Female Lines: New book echoes first anthology of northern women writers' work

An essay by Derry-born writer and journalist Susan McKay is included in Females Lines, a new publication from New Island
Joanne Sweeney

REFLECTIONS on feminism and violence against women in conflict-torn 1980s Belfast feature in an essay by writer Susan McKay in a new collection of work from women writers from the north.

Females Lines is an anthology of short stories, drama, poetry, photographs and essays whose publication comes 32 years after the Northern Ireland Women's Rights Movement celebrated its 10th anniversary with the publication of The Female Line.

That 1985 book was the first collection of literature from Northern Ireland women writers; it included poems by Medbh McGuckian and inspired other well-received anthologies such as The Long Gaze Back (2015) and The Glass Shore (2016).

New poetry from McGuckian also features in Female Lines, as do poems by Sinéad Morrisey, Leontia Flynn, Moyra Donaldson and Maureen Boyle, among others.

The collection is edited by Belfast writer and former head of creative writing at Lancaster University, Linda Anderson and academic Dawn Miranda Sherratt-Bado.

Derry-born journalist and writer McKay's essay, Thatcher on the Radio, Blue Lights Flashing up the Road, delves into some of her experiences as a founder of the Belfast Rape Crisis Centre and as a young feminist in a time when the term was frowned upon.

Short stories from writers including Bernie McGill, Sheena Wilkson and Heather Richardson are included alongside plays by Lucy Caldwell and Rosemary Jenkinson.

:: Female Lines is published in hardback by New Island, priced £17.99 (€19.95) and available in bookshops, online and from It will be launched at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, next Wednesday, November 1, at 6.30pm.

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