Long Gaze Back shows great perception

Dublin City Council’s award-winning initiative, One City One Book, has announced the choice for 2018: The Long Gaze Back, An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson.

The scheme run by the public libraries service, which invites readers and libraries to nominate a book for a given year with a connection to the city for the public to read during that designated year, has been running since 2006, and astonishingly this is the first time, in 11 years, women writers (and in this case editor also) are being celebrated.
One would think with illustrious mistresses of the craft such as Anne Enright and Edna O’Brien in the canon that women writers would have been acknowledged before this. However, this particular book goes some way to bridge the breach. Being an anthology, it boasts a diversity of talented writers, featuring some of Ireland’s most gifted writers as well as spanning four centuries of time and themes.

Some names will be very familiar to readers, others will be a discovery; Elizabeth Bowen, Maeve Brennan, Mary Costello, June Caldwell, Lucy Caldwell, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Maria Edgeworth, Anne Enright, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Norah Hoult, Mary Lavin, Eimear McBride, Molly McCloskey, Bernie McGill, Lisa McInerney, Belinda McKeon, Siobhán Mannion, Lia Mills, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Kate O’Brien, Roisín O’Donnell, E.M. Reapy, Charlotte Riddell, Eimear Ryan, Anakana Schofield, Somerville and Ross and Susan Stairs are all included.

Sinéad Gleeson said: “I’m thrilled and delighted on behalf of the 30 writers, past and present, that The Long Gaze Back is next year’s Dublin: One City One Book choice. Anthologies are a platform for telling multiple stories and so many of the writers and their work included here are intrinsically connected to Dublin and its people. The book arose from a desire to amplify the voices of women who write, and being chosen for Dublin: One City One Book will help to introduce these talented writers to all kinds of new readers.”

Sinéad Gleeson, who is an editor and broadcaster, is also a writer of fiction, poetry and essays as well as presenting The Book Show on RTÉ Radio 1. She shares a personal understanding of the craft and the anthology reflects her knowledge and feeling for the collection.

The libraries will run a showcase of events and programme around the book, so keep your eyes and ears open in Ringsend and Pembroke libraries for the full programme of events to be announced in spring 2018.

The Long Gaze Back, An Anthology of Irish Women Writers. Edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is published by New Island.