New Island releases 'landmark anthology' to mark centenary of partition of Ireland

New Island releases 'landmark anthology' to mark centenary of partition of Ireland

New Island is releasing a "landmark anthology" of new writing to mark the centenary of partition and the renewed international focus on the Irish border.

The New Frontier: Reflections From the Irish Border will feature 28 of the island's authors including Maureen Boyle, Michelle Gallen and Séamas O’Reilly, edited by poet and essayist James Conor Patterson. It is supported Arts Council of Northern Ireland and will publish on 15th October 2021.

The synopsis says: "The New Frontier will consider the border, and our island’s historical divisions, through literature, by inviting writers from border areas to respond imaginatively and instinctively. By writing the land, writing the body, writing the lived experiences of this complex part of Ireland, it seeks to reclaim the border region from misunderstanding. This collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, ultimately poses the question: what does it mean to be Irish in the modern age, and can a nation which – to borrow from Walt Whitman – ‘contains multitudes’ ever achieve consensus?"

Patterson said: “The idea for the book has been on my mind for some time now, probably since the Brexit vote when it became apparent that there would be consequences for freedom of movement across the Irish border. I quickly found that for all the news reports, vox pops and column inches being filled, very often the voices which were left out of the conversation were the ones most affected by it, and I wanted to redress that balance by giving border writers the opportunity to speak their truths. Working with New Island on this book has been an absolute dream, and given that they are behind some of the most important anthologies of Irish writing to date, I can’t wait to share this latest project with the world.” 

Stephen Reid, assistant editor at New Island Books, added: "All of us at New Island are thrilled to be publishing this landmark anthology of border writing, at a moment in time when the Irish border appears to sit on the threshold of great change and renewed international focus. The contributors to this book are some of the best writers at work today, across fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and they offer an essential chorus of voices from our shared border – not simply about it. There could be no better co-ordinator of this incredible project than James Conor Patterson, whom – so early in his career – has proven to be a voice of reason amid the noise, and a literary talent so clearly on the rise."