Media and Websites

‘A tipping point’: women writers pledge to boycott gender biased books after very male anthology

Irish women poets are rising up en masse against their repeated exclusion from literary history, signing a pledge of refusal to participate in anthologies, conferences and festivals in which the gender balance is skewed.

The pledge was conceived after the publication of the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets in 2017. Covering Irish poetry from the 17th century to the present, it features essays on four women poets and 26 men, with just four female contributors. According to the 250 poets, academics and writers who have now signed the pledge, the book “repeats the minimisation or obliteration of women’s poetry by previous anthologies and surveys” and “leads to a distorted impression of our national literature and to a simplification of women’s roles within it”

(Alison Flood for the Guardian)
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Irish Times

A prosaic lack of women in the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets

You imagine certain things have been achieved, or understood. That men and women stand side by side in the social, intellectual and philosophical experiment of life. Then by chance you read about the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets, edited by poet Prof Gerald Dawe of TCD. The volume is described as a “Companion to Irish Poets”, in other words a book through which one can companionably undertake an informed journey through Irish poetry, reading essays by accomplished and admired contributors.

Mary O’Donnell

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(Read more here)


VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts

Report from the Field: Poets on Strike, Irish Women Poets and the Canon

There is a cruel lie in Ireland, that women poets’ and writers’ absence from our cultural narrative, and by extension from the imaginative creation of the state, is based on their invisibility within the literary canon. That lie is based in the failure of academia to contextualise and historicize the place of women literary artists within the development of an Irish literature that has focused its effort on the authoritative male voice, the heroic and triumphant post-colonial narrative that is taught in schools and universities throughout the island of Ireland. We’re now taking a pledge to fight for equitable gender representation. (Read more here)  


Lagan Online

Fired! movement seeks to bring Irish women writers back into focus

Fired! is a new “convergence of practising women poets and academics”, responding to the lack of representation of Irish women poets and critics within Irish Literature.

Launched this month, Fired! seeks to highlight the history of women writers and reinstate forgotten Irish women poets into the literary discourse. Key to the movement is their pledge, asking people to sign and commit to supporting gender balance, and to actively withdrawn their support from any future project which does not aim for parity.

We speak with poet, workshop facilitator and youth worker Kathy D’Arcy, one of the founders of the movement, to find out more about the need for Fired! and their hopes moving ahead. (Read more here)


Lagan Online

Anthologies show lack of representation from female Irish writers

A new “convergence of practising women poets and academics”, Fired!, is responding to the lack of representation of Irish women poets and critics within Irish Literature.

Spurred by this year’s publication of The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets from Cambridge University Press (with only 13.3% of its contributors women), Fired! seeks to redress this lack of parity. It is asking people to withdraw from literary projects that does not make a “good-faith effort to adequately represent the contribution women make to literature and literary criticism”, as well as highlight the work of Irish woman poets past and present.

We’ll be looking at the Fired! movement in more detail later this month; in the meantime, we’ve analysed a number of past anthologies and critical work, looking at exactly how under-represented women has been in the Irish canon. We’ve counted either the number of poets showcased or analysed (the totals ignoring the number of anonymous works), or the number of essays by female critics. The results speak from themselves, with only one collection achieving near-equal representation. We hope to bring you analysis from further publications shortly. (Read more here)