The Long Gaze Back is April’s Irish Times Book Club choice

This anthology of Irish women writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, celebrates the best of the new and champions a neglected tradition

The launch of The Long Gaze Back as Dublin: One City One Book 2018 at Pearse Street Library,  Dublin 2. Photograph: Colm Mahady / Fennells

The launch of The Long Gaze Back as Dublin: One City One Book 2018 at Pearse Street Library, Dublin 2. Photograph: Colm Mahady / Fennells

 

The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is April’s Irish Times Book Club choice.

Martina Evans, reviewing in The Irish Times, wrote: “It hardly needs saying that women have not been fairly represented, and this needs redressing. Women need champions ... The second reason we need more anthologies is hidden in the title, taken from a Maeve Brennan novella. It is both fascinating and necessary for us to look back and see how far the women have come ... Thirdly, there is a need for more platforms for the extraordinary number of fine female writers. An anthology is one main route to discovery, and it is vital that writers get more than one opportunity to shine.

“The Long Gaze Back is a substantial harvest, a seriously comprehensive and celebratory volume.”

Named the Best Irish-Published Book at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards in 2016, it is also the Dublin: One City One Book choice for 2018. Published by New Island, the anthology spans four centuries and features some of Ireland’s most gifted writers.

It features short stories by the following writers: Niamh Boyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Brennan, Mary Costello, June Caldwell, Lucy Caldwell, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Maria Edgeworth, Anne Enright, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Norah Hoult, Mary Lavin, Eimear McBride, Molly McCloskey, Bernie McGill, Lisa McInerney, Belinda McKeon, Siobhán Mannion, Lia Mills, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Kate O’Brien, Roisín O’Donnell, EM Reapy, Charlotte Riddell, Eimear Ryan, Anakana Schofield, Somerville & Ross, Susan Stairs.

Sinéad Gleeson said: “Anthologies are a platform for telling multiple stories and so many of the writers and their work included here are intrinsically connected to Dublin and its people. The book arose from a desire to amplify the voices of women who write, and being chosen for Dublin: One City One Book will help to introduce these talented writers to all kinds of new readers.”

Gleeson has also edited The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, which also won Best Irish Published Book at the Irish Book Awards in 2016. Her collection of essays, Constellations will be published in spring 2019 by Picador and he is currently working on a novel.

Over the next four weeks, we shall publish a series of articles exploring the work, culminating in a podcast in which Sinéad Gleeson will discuss the book and Irish women’s writing. The interview will be recorded at the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, April 18th.

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