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Emilie Pine Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Politics of Irish Memory: Performing Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Culture (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Notes to Self: Essays (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Irish Studies Now (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Memory Marketplace: Witnessing Pain in Contemporary Irish and International Theatre (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Emilie Pine is an author who burst onto the scene with her collection of personal essays, Notes to Self: Essays. In addition to her work as an author, Pinne works as the associate professor of modern drama at University College Dublin, Ireland. She has published a lot of work over the years as an academic and critic on culture and memory, but Notes to Self: Essays was her first book.

The book got some wonderful reviews upon its release. Author Glennon Doyle said that Pine’s “voice is razor-sharp and raw; her story is utterly original yet as familiar as my own breath.” While The Guardian (UK) said that the book was “wry and uplifting,” and that “these are not new stories, but they still urgently need to be told.” Additionally, Image said that “It would be hard to find writing more powerful than that in these essays.”

Her essay collection upon release became the No. 1 best-selling book in Ireland and drew popularity worldwide. She had written many things before as an academic and critic, but this work was completely different and a huge withdrawal from works that she had written previously. The essays reflect on some major topics in her life and are quite personal. Topics include her father’s alcoholism and the effect that it had on her family, her own attempts to have a baby and her lack of success in that area, body image, menstruation, and sexual violence. She writes with a frank tone while remaining confessional and confident.

Pine got the idea to write this book, this book that is such a far removal from anything she had written previously, after her father went into liver failure in 2013. He had been an alcoholic all of her life and now she was faced with the very real possibility of losing him. Her father spent a year in and out of the hospital, and it became apparent that he was going to live. At this time, she had a lot of crazy thoughts at this time and started to put them all down on paper in a journal. That journal eventually got into the hands of her partner who told her that she had something with this journal. She sat on it for awhile before eventually building up the courage to send it to a publisher in Ireland. When she finally did, they commissioned a book out of it.

Being told that they want a book out of her most intimate thoughts was difficult for her at first, but she soon realized that they were giving her this incredible permission to tell her stories. So, she decided to do it and on the bus ride home she wrote down five ideas. Those five ideas became the other five essays in the book and the rest is history. The book took her about a year to write, but in actuality it probably took her all forty years of her life to write it.

However, she was pretty secretive about her writing process and didn’t tell anyone about the book until it was done. She found the privacy to write it to be important. When she was finally finished writing it, one of her close friends said to her that she was the last person should would have expected to write something like this. Emilie had always been reticent to talk about family and personal issues so a work like this was pretty surprising to come out of her.

The reception to the book was really an interesting process for Emilie. The book became quite popular in her area and that was a unique situation. The people who read her book learned some very private things about her life and she was at first worried that people would be judgmental of her, but she found that it was actually the complete opposite. She’s found many people who have reached out to her to share their own stories after being inspired by her story. However, this does leave her with some responsibility when strangers are pouring there heart out to her. She is not a counselor, but she is able to feel a kind of solidarity with those who share with her.

The book actually turned out much different than she assumed it would. Her career as an academic often sees her telling stories about the state of the world and things of that nature. She figured that the story would start personal for her and then she would use that to tell a larger story about addiction issues or sexual violence against women, with statistics and other facts. That is not how it turned out at all though. In her writing, the story kind of refused to do that. She wanted to write more of a polemic, but it turned out to be an authentic book about her own personal life.

Pine finds herself motivated by the singer/songwriter Patty Griffin. She liked her music, but she has a song called “Truth #2” that talks about how we stay silent about difficult emotions. It is something that she thinks of a lot and uses it as a kind of mantra to remind herself of the importance of self-revelation. It’s important to remember that when we hide ourselves, we make it harder for everyone else around us. The instinct to hide ourselves to protect people can be harmful, and Griffin’s music helps remind her of that.

Notes to Self: Essays was the winner of the AN Post Irish Book of the Year. The book sees Emilie Pine speak to the events that have marked her life. The stories are about the bittersweet, clandestine, and ordinary moments of our life that society has no adequate language for. Pine writes her book with a radical honesty as she covers serious topics like the unspeakable grief of infertility, on caring for an alcoholic parent, on taboos around female bodies and female pain, on sexual violence and violence against the self. The story is about one woman, herself, but it is really about all women.

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