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Edna O'Brien on her memoir Country Girl

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 30 September 2012

Edna O'Brien discusses her memoir Country Girl.
Since the publication of her first novel The Country Girls in 1960, Edna O'Brien has continued to attract controversy, writing on subjects from the Troubles and the IRA, to abortion in her native Ireland.
She explains how her love of books developed, her difficult relationships with both her mother and her husband both of whom didn't want her to write, and why people's cutting remarks about her novels led her to contemplate suicide.

For most of their working time authors shut themselves away and spend months, even years, honing their novels, but for many of them that process is an arduous and unpleasant task. George Orwell said "Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness" while Georges Simenon, creator of the beloved detective Maigret declared "Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness".
Sid Smith and Naomi Alderman discuss the pain and pleasure involved in writing a novel.

Producer: Andrea Kidd.

  • Read the Opening Chapter of Country Girl by Edna O'Brien

    Chapter 1: Country Girl by Edna O'Brien

    Country Girl a memoir - Edna O’Brien
    Publisher: Faber and Faber

    The Country Girls (Country Girls Trilogy 1)
    The Lonely Girl - also known as Girl With Green Eyes (Country Girls Trilogy 2)
    Girls in their Married Bliss (Country Girls Trilogy 3) – all by Edna O’Brien
    Publisher: Phoenix

    The Liars' Gospel – Naomi Alderman
    Publisher: Viking

    Something Like a House - Sid Smith
    Publisher: Picador


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