Family and Fiction: Anne Enright
Anne Enright is known for exploring the complexities and banalities of family life with a steely, satirical eye. As a theme in literature, ‘family’ has sometimes suffered against unfair prejudices, especially when explored by women writers, but Enright writes with a virtuosity that makes a nonsense of the stigma.
It’s not just the way the Irish author navigates the universal theme of family life that has won her accolades, including the Man Booker Prize (for The Gathering in 2007) and the title of Fiction Laureate of Ireland. Enright is a brilliant and funny prose stylist, with a gift for stunning aphorisms.
Her most recent book, The Green Road, has won praise across the world, including among the harshest critics of Irish literature – the Irish. The story, which hinges on a Christmas reunion of a large Irish family, sees Enright playing boldly with tropes and stereotypes from the country’s literary tradition. ‘This is an Irish novel that is afraid of nothing,’ wrote one critic, ‘least of all of being thought of as an Irish novel.’
Join this masterful writer for a discussion of family and fiction, with New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul. They discuss Irish families, motherhood, different types of love and the choices we have (or, in the case of family, don't) in who we love.
Anne Enright was born in Dublin, where she now lives and works. She has published two collection of stories, collected as Yesterday’s Weather, one book of non-fiction, Making Babies, and five novels – including The Gathering, which was the Irish Novel of the Year, and won the Irish Fiction Award and the 2007 Man Booker Prize, and The Forgotten Waltz, which was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
Her latest novel, The Green Road, won the Irish Novel of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and Costa Novel Award. She is the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction.
Pamela Paul is the editor of the New York Times Book Review and the author of four books: Parenting, Inc., Pornified, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony and My Life with Bob.
Before joining the New York Times, she was a contributor to Time magazine and the Economist. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate and Vogue. She is also the editor of the anthology By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life.