Verses for Country Girls is a response to The Country Girls, the debut novel by Irish literature giant Edna O'Brien, banned in Ireland by the Irish Censorship board upon its 1960 release. The influence of the church and state is present in both the narrative of the original novel, and it's reception on publication. The issues raised are centred around women, their sexuality and morality. These issues remain very present in the Ireland of 2017, over half a century later, where reproductive rights are still being fought for.
This project, presented on a retrofitted prie-dieu, comprises of a prayer book and accompanying mobile website. Within the prayer book, Caithleen, the protagonist of The Country Girls has left handwritten passwords, allowing the reader to access the web content, which is an exploration of Chapter 9 of O'Brien's ground-breaking novel.
Commendation Conor Foran
"one of the great creative writers of her generation"
Mary Robinson on Edna O'Brien
Edna O'Brien was born in Tuamgraney, not far from my own home town. I felt I could relate to her bildungsroman about two 'country girls' as they grew up in the countryside and then made their way to the capital, Dublin. In fact, I think it important to stress how much Irish men can learn from and appreciate the work of female Irish writers and works about female characters.
I really enjoyed working on this project, which really took off once a friend helped me in finding the beautiful prie-dieu. With the printed text, web interaction, and other material processes such as heat-transfer printing and laser-cutting, this typographic project became unexpectedly multimedia.