Eimear McBride in Conversation with Jacqueline Rose
Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck
Since the publication of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing in 2014 and The Lesser Bohemians this year, Eimear McBride has caused a literary sensation of a unique kind. Pushing modernism and the psyche each to their limits with her extraordinary rendering of bodies and minds in anguish (and sometimes joy), she confronts her reader with a set of challenges that many of us have not encountered before. She has been described by Jacqueline Rose as the writer of trauma in the modern world. In this conversation, Eimear McBride and Jacqueline Rose will talk of the future of modernism, sex and writing, and the forms of – not always welcome – attention paid to a woman writer who ventures down these paths.
Eimear McBride grew up in the west of Ireland and trained at Drama Centre London. Her first novel A Girl is a Half-formed Thing took nine years to find a publisher and subsequently received a number of awards including the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction, Irish Novel of the Year and the Goldsmiths Prize. She occasionally writes and reviews for the Guardian, New Statesmen and the TLS. Her short fiction has appeared in Dubliners 100, The Long Gaze Back anthology and on BBC Radio 4. Her second novel The Lesser Bohemians was published by Faber in September 2016.
Jacqueline Rose is Acting Co-Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. She is internationally known for her writing on feminism, psychoanalysis, literature and the politics and ideology of Israel-Palestine. Her books include Sexuality in the Field of Vision (1986, Verso Radical Thinkers, 2006), The Haunting of Sylvia Plath (1991), States of Fantasy (1996), The Question of Zion (2005), The Last Resistance (2007), Proust Among the Nations – from Dreyfus to the Middle East (2012) and the novel Albertine (2001). Women in Dark Times has just been published by Bloomsbury. Conversations with Jacqueline Rose came out in 2010, and The Jacqueline Rose Reader in 2011. States of Fantasy and The Last Resistance have formed the basis of musical compositions by the acclaimed young American composer, Mohammed Fairouz. A regular writer for The London Review of Books, she wrote and presented the 2002 Channel 4 TV Documentary, Dangerous Liaison – Israel and the United States. She is a Professorial Fellow at the Institute for Social Justice, ACU, Sydney, a co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices in the UK, and a Fellow of the British Academy. Before arriving at Birkbeck, she taught at Queen Mary University of London as Professor of English, and in Autumn 2014, as Diane Middlebrook/Carl Djerassi Professor of Gender Studies in Cambridge.
The Birkeck Institute for the Humanities stimulates research, public debate and collaboration among academics and intellectuals on important issues of our time. Key to its remit is the promotion of new ideas and forms of understanding in the humanities.
The Centre for Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck was founded in 2012, and is a meeting place for numerous ongoing projects by academic staff, creative writers and graduate students. The Centre hosts conferences and symposia, readings and seminars on a range of contemporary writers – in prose fiction but also potentially in other forms and media.