Irish Children's Literature and Culture: New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Irish Children's Literature and Culture

New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing, 1st Edition

Edited by Keith O'Sullivan, Valerie Coghlan


214 pages

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Irish Children’s Literature and Culture looks critically at Irish writing for children from the 1980s to the present, examining the work of many writers and illustrators and engaging with major genres, forms, and issues, including the gothic, the speculative, picturebooks, ethnicity, and globalization. It contextualizes modern Irish children’s literature in relation to Irish mythology and earlier writings, as well as in relation to Irish writing for adults, thereby demonstrating the complexity of this fascinating area.

What constitutes a "national literature" is rarely straightforward, and it is especially complex when discussing writing for young people in an Irish context. Until recently, there was only a slight body of work that could be classified as "Irish children’s literature" in comparison with Ireland’s contribution to adult literature in the twentieth century. The contributors to the volume examine a range of texts in relation to contemporary literary and cultural theory, and children’s literature internationally, raising provocative questions about the future of the topic. Irish Children’s Literature and Culture is essential reading for those interested in Irish literature, culture, sociology, childhood, and children’s literature.

Valerie Coghlan, Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin, is a librarian and lecturer. She is a former co-editor of Bookbird: An International Journal of Children's Literature. She has published widely on Irish children's literature and co-edited several books on the topic. She is a former board member of the IRSCL, and a founder member of the Irish Society for the Study of Children's Literature, Children's Books Ireland, and IBBY Ireland.

Keith O’Sullivan lectures in English at the Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin. He is a founder member of the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature, a former member of the board of directors of Children’s Books Ireland, and past chair of the Children’s Books Ireland/Bisto Book of the Year Awards. He has published on the works of Philip Pullman and Emily Brontë.


"A fresh and inspiring collection of essays. This study offers indispensable insight into topical questions and developments for both acacdemics and the general children's literature aficionado."

- Bookbird

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Picture Books that Transcend Boundaries Sandra L. Beckett 2. Belief and Unbelief: Inscriptions of Religion and Cultural Identity Valerie Coghlan 3. Contemplating Otherness in Speculative Fiction Patricia Kennon 4. Child’s Play: The Child and the Nation Jarlath Kileen 5. Walking into the Night: Growing up with the Gothic Anne Markey 6. ‘The past is gone anyway’: The importance of Memory and History Sharon Murphy 7. Mythologizing the Present Ciara Ní Bhroin 8. Location, Location, Location: The Significance of Place Eilís Ní Dhuibne 9. Insularity and Internationalism: Between Local Production and the Global Marketplace Emer O’Sullivan 10. Linguistic and Narratological Representations of Selfhood Keith O’Sullivan 11. Family Amanda Piesse 12. Meanings and Means: Children's Poetry Mary Shine Thompson 13. The Irish Call of Aladdin: "New Tales for Old!" Máire Uí Mhaicín 14. Coming of Age and Youth Culture Pádraic Whyte

About the Editors

Valerie Coghlan is Librarian at Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin, Ireland. Keith O'Sullivan is Lecturer in English at Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin, Ireland.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature