Edith – Book Launch at the James Joyce Centre
This event has now passed.
Actor Lise-Ann McLaughlin, star of The Irish R.M., will be the guest speaker on the evening.
We look forward to welcoming you all!
Edith is a captivating novel based on the life of Edith Somerville (1858–1949) of ‘Somerville and Ross’ fame.
It is the early 1920s and Ireland is on the cusp of radical change. Amid the turbulence of the revolutionary period, The Irish R.M. writer Edith Somerville struggles to find a place for herself.
As fellow members of the ascendancy are burned out, Edith fears for her beloved West Cork home, Drishane House – the source of her inspiration. Violent civil war erupts across the country and a new state is born, with people forced to weigh their loyalties.
The earlier death of her collaborator Martin Ross leaves Edith feeling vulnerable, but she keeps their connection alive through séances and automatic writing. Their story is unique to Irish literature.
In this dazzling portrayal of a protofeminist who straddles two cultures, we see a writer and artist in the round, holding fast to hope, humour and her steadfast spirit – even as her world changes beyond recognition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Martina Devlin is an author, journalist and playwright. Edith is her eleventh book. Prizes include the Royal Society of Literature’s V.S. Pritchett Prize and a Hennessy Literary Award. She writes a weekly current affairs column for the Irish Independent and has been named National Newspapers of Ireland commentator of the year. Martina is the first holder of a PhD in literary practice from Trinity College Dublin. She presents the City of Books podcast. She frequently chairs literary and current affairs events and is a regular commentator on BBC and RTÉ. Born in Omagh, she lives in Dublin.
PRAISE FOR EDITH
‘Edith Somerville’s world is upended – her writing partner is gone; her safety, family home, and lifestyle are threatened by brewing civil war; and even her creativity is wavering. But Edith’s eponymous heroine is smart and sanguine, and she finds safety and comfort in esoteric practices as well as the arms of friends. This is a pacy novel of menace, intrigue, and nostalgia that examines the butting cultures of Independence Ireland with all the forensic joy in politics and language that readers expect from the wonderful Martina Devlin.’ Nuala O’Connor
‘Edith is an engrossing and sensitive portrait of the writer Edith Somerville during the War of Independence when her writing partner Violet Ross is dead and her own career as a writer not flourishing. It is a portrait of a sensitive, solitary figure in a time of turmoil, of a woman striking out as an artist in a time when there were many barriers.’ Colm Tóibín
‘Only a novelist as gifted as Martina Devlin could succeed in conjuring Edith’s complicated psyche, through moments of determination, exasperation and bewilderment, as the world transforms around her. Devlin’s bright imagination and keen ear for speech bring this book to life, vividly depicting a complex time, and a complex inner life.’ Doireann Ní Ghríofa
‘Edith is a superbly entertaining historical novel, remarkable for the depth of its sympathies, the ease of its storytelling, and the complexity of its insights. I sped through it and found that it lingered in my mind afterwards – the real mark of a great book. This is the work of an author of enormous skill, patience, daring, and humanity.’ Kevin Power
‘A gripping, surprising, beautifully written story of a piece of untold history. Devlin brings an impressive level of authentic detail into all her writing, and Edith is no exception.’ Kate Kerrigan
‘Utterly magnificent and beautifully written … I was charmed by it. Edith has such a convincing voice, with top notch dialogue and characterization that is nuanced and fully rounded; a complete delight.’ Marian Keyes
‘Edith is a rare account of a unique writer and a joy to read. Martina Devlin has given us a fascinating insight into the life and times of Edith Somerville as she battles to save her beloved Drishane House during Ireland’s War of Independence. Moving between West Cork and London’s literary world, Devlin has ensured that Somerville’s contribution to Irish literature is celebrated and will not be forgotten. A novel that delights as it manages to capture the essence of a wise, witty woman caught up in the turmoil of Irish politics – I absolutely loved it and just couldn’t put it down!’ Marita Conlon-McKenna
Martina will sign copies of Edith and refreshments will be served on the evening.
Please direct any queries to [email protected]