Selina Guinness, Author
Selina Guinness lectures in English Literature in the Department of Humanities at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dun Laoghaire. She is the author of The Crocodile by the Door (Penguin Ireland, 2012), a memoir exploring her complex attachment to Tibradden, the family farm in the Dublin mountains where she now lives with her husband, Colin Graham, and their two sons. This book has been nominated for the Costa Book Awards (Biography section) and the Irish Book of the Year (Newcomer section).
Selina has also edited an anthology of contemporary Irish poetry, The New Irish Poets, (Bloodaxe 2004) and, with Jared Curtis, co-edited W.B. Yeats's manuscripts of his play, The Resurrection, (Cornell University Press, 2011). She continues to enjoy a varied and busy existence: teaching at third level, writing, and farming sheep with her family.
Reviews of The Crocodile by the Door:
'Guinnesss first book, while rich in charm, is also poised, moving and by the end of a heart-wrenching journey surprisingly triumphant... the author turns the story into something close to a small masterpiece' The Telegraph *****
'a memoir so exceptional that it deserves to be ranked as the Irish Book of the Year, regardless of category... a multi-layered story that is breathtaking in its scope...This book has more to say about what the crash has done to us than all the economists put together, and the story told here with such empathy is the story of the country in miniature. As if all that were not enough, it is also beautifully written, with prose that is at times poetic or pastoral and at other times shocking with candid observation.' Irish Independent
Guinness has a poet's eye for detail, from the beautiful to the banal The Crocodile by the Door, shortlisted for the 2012 Costa biography award, is an appealing book for several reasons. It is a surprisingly entertaining primer on the travails of farming today, from ungovernable sheep to unfathomable bureaucracy; a fascinating glimpse of what had become of the Anglo-Irish by the late 20th century and into the 21st; an elegant modern pastoral and, at the same time, an astute dismantling of that genre; and a meditation on the meaning of labour, and on how hard work shapes identity as well as achievement . Out of the complexities of attachment, and out of a knowledge, hard-won, of what true dereliction is, Guinness has written a remarkable book. The Guardian
'strikingly beautiful language, without milking emotion.. told with dazzling honesty and self-scrutiny' The Irish Times