Bardwell, Leland 1928(?)-

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BARDWELL, Leland 1928(?)-


Born c. 1928, in India; Education: Attended Alexandra College.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Blackstaff Press, 4c Heron Wharf, Sydenham Business Pk., Belfast BT3 9LE, Ireland.


Poet, novelist, and playwright. Cyphers, coeditor and founder; Force 10, poetry editor.




Martin Toonder Award for Literature, 1992.


The Mad Cyclist, New Writers Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1970.

Girl on a Bicycle: A Novel, Irish Writers Co-operative (Dublin, Ireland), 1977.

That London Winter, Co-Op Books (Dublin, Ireland), 1981.

(Editor) The Anthology, Co-Op Books (Dublin, Ireland), 1982.

The Fly and the Bedbug, Beaver Row Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1984.

The House, Kerry, Brandon (Dingle, CO), 1984.

Different Kinds of Love (short stories), Attic Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1987.

There We Have Been, Attic Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1989.

Dostoevsky's Grave: Selected Poems, Dedalus (Dublin, Ireland), 1991.

The White Beach: New and Selected Poems 1960-1998, Salmon Publishing (Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland), 1998.

Pagan at the White Table, 1998.

Mother to a Stranger, Blackstaff Press (Belfast, Ireland), 2002.

Also author of the plays Thursday and Open Ended Prescription; the radio plays The Revenge of Constance and Just Another Killing; and the musical Edith Piaf.


Leland Bardwell was born in India around 1928. Her parents were from Ireland and they returned there when she was two. She grew up Leixlip, County Kildare and was educated in Lucan, Alexandra College, in Dublin, Ireland. Starting in 1970 she began publishing poems, novels, and stories, and has had plays produced. She is the coeditor and founder of a literary magazine, Cyphers, and the poetry editor of the Sligo literary journal Force 10.

Bardwell has published a number of books of poetry and fiction, including a collection of stories called Different Kinds of Love, released in 1987. In the ten stories of this volume Bardwell focuses on marginalized characters dealing with different and often difficult issues of love. Audrey S. Eyler of the Irish Literary Supplement wrote, "Most of the love in these stories mixes with delusions, cynicism, cruelty, violence, and pain." Roz Cowman of Women's Review of Books commended Bardwell because "she maintains a constantly distinguished style and a wonderful ear for dialogue which moves the stories along." Patricia Roth Schwartz of Belles Lettres concluded, "This deft combination of metaphor and voice permeates all of the tales in this book, as women deal with the small and large betrayals of the body and the heart—birth, battering, incest, illness—in a world they must live in but did not make."

In 1989, Bardwell published There We Have Been. The book is a novella framed by two chapters and the story is told through the main character's diaries with the bookend chapters natrrated from two other key characters' points of view. Bardwell tells the story of Dilligence Strong who after traveling returns to the family farm where her brother lives. The book deals with the past and present relationship between the siblings and challenges ideas of truth. Patricia Roth Schwartz of Belles Lettres noted that "there is a primal and archetypal feel to this story, a kind of moral agony of souls gone wrong." In Irish Literary Supplement John Dunne wrote that "this subtle, demanding book achieves a vast emotional range." He continued, "In its portrayal of complex relationships and dark family secrets, the writing frequently approaches the brooding power of William Faulkner, while certain episodes are as gripping as any thriller."

In 1998 Bardwell published a book of poetry, The White Beach: New and Selected Poems 1960-1998. This work illustrates her growth and development as a poet throughout four decades. Thomas Korthals of Local Ireland praised the collections diversity, stating that Bardwell "manages to mix autobiography with love poetry, to fuse the different states of Ireland from the sixties to the nineties with her own development, and still not to lose her sense of humor."

Mother to a Stranger, released in 2002, is the story of Nan and Jim, a middle-aged, successful couple with no children whose world is turned upside down with the emergence of the child Nan gave up for adoption long before she met her husband. Jim has never been told of the pregnancy and must learn to deal with the truth and the addition of a new person to their lives. Pauline Ferrie of Bookview Ireland observed, "The author has woven a story of anger and betrayal, of apathy and withdrawal, a descent into depression and the unlikely bonding of the three protagonists, and all against a background of continuing life in the Irish countryside." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews stated that Bardwell's "marriage tale displays and understated fervor that deserves attention. Tough-minded and moving."



Belles Lettres, spring, 1990, Patricia Roth Schwartz, "Bitterness and Truth," p. 3; spring, 1991, Patricia Roth Schwartz, "From the Other Side," p. 30.

Irish Literary Supplement, spring, 1988, Audrey S. Eyler, "Not even Greek to Us," p. 29; fall, 1990, John Dunne, "The Wisdom of the Novel," p. 22.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of Mother to a Stranger, p. 621.

New Statesman and Society, January 5, 1990, Brian McAvera, "Forks of Frown." p. 38.

Women's Review of Books, July, 1988, Roz Cowman, "Lost Souls," p. 38.


Bookview Ireland, (October 22, 2003), Pauline Ferrie, review of Mother to a Stranger.

Emigrant Online, (October 22, 2003), short bio.

Irish Writers Online, (October 22, 2003), short biography.

Local Ireland, (October 22, 2003), Thomas Korthals, review of The White Beach: New and Selected Poems 1960-1998.

Salmon Poetry, (October 22, 2003), synopsis of The White Beach and short bio.

Writer's Centre, (October 22, 2003), short biography.*