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Distributed for University College Dublin Press

Queer Whispers

Gay and Lesbian Voices of Irish Fictions

The first comprehensive survey of LGBTQ fiction in contemporary Ireland.
Before Ireland decriminalized same-sex sexual activity in 1993, the nation was essentially devoid of an LGBTQ literary tradition, due to the political and cultural dominance of conservative, censorious ideology. Though the situation has drastically changed in some ways since then—the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, Ireland is today hailed as a beacon of equal rights—there is still much work to be done to fully claim parity, visibility, and recognition for all LGBTQ artists.

Queer Whispers is the first comprehensive survey of Irish LGBTQ fiction, spanning the late 1970s through today. The book foregrounds the cultural contribution of Irish writers whose subversive, dissident voices not only challenged the homophobia and heteronormative values of pre-1993 Ireland but also continue to interrogate the persistent discrimination in today’s seemingly more liberal atmosphere. Through analyses of representative novels and short stories, José Carregal addresses a host of social issues—lesbian invisibility, same-sex parenthood, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, among many others—and considers how authors pushed for broader awareness of the oppression of LGBTQ people in contemporary Ireland. The writing explored in Queer Whispers consistently exposes the limitations imposed by cultural and political silence, while simultaneously articulating new forms of recognition and resilience in the face of queer Ireland’s continued struggles.

250 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4 | © 2021

Gay and Lesbian Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature, General Criticism and Critical Theory

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"Carregal's survey is useful because it moves past well-known writers such as Toibin and John Boyne (The Heart's Invisible Furies, 2017) to include many other interesting and relevant voices. At the very least, one is sure to come away from this book with a new list of works and authors to be explored."

Gay & Lesbian Review

"Kudos to Carregal for gathering the scattered pieces of LGBT representation in Irish literature from the 1970s and producing an intelligent and insightful analysis. Queer Whispers is a long overdue and crucial study."

Emma Donoghue

Table of Contents

Preface by Mary Dorcey
1. “I don’t even know how to be a lesbian”: Lesbian Isolation and Vulnerability in 1980s and early 1990s Irish Fiction
2. “A slow, laboured process of self-discovery”: The Feminist Politics of Mary Dorcey’s Fiction
3. “Men Without Refuge”: The Subculture of Cruising in Irish Gay Short Stories
4. “Love is War”: The Irish Gay Coming-Out Novel
5. “The Only Real Way to Fight Evil is to Hold Someone’s Hand”: The Cultural Narratives of AIDS in Irish Fiction
6. “The room feels warmer when you’re in it”: Lesbian Relationships in Emma Donoghue’s Contemporary-Set Novels
7. “He did not Fit the Bill as a Gay Man”: Narratives of Gay Life and Identity in Celtic Tiger Ireland
8. “A Nation of the Heart”: Queering the Past in Irish Historical Fiction

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