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‘A tipping point’: women writers pledge to boycott gender biased books after very male anthology


After 2017’s Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets included only four women, 250 writers have agreed to boycott anthologies, conferences and festivals where women are not fairly represented

Irish women poets are rising up en masse against their repeated exclusion from literary history, signing a pledge of refusal to participate in anthologies, conferences and festivals in which the gender balance is skewed.

The pledge was conceived after the publication of the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets in 2017. Covering Irish poetry from the 17th century to the present, it features essays on four women poets and 26 men, with just four female contributors. According to the 250 poets, academics and writers who have now signed the pledge, the book “repeats the minimisation or obliteration of women’s poetry by previous anthologies and surveys” and “leads to a distorted impression of our national literature and to a simplification of women’s roles within it”.

The narrative states that the women poets emerged in the 1970s. Nope! They were ignored until the 1970s.

Related: 'Women are better writers than men': novelist John Boyne sets the record straight

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