ENG32250 Irish Women's Writing

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course will focus on the work of key fiction writers from the mid twentieth century to the present. It will consider how female authors have distinctively moulded literary genres such as the Bildungsroman to create space for feminocentric plots, subaltern voices and social critique. The political and social contexts of the fictions they produced will be examined and their central and perennial preoccupations with mother-daughter relationships and the viewpoint of the child or the disruptive but abjected outsider will be scrutinised. The depiction of change in Irish society and of space and the familial will be examined and the interplay between the mythic and the naturalistic will be considered. Special attention will also be given to sibling relations in these fictions and to the depiction of emotional and sexual abuse. The emergence or foregrounding of new themes and concerns with the environment and damaged subjectivity will be examined.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Acquire knowledge of history of fiction written by women
Gain insight into the chief genres associated with women writers
Have a broad understanding of the central themes in women's writing
Acquire insight into new themes and forms in contemporary women's writing

Indicative Module Content:

Analysis of the Bildungsroman and short stories by women
Cross-comparison of important historical women writers such as Elizabeth Bowen and Kate O'Brien with contemporary authors such as Anne Enright and Edna O'Brien
Consideration of the themes of sexual abuse and the endangered child
Examination of the use of style and form by differing writers
Analysis of the prevailing themes in recent writing such as depression, friendship, the environment, affectlessness, distance and intimacy

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Short Written Analyses
Close reading exercise
Group discussion
oral and written responses
Summative final essay
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Close reading exercise and a mid-semester essay
ungraded quizzes and discussion boards
Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: End of Trimester essay (3,000 words) Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Individual feedback on written course work will be provided

Baume, Sara. A Line Made by Walking. Tramp Press, 2017.
Bowen, Elizabeth. The House in Paris. 1938; Vintage Classics, 1998.
Caldwell, Lucy. Intimacies. Faber and Faber, 2021.
Carson, Jan. The Fire-Starters. Faber and Faber, 2019.
Madden, Deirdre. Molly Fox's Birthday. Faber and Faber, 2008.
Nolan, Megan. Acts of Desperation. Jonathan Cape, 2021
O'Brien, Edna. The Country Girls. 1960; Penguin, 1988.
O’Brien, Kate. Mary Lavelle. 1936; Virago, 2006.

Name Role
Mr Ciarán Leinster Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Mon 15:00 - 16:50