A celebration of the rich tradition of Northern Irish women writers
32 years after pioneering anthology The Female Line, a new anthology is a rich mosaic of today’s talent
Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado, co-editor with Linda Anderson of Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement was established in 1975 as an umbrella for a wide range of women-led groups that campaigned for gender equality in both nationalist and unionist areas of Northern Ireland. In 1985 the organisation marked its 10th anniversary by publishing The Female Line: Northern Irish Women Writers, edited by Ruth Hooley (now Carr). It was the first anthology of literature by women writers from Northern Ireland, several of whom made their publishing debut in its pages.
The 1980s witnessed the success of Virago Press and the Women’s Press in Britain and Arlen House and Attic Press in the Republic of Ireland, but women writers in the North did not have a similar publishing platform. While work by male authors from Northern Ireland flourished, few women writers got exposure. Thus the main purpose of The Female Line was to bring Northern women into print, and the volume included writing by a whopping 45 contributors.