Sunday 28 May 2017

The menace of censorship still surrounds sexuality

A heartfelt comment by Edna O'Brien makes us question how much has changed in 55 years, writes Dearbhail McDonald

Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

I made a pilgrimage to the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire last week to hear one of my all-time literary heroines, Edna O'Brien, in conversation with Sinead Gleeson, the wonderfully perceptive author and broadcaster.

It was enchanting to watch an iridescent O'Brien (who turns 85 in December) speak of her writing life and her latest novel The Little Red Chairs, which the author Philip Roth has described as her masterpiece.

But it was heartbreaking too to hear O'Brien, who blazed a trail for generations of Irish women to give voice to their experience, speak of the hurt she endured as a result of censorship.

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