Will the Roaring 20s return in the 2020s?

15 Jun, 2021

Will the Roaring 20s return in the 2020s?

The Roaring 20s is iconic. Flappers, Jazz, Gershwin, The Great Gatsby, the Charleston, the Bright Young Things. These are all things that come to mind when you mention the Roaring 20s. An explosion of joy and creativity following the hardships of the First World War and the Spanish Flu and the world grabbed at it with both hands. Concurrent with this was a thirst for new technology and a rejection of the values and heavy aesthetic of their Victorian and Edwardian parents.

In Ireland, it was a formative decade, a decade for revitalisation and grabbing onto a new sense of cultural identity. It was a decade for Modernist ideas - Mainie Jellet, Jack Butler Yeats, Kate O'Brien and Maeve Brennan - to name just a few.

The question is will the Roaring 20s return in the 2020s? Will the Covid 19 Pandemic bring new voices to the world of culture and arts? Will the 2020s be a time of rejection of the old and the embrace of the new? Will there be a new generation of Bright Young Things? The answers to all these questions will be written over the next decade. The pandemic has changed how we interact with the arts and how artists create.

Everyone is wondering about Arts and Culture right now. It was so important during lockdown but now, as society moves back towards some sort of normal, will art and culture still have the same importance? Will our artists, writers and makers feel the sense of agency that their predecessors felt over 100 years ago?

Of course, viewing a livestream from home is a very different experience from travelling into the actual world to see someone performing live, right in front of you. But surely, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that there is space – and an appetite - for both.

Here at the Red Line Book Festival, we are looking for this year’s Writer-in-Residence, and when casting about for a theme, The Roaring Twenties presented itself. It was a break with tradition – or in 2021 terminology, a cultural reset. It embraced modernity and technology, much like we have embraced our zooms and livestreams. We want our Writer-in-Residence to use this as a jumping-off point to look at art, culture and community in conjunction with the Red Line Book Festival, which this year celebrates its own anniversary – our 10th Festival.

We are proud to offer programmes that support writers in their work and give them a platform to engage with our community. It is important to provide such funded opportunities to give time, space and security to take risks and artistic leaps of faith and we are excited to see how this year’s Writer- in-Residence engages with them. We are looking for them to create something new, either of their own or in conjunction with the community, in these uncertain times, we hope that you join us to celebrate the best of this decade and everything it has to offer and to make the 2020’s roar just as loud as its predecessor.

Apply to become Red Line Book Festival's 2021 Writer in Residence here.

THE RED LINE BOOK FESTIVAL is an initiative of South Dublin County Council. The tenth annual festival runs October 11-17, 2021

Image credit: Bettmann/Getty Images