Eileen Battersby

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Eileen Battersby is the controversial chief literary critic of The Irish Times. She has divided opinion, having been described by John Banville as "the finest fiction critic we have", while attracting the ire of Eugene McCabe after she famously insulted Dermot Healy in 2011.[1][2]


Battersby was born in California.[3] She graduated with honours in English and History from University College Dublin, and went on to receive an honours MA on American writer Thomas Wolfe.[3] She began reviewing books and sports writing which led her into a career in journalism as a staff arts writer with The Irish Times, eventually becoming the chief Literary Correspondent.[3] She has written on archaeology, history, architecture, geography and horses.[3]

Battersby published a memoir, Ordinary Dogs: A Story of Two Lives (2011), about her two rescue dogs.[4][5] Her collection Second Readings (2010) features 52 of her reviews.[6] She has discussed Kafka on RTÉ Radio 1.[7]

Battersby has won the National Arts Journalist of the Year award four times.[3]

In 2011, Battersby provoked a major scandal when she attempted to dismantle Dermot Healy's novel Long Time, No See. Her scathing review prompted a letter of protest from Eugene McCabe who castigated her for disemboweling "one of the great masters of Irish writing."[2][8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sweetman, Rosita (17 December 2011). "Review: Memoir: Ordinary Dogs by Eileen Battersby". Irish Independent. Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b McCabe, Eugene (29 March 2011). "Another take on 'Long Time, No See'". The Irish Times (Irish Times Trust). Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Eileen Battersby" (PDF). patrickkavanaghcountry.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ "A love story with a fist at its centre". The Irish Times. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Wednesday 2nd November". The John Murray Show. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Regarding unnecessary second readings". The University Times. 
  7. ^ "European Voices - Franz Kafka". RTÉ Radio 1. 
  8. ^ Jarman, Mark Anthony (8 July 2011). "A brilliant return for Dermot Healy". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 July 2011.