Plenary speakers







Anne Mulhall is a lecturer in the School of English, Drama, Film & Creative Writing at University College Dublin. She is co director of UCD Centre for Gender, Feminisms & Sexualities and course director of the MA in Gender, Sexuality & Culture. Anne has published widely at the intersections between 20th century and contemporary Irish literature & culture, feminist, gender & queer theory, and critical migration studies.

© Mattia Pelizzari

Ailbhe Smyth is the former head of Women’s Studies (WERRC) at UCD (University College Dublin), and has published widely on feminism, politics and culture.  A long-time campaigner on feminist, LGBT and other  social issues, she was centrally involved in the marriage equality referendum campaign in 2015, and was Co-Director of the “Together for Yes” national campaign in 2018. She co-founded and convenes the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.


Melatu-Uche Okorie was born in Enugu, Nigeria and has been living in Ireland since she arrived there in 2006 as an asylum seeker. Once in Ireland, Melatu-Uche Okorie entered the Direct Provision system, where she spent eight and a half years before her claim was accepted. With a BA in English from the University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria), she started writing while still being institutionalized, and in 2009 she won the Metro Éireann Writing Award with her short story “Gathering Thoughts”.
In addition, she has a MPhil in creative writing from Trinity College, Dublin. Her work has been published in Dublin: Ten Journeys One Destination, Alms on the Highway (New Writing from the Oscar Wilde Centre), LIT Journal, College Green Magazine. Her debut collection, This Hostel Life, was published in May, 2018. She is currently working on a novel.

© Bríd O Donovan

Lisa McInerney’s Twitter persona @swearylady became a household name in Ireland around 2006, given the popularity of her award-winning blog “Arse End of Ireland”, where she offered a cynical and darkly comical take on underclass life in a Galway council state, during the Celtic Tiger and after its demise. At that time, The Irish Times named McInerney as “arguably the most talented writer at work today in Ireland”. Since then Lisa McInerney’s work has featured in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, Granta, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 and various anthologies. Her story ‘Navigation’ was longlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Her debut novel The Glorious Heresies won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize, the 2018 Francophonie Ambassadors’ Literary Award and the 2018 Primo Edoardo Kihlgren for European literature. Her second novel, The Blood Miracles, won the 2018 RSL Encore Award.

Read Lisa McInerney’s reflections on the life of a writer and the writing of fiction on the Kaleidoscope website, a brilliant EFACIS project on what writing means for Irish writers: