Alluvium Call for Papers: Special Issue on Twenty-First Century Irish Women’s Writing

We find ourselves at an exciting moment as scholars of contemporary Irish writing – Irish literature is, as the Irish Times points out, ‘having a moment’.

As some commentators have noted, both established and emerging female writers are disproportionately represented in the thriving contemporary Irish literary scene. Canonical figures like Anne Enright and Edna O’Brien continue to publish new work. The last two winners of the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award – Danielle McLaughlin and Niamh Campbell – are Irish women, both of them relatively new to writing. In 2018, Anna Burns became the first woman from Northern Ireland to win the Man Booker Prize.

From scholars such as Heather Ingman and Elke D’hoker highlighting a raft of ‘[p]romising first collections by a new generation’ of Irish women short fiction authors, to Irish women novelists’ significant popular and critical acclaim, to female writers’ innovation across genres such as the essay and the literary anthology, to women-led publishing ventures like Tramp and Banshee Press – it is clear that this area warrants scholarly attention.

This special issue of Alluvium on contemporary Irish women’s writing seeks to serve this purpose, inviting critical considerations of the field and engaging with the wide range of genres, styles, voices and themes of Irish women’s writing in the present day. We welcome critical considerations of the implication(s) of this ‘female face’ of contemporary Irish writing.

What does it mean for Irish women’s writing to be at the fore during this specific time when women’s contributions to Irish literature have historically been side-lined in literary study? What specific conditions of the contemporary moment have contributed to the rise of Irish women’s writing? How does this rise compare with similar movements in other national literatures? How do Irish women writers challenge or expand certain literary forms? What common themes – if any – does Irish women’s writing across different genres speak to?

Topics to explore may include (but are not limited to):

  • Women writers and the Irish literary canon
  • Literary responses to the Celtic Tiger/Global Recession and related phenomena
  • The global reception of Irish women’s writing/writers
  • The role of prize culture and/or the publishing industry
  • Irish women writers and the body
  • Politics in Irish women’s writing
  • Space and place in Irish women’s writing
  • Irish women’s writing: global comparisons
  • LGBTIQ+ women in Irish literature and society
  • YA literature: contemporary Irish girlhood and adolescence
  • Expanding and diversifying the field

If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please send abstracts (max. 250 words) outlining your proposed article, and a brief bio with your research interests, to issue editors Orlaith Darling ( and Dearbhaile Houston ( by the 18th of December 2020.

The deadline for the submission of articles of 2,000-2,500 words will be the 29th of January 2021.

You can download a PDF of this Call for Papers here

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