The essay collection Women Writing War: Ireland 1880-1922, edited by Tina O’Toole, Gillian McIntosh & Muireann O’Cinnéide, was launched in UL on 25th November. The collection is the outcome of a collaborative international project on women’s writing and conflict.
Opening proceedings, Dr Breda Gray (UL) outlined the work of the UL-NUIG Gender ARC (Academic Research Consortium), whose funding and support led to the publication of this book. She highlighted the collaborative nature of this research project, underlining new research contexts forged by participants, and observed that the Gender ARC have a specific commitment to fostering such research practice. The first working group on women and war writing was convened in 2011 at UL by Dr Tina O’Toole and Professor Meg Harper, who later hosted a 2012 conference ‘Behind the Lines: Women, War and Letters’ in collaboration with colleagues at NUIG and Queen’s Belfast. The conference brought experts in the field from eleven countries to UL. The development of this essay collection, which homes in specifically on Irish women’s literary expressions of war in the 1880–1922 period, emerged as a result of the generous exchange of ideas during both research events.
Professor Patricia Coughlan (UCC) delivered a rousing launch address, described later by one member of the audience as “ informative and riveting, the non-academics in the audience got at least as much out of it as the academics”. Coughlan paid tribute in particular to the interdisciplinary and transnational aspects of the collection. Many of the international contributors to the project and collection attended the launch reception, held at Plassey House, including colleagues from Belgium, Brazil, the UK, the USA, Sweden, and from various Irish universities north and south. Also present were the McKeown sisters, granddaughters of Cumann na mBan member Annie Cooney, whose photograph was used as the cover image for the collection. Publishers Noelle Moran and Damien Lynam from UCD Press, who were also in attendance, reported brisk sales of the book, which is now available in bookshops and online from: http://www.ucdpress.ie/display.asp?isbn=9781910820117&