Mary Leland


Life
1941- ; b. Cork; ed. South Presentation Convent and Miss O’Sullivan’s private school; joined Cork Examiner; wrote ‘colourful stories’ for Donal Foley, Irish Times; contrib. stories to Irish Writing, ed. David Marcus (Irish Press); her story “Displaced Persons” won the Listowel Fiction Prize; she received an Arts Council Bursary and wrote her celebrated first novel, The Killeen (1985), deals with the struggles of two woman connected with political men in 1930s, their children’s deaths and burials in graves for unbaptised; issued The Little Galloway Girls (1987), stories; issues a second novel, Approaching Priests (1991); contribs. regularily to Sunday Independent, Irish Times, and Sunday Tribune; has been a strong advocate of the renovation of Fota House, Carrig House and other country houses in Co. Cork. DIW ATT OCIL

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Works
Memoir
  • All Of Us There (1983).
Short fiction
  • The Little Galloway Girls (London: Hamilton 1987), 213pp., and Do. [new edn.] (London: Black Swan), 205pp.;
Novels
  • The Killeen (London: Hamish Hamilton 1985), 192pp.;
  • Approaching Priests (London: Sinclair Stevenson 1991).
Commentary
  • The Lie of the Land: Journeys Through Literary Cork (q.d);
  • That Endless Adventure: A History of the Cork Harbour Commissioners (Cork: Port of Cork Co. 2001), 272pp.;
  • The Dwyers of Cork: A Family Business and a Business Family (Cork: T. Dwyer 2008), 188pp., ill. [commissioned].
Also Fota and Its Trees (q.d.); see also ‘Another Beginning Fota House’, in Irish Independent, 18 Feb. 2007.

Her story “Living in the Unknown” was short-listed for the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award, 2009 among 800 entries.

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Commentary
James Calahan, The Irish Novel: A Critical History (Boston: Twayne Publishers 1988), Leland shows how women and children have suffered as victims of the romanticised male Irish pol. struggles of past and present’ [Cahalan].

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References
Brian Cleeve & Ann Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), calls her a journalist with Cork Examiner and Irish Times.

Ann Owens Weekes, Attic Guide to Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers (Dublin: Attic Press 1994), [biog. as above; offers lengthy summary of Killeen, set in Cork in the era of de Valera’s government, concerns Julia’s resistance to and escape from political extremism, expressed in her husband Maurice’s imprisonment and determination to bring up his children as ‘intellectual and military activists’. The killeen is a lonely churchyard to which the church consigns unbaptised babies.

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