Edna O'Brien

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O'Brien, Edna,

1932–, Irish writer, b. Twamgraney. After living in Dublin, she moved (1954) to London, where she still lives. Her constant theme and recurring setting, however, is Ireland. In richly sensual prose, O'Brien explores the dreams, failed marriages, doomed affairs, brief happiness, and ultimate disenchantment of individual women in her homeland's enclosed, sexually repressed culture. Her first seven books were once banned there. Her early works include a trilogy, The Country Girls (1960), The Lonely Girl (1962), and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). Among her subsequent novels are Casualties of Peace (1966), Johnny I Hardly Knew You (1977), and The High Road (1988). Her later novels, such as House of Splendid Isolation (1994), Down by the River (1997), and In the Forest (2002), continue to focus on the vicissitudes of women's lives while treating larger themes of the Irish experience. The semiautobiographical The Light of Evening (2006), her 20th novel, features a version of her mother as a central character. The Little Red Chairs (2016), her next novel, is partly set in Ireland but treats the wider world in the character of a Balkan war criminal. O'Brien also is known for her beautifully wrought short stories, which are collected in The Love Object (1968), A Scandalous Woman (1974), A Fanatic Heart (1984), Lantern Slides (1990), and Saints and Sinners (2011), and selected from those collections in The Love Object (2015). Other works include brief biographies of James Joyce (1999) and Byron (2009), essays, plays, and screenplays.


See her memoirs, Mother Ireland (1976) and Country Girl (2013); studies by G. Eckley (1974), B. Schrank (1998), A. Greenwood (2003), L. Colletta and M. O'Connor, ed. (2006), and K. Laing et al., ed. (2006).

References in periodicals archive ?
Brenda Blethyn as Mrs Berry and Niall Buggy as Mr Buggy in Haunted by Edna O'Brien
The banning of two of the most significant new voices to emerge in Irish fiction in the post-war period, Edna O'Brien and John McGahern, would, as we shall see, contribute to the overhaul of the system.
Five years after the fact, Edna O'Brien has written a novel with strong echoes of the national cri de coeur surrounding a 14-year-old Irish rape victim's appeal of a law that prevented her from traveling to England to end the resulting pregnancy.
While O'Brien's notoriety has a lot to do with the subject matter of her novels and the frank manner with which she deals with her themes, this memoir is evidence of one of her rather overlooked skills: As a prose stylist, Edna O'Brien is of the first order, delivering lucid, rhythmic, elegant sentences in the mode of F.
Confirmed speakers include Edna O'Brien, author of the best-selling novel The Country Girls, and Will Self, multi-award winning author and broadcaster.
Actors Anne-Marie Duff, Jane Horrocks, Alun Armstrong and Jonathan Pryce will be among those reading poems, along with poets Seamus Heaney, Andrew Motion and novelist Edna O'Brien.
BEST-SELLING novelist Edna O'Brien has been forced to slash the price of her home by almost HALF to sell it - two years after she first put it on the market.
But like so many talented British actresses, she has never lost her love of the stage, which is why she will be treading the boards in Malvern next week, starring in the Edna O'Brien play, Haunted.
Brenda Blethyn in rehearsal for Haunted by Edna O'Brien at Manchester Royal Exchange
In addition, author Edna O'Brien, who's latest book, Byron in Love, was published this year, was honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award.
His assessment of Edna O'Brien as 'a bargain basement Molly Bloom', was based on his being asked to review one of her later novels, A Pagan Place, which he found 'dreadful.
Thomas, Margaret Atwood, Pavan Boland, Beryl Bainbridge, John McGahern, Nick Hornby, John Banville, Irvine Welsh, Chuck Palahniuk, Walter Mosley, Chris Abani, Bei Dao, and Edna O'Brien, to name but a few.