The archive of the Irish author Edna O'Brien, covering the period 2009 - 2021 has been acquired by the National Library of Ireland.

The archive comprises literary and personal papers, notebooks, drafts and revisions as well as correspondence with other well known literary figures. The papers will be added to a collection of her work dating from 2000 - 2009 already held by the NLI. Funding for the acquisition was allocated by Minister for Arts Catherine Martin.

Edna O'Brien was born in Co Clare in 1930 and her first book The Country Girls was published in 1960. She went on to create a substantial body of work including novels, collections of short stories, plays and works of non fiction. Her most recent novel Girl was published in 2019, and she continues to write, currently working on a play about James Joyce.

Speaking on the announcement of this acquisition, Minister Martin stated: "I am delighted that the National Library of Ireland has acquired this most invaluable collection of papers from Edna O'Brien.

Edna O’Brien’s place in the literary canon both nationally and internationally is assured and her importance as a novelist and a chronicler of Ireland is unique. That Edna O’Brien’s work is so widely regarded throughout the world speaks of the universal nature of her themes and most especially that of the lived experience of women.

Edna O’Brien’s writing shines a spotlight on women and their agency and autonomy. She has recounted women’s stories unflinchingly, doing so when the stakes were high and it was unbecoming to speak about women’s lives with such frankness and honesty."

Listen: RTÉ Arena celebrate Edna O'Brien's 90th Birthday in 2020

Director of the National Library of Ireland, Dr Sandra Collins added: "As Ireland’s memory-keeper, the Library is charged with collecting and safeguarding the story of Ireland. The experiences of women are an inextricable part of this narrative. The acquisition of Edna O’Brien’s archive is a momentous occasion for the National Library. It is a celebration of a writer who has contributed, indelibly and with brilliant style, to our understanding of Irish society and the lived experience of women.

It is my hope that all those who view and study this archive will glean deep insight into Edna’s practice, and feel inspired, not only by her work, but by her trailblazing, tenacious spirit. This is a proud day for the National Library of Ireland."

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Via RTÉ Archives: Writer in Profile: Edna O'Brien (1970)

Edna O’Brien said: "I am thrilled and honoured that the National Library has acquired my archive. It has always been my wish for my papers to reside in Ireland, the country of my birth – my home. My works are stories of place as much as people, and Ireland has long featured as a central character. It is only right that my most recent archive should find its lasting home there."