It was lovely to revisit Strokestown Park House to participate in their two day Irish Women in Literature Symposium which was opened by Councillor Orla Leden, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon and had a special focus on the forgotten women of Irish Literature
Professor Christine Kinealy of Quinnipac University gave us a fascinating account of the life of Fanny Parnell and her writing and immense contribution to Irish Nationalism.
Professor Luke Gibbons of Maynooth University, provided an absorbing insight into the world of Irish Women Writers some who hailed from Roscommon. He talked about the huge success enjoyed by the work of Charlotte O Connor Eccles, , Grace Little Rhys, and the prolific Bitha May Croker who wrote 50 novels and had ‘The Road to Mandalay’ filmed. Much of their work is unfortunately now out of print but certainly these women deserve to be remembered for their contribution to Irish literature.
Nuala O’Connor talked about her work and read from ‘Miss Emily’ and a wonderful short story that has just been published in her new collection ‘Joyride to Jupiter ‘.
On Friday Dr Margaret Corporaal, Assoc Professor of Radboud University, Holland gave us an in depth talk about the life and work of Mary Anne Sadlier , who emigrated to Canada in 1844 and with her writing came to represent the voice of the Irish Catholic Diaspora.
Strokestown Poetry presented a talented group of Roscommon Poets Reading from their work with Jessamine O’Connor finishing up a wonderful few days by reading from The Hermit Collective.