Tuesday 16 July 2019

Booker Prize winning Irish writer Iris Murdoch honoured with new stamp

A new stamp featuring Iris Murdoch was launched today by An Post
A new stamp featuring Iris Murdoch was launched today by An Post

Áine Kenny

THE 100th birthday of acclaimed Irish philosopher and author Dame Iris Murdoch is being commemorated with a new postage stamp.

As well as the stamp featuring Ms Murdoch's face, a plaque honouring her literary and cultural contributions was also unveiled today.

The plaque is located in Blessington Street Park, The Basin, Dublin 7, near where she was born in 1919.

An Post CEO, David McRedmond, spoke about the continuing relevance of Ms Murdoch, who was the first irish author to receive The Booker Prize, for The Sea, the Sea in 1978.

Mr McRedmond said:  "We have a proud tradition of celebrating our great writers with stamps. Iris Murdoch unusually achieved mass popularity with a deep philosophical core in her novels."

Dublin City Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick, representing the Dublin Lord Mayor, spoke at the plaque unveiling.

She said that the council had established the plaque scheme to commemorate people, organisations and events that have made a unique and significant contribution to the history of Dublin.

"It is fitting that Dublin City, a UNESCO City of Literature, should honour a woman who was born in the City, and who went on to become one of our most acclimated writers and philosophers," said Cllr Fitzpatrick.

The new stamp is designed by Steve Simpson. The illustration is based on a portrait photograph of Dame Murdoch, and is set in the iconic style of her early books.

Ms Murdoch was born at 59 Blessington Street and her family moved to London when she was a baby but they never lost touch with their Irish roots, often returning and would enjoy holidays by the sea in Dun Laoghaire.

Ireland features prominently in a number of Murdoch's works, which remain relevant to modern society and are studied by academics worldwide.

Murdoch is notable for the themes of problem-solving and truth seeking, through philosophy and writing. 

The Dubliner began her professional career as an academic philosopher in Oxford University. She stayed there for fifteen years and turned her hand to writing. 

As well as receiving the Booker Prize, for ‘The Sea, The Sea’’ in 1978, five more of her 26 novels were nominated for the prestigious accolade.

As well as publishing works of fiction, the Irish woman was one of the most profound moral philosophers of the 20th century.

Her most important philosophical work, 'The Sovereignty of the Good', explored how just and loving attention to the world, especially to people, nature and art, can give us knowledge of a transcendent idea of 'Good'.

Iris Murdoch passed away in February 1999 aged 80. Her birth centenary will allow Ireland as a nation to renew awareness of her novels and moral philosophy.

The ‘N’ rate stamp can be used to post letters in Ireland.

This special commemorative stamp is available at selected post offices, online at www.irishstamps.ie or can be ordered by phoning 01-7057400.

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