Dublin-born writer Bram Stoker, author of the famed novel Dracula, died in London at age 64, on April 20, 1912. Given that the vampire story, and the gothic in general, is currently seeing a resurgence in popularity, paying homage to the influential author on the centenary of his death seems all the more important. On April 10, artist Aidan Hickey gave a portrait that he painted of Stoker to the Irish Writer’s Center in Parnell Square, Dublin. An avid sketcher, Stoker enjoyed art a great deal and was a founding member of the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, a group to which Aidan Hickey now belongs.
But Stoker’s relatives have even bigger plans for the anniversary. His great-grand nephew, Dacre Stoker, has publicly announced that his family would like to pay for a statue to commemorate the writer in his home city of Dublin. Originally from Montreal and currently living in South Carolina, Dacre Stoker recently told the Irish Independent, “You have statues to all your other famous Dublin authors so the first question I asked was, ‘where is the Bram Stoker statue?’” The family has turned down an offer from the Dublin City Council to erect a statue in the park at Marino Crescent, near where Stoker was born in 1847, because they believed it would be inconvenient for tourists. However, they are having difficulty getting the council to agree to a more prominent area.
Douglas Appleyard, from The Friends of Bram Stoker group, recently wrote to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, in regards to the lack of Ireland (specifically Dublin) sponsored festivities. There will be several events commemorating Stoker’s life in 2012, but all will be independently organized– generating a less cohesive feel, and, these family members and fans fear, a lack of formal attention. Some of the privately run events include: On July 4th – 9th, “A Family Reunion for Stokers,” for Stoker relations and friends from all over the world, held at various venues in Dublin; on July 5th and 6th, “Bram Stoker Centenary Conference 2012: Bram Stoker: Life and Writing,” at Trinity College Dublin; on July 7th, “Bram Stoker’s Notebook,” An Illustrated Presentation by Elizabeth Miller & Dacre Stoker at National Library of Ireland, Dublin; and on October 31st, the Stoker Dracula Organization will host a Halloween Festival in Clontarf.
Anyone visiting Dublin can explore places of importance to Stoker during the 31 years he lived there before moving to London. He was born at 15 Marino Crescent, Clontarf, on the northside of Dublin, attended Trinity College Dublin, worked at both Dublin Castle and the Shelbourne Hotel, and also lived at 30 Kildare Street.