Troubles-era Irish Prose: Kissing the Witch


Location: O'Shaughnessy Hall, Room 339

This is an interdisciplinary graduate and faculty workshop

What happens when Cinderella decides Prince Charming is a jerk and runs off with the fairy godmother? Please join us for a discussion of one of the more controversial Irish fairy tale collections.

Donoghue’s collection is a series of nested stories, and each chapter is narrated by a familiar fairy-tale heroine—Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty, and the rest. Each character plays a role in at least two stories, and all the tales are linked together. In every re-telling, a heroine defines her own “happily ever after,” most often in a homosexual relationship with another powerful fairy-tale woman.

Although the text is more famous for its sexual politics, we will also be interrogating its nationalist political implications. In fairy tales, characters always represent a clear role in the social hierarchy: the king, the fool, the princess … consequently, in reorganizing the romantic relationships, Donoghue also challenges social hierarchies and the definitions of centric and eccentric (ex-centric) social behavior. What can these tales of individual desire tell us about national identity?

Free copies of Kissing the Witch are available in advance. Contact Jacqui Weeks at to reserve your copy.