Celebrating Women Writers: Penning Peace event in Derry to explore literary contributions to social change

A free Penning Peace event next week in Derry will highlight the talent and creativity of female writers from Northern Ireland and the pivotal role of women in fostering cultural understanding and social change.
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Triax Neighbourhood Management Team's Peace Barriers Programme will present Penning Peace: Women Writing the North in celebration of International Women's Day and the invaluable contributions of women in the arts.

Th event will take place on Monday next, March 4 at 1.30pm at The Guildhall.

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The Mayor Patricia Logue has sponsored the event and has said: “As we celebrate International Women's Day, it's important to recognise the invaluable contributions of women to our society, culture, and history. Today, we raise up the voices of women writers who have captured the essence of our lives in the North through their literary works. The arts, including writing, play a vital role in shaping culture, fostering dialogue, and inspiring change.”

The Mayor and some of the writers taking part in Monday's event.The Mayor and some of the writers taking part in Monday's event.
The Mayor and some of the writers taking part in Monday's event.

This event aims to shine a spotlight on the remarkable contributions of female writers from Northern Ireland who explore themes of conflict, peace, and reconciliation through their work. Featuring an esteemed panel of award-winning authors, the event will offer insights into the power of storytelling to foster understanding and promote positive social change.

Jan Carson, Sue Divin, and Bernie McGill, three acclaimed authors known for their compelling narratives and insightful explorations of Northern Irish identity, will lead the discussion. Chaired by Sue Divin, the panel will delve into the unique perspectives offered by women writers in addressing the complexities of Northern Ireland's history and its ongoing journey towards peace and reconciliation.

Jan Carson, celebrated for her evocative prose and vivid character portrayals, will share her experiences and creative process, drawing from her acclaimed novels such as "The Fire Starters", "The Raptures" and forthcoming short story collection “Quickly, While They Still Have Horses” published by Penguin. Sue Divin, a Derry-based writer and peace worker, will offer her insights into the role of literature in fostering empathy and understanding, while Bernie McGill, winner of the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, will explore the transformative power of storytelling in navigating personal and collective histories.

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"We are thrilled to host this inspiring event, bringing together three exceptional writers whose work has made a significant impact on our literary landscape," said Cat Brogan, Peace Barriers Programme Development Worker of the Triax Neighbourhood Management Team. "Through their stories, these authors illuminate the human experience, challenge perceptions, and offer hope for a more inclusive and peaceful future."

In addition to the panel discussion, the event will feature opportunities for audience engagement, a book stall by Derry’s award winning independent bookshop Little Acorns, book signings, and networking. Refreshments will be provided.

The Penning Peace event is funded by the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

Through their ongoing initiatives, the Peace Barriers Programme aims to foster community cohesion and reconciliation by breaking down physical and metaphorical barriers within the city of Derry.

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As a testament to the power of literature in peace-building efforts, this event underscores the importance of cultural initiatives in bridging divides and envisioning a more harmonious future for all.

For more information or to register for the event, contact [email protected] or via bit.ly/penningpeace