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Edna O'Brien

Kirsty Young's castaway is writer Edna O'Brien.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the writer Edna O'Brien. Described as a 'poet of heartbreak' her lyrical storytelling captures the fragility and pain of the human condition, reflecting the drama of her own life as much as the imagined journeys of her characters. She was born and raised in a small village in County Clare, where the only books in the house were prayer books which sat alongside her father's bloodstock magazines. Her mother thought writing was in essence sinful and tried fiercely to stop her becoming an author.

She was living in England when she published her first novel, The Country Girls, in 1960. It was a huge hit and was critically well received - but in Ireland she was decried and her book was burnt in the streets. Although she's lived in London for most of her adult life, she continues to draw on her Irish background for inspiration - she says: "it's in my roots, and when I dream at night it's the place I go".

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Foggy Dew (Sinead O'Connor) by The Chieftains
Book: Ulysses by James Joyce
Luxury: Vault of a very good white wine

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 19 Jan 2007 09:00

Music Played

  • The monks of the Benedictine Monastry of Santo Domingo de Silos

    Mandatum Novum do Vobis

    • Canto Gregoriano.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Giacomo Puccini

    Donda lieta usci (Mimi's farewell) (from La Bohème)

    Soloist: Maria Callas

    • La Boheme.
    • EMI.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Goldberg Variations - Variations Nos. 1 & 2

    Soloist: Glenn Gould

    • The Glenn Gould Legacy, Vol 1.
    • CBS.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • The Chieftains & Sinéad O'Connor

      The Foggy, Foggy Dew

      • The Long Black Veil.
      • RCA.
  • The Pogues

    Fairytale Of New York (feat. Kirsty MacColl)

    • Best of Kirsty MacColl.
    • Virgin.
  • Michael Olatunji

    Drums of Passion

    • Michael Olatunji/Drums of Passion.
    • Columbia.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Requiem in D minor - Lacrymosa

    Orchestra: Munich Philharmonic Choir: Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks Conductor: Christian Thielemann

    • Mozart Requiem.
    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Édith Piaf

    Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

    • The Very Best of Edith Piaf.
    • Capitol.
  • Book Choice

    • Ulysses - James Joyce

  • Luxury Choice

    • Vault of a very good white wine


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Edna O'Brien


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