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Museum of Literature Ireland
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Kate O’Brien: Arrow to the Heart

Kate O’Brien: Arrow to the Heart

In the Iveagh Room, we feature temporary exhibitions that focus on the contribution of individual authors. The first of these exhibitions focusses on the life and work of Kate O’Brien. Arrow to the Heart runs until 29 January 2020.

Limerick-born Kate O’Brien was a UCD graduate, journalist and internationally-acclaimed novelist in the mid-20th century. Her largely biographical novels Mary Lavelle and The Land of Spices reflect her early childhood years as a convent boarder and her travels in Spain. Both books were banned in Ireland.

Kate’s vision of art is symbolised by the “merciless beauty” of the Spanish bullfight encountered by her character Mary Lavelle. To step onto the sand and into Kate’s literary imagination is to engage with the politics of passion and women’s inner lives, the struggle between dreams and expectations, desire and traditions, freedom and faith.  

Take a seat in the window and listen to Kathy Rose read extracts from the work of Kate O’Brien, or see her perform an exchange of letters in the video on the wall.

This exhibition is curated by Kate’s grand-niece, Kathy Rose O’Brien. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Kathy Rose has performed on stages across London, Dublin and the United States and is regularly heard on RTÉ radio. 

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