Poet, playwright and novelist Leland Bardwell will next Saturday be celebrating her 90th birthday (25.02.12)
Born in India to Irish parents in 1922, Leland was brought to Ireland at the age of two, and has since lived in many different parts of the world, before settling in Ireland in the 1960s. In 1976, Leland, with Desmond Hogan, Neil Jordan, Steve McDonagh and others, she set up the Irish Writers' Co-operative. Leland has written many collections of poetry, of which individual poems have been translated into various languages, including Hebrew. She turned to novel-writing in the 1970s and her first, Girl on a Bicycle
which Senator Norris has called 'the best Irish big house novel of the 20th century', was re-issued in 2009.
Leland has been an influential part of the Irish literary scene; along with establishing the Writers' Co-op, she was a founding editor of the literary magazine Cyphers, and founded the annual literary festival Scriobh in Sligo, where she now lives.
Leland's memoir, A Restless Life
, was published in 2009 by Liberties Press with TLS proclaimed the book: 'Light-hearted and continually sardonic at her own expense, Bardwell portrays herself as the tortured but obstinately wry outsider...she emerges at the close of this turbulent, curious memoir as a self-possessed and resourceful literary survivor.'