On a remote island off the West coast of Ireland in the 1970s, young farmer Miceal catches sight of a girl on a beach with long hair so blonde it could be white. Befriending the girl and her travelling companions, a world of possibility opens up to Miceal – but where there’s opportunity, there is also peril.
Juanita Casey’s The Horse of Selene (1971) is a cult classic ready to be rediscovered by a new generation of readers. Drawing on her own life and speaking for her marginalized community, Casey offers a feminist and class-conscious story that explores the eternal choices of youth, between the comfort of a stifling domesticity and the promise and risk of the unknown, characterized in the incomparable wildness of the West of Ireland. The bestselling Casey takes her place alongside such writers as JM Synge and Kevin Barry – the missing connection between the two.
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Juanita Casey (1925–2012), bestselling novelist, celebrated poet, horse trainer, and artist, was born to an Irish Traveller mother and an English Romany father and raised by English adoptive parents with ties to the circus industry. Casey identified with the many heritages she considered her own: she resided with Romanies in England for a time, worked as a circus horsemaster, and lived a bohemian life in Ireland with her Irish husband in the 1960s and 1970s.
Contributing Editor Mary M. Burke is Professor of English at the University of Connecticut and author of Race, Politics, and Irish America: A Gothic History (2022). She is a former University of Notre Dame NEH Keough-Naughton Fellow, Trinity College Dublin LHR Visiting Fellow, and MLA Irish Literature Committee chair. Burke is graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast.
Read a profile on Juanita Casey and The Horses of Selene on RTÉ.