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Tag Archives: Edna O’Brien

National Library acquires Edna O’Brien’s papers

THE National Library of Ireland has acquired the Papers of renowned Clare author, Edna O’Brien, covering the period 2009 to 2021. These will now be added to a collection of her papers for the period 2000-2009 that are already held by the National Library of Ireland. The archive comprises literary and personal papers, including notebooks, drafts and revisions, and correspondence with other well-known literary figures. A native of Tuamgraney, Edna O’Brien was born iin 1930. Her first book, The Country Girls, published in 1960, was banned in Ireland for its frank portrayal of female sexuality. Today, her work enjoys enduring popularity and critical success, with O’Brien renowned for her skill as a novelist and the centring of women’s experiences in her work. She received the prestigious French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in May 2021. Other writers who have received this accolade include TS Eliot, Ray Bradbury and Seamus Heaney. Her recent novels, including Girl, published in 2019, are …

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Major French cultural award for Edna O’Brien

TUAMGRANEY native Edna O’Brien is to be awarded France’s highest cultural honour on the eve of International Women’s Day next Monday. The multi-award winning novelist  will be named Commander of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French culture minister, Roselyne Bachelot. The online ceremony will be also attended by Irish culture minister Catherine Martin, actor Gabriel Byrne and writer Colum McCann. The French Embassy in Ireland said the honour is being made in recognition of “the struggle of a committed feminist who offered a voice to women around the world”. The citation also described Ms O’Brien as “one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century”. The Commander of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres is France’s highest cultural distinction and Ms O’Brien will join previous Irish recipients, Bono and the late Séamus Heaney. The Clare author previously made French literary history in 2019 when she was awarded the prestigious Prix Femina and became the first ever non-national to …

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Tributes pour in as Edna O’Brien turns 90

Tuamgraney-born author Edna O’Brien celebrated her 90th birthday this week to huge plaudits from the global literary world. President Michael D Higgins described the novelist as one of the finest chroniclers of Irish life. Widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest living writer, Ms O’Brien marked her birthday with the delivery of the TS Eliot lecture on Eliot and James Joyce for The Abbey Theatre. The piece was recorded at the Irish Embassy in London and broadcast on Tuesday evening (December 15). Ms O’Brien’s debut novel The County Girls convulsed 1960s Ireland with its honest representation of female sexuality and small town communities. Despite the reaction, Ms O’Brien in an interview in 1970 with RTÉ expressed warm feelings fro the county. “I would not want to have come from anywhere else despite certain inconveniences which I haven’t omitted to remember,” she said. In more recent years, The Country Girls trilogy has taken its rightful place in the canon of 20th century Irish …

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‘I am not that person’ – Edna O’Brien rejects New Yorker profile

EDNA O’Brien has broken her silence on an interview with The New Yorker magazine, published at the end of last year and described by some literary experts as “a hatchet job”. The profile of the Tuamgraney-born author generated considerable controversy and prompted a number of critics and academics here to reject the profile as unflattering, sexist and overly critical. Last weekend, in an interview with RTÉ, Ms O’Brien said the article, by Ian Parker, had hurt and outraged her. The acclaimed writer joined broadcaster Brendan O’Connor to discuss an award for the latest novel Girl. “I was hurt and I was outraged,” she said of the piece. “I was hurt because it is not a truthful piece. If the tapes were taken of the three-and-a-half days I spent with that journalist. I don’t think the tapes and what I spoke into them would tally with what appeared in those 9,000 words. They would not. They would be a big contradiction. I …

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East Clare inspiration for ‘Normal People’ actor Frank Blake

FOR a young actor, being in lock-down while some of your highest-profile work graces screens around the world, must be something of an anti-climax. For Frank Blake, the enforced isolation in his native Tuamgraney, during the height of the buzz around Normal People, is not without its advantages, however. Frank, who plays the complex character of Alan in the adaptation of the award-nominated novel by Sally Rooney, has been using the time to explore his own screen-writing abilities. Given that his great aunt, Edna O’Brien, is one of the country’s greatest living authors, it’s probably a safe bet that he has more than a little literary talent. Now based in Dublin, the actor has been clocking up significant screen and stage roles, including a part in Druid’s landmark production of Richard III. He returned to East Clare shortly before the lock-down was announced, and just as the BBC3’s Normal People, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was set for a stratospheric launch. …

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Dame Edna O’Brien

EAST Clare author Edna O’Brien has been honoured with her appointment as Dame of the British Empire for her services to literature. It comes six weeks after the Tuamgraney native was named as the winner of the PEN/Nabokov award for achievement in international literature. Her nephew, Michael Blake, said this was “a long time coming” and said, having spoken to her on Wednesday and Tuesday of this past week, that Edna is delighted with the honour. He said she is currently busy working on her latest book and has found the last few weeks very busy, but rewarding. “She is very happy to have this title, she got it for her contribution to literature and that is what her life is about, it’s not about monetary reward. She got the Pen award and now she’s got this so now she feels ‘maybe I’m doing something right and maybe all those hours of frustration and desperation were worth it’. A writer …

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International award for Edna O’Brien

East Clare author Edna O’Brien has won the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. It is a major award with a prize of $50,000 and it will be presented at the 2018 PEN American Literary Awards Ceremony in New York on Tuesday next. According to PEN America, the award is “conferred annually to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or drama, and is of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship”. PEN said Ms O’Brien’s “acclaimed work broke down social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond”. Born in Tuamgraney in 1930, the now 87-year-old Ms O’Brien went to school in Scariff and Loughrea. In 1960, her first novel, The Country Girls, was banned in Ireland, as were a number of subsequent novels. She has been a prolific writer in the years since and in 2002, In The Forest was …

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Edna’s birthplace ideal as writer’s retreat

CLARE TD Michael McNamara has called on the State to acquire Drewsboro House, the birthplace of acclaimed author Edna O’Brien, with a view to turning it into a writer’s retreat and museum. In a letter to the newly appointed Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD, Deputy McNamara highlighted the cultural significance of the house, which is located in Tuamgraney. The property, which consists of 7.025acres, failed to sell at auction earlier this month and the Clare TD believes if the State were to acquire the property it would represent “good value for the State”. “The primary importance of Drewsboro is cultural. Readers of The Country Girls and many other Edna O’Brien novels are very familiar with the house. In her memoir Edna describes her childhood home as ‘a large two storey house with bay windows, and could be approached by two avenues an old and a new’,” he stated in his letter to Minister Humphreys. He …

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