Girl Trouble: Controversy and the Country Girls


Girl Trouble: Controversy and The Country Girls, a talk by Dr. Maureen O’Connor

Novelist Edna O’Brien was one of five finalists in 2018’s “Clare’s Greatest Ever Person” contest. Nominated by listeners, even the President Michael D. Higgins did not make the short list. That O’Brien is regarded today with such respect and appreciation by the people of Clare represents a significant change since she published her first novel in 1960, The Country Girls, a sensation as much for what was at the time its original subject matter—the everyday lives of rural Roman Catholic Irish girls and women—as for the scandal and outrage its appearance provoked in Ireland. The novel and its creator were widely condemned, from O’Brien’s hometown’s parish priest, rumoured to have burnt a copy in the churchyard, to Archbishop John Charles McQuaid, and the then government minister, Charles Haughey. The novel launched a career marked by controversy to the present day.


Maureen O’Connor lectures in the School of English at University College Cork. She has published widely in Irish Studies and is the author of The Female and the Species: The Animal in Irish Women’s Writing (2010). She has edited and co-edited several essay collections including two on Edna O’Brien’s work She recently completed a book-length study of O’Brien’s fiction and is currently working on a monograph on nature and nation in the writing of Irish first-wave feminists.


Part of the Dublin: One City, One Book programme for 2019. Booking advised at


Ballyroan Library


This event takes place on 11 April 2019, 7:00PM

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