Ireland has produced some of the world’s most celebrated short story writers – and continues to do so. Why are the Irish so good at the form, and why do they love it so much?
Ireland’s history with the short story form is well documented. James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Maeve Brennan, William Trevor and Mary Lavin are just some of a long list of internationally recognised writers.
For Frank O’Connor, whose study of the short story – The Lonely Voice – is considered a seminal work, the Irish are successful as writers of the short story because the best short stories focus on ‘submerged groups’ – marginalised people who live at the fringes of society and have no effective voice.
His main theory is that this submerged population changes its character from writer to writer, from generation to generation. It may be Gogol’s officials; Turgenev’s serfs…
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