Changing the Times: Irish Women Journalists 1969-1981
By: Elgy Gillespie
This ‘new journalism’ by Irish Times women writers originally appeared on the Women First pages during the 1970s. Together, the pieces reflect the enormous social and political upheaval of the years when, as the first woman’s page editor Mary Maher put it, “Irish women were invented”. The voices of this exciting anthology, diverse, sparkling, irreverent, record with wit and intelligence an Ireland on the brink of transformation.
Changing The Times showcases the best of this writing, by Maeve Binchy, Mary Leland, Gabrielle Williams, Christina Murphy, Geraldine Kennedy, Maev Kennedy, Eileen O’Brien, Caroline Walsh, Theodora FitzGibbon, Nell McCafferty, Renagh Holohan, Elgy Gillespie and others.
Issues of the day are articulated and explored: pregnancy, fashion, first loves, sexuality, a burgeoning feminism, an imploding Catholic Church, an exploding North. Nell McCafferty profiles a young Ian Paisley, visits New York and talks to the family of a girl tarred and feathered in Derry; Maeve Binchy interviews Samuel Beckett and Iris Murdoch; Mary Holland follows the North, while Renagh Holohan is caught in its explosions; Elgy Gillespie encounters Muhammed Ali, Tyrone Guthrie and Robert Lowell; while Mary Cummins interviews Bernadette Devlin about having her first baby.
As the mirror of a confident young nation, and a window onto one of the most eventful decades in recent Irish history, Changing the Times gives these writings the afterlife they richly deserve.
ELGY GILLESPIE, a food writer and journalist, worked on the Irish Times from 1971 to 1986. She freelances from her current home in San Francisco, and is author of the Rough Guide to San Francisco Restaurants and a cookbook You Say Potato!
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