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HARPY de Caroline Magennis

An essay by academic and writer Caroline Magennis on the choice of a childless life available to women today, and the structures that condemn women who make an active choice not to be parents.

by Caroline Magennis
Icon Books UK, Spring 20224
(via Mushens Entertainment)

Whilst roughly one in five women are intentionally childless, the media is fascinated by the topic – whether Jennifer Aniston being rumoured to announce an adoption at the Friends reunion, or the use of derogatory terms like ‘crazy cat lady’ or ‘spinster’. The idea that women could choose a childless life seems to be anathema, but it’s an increasing fact, that each generation has more childless women than the last, with reasons ranging from more economic freedom for women, to the desire to prioritise career, or friendships. So why is it still so taboo? In her new book HARPY, academic and writer, Caroline Magennis invites us to meditate on the privileges of this choice and to question the structures that condemn women who make an active choice not to be parents.

Caroline Magennis, originally from Portadown, Co. Armagh, is an academic and writer based in Manchester. Her essays on Northern Irish fiction have been featured in books published by Cambridge, Oxford, Palgrave and Routledge and her second book, Northern Irish Fiction After The Troubles: Affects, Intimacies, Pleasures, was published by Bloomsbury in August 2021. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Prospect Magazine and The Irish Times. She has chaired literary festival events and is regularly invited to give lectures for academic and public audiences.