Friday, May 21, 2010

How to throw a Bloomsday Party

To put together your own Bloomsday celebration, all you need is a copy of Ulysses, an internet connection or a radio. Some drinks and snacks mentioned in the book are also a nice touch if you are inviting friends: Beer, burgundy, tea, brown bread, gorgonzola cheese, for instance. At 7pm EST, you turn on the radio and listen to wbai 99.5FM or go online to

You can also pass around your copy of Ulysses to your guests or choose selections for them to read and print them out and let them each in turn read aloud from the book. Edwardian dress is optional but always encouraged, long dresses and bowler hats and nightgowns are welcome. Bloomsday is a day for people who love the book to share it with people who have never read it, to help new readers find their way in to a challenging, inspiring, rewarding and for some life changing literary experience.

The first Bloomsday celebration was a lunch organized by Joyce's publisher Sylvia Beach in Paris, 1929. The first Irish Bloomsday took place in 1954 as the great Irish poet Patrick Kavanaugh and novelist Flan O'Brien visited some of the places mentioned in Ulysses and read from the novel. Traditionally, Bloomsday starts at breakfast time with a nice Irish fry and ends drunkenly at 2ish in the morning. Take just five minutes to think of the book and listen to or read a few paragraphs and you have taken part in a worldwide literary celebration.

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