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Who was Kate O'Brien?

Categories: Special Collections and Archives
When: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 16:15

The 33rd Limerick Literary Festival will take place in locations around Limerick city from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th February 2017. The festival was first established in 1984 to honour the life and literature of novelist Kate O’Brien who was born in the city in 1897.  O’Brien’s legacy is one well worth celebrating. A subversive voice of the Irish middle class, she was a pioneer for women’s writing in Ireland, particularly in the early years of the Irish Free State. In a career that spanned almost five decades, her literary output included novels, travelogues, plays, short fiction, poetry and journalistic articles.

Though Kate O’Brien’s fiction was celebrated at the height of her career, both the writer and her works were somewhat overlooked in the years that followed. The Limerick Literary Festival reflects a strong revival in public interest in her life and literature. Those interested in finding out more about the writer can consult the Kate O’Brien Papers at the Glucksman Library. This collection is a valuable resource for the scholarly evaluation of O’Brien’s literary works, as well as offering a rare glimpse into the personal life and relationships of this intensely private individual.

For more information about the Limerick Literary Festival 2017 in honour of Kate O’Brien, visit To coincide with this year’s edition, you can also visit the Glucksman Library to view a display showcasing holdings from its extensive historical and contemporary Limerick collections.