The Mad Road: A Creative Exploration of Irish Diasporic Experience
2019-12-06T10:47:34Z (GMT) by
The thesis is in two parts. The first part is a collection of short stories on Irish Diaspora − The Mad Road. There is, I believe, a distinct lack of short fiction about Irish lives lived in England, and I felt this gap needed addressing. These stories engage with the Irish community and the nullifying grind of work. They examine the social pressures of diasporic existence experienced in England and Ireland. The collection is written from a second generational Irish working-class perspective and the stories tackle urban realties in a dark-realist way. The stories deal with issues including emigration, derelict life-style, alcoholism, loneliness and corruption. Because of my lifelong immersion in Irish culture, both in Ireland and Leicester, I feel uniquely placed to capture hidden aspects of Irish expatriate experience. The Mad Road is accompanied by an extended reflective analysis where I argue that critical theory and creative writing can inform each other. My dual perspective as both a writer and volunteer with The Emerald Centre has been of fundamental importance to my creative process. I discuss some of the interactions that I have experienced volunteering at the Centre, and their effects on my writing. I argue that my inside/outside-writer/researcher perspective has furthered understanding and helped shape my stories. Each chapter of the commentary examines one aspect of diasporic experience, and how it has influenced and inspired my creative practice. Writing from inside Leicester’s Irish community has offered me a unique insight into diasporic life, which triggered story ideas and offered other useful lines of research. It also became clear, once I started absorbing primary and theoretical texts relating to Irish Diaspora and post-colonial theory, that there were visible and invisible forces at play behind individual experiences. These forces have impacted on the first, second and third generation Irish emigrants. My thesis attempts to come to terms with these cultural, social and economic forces through creative practice.