Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine is a digital magazine that was founded in 2015 by Dr. Adrienne Leavy for the purpose of promoting Irish literature and contemporary Irish writing. Published quarterly, the magazine is a subscription-based publication with a growing readership in both Ireland and the United States. The first issue, which includes an essay on James Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners, a critical overview of Jennifer Johnston’s career accompanied by an interview with Johnston, and a lengthy review of Thomas Kinsella’s most recent collection Late Poems (Carcanet 2013), is available to download at no cost under the subscribe tab on the website www.readingireland.net. The Reading Ireland website contains a listing of over two hundred poets, playwrights and prose writers, along with a listing of Irish independent book shops, publishing houses, literary journals and Irish Studies texts. We are in the process of inputting critical and biographical data for the writers on the site. When complete, the website should provide a valuable research resource for teachers, students and readers of Irish literature.
Subsequent issues have covered Irish crime fiction (Summer 2015), Irish poetry (Autumn 2015) and Irish drama (Winter 2015/Spring 2016). The current drama issue includes a critical introduction to Brian Friel’s work, with accompanying photographs by award winning Northern Ireland photographer Bobbie Hanvey, an interview with playwright Marina Carr and an introduction to Carr’s work by Professor Melissa Sihra, Assistant Professor of Drama at the Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Also in this issue is a consideration of Lady Gregory’s early plays. Future issues of the magazine will address the 1916 Centenary of the Easter Rising (Summer 2016), Irish mythology and folklore (Autumn 2016) and Irish women writers (Winter 2016).
As the magazine grows, more contributors from both Ireland and the US are generously donating their time and expertise to the project. For example, in the forthcoming 1916 issue we are working with both the Louth County Museum and the Gaelic League to include articles on their 1916 commemorative projects. In addition, Professor Gregory Castle from Arizona State University will provide a close reading of W.B. Yeats’s poem “Easter 1916.” Recent special issues of Poetry Ireland, The Stinging Fly and Boyne Berries will also be reviewed and included in this issue. To honor the rich tradition of “Little Magazines” we try to include an essay on an Irish little magazine in each issue. For the 1916 issue we will cover The Irish Review 1911-1914, which was edited by Joseph Plunkett and Thomas MacDonagh, with regular contributions from Patrick Pearse.
Martin Doyle, the assistant literary editor of the Irish Times, has been a consistent supporter of the work of the magazine since its inception, regularly republishing essays in the Irish Times on-line book club which helps us reach a wider audience. See for example an introduction to the work of Thomas Kinsella and an essay on Envoy 1949-1951. Solas Nua, a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. that is dedicated exclusively to contemporary Irish Arts, has expressed interest in the magazine and we are exploring ways to work with their monthly book club.
Biography: Adrienne Leavy is originally from Dundalk, County Louth but now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to moving to the United States Adrienne attended Trinity College Dublin, where she studied law, and The Honourable Society of Kings Inns. After qualifying as a Barrister-at-Law she sat for the Arizona State Bar exam and practiced law in Phoenix for ten years. Returning to college to pursue her interest in Irish literature, Adrienne obtained a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Arizona State University, where the focus of her dissertation was the representation of women in the poetry of Thomas Kinsella. In addition to her work on Reading Ireland Adrienne is the Literary Chair of the Phoenix/Ennis Sister Cities Book Festival.
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