In April, I participated in the #ReadIrishWomenChallenge, responding every day to a prompt supplied by Irish bookseller Karina Clifford, who discusses her project here. It was mad fun, and I discovered lots of new books as a result, particularly in some categories I often overlook, such as YA fiction. The following is my list for the challenge. I’ve also included a more scholarly thread outlining some of the reasons why I think the challenge is important from a cultural perspective. Click on the tweets for the full threads! And for a full list of all the tweets I dashed off with the hashtag, click here.


New personal essay in Banshee

Issue 8 of the fantastic Irish literary magazine Banshee is now available to preorder. It contains my personal essay “The River, The Bridge”, which deals with depression, suicide, and Tinder. It’s my first creative publication in years and my first personal essay, so I’m both very excited and terrified. You can preorder the issue here.

New article

Later this month, Peter Lang will publish The Great Irish Famine and Social Class, edited by Marguérite Corporaal and Peter Gray. The collection, a product of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies, features my essay “Transformative Nationalism and Class Relations in Irish Famine Fiction, 1896-1909.” In my chapter, I look at how Young Irelander nationalism is used as a strategy to validate the hegemony of the upper classes in a number of novels about the Irish Famine, including Louise Field’s Denis (1896) and L.T. Meade’s The Stormy Petrel (1909).

As I argue in my essay, these novels “do not present the landlord class as a whole as parasitical and alien, as nationalists such as Michael Davitt and James Connolly did, but attempt to humanize and hibernicize the class, by incorporating them into the narrative of Famine victimhood, emphasizing their self-sacrificing efforts on behalf of the poor, and scripting them into the nationalist story of (intermittently) emergent nationhood.”

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My research in Philly

The current edition of the newsletter of the German Society of Pennsylvania features a brief report of my trip to Philadelphia as a Joseph Horner Memorial Library fellow. It mentions some of the material I’m currently studying, and on which I’ll be presenting a paper at the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies on 26 October.

My time at the Horner Library was very useful indeed, and I’m very grateful to the GSP and the German Historical Institute for granting me the opportunity to explore its collections.