The Country Girls trilogy by Edna O’Brien is Dublin One City One Book 2019
Author’s 60-year writing career is celebrated by UCD this month
Edna O’Brien: “I worked in Dublin as an apprentice pharmacist from 1948 to 1952, so it’s where I first encountered literature and set out on the very secret and profane matter of writing The Country Girls trilogy.” Photograph: Frank Miller
The Country Girls trilogy by Edna O’Brien, is the Dublin One City One Book choice for 2019. The Dublin City Council initiative, led by Dublin City Public Libraries, encourages everyone to read a book connected with the capital city during April every year.
Published by Faber & Faber, this volume is introduced by Eimear McBride and includes The Country Girls and its sequels The Lonely Girl and Girls in Their Married Bliss, which had a radical effect on Irish literature in the 1960s and inspired generations of readers and writers. The passion, artistry and courage of Edna O’Brien’s vision in these novels continue to resonate into the 21st century.
O’Brien said: “I worked in Dublin as an apprentice pharmacist from 1948 to 1952, so it’s where I first encountered literature and set out on the very secret and profane matter of writing The Country Girls trilogy.”
Acting Dublin City Librarian Brendan Teeling added: “We work hard every year to choose a book that will capture the imagination of the people of Dublin, of all ages and walks of life, and I know that The Country Girls Trilogy will prove a rewarding reading experience for all who engage with Dublin One City One Book 2019. This book is exquisitely written, moving, humorous, full of compelling characters – and still as relevant as when it was written in 1960. I invite everyone to read it next April and to share in the city’s celebration of its author’s achievement.”
Dublin’s Lord Mayor Nial Ring said: “Edna O’Brien is one of Ireland’s most treasured authors so I am very proud that our capital city is honouring her talent and legacy in this way. Dublin City Council’s initiative is a creative and inclusive way to get all our citizens reading. With copies of The Country Girls Trilogy available to borrow for free in all formats throughout our public library network, it just remains for the people of Dublin to enjoy this great book.”
Lee Brackstone, O’Brien’s editor at Faber & Faber, said: “In 1960 Edna O’Brien detonated a literary bomb, the reverberations of which continue to work their way through the culture and the Irish diaspora. The Country Girls is one of the beacons of radical 20th century literature.”
A full programme of events will be announced next March.
Later this month, to celebrate Edna O’Brien’s 60-year writing career and to promote her archives held at UCD, the univdersitty is hosting an event, “Infamous, Influential, Beloved”: Irish Writers Celebrate Edna O’Brien, organised by Dan O’Brien and Eve Kearney.
The School of English, Drama, Film, and Creative Writing is bringing five of Ireland’s most innovative contemporary writers – Frank McGuinness, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Sean O’Reilly, Danielle McLaughlin, and Louise Nealon – to campus to read O’Brien’s work and discuss her immense contribution to Irish literature and society. It takes place on Monday, September 17th, at 7pm, in the Fitzgerald Chamber, Student Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4.