Emma Cooke

Life
1934- [pseud. Enid Blanc]; b. Portarlington, Co. Laois, dg. of Hugenot family of butchers; ed. Alexandra College, Dublin, and Mary Emmaculata College, Limerick [Diploma in Philosophy]; attends Listowel Writers’ Week; involved in Limerick Adult Education Institute; also promotes Killaloe Writers’ Group; winner of Francis MacManus award with the story ‘An Internation Incident’; member of Schools Programme of Arts Council; Female Forms (1981), stories; A Single Sensation (1982); Eva’s Apple (1985), and Wedlocked (1994) ATT OCIL

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Works
Female Forms (Dublin: Poolbeg 1981); A Single Sensation (Dublin: Poolbeg 1982); Eva’s Apple (Blackstaff 1985), novel [cover image - a painting - commissioned from Martin Gale].

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Commentary
Maurice Harmon, ‘First Impressions: 1968-78’, in Terence Brown & Patrick Rafroidi, eds., The Irish Short Story, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1979), writes of ‘the situation of the wife in Emma Cooke’s a Family Occasion [who] has married a Catholic and finds her visits to her Protestant family with an increasingly large brood of children dismayidgly difficult, but ultimately comic.’ (p.68.)

Ann Owens Weekes, ed., Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to the Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers: Drama, Fiction, Poetry (Dublin: Attic Press 1993): Interested in ‘energies and interests are pretty much concentrated on contemporary life and modern Irish lifestyles; Eva’s Apple (1985) recommended by a travel guide as excellent introduction for women travellers to Ireland; rapid transitions, accurate observation, suggestive; Female Forms (1981) enters consciousness of various travellers, English and American, to Ireland, as well as the Irish themselves; vignettes of association and memories; contains “Cousins”, with American Molly and Irish Geraldine, set in fifties, and illustrating culture gap; pervasive ironies and images of lack of communication; “A Family Occasion” concerns a mixed marriage and family misunderstandings; title story takes place in consciousness of male called Talbot who sees woman only as forms, ‘cute or lumpy’, and who is finally seen in his ‘coffin-like bed’ having resolve to dismiss his present lover, who has cooked an indigestible curry. Information derived from personal communication to editor.

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References
Anthologies: David Marcus, ed., State of the Art, Short Stories by the New Irish Writers (Sceptre 1992), ‘A Family Occasion’; Katie Donovan, AN Jeffares & Brendan Kennelly, eds., Ireland’s Women (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994), ‘The Bridge’ [ from Second Blackstaff Book of Short Stories (1991)]

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Notes
Namesame?: Probably not the Emma Cook [sic] who writes in the English Independent (viz. 22 Sept. 1994, ‘Sweetness and Spite’, review of The Nice Factor, a week-end psychotherapy course aimed at eliminating the crippling disease of niceness.

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