Kate O’Brien: Why Would You Bother?
In this session, Mary Coll explores the reasons why we should still read the novels of Kate O’Brien, in an Ireland which has changed almost beyond recognition from the ‘de Valera’s Ireland’ deplored by the writer in her angry polemic Pray For The Wanderer (1938). Thus, Coll allocates a permanent, if not entirely snug or comfortable, place to this author on the shelf of Irish literature. Caitriona Clear looks at Kate O’Brien in the context of other popular Irish and British women writers in the 1930s and ’40s, and argues that O’Brien’s explorations of female independence were very much of their time – but none the less valuable and distinctive for all that. Both Coll and Clear believe that we should bother with Kate O’Brien, and look forward to hearing the opinions of everybody attending the session, on this Limerick writer.