The Language and the Colony

A Conversation with Audrey Magee

Episode #4

In this episode of “The Language Question,” I speak with author Audrey Magee about her book “The Colony” which was longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. The conversation covers a range of topics including historical violence and its impact, language, and identity, with a focus on Ireland’s past and present. Audrey shares her unique perspective and experiences as a journalist and author, providing valuable insights into the complexities of Irish history and culture.

Podcast Notes

Audrey Magee’s Background and Book

At the beginning of this episode, Audrey Magee discusses her background in journalism, which exposed her to violence in various regions across the globe, as well as closer to home in Ireland and Northern Ireland. She believes that exploring and scrutinizing violence is crucial to understanding the past and its impact on future generations.

Her book, “The Colony,” examines colonization and historical violence which are interwoven and interconnected. Audrey discusses the importance of not remaining silent about violent events and creating a space to explore these issues.

The Challenges of Irish Identity and Language

The conversation then shifts to the complexities surrounding the Irish language and its connection to history, identity, and the modern world. Audrey delves into the varying perspectives towards the language and the push towards monolingualism rather than embracing bilingualism. She touches on the choices that people have to make between preserving their ancestral language or adopting a language that provides better access to the future and the world.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

In closing, Audrey reads a passage from her book that highlights the impact of colonization on the Irish language and cultural heritage.

This episode is a truly fascinating discussion covering a wide range of topics, from violence to language to identity. Audrey’s unique perspective and experiences provide valuable insights into the complexities of Irish history and culture. Be sure to listen in full to the episode above or download the complete transcript below to learn more about the Irish language and its role in shaping Ireland’s past, present, and future.

More on Audrey Magee

Audrey Magee Headshot

Audrey Magee is an Irish novelist and former journalist. She spent over a decade working as a journalist, writing for esteemed publications such as The Times, The Irish Times, The Observer, and The Guardian. In 2014, Magee published her debut novel, The Undertaking, which was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction among other awards. Magee’s second novel, The Colony, was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2022. It is a tale of two outsiders who venture to an isolated island off the coast of Ireland in search of answers.

You can find out more about Audrey and her novelsĀ here.

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.