Edna O Brien

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The then US president Barack Obama presents the National Humanities Medal to Philip Roth at the White House in March 2011. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

“If I’m not an American, I’m nothing,” the writer Philip Roth once said. Roth, one of the giants of American literature, passed away on Tuesday night (...)

Edna O’Brien: recognised for “the absolute perfection of her prose”  which  broke down “social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Edna O’Brien received the $50,000 Pen/Nabokov award for achievement in international literature from fellow Irish writer Colum McCann at a ceremony in(...)

New Irish writers: Olivia Kiernan, Caroline O’Donoghue, Helen Cullen, Rebecca O’Connor, Danny Dentonand Caoilinn Hughes

Helen Cullen The Lost Letters of William Woolf  (Penguin, July) William Woolf works as a letter detective in the dead letters depot of east Lond(...)

Author Philip Roth, at home in Manhattan’s Upper West Side in January 2018. Photograph: Philip Montgomery/The New York Times

With the death of Richard Wilbur in October, Philip Roth became the longest-serving member in the literature department of the American Academy of Art(...)

As the country emerged in a somewhat uplifted mood after the commemoration of 1916, you couldn’t but be struck by the analogies between the two Irelands, of Then and Now. Illustration: Paul Scott

Our national poet WB Yeats said that every Irish writer had a decision to take: whether to express Ireland or exploit it. In his day, the choice lay b(...)

Rory O’Neill (aka Panti Bliss) with Garret Kelly ahead of a performance at the Sarajevo Irish Festival. Photograph: Nerma Sofic

* When asked how Garret Kelly would like to be referred to in this piece, he says, “I usually say I’m a social entrepreneur but recently I was referre(...)

Country girls: Edna O’Brien’s invocation of women characters who dared desire more from life than the traditional domestic and sexual servitude was revolutionary. Photograph: Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Getty

I wakened quickly and sat up in bed abruptly. It is only when I am anxious that I waken easily and for a minute I did not know why my heart was beatin(...)

Johnny Murphy plays Estragon in Beckett’s ‘Waiting For Godot’ at the Gate.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Lapsed Catholics among Irish writers seemed to have been more favourably disposed towards Jews, according to a British author and academic. “I think (...)

Colm Tóibín: “The phrase ‘working artists engaged in productive practice’ sounds . . . like a phrase that could have been used by Stalin about recalcitrant farmers in the Soviet Union.” Photograph: Frank Miller

The writer Colm Tóibín has condemned controversial proposals from the Arts Council to cut grants for non-productive artists and to introduce audits to(...)

‘There are upsides to being an immigrant. I get to be judgmental about British institutions, brag that there isn’t a class system in Ireland and celebrity culture doesn’t work because everyone knows someone that knows someone who knows Bono’

A shocking confession for St Patrick’s Day: I don’t feel very Irish and I never have. I come from a very Republican family and our national history se(...)

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