In 1987, Arlen House, the feminist publishing house, invited a group of twelve women writers to participate in a series of workshops. The initiative was designed to encourage and help Irish women to become serious writers, at a time when it was perceived that women were under-represented in the Irish literary canon. The poet, Eavan Boland, whose own work had been ground-breaking, facilitated most of the workshops in the series; Clare Boylan, the novelist, taught one of them. When the Arlen House project finished, eleven of the participants decided to continue meeting to peer review their own work. So the WEB Women Writers’ Group was born.
The group has met monthly since 1987. Initially the workshops took place in members’ homes. Since 1992, however, the group has been happy to use the facilities of the Irish Writers’ Centre for its meetings, which are held once a month, on Saturday afternoons.
Over the years, many of the WEB writers have established successful literary careers. Several have published books, had plays and film scripts produced, and many have won prestigious literary prizes. The Group is not all hard work: we have holidayed abroad together, attended festivals such as the James Joyce Summer Festival in Trieste, and liaised with other writers’ groups, such as ‘Word of Mouth,’ in Derry. And there have been quite a few parties!
Membership of the WEB women writers’ group is by invitation only. At the moment, with eighteen members, the Group is full.