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Photograph of Leland  Bardwell

Leland Bardwell

Born in India of Irish parents in 1922. Returned to Ireland at two years old. Grew up in Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Educated Dublin. Married in 1948. Later separated. Is the mother of six children. Her poetry collections include The Mad Cyclist (1970), The Fly and the Bedbug (1984), Dostoevsky's Grave/New and Selected Poems (1991) and the White Beach (1998), The Noise of Masonry Settling (2006).

Individual poems have been translated into five European languages, including Hebrew. Her novels are Girl on a Bicycle (1977), That London Winter (1981), The House (1984), There We Have Been (1989) and Mother to a Stranger (2002, trans. German). Short story collection: Different Kinds of Love (1986 trans. German and French). Her plays include The Life of Edith Piaf, Olympia (1985). Later went on tour: Thursday, Trinity Players Theatre, Open Ended Prescription, Peacock, and BBC Radio, Jocasta, The Hawks Well Theatre, Sligo (2000), Also on the Rocks, Edge of Atlantic and Limerick Theatre. Other plays for BBC and radio plus some children’s plays for RTÉ. Won the Marten Toonder Award in 1992. A founding editor of the literary journal, Cyphers. She now lives in Co. Sligo where she founded the annual literary festival, Scriobh at the Model Arts and Niland Gallery in 1993.

 

The writer Leland Bardwell died yesterday, 28 June 2016, aged 94.

Leland was born in India of Irish parents in 1922. The family returned to Ireland in 1924 and she grew up in Leixlip, Co. Kildare. She was educated at Alexandra College, Dublin, and the University of London. Married in 1948, she is the mother of six children. Her son, John MacLachlan, is a well-known composer and member of Aosdána. She has lived mainly in Dublin and London, and for a period in the neighbourhood of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. The last two decades of her life were spent in Co Sligo.

In addition to her own extensive writing, she was a lively and generous activist on the Irish literary scene, an inspiration to other writers and artists. She was one of those who established the revolutionary Irish Writers’ Co-Op in the 1970s, and, in 1975, with Eléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods and Pearse Hutchinson, she was a founding editor of Cyphers, one of the most important Irish literary journals, which continues to flourish. In 1993, after she moved to Sligo, she established the writers’ festival, Scríobh.
Leland’s poetry collections include The Mad Cyclist (1970), The Fly and the Bedbug (1984), Dostoevsky's Grave/New and Selected Poems (1991) and the White Beach (1998), The Noise of Masonry Settling (2006).

Her novels are Girl on a Bicycle (1977), That London Winter (1981), The House (1984), There We Have Been (1989) and Mother to a Stranger(2002), and her short story collection is Different Kinds of Love (1986) Her plays have been produced in many theatres, and on BBC and RTE radio. Titles include The Life of Edith Piaf, Olympia (1985). Later; Open Ended Prescriptin; Jocasta; Also on the Rocks, among others, for BBC Radio and RTE. She won the Marten Toonder Award in 1992. In 2008 her memoir, A Restless Life, was published. Her writing has been translated into several languages.
Evelyn Conlon, fellow writer, Aosdána member and friend of Leland, says:
Leland was an inspiration to younger writers, women in particular, because of her fearlessness in description of things as they really are. She was surprised by that. It was her persistence, despite knock-backs, that made us understand what the life of a serious writer added up to.

Aosdána extends its sincere sympathy to Leland Bardwell’s family and many friends, especially those in the artists’ and writers’ community. She will be missed.

Tá coinneal múchta. Suaimhneas síoraí dá hanam uasal.

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