Call for Papers LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory Special Issue “Recessionary Imaginings: Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and Contemporary Women’s Writing.”

Ireland’s economic boom period, popularly known as the Celtic Tiger, came to a spectacular end in 2008 with the wholesale collapse of the property industry and the destabilization of the banking and financial sectors. In the new era of recession, austerity measures dominate the discursive and political landscape, used as neo-liberal tools to protect the interests of late capitalism, which inflicts its severities on ordinary citizens, particularly those most disadvantaged in Irish society. The prioritization of individual responsibility (over, for example, state or corporate responsibility) was rendered most explicitly in a number of controversial policies of the post-Tiger period, including the 2008 bank guarantee, the 2010 bailout, the implementation of home property taxes, and the water charges. However, while neo-liberalism still functions as the principal political discourse in shaping and governing Irish lives and worlds, the impact of austerity measures have significantly reformed public attitudes to its rhetoric (so revered in the Tiger period) in a much more critical vein. Indeed, the post-Tiger period is marked by a complicated assemblage of differing ideological perspectives, with neo-liberalism operating at the same time as, and in tension with, activist feminist, LGBTQ, race and migration social movements, as well as a conservative right that has intensified in recent years—particularly evident in the recent ‘NO’ campaign against the 2015 marriage equality referendum.

Women’s writing functions as an important place from which to explore critically the temperatures of the post-Tiger era, especially given the ways in which Irish recessionary times locate the feminine as site of blame for the excesses of the Tiger period and how, as feminist theorists Avtar Brah, Iona Szeman, and Irene Gedalof identify, “whether in recovery or crisis, neo-liberal economics and politics have proved deeply destructive to most women, and have exacerbated the intersecting divides of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class” (7). Moreover, since narratives of masculinity in crisis currently dominate the Irish popular imagination (Negra), it is vital to consider this cultural moment through a differently gendered lens. There has been an extraordinary vibrancy in the field of women’s writing during this period, from the nominations of Paula Meehan as Chair of Irish Poetry and Anne Enright as Laureate of Irish Fiction, the successes of Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl is a Half Formed Thing and Tana French’s crime fiction, to the development of many feminist blog sites and online forums. Throughout the Celtic Tiger, women’s writing engaged in sustained critiques of neo-liberal discourses, evident in the work of Marina Carr, Emma Donoghue, Anne Enright, Rita Ann Higgins, and Claire Kilroy, to name just a few examples. Following on from this, the Literature Interpretation Theory special issue “Recessionary Imaginings: Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and Contemporary Women’s Writing” aims to explore how women’s writing in Ireland engages with and responds to the shapes, terrains, and contours of current changing times. We invite essays that consider women’s writing in the broadest possible sense, including screenplay and film direction, digital media writing, memoir, journalism, as well as fiction, poetry, and theatre. Essays with a focus on migrant women’s writing are of particular interest for this special issue, as well as those that are intersectional in breadth and scope.

Submission Instructions

LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory publishes critical essays that employ engaging, coherent theoretical perspectives and provide original, close readings of texts. Submissions must use MLA citation style and should range in length from 5,000-10,000 words in length. Please email your essay, along with a 100-200 word abstract, to

Editorial information

Guest Editor: Claire Bracken, Union College

Editor: Dwight Codr

Editor: Tara Harney-Mahajan

Deadline for submissions: January 8, 2016.

Works Cited

Brah, Avtar, Ioana Szeman, and Irene Gedalof. “Introduction: Feminism and the Politics of Austerity.” Feminist Review 109 (2015): 1–7. Print.

Negra, Diane. “Adjusting Men and Abiding Mammies: Gendering the Recession in Ireland.” The Irish Review 46 (2013): 23–34

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