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This edition: Edna O'Brien & Mannix Flynn

Episode Details

Original tape date: December 17, 2013.

First aired: December 27, 2013.

This episode of “Irish Writers in America,” a new 13 part series from CUNY TV (City University of New York television station), features interviews with legendary Irish writer Edna O’Brien, and Mannix Flynn, an actor and writer whose one-man show, James X, about abuses suffered in a children’s industrial school, was produced around the world by Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson.

Edna O’Brien talks about the banning and burning of her first book, The Country Girls, because of its frank portrayal of the lives of young women. She explains her enduring connection to Ireland even as she continues to live in London, how James Joyce became a central influence, and the constant “abiding” nature of the work of a writer. Her need to write, what makes her continue to do it after such a long career, and her concern for the survival of books and literature, make this a candid interview with one of Ireland’s most revered authors.

Mannix Flynn describes his evolution from a disregarded, troubled youth condemned to the abuses - sexual and other - of life in a children’s industrial school into an author, playwright, actor, and politician. He explains his concern about what he sees as the commodification of Irish culture, its misrepresentation, and its dark, often ignored past. Speaking in front of the art exhibit that accompanied his show, James X, he assesses the power of art to affect change.

Featuring two writers who have come up against the rigors of Irish political conservatism and repression, this episode is about the triumph of literary art against formidable odds.

Guest List

Web Extras

Mannix Flynn on Class

Mannix Flynn on the role of class in art

Mannix Flynn on Violence

Mannix Flynn talks about violence in his life and work

Mannix Flynn on Form

Mannix Flynn talks about the importance of form

Edna O'Brien - Living in London

Edna O'Brien talks about living in London

Edna O'Brien - "Down By The River"

Edna O'Brien on her novel, "Down By The River"

Edna O'Brien - "Shovel Kings"

Edna O'Brien reads a passage from her story, "Shovel Kings"