International Women’s Day at The Lilliput Press
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, The Lilliput Press reached out to three of our most esteemed female fiction writers; Rosita Sweetman, Elske Rahill and Caroline Preston. Each one of them provided fascinating insights into the historical and generational importance of feminism.
Elske Rahill, author of 2013’s Between Dog and Wolf and 2017’s In White Ink, spoke on what it means to be a feminist writer:
‘Feminism is about much more than ‘add women and stir’. It is not about coveting existing positions. Being a feminist writer means changing the parameters of literature – changing what counts as meaningful, interrogating power structures, writing silences, and ultimately destabilising the prism we have been taught to look through.’
Reflecting on what it means to be a woman in Ireland, Caroline Preston quoted Iris Murdoch in saying ‘I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the time.’ On a more optimistic note, Caroline goes on to say ‘happily, things have changed.’ A change that Caroline highlights in her novel This Tumult.
‘The women in This Tumult are based on my grandmother and my mother. Neither of them would have called themselves feminists and after their extraordinary wartime careers they went back to being wives and mothers. But it is not possible to turn back the clock and the examples they set are indelible. Second place will not do for their daughters and granddaughters.’
Rosita Sweetman hits on a similar theme in her book Feminism Backwards when she speaks about being an angry woman:
‘It was exhausting being angry but deep down a part of me figured if I stay angry, at least I won’t get depressed. I’d seen so many ‘deserted wives’ slide, terrifyingly quickly, into depression.
If I keep fighting I thought, I’ll keep sane’.
The Lilliput Press are proud to give a platform to these women, and many more like them.