On International Women’s day I’d like to celebrate some of my favourite Irish Women Writers.
The intersection of class prejudice and patriarchy in Ireland’s literature industry means the perspective of middle and upper class women has always dominated in our publishing industry, leaving out the stories and perspectives of the majority of women in ireland, especially those from a working class background & those in marginal groups.
But there is an alternative tradition too, set in motion by the likes by giants of the word like 18th Century sex worker Margaret Wilson & 19th Century strike leader Mother Jones.
Bernadette Devlin & Eva Gore Booth are the best of a fine tradition of revolutionary socialist writings by Irish women.
Nan Joyce’s famous autobiography Traveller will cure anyone of ignorance about Irish Travellers, and a lot more besides.
In recent years a wave of spoken word poets such as Elaine Feeney & Sarah Clancy have with great passion and eloquence contributed to the development of an ‘Hiberno-English’ as opposed to ‘Anglo-Irish’ linguistic tradition in irish page poetry, writing and performing in the variant of English 90 per cent of us speak in Ireland but which is often curiously absent from our published poetry.
If you like poems of more classical sophisticiation but retaining the perspective of the underdog, check out Jess Traynor & Ailbhe D’Arcy.
If you want a book like you have never read before and will never read again, head straight for Maighread Medbh’s Savage Solitude, the stand-out artistic success of the last decade in the experimental vein in ireland, in my view.
Anyway please feel free to add your own recommendation of boo