The National Library of Ireland acquires Edna O’Brien’s papers (2009—2021).
The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. has announced that the National Library of Ireland has acquired the Papers of Irish author, Edna O’Brien, covering the period 2009 to 2021.
The archive spans twelve years, beginning in 2010. It contains Edna O’Brien’s literary and personal papers and comprises approximately 50 boxes of manuscripts.
The drafts are written entirely by hand, using notebooks, loose foolscap sheets and scraps of paper. The collection relates primarily to the acclaimed novels, short stories, plays and other writings from that period, including Girl (2019), The Little Red Chairs (2015), The Love Object: Selected Stories (2013) and the memoir Country Girl (2012), as well as ongoing work and extensive correspondence with other literary figures such as Philip Roth, and Seamus and Marie Heaney.
Edna O’Brien was born in County Clare in 1930. Her first book, The Country Girls, published in 1960, was banned in Ireland for its portrayal of female sexuality.
She is known for her skill as a novelist and for centring women’s experiences in her work. She received the prestigious French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in May 2021. At 90 years of age, Edna O’Brien continues to write. She is currently working on a play about James Joyce, ahead of the centenary of the publication of Ulysses in 2022.
Dr. Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland said it was her hope that “all those who view and study this archive will glean deep insight into Edna’s practice, and feel inspired, not only by her work, but by her trailblazing, tenacious spirit. This is a proud day for the National Library of Ireland.”