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The acquisition of Edna O’Brien’s Papers (2009 – 2021)

Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Portrait photograph of Edna O'Brien in front of bookshelves

We are delighted and proud to announce the acquisition of the most recent archive of renowned Irish author Edna O’Brien.

The acquisition “comes home to Ireland” and represents an important moment for the collection of work by Ireland’s women writers. The acquisition was made possible by a special allocation of funding from the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.

Containing her literary and personal papers, the archive spans twelve years, beginning in 2010, and comprises approximately 50 boxes of manuscripts. The drafts are written entirely by hand, using notebooks, loose foolscap sheets and scraps of paper. The collection relates primarily to the acclaimed novels, short stories, plays and other writings from that period, including Girl (2019), The Little Red Chairs (2015), The Love Object: Selected Stories (2013) and the memoir Country Girl (2012), as well as ongoing work and extensive correspondence with other literary figures such as Philip Roth, and Seamus and Marie Heaney.

Reflecting on the acquisition, Edna O’Brien said: “I am thrilled and honoured that the National Library has acquired my archive. It has always been my wish for my papers to reside in Ireland, the country of my birth – my home.  My works are stories of place as much as people, and Ireland has long featured as a central character. It is only right that my most recent archive should find its lasting home there.”

For further information see the press release issued by the The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Edna O'Brien: My archive at the National Library of Ireland