‘It’s only history’: Belfast in Rosemary Jenkinson’s Short Fiction

  • Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
Part of the Literary Urban Studies book series (LIURS)


This chapter analyses the ways in which the 1998 Good Friday/Belfast Agreement impacts upon conceptions of Belfast, history, and identity in Rosemary Jenkinson short story collections Contemporary Problems Nos. 53 & 54 (2004) and Aphrodite’s Kiss and Other Stories (2015). Jenkinson is an acclaimed playwright, but she has been writing stories for much longer and her short fiction remains underexplored. She problematises notions of contemporary Belfast as a ‘post-conflict’ space by exposing entrenched socio-political tensions and considering how these inflect exchanges between locals and tourists, as well as with the city itself. Her portrayal of the contemporary city also functions as a commentary on the commercialisation of Belfast and its history. The economic subtext of the Agreement signals a break with the city’s ‘troubled’ past in order to align with a global capitalist future. Therefore, the ‘new’ Belfast is circumscribed by its own corporatised, ‘post-conflict’ image in a process which is paradoxically violent, for the progressivist discourse of the Agreement dismisses fraught identitarian narratives as anachronistic. In Jenkinson’s tales this disjuncture manifests as a crisis of narrative, and her characters remain adrift. She emphasises the complexities of Northern Irish identity in her Belfast stories, thereby reasserting the local in a culture that has become globally entangled.


Northern Ireland Urban Rosemary Jenkinson Post-conflict Good Friday Agreement Troubles Peace Process Surveillance Tourism 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarMaynoothIreland

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