12 Sep 2019

Author Edna O’Brien: ‘Women and girls are weapons of war now ’

Europe Editor and Presenter

As a young woman she escaped the stifling pieties of Catholic Ireland to become one of her country’s most acclaimed writers. At home the Church burned her books. In London she partied with Marlon Brando. Paul McCartney strummed a song about her, and Jack Nickolson flirted with her at a White House dinner. Now 88, her latest novel is called simply GIRL and it deals with a familiar theme: the abuse of women, this time based on the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped five years ago.

Nearly 300 girls were taken from a secondary school in Chibok town by Boko Haram militants – prompting global outrage. More than 100 girls are yet to return. The seemingly endless wait is agonising enough for the community but O’Brien’s book charts the passage of one girl, Maryam, who manages to escape. But Maryam’s ordeal is far from over after she returns home – by now a mother with a baby to care for.

Harvey Weinstein who she referred to just now denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.