Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


Scholars' Library: Marilynn Richtarik on 'Getting to Good Friday'

Scholars' Library: Marilynn Richtarik on 'Getting to Good Friday'

20 September 2023

17:00 - 18:00 (GMT+01:00)

Online Platform


Join Marilynn Richtarik (Kansas & Jesus 1988) for a conversation on her book: 'Getting to Good Friday'

Part of the Lifelong Fellowship portfolio, The Scholars’ Library is a monthly book talk series, where Rhodes alumni can come together to present, discover and debate their literary works. If you’re interested in getting involved, please reach out to Georgie Thurston at

For our September event, we are pleased to invite you to take part in a conversation with Marilynn Richtarik (Kansas & Jesus 1988) on her book Getting to Good Friday. Moderated by a fellow scholar, amongst other topics, Marilynn will speak about her journey into Northern Irish literature (during her time at Oxford!), how each of her projects grew out of previous ones, and the background to this book specifically.

Getting to Good Friday intertwines literary analysis and narrative history in an accessible account of the shifts in thinking and talking about Northern Ireland’s divided society that brought thirty years of political violence to a close with the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. Drawing on decades of reading, researching, and teaching Northern Irish literature and talking and corresponding with Northern Irish writers, Marilynn Richtarik describes literary reactions and contributions to the peace process during the fifteen years preceding the Agreement and in the immediate post-conflict era. Progress in this period hinged on negotiators’ ability to revise the terms used to discuss the conflict. As poet Michael Longley commented in 1998, ‘In its language the Good Friday Agreement depended on an almost poetic precision and suggestiveness to get its complicated message across.’ Interpreting selected literary works by Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Deirdre Madden, Seamus Deane, Bernard MacLaverty, Colum McCann, and David Park within a detailed historical frame, Richtarik demonstrates the extent to which authors were motivated by a desire both to comment on and to intervene in unfolding political situations. Getting to Good Friday suggests that literature as literature—that is, in its formal properties in addition to anything it might have to ‘say’ about a given subject—can enrich readers’ historical understanding. Through Richtarik’s engaging narrative, creative writing emerges as both the medium of and a metaphor for the peace process itself.

You can obtain a copy of Getting to Good Friday here

Marilynn Richtarik (Kansas & Jesus 1988) earned an undergraduate degree in American History and Literature at Harvard and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees at Oxford. Her previous books include Acting Between the Lines: The Field Day Theatre Company and Irish Cultural Politics 1980-1984 (OUP, 1994), Stewart Parker: A Life (OUP, 2012), and an edition of Stewart Parker’s novel Hopdance (The Lilliput Press, 2017). Richtarik is currently a Professor of English at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where she teaches British, Irish, and world literature. She spent the first half of 2017 at Queen’s University Belfast as a US Fulbright Scholar.

There is no cost to attend this event, and we hope that all will join us! If you would like to support The Rhodes Trust, please consider giving time through volunteering, or giving a gift to the Scholars Fund. A generous Scholar Alum is providing a matching fund of up to $200,000 USD, and Scholars making their first gift, or their first gift since 2016, will be matched 1:1. If you are interested in our volunteering opportunities, they can be found on our website.

ALT TEXT: A light blue background within which says 'Scholars' Library series' in a bolder, darker blue. There is the Rhodes 'R' and inside of that there is a shelf of books of various colours.


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This event is open to the public

Q & A:

Please feel free to submit any questions in advance to or you can use the chat function within Zoom to ask questions directly during the live event.