Edna O'Brien - Clare Author Outlawed By Irish Censors
A novelist and short story writer, the famous Clarewoman has been exiled in England for many decades and often became controversial for her outspoken views of religious Ireland in the mid 20th century. She spoke the truth at a time when Ireland hid all negations on clergy and people in high places.
Her outspoken comments became as famous as her writings and because she was Edna O’Brien, the Irish author, she made headline news in many places.
Born at Tuamgraney, Scariff, Co. Clare, Edna was an only child reared in a household with great devotion to prayer and she never forgot the smothering effect such doctrination imposed. A quailified pharmacist at twenty, she married Ernest Gébler, an author, when she was twenty four and the couple headed out for London.
In the field of publishing she became a reader and earned modest sums for her labours. Her first book The Country Girls was published in 1960 and led to two more writings - The Lonely Girl (1962) and Girls in Their Married Bliss (1964). These controversial publications brought the wrath of the Irish Censor upon Edna and certain Irish people felt she was going outside the accepted moral codes by writing on sexual matters.
Unperturbed the Clare author set about writing a novel based on her Clare childhood and A Pagan Place (1970) really set the tone for the Irish critics. In later years Edna would receive many awards for her works and her great ability over fifty years has altered the tone of Irish fiction for many contemporary writers.
A collection of some of Edna’s titles include:
August Is A Wicked Month
Casualties Of Peace
The Love Object
On The Bone
Scandalous Woman And Other Stories
Johnny I Hardly Knew You
Some Irish Loving
Time And Tide
The High Road
Mrs. Reinhardt And Other Stories
Awards have accumulated to include the Kingsley Amis Award (1962); the Yorkshire Post Book Award; the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award and many more accolades.
Edna O’Brien, fought against adversity and brought everyday subjects into the homes of ordinary people. Her deep knowledge of forbidden subjects and her capacity to communicate on paper, gave her Irish readers an opportunity to speak out against unsavory practices by persons who hid behind their masks.