Sonja Tiernan is the Eamon Cleary Professor of Irish Studies and Co-Director of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at University of Otago. Sonja published the best-selling Irish Women's Speeches (Vol. I): Vocies that Rocked the System in Autumn 2021 with UCD Press.
Irish Women's Speeches (Vol. II): A Rich Chorus of Voices follows on from the ground-breaking, best-selling Voices that Rocked the System. Related to arts, culture and heritage this compilation of Irish women's speeches, includes those of authors, journalists, actors, artists and women who have influenced arts and culture more broadly.
The speeches chosen identify how women have shaped and continue to shape Irish culture, language, literature, theatre and art at home and abroad. Related topics include Sarah Purser's founding of a stained-glass cooperative, An Túr Gloine which ensured that churches and formidable buildings in Ireland and further afield now house Irish produced stained glass. Edna O'Brien's speech showcases how one female author persisted despite her condemnation by the Catholic Church and suppression by the Irish censorship board to have her literary classics The Country Girls trilogy named One Dublin One Book in 2019.
A number of speeches chosen highlight the array of social and political reforms led by creative women and writers abroad including Margaret Cousins, who helped found the Irish National Theatre and later moved to India where she was arrested for supporting Gandhi's call for a Civil Disobedience Movement. While journalist Norah Dacre Fox became a key member of a militant suffragette organisation in England and was imprisoned for the cause.
Other speeches showcase well-remembered figures such as Hollywood icon Maureen O'Hara and investigative reporter Veronica Guerin. While less well known figures include Charlotte Stoker who is credited with greatly impacting on the literature of her son Bram. The wide range of topics identify the impressive contributions that Irish women have made to the development of Irish society and culture as well as internationally. A must have alongside its sister volume.
'It is an inspired format, the author turning compere and raising the curtain to allow her subjects stand in the spotlight centre stage.' - Clodagh Finn, Irish Examiner, December 2022. Read the full review here.
‘Tiernan’s astute curatorial decisions create a fascinating record of both causes and voices.’ - Henrietta McKervey, The Sunday Business Post, January 2023. Read the full review here.
‘The book is full to the brim of impactful women and is a great way to learn about Irish women’s history this winter.’ - GCN Mag, December 2022. Read the full review here.
‘When you’re done reading it, pass it on to your daughter. Or, maybe more importantly, to your son.’ - Anne Cunningham, Meath Chronicle, January 2023. Read the full review here.