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Orlaith Darling

About me

Dr Orlaith Darling is the coordinator of the International PhD Programme in Literary and Cultural Studies (IPP) at the Justus Liebig University Giessen. In this position, she is responsible for providing feedback, support, and guidance – both academic and pastoral – to IPP members and doctoral candidates. This includes moderating the IPP’s regular Colloquia, facilitating travel for research trips and conference presentations, and organising workshops and masterclasses at the GCSC. She is also part of the GCSC team, and is involved in the internationalisation of the centre.
Previously, Orlaith completed her PhD at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. Her project – titled ‘“Welcome to the Good Life!”: Neoliberalism(s) and Contemporary Irish Women’s Short Fiction’ – examined firstly, the implications of the neoliberal phase of late capitalist development for everyday life; secondly, how everyday life might be involved in (re)producing neoliberal norms; thirdly, the role of literature in subverting or reproducing neoliberalism as a “common sense” structuring principle for individuals and the collective in contemporary Ireland. In this, she followed Lauren Berlant and others in theorising the contemporary in terms of aesthetics and affect (rather than, say, chronology or events), where neoliberalism’s administrative influence both creates and forecloses on the possibility of future lives and narratives.
Her research has received funding from Trinity College Dublin School of English and the Irish Research Council, where she was a Government of Ireland scholar, and she held a graduate research fellowship with Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute from 2020-2023. Before her PhD, she read her MSc. In ‘Literature and Modernity, 1900-Present’ at the University of Edinburgh (2018-2019), and her BA in English Literature and History at Trinity College Dublin (2014-2018) where she was awarded a Foundation Scholarship in 2016.

Orlaith has published widely in the areas of Irish Studies, contemporary literature, and women’s writing, and has presented at conferences internationally in these areas. She is co-founder and co-editor of Contemporary Irish Literature, a research network for early career researchers in Irish studies.

Orcid: 0000-0001-6886-7530



IPP Coordinator

+49 641 / 99-30 055 (Office)


Book Chapters:

‘Joanna Walsh’s Digital Narratives’, in Tramp Press: Ireland’s Maverick Publisher, Mary Burke and Tara Harney-Mahajan, eds. (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2024). Forthcoming.

‘“Talk about it, write it, spill it”: The Gothic and Contemporary Irish Women’s Essays’. Sorcha Ní Flann and Simon Workman, eds. Haunted Hibernia: The Contemporary Irish Gothic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2024). Forthcoming.

‘“There are worse things than getting beaten up”: Neoliberal Violence in Normal People’, in Marta Cenedese. Ed. Written on the Body: Narrative Reconstructions of Violence(s) (Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2023). Open access. []

‘“Just the Way it is”: Portraits of austerity in recent short fiction by women from the North of Ireland’. Deirdre Flynn and Ciara Murphy. Eds. Austerity and Irish Women’s Writing and Culture, 1980-2020. London: Routledge, 2022: 207-223. 

‘“Caught suddenly by the land shifting”: Ageing masculinity and rural Ireland in recent Irish short fiction’. Michaela Schrage-Früh and Tony Tracy. Eds. Ageing Masculinities in Irish Literature and Visual Culture: Routledge Studies in Irish Literature. London: Routledge, 2022: 151-165. 

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

Review essay: Christian Moraru’s Flat Aesthetics (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023) and Graham Harman’s Object-Oriented Ontology (Penguin, 2018). C21: Journal of Twenty-First Century Writings 10:2 (2023): 11 pp. []

‘The Celtic Phoenix, Capitalist Realism, and Contemporary Irish Women’s Novels’, Irish Studies Review 31:3 (2023): 348-362. Special Issue: ‘The Rise of the Phoenix: Restoration and Renaissance in Contemporary Irish Writing’, edited by Eoghan Smith and Simon Workman. []

Co-authored with Áine Mahon (UCD), “‘Go to Oxbridge, get an education, start a career. Do all the right things’: The ‘Low Value’ Arts Degree and the Neoliberal University”, Oxford Review of Education (2023)[]

‘“Town’s Dead”: Contemporary Irish Popular Music and Dublin City.’ Popular Music and Society 46:3 (2023): 225-241. []

‘Introduction: Women Writing Work.’ Irish Studies Review 31:1 (2023): 1-15. []

 ‘Writing Work: A Conversation with Caitríona Lally.’ Irish Studies Review 31:1 (2023): 83-90. []

“‘Something as definitionally useless as art:” Contemporary Women Writers’ Künstlerromane and the Possibility of a Beautiful World.” Alluvium 10:2 (2022).

‘“Systemic, transhistoric, institutionalized and legitimized antipathy:” Epistemic and Sexual Violence in Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and Anna Burns’s Milkman. Contemporary Women’s Writing 15:3 (2021): 307-325. []

‘“[The] immediate heft of bodily and civic catastrophe”: The body (politic) in crisis in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones’. Irish Studies Review 29:3 (2021): 334-347. []

‘Editorial: Twenty-first Century Irish Women’s Writing’. Alluvium Special Issue. Co-authored and co-edited with Dr Dearbhaile Houston 9:1 (2021)

‘“It was our great generational decision”: Capitalism, the Internet and Depersonalisation in some Millennial Irish Women’s Writing’. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 62:5 (2021): 538-551. []

‘“The moment you realise someone wants your body:” Neoliberalism, Mindfulness and Female Embodiment in Fleabag’. Feminist Media Studies 22:1 (2020): 132-147. []

‘Storytelling and the Repeal of the 8th Amendment: Narrative and Reproductive Rights in Ireland’. Rejoinder. Issue 5 (2020): Storytelling and Social Change. Open access. [

‘“A lie that pandered to racism and xenophobia”: Brexit, White Teeth and (Inter)national borders’. FORUM. 28 (2019): 17pp. Open access. [

‘“A pre-natal hold”: Elizabeth Bowen, mothers and daughters.’ Estudios Irlandeses. 14:1 (2019): 28-40. Open access.  []

Journal Special Issues:

Irish Studies Review 31:1 (2023). Special Issue: ‘Twenty-First Century Irish Women’s Writing and Work’. Co-ed. with Dr Liam Harrison (UWE Bristol) and Dr Dearbhaile Houston (TCD). 

Scholarly Reviews:

‘Éoin Flannery, Form Affect and Debt in Post-Celtic Tiger Fiction (2022)’, Irish University Review 53:1 (2023): 199-202. []

‘Mary M. McGlynn, Broken Irelands: Literary Form in Post-Crash Irish Fiction (2022)’, Irish Studies Review 31:2 (2023): 321-323 []

Public Humanities/Articles for Popular Audiences:

‘Paul Lynch wins Booker Prize: why we’re in a “golden age” of Irish writing’. The Conversation. 23 Nov. 2023.

‘Beautiful World, Where Are You: A Literature Researcher’s Perspective on Mental Health in Academia.’ 19 Jan. 2023.

‘Four of Shakespeare’s plays and how they speak to the current political situation in Britain.’ The Conversation. 26 Oct. 2022.

‘PartyGate Revisited: why Boris Johnson’s Downing Street is starting to sound like an Evelyn Waugh novel.’ The Conversation. 23 Feb. 2022.

‘“What do you do all day?” A case for the arts in the neoliberal university’. EU Commission, Shape-ID. 6 Jul. 2021.

‘Rewriting Joyce in contemporary Irish women’s short fiction’. The Modernist Review 28: Modernism in the Contemporary. 26 Feb. 2021.

‘The Unravelling of Old Uncertainties: Elizabeth Bowen and the Search for Stability in Times of Flux’. Irish Women’s Writing Network. 7 Dec. 2020.

‘Gender and the Pandemic: Crisis, Contagion and Caring’. Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute. 29 Oct. 2020.

‘Identities in Transformation: The PhD Diaries’. Trinity Research. 11 Nov. 2020.

‘Contemporary Irish Literary Culture in Early Printed Books’. Tales of Mystery and Pagination. TCD Library Special Collections. 3 Oct. 2019.

‘Pockets and the fight for the female body’. Inciting Sparks. 3 Sept. 2019

Research Interests

Contemporary Literature; Critical Theory; Affect Theory; Late Capitalism; Higher Education Studies


Invited Keynote: Ethics and Education biennial conference, University of Warsaw. Co-presented with Áine Mahon. 17-19 Nov. 2023.

‘Literary Realism, or, the Artistic Logic of Neoliberalism?’ British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies biennial conference. University of Birmingham, UK. 6-8 Sept. 2023.

‘Assembly’. Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) Summer School. Dublin. 19-29 Jun. 2023.

‘The value of living on in contemporary British arts.’ (Re)imagining Value: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. Economic Humanities Network, Newcastle University. Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 26 May. 2023.

Künstlerromane and the state of criticism in the 21st Century’. Trinity Long Room Hub. 9 Nov. 2022.

‘(Con) Art School: What’s the point of art in late capitalist America?’ Irish Association of American Studies (IAAS) symposium. National University of Ireland Maynooth. 4-5 Nov. 2022.

‘The ruination of the show home: the ghost estate in Irish short fiction by women.’ Haunted Hibernia Conference, Carlow College. 28-29 Oct. 2022.

‘“Town’s Dead”: Dublin in Contemporary Irish Pop Music’, Intersectional Irelands: IASIL 2022, University of Limerick. 25-29 Jul. 2022.

‘Millennial Malaise and Realist Narratives: Can we imagine a future?’, A Look to the Future conference. Trinity Centre for Literary and Cultural Translation. 16 Jul. 2022.

‘“We disappear. Us Irish.” Politics and Emigration: Ireland in Transformation?’, AEDEI, Universidad de Burgos. 2-3 Jun. 2022.

‘“Welcome to the good life!” Neoliberalism in Contemporary Irish Women’s Short Fiction’. Trinity Long Room Hub. 7 Apr. 2021.          

‘“The land’ll be here long after we’re dead and gone”: Ageing masculinities and the land in recent Irish short fiction’. No Country for Old Men? Ageing Masculinities in Irish Life and Culture. University of Galway. 20 Nov. 2020 (online)

‘Contemporary Irish Short Fiction: Embodiment, Belonging, Politics’. Identities in Transformation. Trinity Long Room Hub. 3 Nov. 2020 (online)

‘Gender, capital and precarity in some recent women’s fiction’. The Age of the Precariat: Identity and Precarity. University of Galway. 9-10 Oct. 2020 (online)

‘“There are worse things than being beaten up”: masochism and neoliberalism in Normal People’. Written on the Body: Narrative (Re)constructions of Violence(s). Nordic Summer School, Oslo. 27 Jul. 2020 (online)

‘The body (politic) in crisis in Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones’. Crisis in Contemporary Literature. British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies annual conference. 26 Jun. 2020 (online)

‘“The land’ll be here long after we’re dead and gone”: Ageing masculinities and the land in recent Irish short fiction’. School of English Staff Postgraduate Seminar Series. Trinity College Dublin. Feb. 2020.

‘Nationalism, Citizenship and the Maternal Body in the context of the 8th Amendment’. Identifying Value(s) in Literature, Culture and Society. Queen’s University Belfast. Jun. 2019


Although she does not currently offer any modules at JLU, Orlaith had previously taught in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, on modules including '20th-century Irish Literary Cultures', 'Irish Writing: 1700 to present', 'Introduction to Shakespeare', adn 'Imagining the Contemporary: No Future?'

She has also given guest lectures at University College Dublin (Young Adult Fiction) and the European Commission's Erasmus+ project.


International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL); Contemporary Women's Writing (CWW); British Association for Contemporary Literaray Studies (BACLS); Economic Humanities Network (NUHRI, University of Newcastle); Ethics and Education


Peer reviewer for: LIT: Literature, Intepretation, Theory; Feminist Media Studies; Irish University Review; Irish Studies Review; On_Culture