Literature Research Guide:  Women Writers

This guide highlights resources available from McClelland Library to anyone researching Irish women writers. The McClelland Library owns many titles about and by women writers of Irish literature. Our holdings can be found by searching our catalog. This current list does not include all of our holdings related to women writers.

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Ireland’s Women: Writings Past and Present by Kate Donovan, et. al.

Call Number: 820.8092 Ir28r 1995 Publication Date: 1995

This is the first volume of its kind to present a collection of writings by and about Ireland’s women who are both well-known and unknown, real and fictional. 

The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Gleeson, Sinéad

Call Number: 823.01089 L851 Publication Date: 2016

Spanning four centuries, this features 8 rare stories from deceased writers and 22 new stories by some of the most talented Irish women writers today. The stories range from heartbreaking to humorous, but each leaves a lasting impression. Authors include Maeve Brennan, Lucy Caldwell, Anne Enright, Mary Lavin, Lisa McInerney, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Kate O’Brien, Somerville & Ross, and many more.

Motherland: Writings by Irish American Women About Mothers and Daughters edited by Caledonia Kearns
Call Number: 810.80352 M856 Publication Date: 1999

This collection of Irish American women’s writings about the mother-daughter bond in all its variety: sometimes a source of strength and solace, sometimes of sorrow and resentment, but always and everywhere central to the author’s identity. 

Territories of the Voice: Contemporary Stories by Irish Women Writers edited by Louise DeSalvo, Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, and Katherine Hogan

Call Number: 823.01089 T278 Publication Date: 1989

Twenty-seven contemporary stories are compiled in this book from well-known writers to new voices with content of various subject matters. 

Too Smart to be Sentimental: Contemporary Irish American Women Writers edited by Sally Barr Ebest and Kathleen McInerney

Call Number: REF 810.99287 T617 Publication Date: 2008

This series of essays offers a feminist literary history of twentieth-century Irish America. Too Smart to be Sentimental is the first critical study of contemporary Irish American women writers and is an invaluable resource to those studying Irish literature.

Wee Girls: Women Writing from an Irish Perspective edited by Lizz Murphy

Call Number: 820.0928 W416 Publication Date: 1996

This is a selection of writings by women who are top-selling and award-winning writers from Ireland, Australia, England, Canada (and other countries).

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Authors to Consider



The Gathering by Anne Enright

Call Number: FIC Enright, A Publication Date: 2007

The nine surviving children of the Hegarty family gather for their brother’s wake, who drowned in the sea. One sister collects the body and guards the secret, something happened in 1968, she shares with him and no one else. This is a novel of love and disappointment, and about how memories warp and secrets fester.

The Irish R.M. by E. Somerville

Call Number: FIC Somerville, E Publication Date: 1984

These stories are recognized as classics of Anglo-Irish literature with some of the funniest prose in the English language. This collection has 34 stories and is the inspiration behind the successful television series. 

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

Call Number: FIC Bowen, E Publication Date: 1952

The Last September depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence. It is a story of a young woman’s coming of age in the 1920s in County Cork.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Call Number: Donoghue, E Publication Date: 2020

In Dublin in 1918, during war and disease, readers peer into the lives of three women who change each other’s lives in unexpected ways, and find the light in the darkness. 

The Rose Garden: Short Stories by Maeve Brennan

Call Number: Brennan, M Publication Date: 2000

A series of linked stories that has the power of a novel is the make-up of The Rose Garden. It’s a study of life in Herbert’s Retreat, north of Manhattan, of privileged rich social-climbers and their envy of what each other has. 

We were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Call Number: FIC Oates, J Publication Date: 1996

Oates writes a story about a family struggling to make terms with their fall from grace and their ability to persevere through their suffering with hope and love. 

Without my Cloak by Kate O’Brien

Call Number: FIC O’Brien, K Publication Date: 2001

A family’s legacy in Mellick town is in jeopardy when Denis falls in love with a peasant girl.

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