1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Irish Writing

Edited By Anne Fogarty, Eugene O'Brien Copyright 2025
    496 Pages
    by Routledge

    This Companion brings together leading scholars in the field of Irish studies to explore the significance of twenty-first century Irish writing and its flourishing popularity worldwide. Focusing on Irish writing published or performed in the 21st-century, this volume explores genres, modes, and styles of writing that are current, relevant, and distinctive in today’s classrooms. Examining a host of innovative, key writers, including Sally Rooney, Marion Keyes, Sebastian Barry, Paul Howard, Claire Kilroy, Micheal O’Siadhail, Donal Ryan, Marina Carr, Enda Walsh, Martin McDonagh, Colette Bryce, Leanne Quinn, Sinéad Morrissey, Paula Meehan, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, and Doireann Ni Ghríofa. This text investigates the socio-cultural and theoretical contexts of their aesthetic achievements and innovations. Furthermore, The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Irish Writing traces the expansion of Irish writing, offering fresh insight to Irish identities across the boundaries of race, class, and gender. With its distinctive contemporary contexts and comprehensive scope, this multifaceted volume provides the first significant literary history of 21st century Irish literature.


    I. Narrative Imaginings: Between Ideology and Resistance

    1. Counterfactual Geographies: Creating Urban Space in Post-Crash Irish Fiction

    Liam Lanigan

    2. Representations of Catholicism in Contemporary Irish Fiction

    Eamon Maher

    3. Four Recent Irish-language Novels, A Century after Pearse

    Máire Ní Annracháin

    4. Conversational Ethics and Aesthetics in the Contemporary Family Novel: Anne Enright’s The Green Road (2015) and Donal Ryan’s The Queen of Dirt Island (2022)

    Katharina Rennhak

    5. Liquid Modernity and Twenty-First Century Irish Young Adult Fiction

    Ian Hickey

    6. The Biopolitics of Emotions and the Aesthetics of Vulnerability in Contemporary Irish Writing by Non-White Authors

    Jun Du

    7. Embodied Pasts and Precarious Futures: Somatic Storytelling in Trespasses (2022) and Close to Home (2023)

    Caroline Magennis

    8. The Ethics of Care in Sally Rooney’s Novels: Between Self and Other

    María Amor Barros-del Río

    9. ‘Feeling Catty’: Reading Animals in Short Stories by Contemporary Irish Women Writers

    Anne Fogarty


    II.  A Poetics of the Unfinished and the Transformative

    10. Remapping Ireland in Poems by Paula Cunningham, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanaín and Nithy Kasa

    Lucy McDiarmid

    11. Twenty-First Century Migrant Irish Poets in the UK: Martina Evans and Fran Lock

    Ailbhe Darcy

    12. ‘The art of yielding’: Contemporary Irish Ecopoetics

    Eoin Flannery

    13. Wilful renewing: Tradition and Innovation in the work of Aifric Mac Aodha and Séamus Barra Ó Súilleabháin

    Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

    14. Micheal O’Siadhail: Intersecting, Resonant and Polyglot Voices

    Eugene O’Brien

    15. Queer Poetry

    Kit Fryatt

    16. ‘The Art of Losing’: Ailbhe Darcy’s Ekphrastic Touch

    Daniela Theinová

    17. ‘Echo is dumb’: Modes of Address and Generational Dialogue in Irish Poetry

    David Wheatley

    18 ‘Memory followed you / on the water’: Oceanic Perspectives in Contemporary Irish Women’s Poetry

    Lucy Collins


    III. Theatrical Engagements and Critiques

    19. Ecodramaturgy and the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Abbey Theatre’s Adaptation of Patrick Kavanagh’s The Great Hunger (2020)

    Patrick Lonergan

    20. THISISPOPBABY: Glorious Energy, Grief, and the Twenty-First Century Craic Tax

    Martin Kenny and Miriam Haughton

    21. Class Matters: Working-Class Theatre in the Wake of the Economic Crash

    Clara Mallon

    22. Talking about Sex in Twenty-First-Century Irish Prose and Performance

    Paige Reynolds

    23. Ethnotheatre in Northern Ireland: Research-Led Work by Kabosh Theatre Company

    Lisa Fitzpatrick

    24. Visceral Injustices in The Blue Boy (2011), Woman Undone (2018) and The Examination (2019) by Brokentalkers

    Eamonn Jordan

    25. Agonistic Spaces: Dissensus and Ethical Conflicts in Recent Irish Theatre

    Clare Wallace


    IV New Voices, New Forms, New Modes of Material Production

    26. The Rise of Ireland’s Campus Novel

    Deirdre Flynn

    27. Irish Fantasy Fiction in the Twenty-First Century

    Jack Fennell

    28. The Personal Essay

    Claire Lynch

    29. Global Irish Crime Fiction in the Twenty-First Century: Expanding the Scope

    Molly Slavin

    30. Contemporary Irish Poetry off the Page

    Julie Morrissy

    31. Still Slouching Towards Bethlehem: Epochal Change in Twenty-First -Century Irish Poetry

    Alexander Muller and Jefferson Holdridge

    32. Changing Irish Identity: Black Writing in Contemporary Ireland

    Sandrine Uwase Ndahiro and Victor Augusto da Cruz Pacheco

    33. The Stinging Fly and Contemporary Irish Short Fiction

    Elke D’hoker

    34. The Journal Era: Style and Twenty-First Century Irish Literary Magazines

    Liam Harrison

    35. Languages and Publishing in Contemporary Irish Writing

    Tim Groenland and Margaret Kelleher


    Anne Fogarty is Professor Emerita of James Joyce Studies at University College Dublin. She was Associate Director of the Yeats International Summer School 1995-7 and Director of the Dublin James Joyce Summer School 2017-2023.  She was editor of the Irish University Review 2002-2009 and co-editor with Luca Crispi of the Dublin James Joyce Journal 2008-2023.  Currently, she is editor for the Irish Writers series for Bucknell University Press. She has co-edited several collections of essays on Joyce and recently co-edited with Marisol Morales-Ladrón, Deirdre Madden: New Critical Perspectives (2022) and with Tina O’Toole, Reading Gender and Space (2023). She has published widely on aspects of twentieth- and twenty-first century Irish writing, especially on the Revival period, and on women authors. Her new edition of Dubliners is forthcoming from Penguin in 2025.

    Eugene O’Brien is Professor of English Literature and Theory, and Head of the Department of English Language and Literature in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. He is the editor for the Oxford University Press Online Bibliography project in literary theory, and of the Routledge Studies in Irish Literature series. His books include Contemporary Irish Poetry and the Climate Crisis (with Andrew J. Auge) (Routledge, 2021) and Reimagining Irish Studies for the Twenty-First Century (with Eamon Maher) (Peter Lang, 2021). His latest book, Reading Paul Howard: The Art of Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, was published by Routledge in 2023. A co-edited volume of Études-Irlandaises 49 (1), Contemporary Irish Poetics (with Eóin Flannery), and a co-edited book, The Frontier of Writing: A Study of Seamus Heaney’s Prose, with Ian Hickey (Routledge) were published in 2024. He is currently working on a monograph on Micheal O’Siadhail (Routledge).