‘The Rooney Effect’: taking the affective temperature of the patriarchy The protagonists of these novels don’t quite understand why they feel so outsidery and alone. But their authors do. If only one book about a miserable, downtrodden Irish girl came out, we could think of it as an individual phenomenon. When all the books being reviewed, praised as literary fiction, translated and reprinted within the space of a few years register the same experiences, their critical mass forces us to imagine their authors articulating the outline of something structural, poking into its deepest corners and pockets.
The rise of private monopolies in the wake of the Thatcher ‘revolution’
The long fight for recognition of the Magdalene laundries survivors
Time on our hands: the locked-down poet raids memories of past travel
Is a chapbook more likely to work as an organic whole than a full collection?
The carefree days before Belfast became the capital of the Troubles
A poem where language is put behind bars and called upon to account for itself
A poetic auto-fiction on migration, trauma and shifting identities
A book telling the story of a book that cannot be written – which is written
Six days in Hamburg – a ‘weekend break’ and family reunion with a difference
The greatest songwriter in the Irish tradition in the history of recording James Fearnley first met Shane MacGowan at the start of the 1980s. Their pub crawls involved only brief stays in each pub, drinks abandoned as MacGowan quickly led the way on to the next. Conversations in his flat went on for hours, with MacGowan doing most of the talking, on subjects as various as the hunger strikes, the American hostages in Iran, Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ and the buxomness of the women depicted on cans of Tennent’s lager.
FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES
Writers and their mothers: Samuel Beckett and Philip Larkin
Dominic Cummings’s big idea: leave the thinking to the scientists
Arthur Griffith: the most misunderstood major figure in modern Irish history
The problem with ‘sex work’ is that it misunderstands prostitution
Blogs et cetera
When Johnny Goes Marching Maurice Earls writes: As some may recall, a few years ago genetic studies emerged which revealed that in excess of twenty per cent of males in the northwest of Ireland are descendants of one individual (possibly Niall of the Nine Hostages) or, perhaps more likely, of a few closely related males who were founders, around the year 500, of the very successful Ui Neill Ulster dynasty. Some might wonder what happened the men who would have gone on to father children had the Ui Neill clan not taken over. It is probably safe to assume that they... In 1944, Sean O’Faolain, writing in ‘The Bell’, expressed puzzlement as to why Ireland faced such severe criticism over its wartime policy of neutrality when Switzerland, Sweden or Spain did not. The explanation for him was that Irish neutrality was not accepted because Irish independence was not really accepted. As a Cockney had put it to him in a London pub, ‘we always look to you as one of us’.