This article won the 2019 Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand Postgraduate Essay Prize. It was published in volume 19 of the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies.
ABSTRACT: This essay addresses the question of how writers exercise their responsibility to address recent/contemporary national violence. If they do, how do they represent their homelands as places of violence? It examines two works that wrestle with these questions: Seamus Heaney’s 1975 poetry collection, North, and Roberto Bolaño’s novella, By Night in Chile. Placing these works in dialogue with key theorists of nationhood and literature–Fredric Jameson, Homi K. Bhabha, and Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari–this essay foregrounds the power of literature to reshape national discourse and discusses the opportunities and the challenges that result from that power for writers, like Heaney and Bolaño, seeking to parse sensitive contexts.