Edna O’Brien: Literature Against Loneliness

For writers in need of inspiration, look no further. The lauded Irish grande dame of the short story, Edna O’Brien, shares her own journey of writing and life in this wonderful interview from Radio Open Source.

Talking with Christopher Lydon in 2011, O’Brien discussed her life growing up in rural West of Ireland, a setting that has informed much of her work—the fields, towns, and lives of hardworking men and “rueful” women. “Her eye and ear miss nothing,” Lydon says, and quotes Philip Roth, who likened O’Brien’s work to “a piece of fine meshwork, a net of perfectly observed sensuous details that enables you to contain all the longing and pain and remorse that surge through the fiction.” As O’Brien says:

I like to hear about people’s lives, not just because I want to write about it, which has to be confessed, but because it’s lonely on earth, really, and two things make it less lonely. One is literature, which we have to try and save in this wicked and worried and crazy world. The other is meeting or talking with someone who actually, even for an hour, kind of enchants you.

Listen and read excerpts here.

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