Edna O’Brien’s famed trilogy of novels has been named as the Dublin One City One Book choice for 2019. The Irish author celebrates her birthday today, December 15.
Come April next year, the city of Dublin will be encouraging everybody to get their hands on a copy of "The Country Girls," "The Lonely Girl," or "Girls In Their Married Bliss:" three seminal novels by Edna O’Brien.
The trilogy has been selected as the Dublin One City One Book choice for 2019, an initiative by Dublin City Public Libraries and Dublin City Council.
The works, considered highly controversial in their 1960s heyday, brought the Irish author international acclaim. Often described as the “grande dame of Irish literature,” O’Brien has been putting prose to women's issues during her lengthy tenure as a writer.
We're thrilled to announce that the 2019 #1city1book choice is The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O'Brien A full programme of events will be announced in March #thecountrygirlshttps://t.co/WmKVXmidUu pic.twitter.com/pIRWzc0Frl— Dublin 1 City 1 Book (@1city1book) September 5, 2018
To celebrate the books, Faber & Faber will be reissuing a volume of the trio with an included introduction by celebrated writer Eimear McBride.
Of her era-defining stories, O’Brien said, “I worked in Dublin as an apprentice pharmacist from 1948 to 1952, so it’s where I first encountered literature and set out on the very secret and profane matter of writing The Country Girls trilogy.”
When it was released in staunchly Catholic Ireland, "The Country Girls" was banned for its depiction of female sexuality. Later additions to the trilogy, "The Lonely Girl" and "Girls in Their Married Bliss," would also cause an uproar in the mid-1960s as they were denounced, censored, and burnt for their frank descriptions of sex and sin. In fact, her first seven novels were all banned in Ireland as they were deemed too "scandalous."
Edna O’Brien: among many brilliant women celebrated by photographer Mayotte Magnus. Come along Friday 7pm @NPGLondon when I’ll be talking to Mayotte about her fascinating life and work https://t.co/OmT2ZLyzQD pic.twitter.com/kXtbvJfbge— Tracy Chevalier (@Tracy_Chevalier) September 17, 2018
Acting Dublin City Librarian Brendan Teeling called the books “exquisitely written, moving, humorous, full of compelling characters” and added that they were as relevant today as they were when O’Brien penned them in the 1960s.
“I invite everyone to read it next April and to share in the city’s celebration of its author’s achievement,” he stated.
Indeed Edna O’Brien was a fearless and creative pioneer in so many ways. https://t.co/4ATkXZlsjA— Ted Smyth (@TedSmyth) September 22, 2018
Dublin’s Lord Mayor Nial Ring also commended the iconic author, lauding her as one of Ireland’s “most treasured” literary talents.
“I am very proud that our capital city is honouring her talent and legacy in this way. Dublin City Council’s initiative is a creative and inclusive way to get all our citizens reading. With copies of The Country Girls Trilogy available to borrow for free in all formats throughout our public library network, it just remains for the people of Dublin to enjoy this great book.”
A full program of events will be announced next March.
Have you read The Country Girls Trilogy? What did you make of it?
*Originally published in September 2018.