"The notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick."
Is, as Carter implies, the whole concept of a ‘women's writing’ so much sophistry? Or is there a shared female experience explored and expressed in literature across the ages? If so, have the themes, concerns and experiences of women writers changed, and how does this reflect society at large?
Exploring these questions in relation to their own work and reflecting their own experience are three acclaimed women novelists, each with a special connection to Dublin.
Julia O‘Faolain‘s debut novel Godded and Codded (’71) came hot on the heels of her first short story collection We Might See Sites! (’68). Both heralded the arrival of a highly original and darkly comic modern stylist. Her other works include Women in the Wall, The Obedient Wife and the Booker-shortlisted No Country for Young Men.
Last Train from Liguria – the latest book from novelist and short story writer Christine Dwyer Hickey – is a sweeping tale of consequences, spanning claustrophobic 30s Dublin to the heat and bustle of the Italian Riviera. It follows the author‘s acclaimed ‘Dublin’ trilogy, and 2004’s Orange-longlisted Tatty.
Claire Kilroy created a stir with her Rooney Prize-winning 2003 debut All Summer. The follow-up Tenderwire was shortlisted for the Hughes and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year. Her third novel All Names Have Been Changed revisits a recurring theme – the urge towards the creative life – set in and around Trinity College in mid-80s Dublin.