Book Club podcast: Jennifer Johnston talks to Eileen Battersby

Irish Times Book Club: The distinguished author discusses her life and work

Jennifer Johnston talks to Eileen Battersby at the Irish Writers Centre in Dulbin this month

Jennifer Johnston talks to Eileen Battersby at the Irish Writers Centre in Dulbin this month

 

In a wide-ranging interview with Eileen Battersby, Literary Correspondent of The Irish Times, which was recorded earlier this month at the Irish Writers Centre in Parnell Square, Dublin, Jennifer Johnston discusses her long and distinguished literary career, which began relatively late at the age of 42 with the publication of The Captains and the Kings,winner of the Author’s Club First Novel Award in 1972.

Now 87, she has gone on to publish more than 20 works, including such admired titles as How Many Miles to Babylon? (1974), the Booker-shortlisted Shadows on Our Skin (1977); The Old Jest (1979), winner of a Whitbread Book Award; The Railway Station Man (1985); and The Invisible Worm (1992).

Over the past month, we have been looking back over her career, with a particuclar focus on her latest work, Naming the Stars, a haunting tale of love, loss and memory, which was published by Tinder Press last year along with her earlier novel Two Moons.

Contributors have included Eibhear Walshe of UCC, Paul Delaney of TCD, Deirdre O’Byrne of Loughborough University, Tesera Casal of the University of Lisbon, novelist Dermot Bolger and Adrienne Leavy of Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine. We have also republished two archive features by Eileen Battersby and the author’s son, Patrick Smyth, now Brussels Correspondent of The Irish Times. Today, we published a final piece by the author herself, a poignant reflection on her personal connection to the devastation of the first World War, which casts a shadow over much of her fiction.

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