Friday, 16 October 2015

My new article on Irish women's writing

I am very pleased to have published my article on the Irish author Nicola Pierce in the journal Women's Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal (Taylor & Francis).  

My article is called "Haunting the Text: Nicola Pierce’s Spirit of the Titanic and Irish Historical Children’s Fiction", and it forms part of a two-part special issue entitled "Irish Women's Writing and Experience".  The special issue was expertly edited by Brian McCabe and Jeanne-Arli Crocker Hammer, resulting in two excellent journal issues full of  fascinating essays on the important yet frequently neglected subject of Irish women's writing. I am really pleased that my article is part of this critical initiative to draw attention to the critical and creative contributions made by Irish women writers historically as well as in contemporary times.  

Here is a snapshot of my article on Nicola Pierce's novel, from the opening page, taken from the journal website:

And here is the link to the UoG institutional Research Repository record.

I have long been looking for  an opportunity to write about Nicola Pierce's critically acclaimed children's novel, which deals with the sinking of the Titanic, including the history of its construction in Belfast.  Being fortunate enough to place my article in Women's Studies: An Inter-disciplinary Journal, I was able to engage with this specific text as well as explore wider questions of Irishness and trauma, combining my interest in Irish women's writing, children's literature, and historical fiction.

The evocative cover of Spirit of the Titanic features the sinking of the ship prominently, yet the foreground of the cover is given over to Samuel, the novel's central figure, a teen-age boy who loses his life during the construction of the ship.   It is Samuel and his life and death, otherwise consigned to the annals of history, which forms the focal point of Pierce's novel, as he remains on board the Titanic as a haunting presence. His character serves to remind the reader of the complexity of individual and collective trauma, illustrated in the novel's depiction of the human cost of the Titanic's construction as well as its horrific sinking.

To me, academic research and publication is about paying attention to authors, topics and perspectives that have hitherto been neglected or overlooked by critics, by crediting them and giving them visibility.  This engagement with marginality is a priority which informs my work, whether on crime fiction, black British and postcolonial literature, Irish writing, poetry, women's writing, or children's literature.  

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