Elizabeth Bowen and Irish Short Story Week

Elizabeth Bowen Collected Stories

I just wanted to let you know that Mel’s Irish Short Story Week is upcoming in March. Because it was such a success in the last couple of years the week has been extended to a whole month and therefore runs from March 1 until March 31 2013.

I discovered some great new writers like Órfhlaith Foyle and Kevin Barry last year, but I also rediscovered old favourites like Elizabeth Bowen. I read a few of her short stories and had sworn I would read more. This year I’m planning on reading several of her stories contained in the Collected Stories which seems to be a great collection.

To stay in line with this month’s theme my Literature and War Readalong, which takes place at the end of the month, also features a book by Elizabeth Bowen – The Heat of the Day.

Because I loved the stories I read last year so much I also got her book Love’s Civil War which contains letters and diary entries and Victoria Glendinning’s biography which was recommended by Mel u. I might start the one or the other or even both.

For more details and Irish reading suggestions please visit Mel u at The Reading Life.

Orfhlaith Foyle

48 thoughts on “Elizabeth Bowen and Irish Short Story Week

  1. Thanks for the post, Caroline! I was a late entrant last year, but enjoyed participating in Irish short story week which morphed into a month 🙂 I hope to join in for a while this time and read a short story or two. Elizabeth Bowen sounds like a wonderful writer. Happy reading! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on her book. ‘Love’s Civil War’ is a really interesting title.

  2. Ooh I really hope to join in with you for this readalong. It’s been years since I read a Bowen novel, and some of her work I deeply admire. But just let me check – this is February’s literature and war novel? Sorry that probably sounds daft but I just want to get it clear in my mind!

    • The BOwen is the March Literature and War novel. There is still plenty of time to join.
      I admire her sentences very much, they are so artful and complex, I wonder how that is in a novel,
      I really hope you can join. I’ll post a separate intro for the readalong beginning of March.

  3. So many books and so many countries!

    Interesting that you will be reading a novel about wartime London. I am currently reading Five Days in London by John Lukacs. It is an account of both the War Cabnet and the common people of Englad during what may have been the darkest five days of the war in Great Britain.

    • That sounds intersting, Brian. I hope you will review it, I’ll be interested to hear more about it.
      I didn’t know Bowen was an English writer at first because she sets so many of her stories in wartime London.

      • Of her many stories only about three are for sure set in Ireland-Ireland was neutral in WWII but Bowen spent the war years in London where she worked as an air raid warden-she said she never felt more alive than during the war years in London. I am planning to post on at least one set in Ireland story during the event

  4. I think the library has a copy of The heat of the day–not sure the website is a little confusing. But I’ll wander down in a week or two and make sure. I’m not sure I’ve read anything by Bowen.

    • I hope they have the book. Her style is pretty awe inspiring. She write such artful sentences. But the stories are captovating as well and she has a way to capture wartime London which I’ve seen called WWII Goth. Never heard that expression before but it makes perfect sense. You will see. Hopefully. 🙂

  5. In honour of the event I will try to get to the William Trevor collection I have sitting on the shelf, a constant reminder of this most glaring hole in my reading of both Irish and short story writers.

    • I read hims last year for the event. My House in Umbria. It was much more edgy than one would think when wathcing the movie. But I’ve also rea some of his other short stories a few years back and really liked them. And novels. I think he’s good in the shorter and longer form. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

  6. I’ll be joining this one too…but I am not going to write an introduction as I have already have difficulty publishing my reviews.

    you mentioning the war literature reminds me to watch the flower of wars asap.

  7. Caroline-thanks so much for this mention-to all interested-the event is very open-I am mostly posting on those born in Ireland but I am open to Irish writers whose parents left Ireland like the great Australian writer, Barbara Baynton-You can post on an Irish short story you like, the Bowen biography Caroline mentioned (great book), a history of the famines or anything you think is relevant. This year i will be hosting a number of interviews with Irish authors including one mentioned by Caroline, Órfhlaith Foyle. There will be posts on short stories by very early Irish short story writers like Maria Edgeworth and Samuel lover and on writers just starting their careers. To participate you can write a post on your own blog and let me know about it via a comment on The Reading Life or I am sure sure Caroline would allow a comment her advising us. If you do not have a blog or just prefer to, guest posts on my blog are also welcome.

    All are very welcome to join us and there really are no rigid rules (which do not work in Ireland anyway!)

    please leave a comment either on my blog or here with any questions or thoughts or suggestions you may have

    • That’s great Mel. I’m looking forward to it. Now that I know I can read biographies I might really start the boo on Maeve Brennan and will try to get her short stories.

      • some of Maeve Brennan’s short stories can be read on Google Books-in the posthumous collection of her stories-Springs of Affection-you can also read the full introduction to her collection by her editor at the New Yorker where she worked for years, William Maxwell-her life story is heartbreaking

  8. I’m really looking forward to reading the Bowen novel–I’ve read a couple of her books but it’s been a while, so I’m looking forward to getting back to her work. I may have to join you in reading a few of her short stories. Will have to see what else I have by Irish authors, too! The Glendinning book sounds interesting as well–I’ve added it to my wishlist, and look forward to seeing what you think of it as well!

    • I was tempted to organize a Bowen month but things are too hectic at the moment. I’ve got so many of her books and books about her.
      Since it has meanwhiele turned into Irish Short Story Month, there will be a lot of opportunity to read more Irish literature. Mel’s easy anyway, you can read almost anything Irish, as he has explained in one of the comments.
      I’m very tempted by the Maeve Brennan biography I have as well.

  9. I just wanted to let everyone know that Irish Short Story Month Year III is getting off to a good start-I already have in twenty six short stories by Irish authors that I will be publishing plus lots of Q and A sessions with Irish writers, a feature on the Cork County Short Story Festival and posts on Irish Gothic and Irish/Australian gothic writers-

    anyone who likes is more than welcome to guest post or post on your own blog and let me know-perhaps if you like you can also leave a link here, if Caroline will be so kind, as I will be monitoring here

    my great thanks to Caroline for her support.

    • I’m tracking things too, so if I see a post on someone’s blog you didn’t cath, I’ll let you know. I started the Bowen biography now as well and it’s wonderful so far.

  10. No Irish short stories on my TBR, I’m afraid, and I’m still on a book buying ban, so not participating. Have fun.

    I abandoned the Bowen I tried to read so I’m curious about your review of her short stories.

    • I love her wriring. I reviewed one story last year “Summer Night” which seems to be one of her best. I’ve read a few others by now and find them all equally good.

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