“One bleak night in autumn a sound outside drew him to the door, and opening it, he stood listening.” – “The Wee Gray Woman” (1903)
Ethna Carbery (1866-1902) was the pen name of journalist, writer, poet, and patriot Anna MacManus. She was born Anna Bella Johnston in Ballymena, Co. Antrim on 3 December 1866, and started publishing poems and short stories in Irish periodicals at the age of fifteen. She was one of the co-founders of the Daughters of Ireland, a radical nationalist women’s organisation led by Maud Gonne. With the poet and writer Alice Milligan, Carbery published two nationalist periodicals, The Northern Patriot and The Shan Van Vocht, the latter considered a major contribution to the Irish literary revival. In 1901 she married poet and folklorist Séumas MacManus, though the marriage was short-lived. Carbery died at the age of thirty-five in Donegal on 2 April 1902. After her death, her husband published three volumes of her work: a book of poetry, The Four Winds of Eirinn (1902); and two short story collections, The Passionate Hearts (1903), and In the Celtic Past (1904).
Bending to Earth: Strange Stories by Irish Women edited by Maria Giakaniki and Brian J. Showers
Irish women have long produced literature of the gothic, uncanny, and supernatural. Bending to Earth draws together twelve such tales. While none of the authors herein were considered primarily writers of fantastical fiction during their lifetimes, they each wandered at some point in their careers into more speculative realms — some only briefly, others for lengthier stays.
Names such as Charlotte Riddell and Rosa Mulholland will already be familiar to aficionados of the eerie, while Katharine Tynan and Clotilde Graves are sure to gain new admirers. From a ghost story in the Swiss Alps to a premonition of death in the West of Ireland to strange rites in a South Pacific jungle, Bending to Earth showcases a diverse range of imaginative writing which spans the better part of a century.
Read an Extract from the Introduction to Bending to Earth.