny Abrahamson
Law Soc
Reni Eddo Lodge
The Hist
Kumi Naidoo
The Hist
Jamie-Lee O’Donnell
Law Soc
Jennie Livingston
The Phil
Slavoj Zizek
The Phil
Susan Herman
Law Soc
Nina Khrushcheva
The Phil

LawSoc has also snagged a number of big legal figures including Michael Kirby, a former justice of the High Court of Australia; Susan Herman, a former American Civil Liberties Union president; Cornell Brooks, former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Theodore Olson, the Solicitor General of the United States during George Bush’s term in office; and Max Schrems, an Austrian author who specialises in digital rights. Schrems will be joined by David Carroll and Ravi Naik for a panel discussion on Data protection.

The Phil has confirmed the dates for eight of its speakers. Ian Ziering, star of Sharknado, will be coming on either September 6th or 9th, followed by iconic 1980s band The Pixies on September 26th.

Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian philosopher, will visit the Phil on November 18th. Žižek is a professor at the University of Ljubljana, and is well-known for his idiosyncratic style and controversial opinions.

Nina Khrushcheva, a Soviet princess, will visit on November 22nd, and Howard Shore, who composed the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, will visit on November 28th. Jennie Livingstone, the director of Paris is Burning, will visit the Phil the next day. Philosopher and cognitive scientist David Dennett will visit the Phil either on March 13th or 20th.

All three societies are also in talks with a number of other big names without confirmation as yet.

The Phil is currently looking to confirm dates with music reviewer Anthony Fantano, as well as Aiden Gillen, the star of The Wire and Sing Street. Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis is also in discussions surrounding a visit.

The Hist is in negotiations with former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, actress Lea Seydoux and independent Senator Lynn Ruane. LawSoc is still hoping to confirm English satirist Ian Hislop, as well as the journalists behind the Harvey Weinstein revelations, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twomey. Chris O’Dowd may also visit the society.

In an email statement to The University Times, Phil president Ryan Grunwell said of the invitees: “In each and every case case, the Honorary Patron invited possesses a unique perspective that I felt important to bring to campus this year.”

“We look forward to announcing further Honorary Patrons – including some of the biggest names in Irish and British politics from the last decade – closer to the dates of their visits”, he said.

In an email statement to The University Times, Hist auditor Luke Fehily told The University Times in an email statement that he was delighted at the “preeminent guests” the Hist had confirmed.

“The Hist has long facilitated discussion on Campus and this year we aim to bring the world-leaders in politics, economics, philosophy, literature, and entertainment to our members”, he said.

LawSoc auditor Milly Farrell Kelly said in an email statement to The University Times: “This year at LawSoc we are delighted to be hosting a diverse range of high profile guests across a number of different fields.”

“From famed legal academics to your favourite on-screen faces, we hope there is something for everyone this year in our Speaker Series.”

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