My demand as a woman is that my
be taken into account, and that I am not
forced to adapt to the male model
A woman’s place…
In 1954, Colette was the first woman to be honou-red
with a state funeral, but it was not until 1981 that a
woman, Marguerite Yourcenar, entered the Académie
française (founded in 1635), at last removing the gender
filter from official recognition of authorial quality.
disappointing recognition, this historic and
long-overdue date unfortunately illustrates all too well
the treatment of difference identified and addressed by
Simone Veil, something experienced by Irish female
writers such as Edna O’Brien, who suffered the violence
of autodafé, or Maire Mhac an tSaoi, who had to give up
her public-service job after getting married, in line
with the law of the time.
With a few notable exceptions, since time immemorial,
women in the literary field have been confined to the
quasi-exclusive role of “object” assigned to them,
before assuming that of “subject”. Certain names will of
course remain forever enshrined in the literary
pantheon: in France, we may think of Madame de la
Fayette, George Sand, Simone de Beauvoir or Marguerite
Duras, in Ireland, Maria Edgeworth, Elisabeth Bowen,
Eavan Boland, Lady Gregory or Anne Enright. But the fact
remains that this same pantheon includes very few women,
reflecting a societal reality which has been painfully
slow to evolve: men retain the lion’s share.
Through fighting for their rights and their sheer
talent, women are finding their rightful
place,particularly in the field of literature, as
evidenced by the growing proportion of literary output
by female authors within the last three decades, both in
Ireland and in France. And it is women, and women
writers in particular, whom we wish to honour as we
celebrate the 20th anniversary of our festival.
Jointly organised by the Alliance Française de Dublin
and the French Embassy, the Festival also owes its
continued success to the support of its loyal partners.
We therefore wish to acknowledge the generosity of all
our sponsors who have helped us to hold this 20th
And, of course, we offer our warmest thanks to all the
writers who have accepted our invitation and who,
together with you, will make this 20th anniversary an
opportunity for rich and constructive discussions,
underlining the continued relevance of Simone Veil’s
Thank you, literary friends, and we look forward to
seeing you on the 5th of April!