James O'Sullivan (Irish Academic)
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James O'Sullivan Irish Academic

James O'Sullivan
James Christopher O'Sullivan

May 1986 (age 33)
Cork, Ireland
OccupationWriter, publisher, editor, academic

James Christopher O'Sullivan (born May 1986) is an Irish writer, publisher, editor, and academic from Cork city. He is most notable as the author and editor of several critical texts, the Founding Editor of New Binary Press, the writer of three collections of poetry.



O'Sullivan is involved in the study of Digital Humanities, and has a particular interest in computer-assisted text analysis and new media studies.[1][2] He has held faculty positions at various academic institutions, including Pennsylvania State University and the University of Sheffield.[3][4][5] He currently lectures at University College Cork, part of the National University of Ireland.[6]

O'Sullivan's scholarship has been published in a number of peer-reviewed academic journals and books, including Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (Oxford University Press), Leonardo (The MIT Press), Digital Humanities Quarterly, and Literary Studies in the Digital Age (Modern Language Association). He was shortlisted for the Fortier Prize for Digital Humanities research in 2014.[1] He has edited several academic volumes, including Reading Modernism with Machines (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).[7]

His various uses of stylometry to analyse the work of James Patterson[8][9][10] have garnered significant media attention, most notably being cited by Anthony Lane in The New Yorker.[11][12] O'Sullivan has contributed to a number of digital resources, including Zebrapedia, a project seeking to transcribe the entirety of Philip K. Dick's Exegesis.[13]

He is former Associate Director of the Digital Humanities Summer Institute at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.[14]

In 2018, O'Sullivan publicly criticised Irish universities for focusing too much on commercially oriented "skills" to the detriment of critical thinking.[15]


O'Sullivan founded New Binary Press in 2012,[16][17] a publishing house dedicated to the publication of both print and electronic literature. New Binary Press has published a number of well-known authors, including Nick Montfort and Karl Parkinson. The venture has had a lot of critical success: Graham Allen's The One That Got Away was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award 2015,[18] while Unexplained Fevers by Jeannine Hall Gailey came second in the 2014 Science Fiction Poetry Association's Elgin Award.[19] In 2018, novelling, a work of recombinant fiction by Will Luers, Hazel Smith, and Roger Dean that is published by New Binary Press, won the ELO's Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature, one of world's major prizes for screen-based literature.[20][21] In 2016, one of the press' flagship works, Graham Allen's one-line-a-day digital poem, Holes, reached its 10-year anniversary.[22][23][24] Irish literary scholar Kenneth Keating has argued that O'Sullivan's New Binary Press is one of the first publishers to cross "the division between online and print publishing in Irish poetry in a more progressive fashion",[25] while Irish poet Matthew Geden has also praised the project: "...the press has published books by a number of new and interesting writers who are for one reason or another outside the current mainstream of Irish literature. Such projects are vital at a time when the poetry world here has been dominated by only a handful of presses and individuals. The emergence of new voices owes much to small publishers like New Binary and others...".[26]

In early 2017, in an interview with Books Ireland magazine, O'Sullivan said that New Binary Press was operating at a loss, though he seemed confident of the press' future, claiming that "the value of dissonance outweighs that of cents".[27] He has been vocal on the economic realities facing independent publishing houses, as well as an advocate of the role they play in the development of literary communities.[17]

In the same article, O'Sullivan outlined his belief that Irish writing can come from many perspectives, and is simply "literature that is embedded in the very soul of our island".[27]

Despite his profile as a digital publisher and scholar, O'Sullivan believes that print books have far greater "material and cultural importance" than digital formats, describing Kindle and iTunes as a "dangerous axis of power".[27]

As a publisher, O'Sullivan has been critical of major literary competitions, particularly those which he deems to be under the influence of their commercial sponsors. He has called for "improved transparency" and "the removal of commercial influences" from literary competitions, arguing that "small publishers can't take risks on large entry fees if there is any doubt in their mind over how decisions are being made".[28]

O'Sullivan's New Binary Press has published a number of works which explicitly express particular political sentiments. In 2017, the press published The Elysian: Creative Responses, an anthology of writings in response to Cork city's landmark Elysian building, a structure described as a "a symbol of the worst excesses of the Celtic Tiger".[29] That same year, New Binary Press published John Barber's Remembering the Dead: Northern Ireland, which commemorates victims of The Troubles, and is based on a previous incarnation designed to raise awareness around gun violence in the US.[30][31] In 2018, O'Sullivan's press published Autonomy, a project supporting Ireland's pro-choice movement.[32][33][34][35] British writer Kit de Waal has associated New Binary Press with the publication of working class writers.[36]


O'Sullivan's first collection of poetry, Kneeling on the Redwood Floor, was released by Lapwing Publications in 2011,[37][38] a work which the author himself did not rate very highly.[38][39][40] In 2014, Alba Publishing released his second collection, Groundwork, followed in 2017 by Courting Katie, published by Salmon Poetry.[41][42] Reviewing Courting Katie, Dedalus poet Matthew Geden describes O'Sullivan as a "vibrant voice" that offers "timely reminders to look closer at the world around us".[26] Writing in Poetry Ireland Review, Jessica Traynor likens O'Sullivan to a "latter-day Kavanagh" who "breathes life into deserted streets and grey city corners".[43]

O'Sullivan's poetry has been published in a number of prestigious journals, magazines and periodicals, including The SHOp, Cyphers, Southword, and Crannóg.

In 2016, O'Sullivan was placed third in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize.[44] He has twice been shortlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize,[45][46] as well as the Fish Short Story Prize.[47] He received a High Commendation in Munster Literature Centre Fool for Poetry 2014 International Chapbook Competition[48] and 2013 Charles Macklin Poetry Prize.

O'Sullivan has contributed features and opinion pieces to a number of regional and national periodicals in Ireland and internationally, including The Guardian, the LA Review of Books, The Irish Times, and Cork Evening Echo.


O'Sullivan was born and raised in Cork city, Ireland, a place for which he has often expressed great affection,[40][49][50] and featured in his work.[26] He is the grandson of a locally famed performer, Billa O'Connell.[38][50][40] O'Sullivan attended Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, though did not enjoy his time at school.[49] He is a graduate of Cork Institute of Technology, University College Cork, and University College Dublin.[40][38][51][52]

In 2016, O'Sullivan was vocal in his support for the beleaguered Cork Film Festival.[53][54] He has been highly critical of the Catholic Church in Ireland.[55][56]


Title Publisher Year ISBN
Edited Books
Reading Modernism with Machines Palgrave Macmillan 2016 978-1137595683
Poetry Collections
Courting Katie Salmon Poetry 2017 978-1-910669-85-3
Groundwork Alba Publishing 2014 978-1-910185-03-2
Kneeling on the Redwood Floor Lapwing Publications 2011 978-1-907276-84-2


  1. ^ a b "Algorithmic Criticism as an Approach to Electronic Literature". Electronic Literature Lab. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ ARCS. "Introducing Digital Literary Studies". Advancing Research Communication & Scholarship. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "Libraries hire digital humanities research designer". Penn State University. 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ Furlough, Mike (2014). "Our new Digital Humanities Research Designer". Humanities in a Digital Age, Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ Sheffield (2016). "New Staff Appointments in the HRI Digital Team". Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Sheffield. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "UCC Research Profiles: James O'Sullivan". research.ucc.ie. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ Ross, Shawna; O'Sullivan, James (2016). Reading Modernism with Machines: Digital Humanities and Modernist Literature. ISBN 9781137595683. OCLC 970815518.
  8. ^ Fuller, Simon; O'Sullivan, James (2017). "Structure over Style: Collaborative Authorship and the Revival of Literary Capitalism". Digital Humanities Quarterly. 11 (1).
  9. ^ O'Sullivan, James (2017). "Why you don't need to write much to be the world's bestselling author". The Conversation. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ O'Sullivan, James (7 June 2018). "Bill Clinton and James Patterson are co-authors - but who did the writing?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ Lane, Anthony (18 June 2018). "Bill Clinton and James Patterson's Concussive Collaboration". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ Moncrieff, Seán (2017). "Does the worlds bestselling author write his own books?". Newstalk. Archived from the original on 20 April 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ Doyle, Richard; O'Sullivan, James; Miffitt, Kate; Brumfield, Ben; Durity, Anthony (1 July 2015). "Zebrapedia: Collective Explication of Philip K. Dick's Exegesis". Digital Humanities.
  14. ^ "Digital Humanities Summer Institute". dhsi.org. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ O'Sullivan, James (7 February 2018). "Universities have become like Ikea - just follow the instructions". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ "History of New Binary Press". newbinarypress.com. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ a b O'Sullivan, James (9 June 2017). "The realities of independent publishing in Ireland". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2017.
  18. ^ "Poetry Award Nomination for Prof Graham Allen". School of English, University College Cork. 2015. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "2014 Elgin Awards". Science Fiction Poetry Association. 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "Announcing the Winners of the 2018 ELO Prize". eliterature.org. Retrieved 2018.
  21. ^ "novelling wins the Coover Award". newbinarypress.com. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "Holes: Decade I". newbinarypress.com. Retrieved 2017.
  23. ^ "Holes is a decade old". newbinarypress.com. 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  24. ^ Allen, Graham; O'Sullivan, James (2016). "Collapsing Generation and Reception: Holes as Electronic Literary Impermanence". Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures (15): 1. doi:10.20415/hyp/015.e01.
  25. ^ Keating, Kenneth (24 August 2017). "Irish Poetry Publishing Online". Éire-Ireland. 52 (1): 321-336. doi:10.1353/eir.2017.0015. ISSN 1550-5162.
  26. ^ a b c Geden, Matthew (2018). "On Bindweed, The Yellow House and Courting Katie: Matthew Geden reviews new collections by Mark Roper, William Wall and James O'Sullivan". Southword (33).
  27. ^ a b c Horgan, Joseph (2017). "Keep going despite the prophets of doom". Books Ireland. p. 20.
  28. ^ Kapila, Lois (23 August 2016). "To Win Some Book Awards, Publishers Have to Pay". Dublin Inquirer. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ Brennan, Marjorie (2 January 2018). "Tower of inspiration for Cork writers". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2018.
  30. ^ Barber, John (Fall 2016). "Remembering the Dead". Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures (15).
  31. ^ "Remembering the Dead: Northern Ireland". newbinarypress.com. Retrieved 2018.
  32. ^ "Autonomous Voices". the contemporary small press. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  33. ^ Evans, Martina. "Autonomy edited by Kathy D'Arcy, Repeal the 8th edited by Una Mullally review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2018.
  34. ^ Worswick, Matthew (11 April 2018). "When Archives Meet Activism: The Role of Historical Research in the Irish Abortion Debate". Manchester Historian. Retrieved 2018.
  35. ^ De Vere, Taryn (2018). "Irish doctor-turned-editor pens book about women's reproductive rights". Her.ie. Retrieved 2018.
  36. ^ Waal, Kit de (10 February 2018). "Make room for working class writers". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018.
  37. ^ O'Sullivan, James (2011). Kneeling on the redwood floor. Belfast: Lapwing Publications. ISBN 9781907276842. OCLC 783585371.
  38. ^ a b c d Preston, Pierce (2011). "First Collection for Cork Poet". The Cork News. p. 46.
  39. ^ "Cork author finds inspiration in West Cork". The Southern Star. 2011. p. 14.
  40. ^ a b c d "James, modest to a fault about his poetry". Evening Echo (34, 389). 2011. p. 27.
  41. ^ O'Sullivan, James (2014). Groundwork. Uxbridge: Alba Publishing. ISBN 9781910185032. OCLC 883422802.
  42. ^ "Courting Katie by James O'Sullivan". salmonpoetry.com. Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ Traynor, Jessica (2018). "Things Being Various". Poetry Ireland Review. 126: 83-86.
  44. ^ "Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition". munsterlit.ie. 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  45. ^ "Shortlist, Fish Poetry Prize 2015". Fish Publishing. Retrieved 2017.
  46. ^ "Shortlist, Fish Poetry Prize 2016". Fish Publishing. Retrieved 2017.
  47. ^ "Shortlist, Fish Short Story Prize 2014/15". Fish Publishing. Retrieved 2017.
  48. ^ "Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition". munsterlit.ie. Retrieved 2017.
  49. ^ a b O'Donoghue, Martina (2011). "Interview with James O'Sullivan". C103FM.
  50. ^ a b "Cork's James sees poems in print". Cork Independent (34). 2011. p. 14.
  51. ^ "First collection for former Spioraid Naoimh Student". Bishopstown News (20). 2011. p. 26.
  52. ^ "2011 CIT Societies & Activities Awards Announced". Bishopstown News (16). 2011. p. 33.
  53. ^ "96FM Podcast", Cork's 96FM, 17 May 2016
  54. ^ "The Cork Film Festival should never be about red carpets". josullivan.org. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  55. ^ O'Sullivan, James (24 March 2017). "We Are All Complicit in the Catholic Church's Corruption - HeadStuff". HeadStuff. Retrieved 2017.
  56. ^ O'Sullivan, James (26 April 2018). "A time for honesty... here's what the church means to me". Evening Echo. p. 18.

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