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Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland

Joint event, marking the 20th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998, and the associated referenda, North and South, on the island of Ireland, on 22 May 1998, through the prism of “Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland”.

The Embassy of Ireland was delighted to recently initiate and collaborate on a very special event, featuring selected readings, a panel discussion and audience participation on developments on the island of Ireland, for women, for women writers and for society more broadly, in the twenty years since the Good Friday Agreement, led by the Co-Editor and contributors to a recently published anthology from New Island Books - Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland.

This fascinating discussion was moderated by well-known Belgian journalist and author, Annelies Beck and was followed by a reception. The event saw the Embassy join with our colleagues at the British Embassy and the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive, who hosted the event at their premises, to deliver a truly unique marking of the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and associated Referenda. The event was also supported by the European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS).

Female Lines is a follow-on anthology to ‘The Female Line’, published in 1985 by the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement, which was a ground-breaking publication at that time in that it was the first collection of works of female writers from Northern Ireland. The panel was comprised of Co-Editor Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado and contributing writers; Celia de Fréine, Margaret Ward, Heather Richardson and Rosemary Jenkinson.

Dr Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Badois an academic and co-editor of Female Lines. Celia de Fréine is an award-winning poet, playwright, screenwriter, translator and librettist who writes in Irish and English and is a co-founder of the Umbrella Theatre Company. Heather Richardson is a Northern Ireland born poet, memoirist and short story writer. Dr Margaret Ward is an author and former Director of the Women’s Resource and Development Agency. Belfast born Rosemary Jenkinson is a playwright and short story writer and was recently artist-in-residence at the Lyric Theatre Belfast.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Nolan described Female Lines as “particularly special” given its focus on the female voice - “something which we know can all too often be lost, both from history and from the literary canon” and spoke about the important role of women in delivering peace.

Ambassador Nolan said the anthology was “a perfect prism through which to view the impact of the Good Friday Agreement over the past 20 years - on culture, on society”. You can read Ambassador Nolan’s remarks in full in the Speeches page of our website.

Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland is published by New Island Books.

For those who were unable to attend on the night or purchase a copy from the Waterstones stand on the night, Female Lines can be purchased at Waterstones Brussels (Boulevard Adolphe Max 71-75, 1000 Brussels, Belgium).

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