LIVE from NYPL: Fintan O’Toole with Belinda McKeon: We Don’t Know Ourselves
The prize-winning Irish writer discusses his chronicle of the wrenching transformations that dragged his homeland into the modern world.
In the year Fintan O’Toole was born, 1958, Ireland began a decades-long, ongoing experiment with its national identity. Amid an exodus of Irish youth, the country opened its doors to foreign investment and popular culture; sneaking through with them came fundamental shifts to Ireland’s Catholic Church, its politics, its economy, and its myths of national greatness. In We Don’t Know Ourselves, equal parts memoir and national history, O’Toole weaves his own experiences into the social, cultural, and economic changes, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary “backwater” to an almost totally open society—perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history.
O’Toole speaks with fellow Irish-writer, the novelist and playwright Belinda McKeon, about his new book, forty years in the making.
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Publication Date: 3/15/22
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ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Fintan O’Toole is a columnist for the Irish Times and a professor at Princeton University. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Guardian, as well as the bestselling author of The Politics of Pain and other books, O’Toole lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and Dublin, Ireland.
Belinda McKeon is the author of two novels: Solace, which won the 2012 Faber Prize and was voted Irish Book of the Year. Her second novel, Tender (2016) was shortlisted for the Encore Award. Both novels were Irish bestsellers. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Paris Review, the New York Times, Granta and elsewhere. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Rutgers University. She is also a playwright, and received a 2020 Markievicz Award from the Irish Arts Council to create a new piece for the stage with Fishamble Theatre Company. Originally from the Irish midlands, she lives in the Hudson Valley.
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