21 September - ‘we didn’t necessarily need a typewriter’: Feminist Publishing in the Kilbarrack Women’s Writing Group, 1980-1992
Department of English
Dr Emma Penney
Wed 17 September 2021, 3-4 pm
Online. Register in advance https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMpcuygpjgpGNJG-twjjHcSgxr8UUTzA7Yn
The 1970s and 80s in Ireland marked a reassertion of the voices of working-class women spurred on by the intersecting social contexts of mass unemployment, poverty, and the women’s movement. The number of women’s writing groups skyrocketed in the 1980s and publications were circulated but then forgotten and no longer available. These publications were funded largely by 'back to work' schemes and were dispersed across spaces and institutions that literature scholars rarely venture. This paper is based on four years of fieldwork recuperating this archive of working-class community writing and recording oral histories. It will map the social and political genealogy of this writing and consider the impact of social class on form and genre. Emma Penney is an IRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English at UCC. She also holds an IRC New Foundations Award through which she is organising Ireland’s first working-class studies conference. She recently received a grant from the Arts Council of Ireland to create a digital archive of working-class community writing since the 1970s and is actively seeking to collect lost or previously unavailable publications from community groups and adult education groups. Emma is currently an at-large steering committee member at the Working-Class Studies Association and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Class and Culture. Her goals for the future are to see Ireland’s first working-class studies program.