Look! It’s a Woman Writer with Éilís Ní Dhuihbne and Evelyn Conlon chaired by Mia Colleran as they reflect on women writing in Ireland since the 1950’s
Féach! Scríbhneoir mná atá ann – Éilís Ní Dhuihbne agus Evelyn Conlon, faoi chathaoirleacht Mia Colleran, agus iad ag machnamh ar scríbhneoirí mná in Éirinn ó na 1950idí i leith
Why have women been treated differently, and discriminated against, in the literary world? Why has gender been a ‘problem’ in the writing, publishing, funding and reviewing scene? And why does it matter?
Irish novelist and short story writer Éilís Ní Dhuibhne asked 21 writers who were born in mid-twentieth-century Ireland, North and South, to write about their literary lives. These women— Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, Catherine Dunne, Lia Mills, Medbh McGuckian, Evelyn Conlon, Mary O’Malley, Liz McManus, Mary O?Donnell, Moya Cannon, Celia de Freine, Mary Dorcey, Anne Devlin, Mary Rose Callaghan, Mary Morrissy, Aine Ni Ghlinn, Sophia Hillan, Ruth Carr, Cherry Smyth, Mairide Woods, Ivy Bannister, Phyl Herbert—began their writing careers in a puritanical and deeply sexist environment. They tell it like it really was, and is.
Collectively, these vivid, original essays provide us with a fascinating picture of Ireland’s literary landscape from multiple female points of view. Poets, fiction writers, playwrights, impresarios, writers in Irish and English, have written accounts which are funny, tragic, philosophical, angry, but all are lively, stunningly-honest testimonies of the writing life during a pivotal period in the history of Irish literature. These writers came of age when legislation for gender equality was beginning to be enacted. They are growing older on an island where a great deal has changed, for the better, as far as women are concerned. They have participated in, and created, new and more egalitarian literary scenes through their activism, but above all with their writing. They were movers and shakers when it really mattered. They are literary survivors.
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne and Evelyn Conlon will be discussing the collection in front of a live audience in the Díseart, and the event will also be live streamed. Festival Director Sheila O’Reilly says, “It will be a joy to hear them both talk about how and why the book “Look! It’s a Woman Writer!” came about, what they got from writing and what they believe the future holds for women writers in Ireland.”
Éilis Ní Dhuibhne’s first collection of stories, Blood and Water, was published in 1988 and since then she has written 25 books, including novels, collections of short stories, several books for children, plays and non-fiction works. She writes in both Irish and English. She was elected to Aosdána, the academy of Irish writers and artists, in 2004. She is a current ambassador for the Irish Writers’ Centre, and President of the Folklore of Ireland Society (An Cumann le Béaloideas Éireann).
Evelyn Conlon is an Irish novelist and short story writer.
She is an elected member of Aosdána, the Irish association which honours distinguished artistic work. She has been writer-in-residence in colleges in many countries, at University College Dublin and is currently Adjunct Professor and Mentor with Carlow University Pittsburgh MFA.
Mia Colleran is an assistant editor at 4th Estate. She is an award-winning bookseller and writer, has worked at numerous book festivals and previously she reviewed books for The Irish Times, Guardian and Irish Independent among others. Mia is a fluent Irish speaker.