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  • 1 Church of Ireland College of Education 96 Upper Rathmines Road Dublin 6 Ireland
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Towards the end of the 20th century there was a mini-boom within Ireland in writing and publishing for young people, lasting approximately ten years. Then, at a time when Ireland’s prosperity increased remarkably, there was a decline in publications designed for a young audience. This shift can be explained by several factors: the small size of the market, lack of adequate state support for publishing, the globalization of the book industry and competition from publishers outside Ireland. The latter has resulted in the publication of some of Ireland’s best writers and illustrators abroad. Regarded by some commentators as a neo-colonization of Ireland, this leads to questions about how the ensuing lack of literature, with a particular focus on depictions of ‘Irishness’, might affect young people living in Ireland (including a considerable number not of ethnic Irish background). I propose an examination of these issues, a consideration of what might make literature particularly ‘Irish’, especially in a changing Ireland, and whether the perceived response to market forces is, in fact, a form of neo-colonization.