1st Edition

Austerity and Irish Women’s Writing and Culture, 1980–2020

Edited By Deirdre Flynn, Ciara L. Murphy Copyright 2022
    266 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Austerity and Irish Women’s Writing and Culture, 1980–2020 focuses on the under-represented relationship between austerity and Irish women’s writing across the last four decades. Taking a wide focus across cultural mediums, this collection of essays from leading scholars in Irish studies considers how economic policies impacted on and are represented in Irish women’s writing during critical junctures in recent Irish history. Through an investigation of cultural production north and south of the border, this collection analyses women’s writing using a multimedium approach through four distinct lenses: austerity, feminism, and conflict; arts and austerity; race and austerity; and spaces of austerity. This collection asks two questions: what sort of cultural output does austerity produce? And if the effects of austerity are gendered, then what are the gender-specific responses to financial insecurity, both national and domestic? By investigating how austerity is treated in women’s writing and culture from 1980 to 2020, this collection provides a much-needed analysis of the gendered experience of economic crisis and specifically of Ireland’s consistent relationship with cycles of boom and bust. Thirteen chapters, which focus on fiction, drama, poetry, women’s life writing, ​and women's cultural contributions, examine these questions. This volume takes the reader on a journey across decades and forms as a means of interrogating the growth of the economic divide between the rich and the poor since the 1980s through the voices of Irish women.

    Chapter One: Irish Women’s Writing and Culture Under the Shadow of Austerity

    Deirdre Flynn and Ciara L. Murphy

    Section One: Austerity, Feminism, and Conflict

    Chapter Two: Two Opposing Narratives? The Field Day and LIP Pamphlets

    Laura Loftus

    Chapter Three: Austerity, Conflict, and Second-Wave Feminism in the North of Ireland

    Ciara L. Murphy

    Chapter Four: #WakeUpIrishPoetry: Austerity and Activism in Contemporary Irish Poetry – A Personal Reflection

    Kathy D’Arcy

    Section Two: Arts and Austerity

    Chapter Five: Kermit, Cows, and Headless Chickens: Women’s Comedy Monologues after the Tiger

    Clare Keogh

    Chapter Six: Balancing Acts: From Survival to Sustainability in Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance

    Miriam Haughton and Maria Tivnan

    Section Three: Race and Austerity

    Chapter Seven: Intersectionality in Contemporary Melodrama: Normal People (McDonald/Abrahamson, 2020) and Kissing Candice (McArdle, 2018)

    Zélie Asava

    Chapter Eight: Austerity and the Precarity of Whiteness: Polish Characters in Stacey Gregg’s Shibboleth (2015) and Rosemary Jenkinson’s Here Comes the Night (2016)

    Justine Nakase

    Chapter Nine: Black Irish Culture

    Sandrine Uwase Ndahiro

    Section Four: Spaces of Austerity

    Chapter Ten: Austerity, Irish Literary Tropes, and Claire Keegan’s Fiction

    Yen-Chi Wu

    Chapter Eleven: Celtic Tiger Saga Fiction: Patricia Scanlan’s City Girls and Marian Keyes’ Walsh Family

    Margaret O’Neill

    Chapter Twelve: ‘Just the way it is’: Portraits of Austerity in Short Fiction by Women from the North of Ireland

    Orlaith Darling

    Chapter Thirteen: Motherhood, Referendums and Austerity in contemporary Irish Women’s Writing

    Deirdre Flynn


    Deirdre Flynn is a lecturer in 21st-century literature at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. She has published widely on contemporary literature, Irish studies, dystopian literature, Haruki Murakami, and literary urban studies. She is co-editor of two collections on Irish literature – Irish Urban Fictions (2018) and Representations of Loss in Irish Literature (2018). She is a member of the Association for Literary Urban Studies and the blog editor for the Irish Women’s Writing Network.

    Ciara L. Murphy is a postdoctoral researcher at the Moore Institute and School of English and Creative Arts at NUI Galway. Her forthcoming monograph Performing Social Change on the Island of Ireland: From Republic to Pandemic will be published by Routledge. She has published widely on contemporary theatre and performance, Irish studies, commemoration, and feminism. She is currently the co-convenor of the Performance in Public Spaces working group at the International Federation of Theatre Research and is the communications officer for the Irish Society for Theatre Research.

    "The results of this collection are urgent, polished, and cohesive..."

    -- Tara Stubbs, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, Kellogg College