Rosaleen McDonagh is a playwright, performer, columnist for The Irish Times and a member of Aosdána. Her plays include The Baby Doll Project, She’s Not Mine, Rings, The Prettiest Proud Boy and Mainstream. Her most recent commissions were Walls and Windows for the Abbey Theatre and Contentious Spaces for the Project Arts Centre. Rosaleen holds a BA, two MPhils from Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from Northumbria University. She is a board member of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and was appointed a Human Rights Commissioner in June 2020. Unsettled is her first book.
Rosaleen McDonagh writes fearlessly about a diverse experience of being Irish. Unsettled explores racism, ableism, abuse and resistance as well as the bonds of community, family and friendship. As an Irish Traveller writing from a feminist perspective, McDonagh’s essays are rich and complex, raw and honest, and, above all else, uncompromising.
Praise for Unsettled
Don’t read this memoir in sorrow and outrage, read it because Rosaleen McDonagh is so proud, smart and ingenious, she will make you feel more properly alive. Beautifully written, this book beats back the darkness. It brings us all further on. — Anne Enright
Moving and eloquent, this collection is both the story of one woman’s life and a work of profound literary activism. — Emilie Pine
Rosaleen’s story is her story. It’s a very important story and she has a right to tell it. Rosaleen demonstrates, contrary to some settled people’s opinion, that our community is matriarchal, our mothers are so resourceful, and we are not victims. The book is a testimony to the importance of identity and belonging. — Anne Burke
Like James Baldwin before her, this work is a ferociously honest exploration of the intricacies of racism, identity, sexuality, disability, grief, sensuality and marginalisation. It is also a beautiful piece of prose; honest and difficult and deeply moving. This book sees Rosaleen McDonagh masterfully taking all the parts of her life and fitting them together brilliantly for us. A must read. — Mark O’Halloran
Emotive, honest and raw. Rosaleen McDonagh takes us on a journey of self acceptance, a journey that sees her face challenging obstacles and setbacks; as well as meeting friends and allies who help her to carve out a place in which she belongs. Unsettled is not only the recount of personal experiences but an authentic glimpse of Traveller life and culture as well as Rosaleen’s very sense of identity. — Michael Power