Derry women from the ‘On the Move’ creative writing group have been invited to meet with the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, next Wednesday.
The writing group was formed a few years ago in the Gasyard but have since moved to Aubrey Street on the edge of the Fountain Estate.
The women, who meet up on a weekly basis, are a cross-community group and have already had one book published and have also written a play.
Madeline McCully is the group’s facilitator and described the invitation to meet Mary McAleese as a “great accolade”.
“I am so delighted that the women’s work has been recognised,” she said. “We’re heading down to Dublin to meet with the president on Wednesday; we are all really excited.
“Some of the women in our wee group had never been outside of their own areas before they joined. We have women from all parts of the city and I have to say that they are all extremely talented.”
Madeline, who is an experienced writer and story teller, said that the women’s work has been nothing short of breathtaking.
“The way in which the women in the group write about themselves and their experiences is just inspirational. I hope they all have a wonderful day out. They deserve it.”
Local community worker Jeanette Warke will be amongst those travelling to meet with the President at Áras an Uachtaráin on Wednesday.
Jeanette said that the invitation is “recognition” for all the hard work the women have put in.
“Some of the women in the group have not had it easy. Some of them have experienced great loss and they have found that writing about it helps them to cope.
“They have all worked really hard and I think that it’s a great reward for everything that they have done. From working with the women for the last few years I definitely think that the recognition they are getting is just amazing.”
The 20 strong group will travel to Dublin on Wednesday where they will meet with Mary McAleese in the afternoon before visiting Dáil Éireann the following morning.
“It’s very exciting,” said Jeanette. “Not only will we be meeting with Ms. McAleese but we’re going to Dáil Éireann on Wednesday. I know there’s a lot of uncertainty down there at the moment but I think we are meeting with Michael Smith who is from the Department for Foreign Affairs.”