International Women’s Day competition winner

Happy International Women’s Day from the TLW team!

As you all know, in honour of International Women’s Day, we held a guest blog competition. We are very pleased to announce that the competition winner is Deborah Molloy, with her fascinating and informative piece on Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.  Thank you Deborah, for your wonderful contribution to the blog.

Here is a quick update on the latest TLW news and events:

  • On Saturday 26th – Sunday 27th May we will be collaborating with the People’s Palace Glasgow to hold a Women’s Partial Suffrage Centenary Celebration. You can find out more about this exciting event here.
  • The team are looking forward to hosting a Roundtable discussion on partial suffrage at Glasgow University College of Arts Postgraduate Conference on the 29th. You can keep up to date with the latest from the conference on their WordPress, and if you would like to submit a paper then you still have a day to get your abstracts in!
  • We will be hosting a TLW film screening on Wednesday the 18th of April at the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, Glasgow University. There will be more details of this announced over the next week, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • Our website has been given a small re-vamp, so you can now browse our past events, and our brand new Press and Reviews page which has links to event reviews as well as this recent article from The Skinny, which featured our book club.

Whether you are doing something special to mark IWD 2018, or quietly contemplating the achievements of women while you are in work, we hope you all have a great day. And if you ask us, there’s no better way to celebrate than by reading Deborah’s winning guest-blog . . . enjoy!

Reflections on Margaret Atwood, Deborah Molloy

I came across the works of Margaret Atwood when I was studying my A levels, long before her current vogue following the success of the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.  My wonderful teacher chose not to give us that particularly bleak dystopian vision to study, but rather introduced us to her beautiful poetry with “Woman Skating”.  Atwood is probably more famous as a novelist but she has also published seventeen books of poetry, including this unforgettable piece which encapsulates the vision of her mother skating on a frozen Toronto lake.

“On the ice a woman skating,

jacket sudden

red against the white,

concentrating on moving

in perfect circles.”

Intrigued by the visual quality of her poetry, and the evident high esteem of my teacher, I went on to discover her fiction for myself, starting with The Edible Woman.  I had always been an avid reader, and had engaged with a wide range of genres, but this was the first feminist text I had discovered.  I was instantly hooked on her sly satire of the ‘perfect’ wife and the pressures put upon young women to conform in 1950s Canada.  She has a gift for humour, using it to leaven the bitterness of her subject matter, allowing her to highlight the cannibalistic nature of gender relationships through the happy medium of cake.

Margaret Atwood was the first author I discovered to talk about life in the raw, the struggle of being a woman in our society and the survival skills necessary to maintain a female sense of self.  She is a mistress of genre, and can meld historical memoir with science fiction without missing a beat.  Her concern for the environment is evident in much of her work, the futuristic Oryx and Crake trilogy sometimes feels uncomfortably close to coming true with its genetically modified fast food, cybercriminals and all-powerful pharmaceuticals conspiring to engineer the end of the world.  With her talent for capturing the essence of truth, if anyone ever offers you ChickieNobs for dinner then be very afraid.

I was fortunate enough to attend a talk she gave at the Edinburgh International Book Festival a few years ago, speaking with wit and urgency as she read from her then new novel about memory, ageing and our relationship with the past, The Blind Assassin, in which a grandmother tells her life story to her granddaughter, with all the twists and turns we have come to expect from an Atwood novel.   She recently became the inaugural contributor to the Future Library[1], committing an unpublished piece to a cultural time capsule to be printed in a hundred years’ time.  My great grandchildren will have the opportunity to discover this new Atwood treasure, like true time travellers, in 2114 – how I envy them!

Margaret Atwood is my contemporary literary heroine and deserves to be recognised for being a brave female voice for over fifty years.

“A word after a word

After a word is power.”  Spelling, Margaret Atwood

[1] More information about the Future Library Project is available here


Deborah Molloy is based in Whitstable, and currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Glasgow, focusing on female mental illness in New York fiction.



Happy New Year from TLW!

The TLW team would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year! 2017 was a fantastic year for us, and we’d like to thank all of our wonderful followers for coming to our events and helping to make the series what it is! We can’t wait to share what 2018 has in store for TLW, so keep your eyes peeled as we tweet (@atlantlitwomen) and blog about events in the coming months. Expect plenty of interesting talks, book clubs, guest blogs, and much more. The team is particularly looking forward to sharing our series of blogs on overlooked texts by transatlantic women, as well as details of a follow-up online #TLWBookChat. Look out for the first of these posts in the next week!

The 2018 series kicks off with another instalment of our book club, and the chosen novel was voted for by you! It looked like Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper was going to win our Twitter poll, but at the very last minute Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God took the lead. We hope you will join us to talk about Hurston’s novel on Tuesday 16th January at 5.15pm in the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club. As with all our events, the book club is free and open to all. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, so just bring along your copy of the book and enjoy the evening.

Other dates for the TLW diaries: Wednesday 21 February, 5.15. We’re delighted that Gaby Fletcher (National University of Ireland, Galway) will be joining us to talk about Fluffy Ruffles. Intrigued? You will be! Watch this space for more details…

And finally, competition time! The start of 2018 has left us excited for International Women’s Day on Thursday 8th of March, so we decided to make this the theme of our next writing competition. We invite submissions in the form of a blog entry about the woman that you would like to recognise on International Women’s day, telling us why you feel they should be recognised. We welcome pieces on any literary women. This could be your favourite novelist, or perhaps you have a journalist, songwriter, poet, or even a film and television writer who you would like to write about? We can’t wait to hear about the women who have influenced you, and the winning entries will not only be published on our website as a guest blog, but will also win some great prizes! Please submit entries of up to 500 words to us at: by midnight on Friday 2nd March, providing your name and where you are based.

We can’t wait to see you all at our 2018 events, and we wish you a great start to the year!

Kari, on behalf of the TLW team.

The last podcast episode is here!

Dear all,

How are you? Today, we bring good and bad news: our latest podcast episode, featuring Carly Brown’s amazing performance, is out today! This means that our series comes to an end… It was a pleasure to rediscover the great talks, interviews, and workshops recorded at the Glasgow Women’s Library back in June. We hope you enjoy this episode:

Our Edith Wharton writing competition is now over and we look forward to revealing the winning entries on Wednesday, at the Edith Wharton Workshop. Hope to see you there!

Best wishes,

The TLW Team.

Book Club – Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

Tuesday 17 October, 17.15-19.00, Gilchrist Postgraduate Club, Gilbert Scott Building, University Avenue, Glasgow University.

Plath 1.jpg

The book club is back! Join us for a fun, informal, discussion on Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Whether you’re new to Plath, study her, or are a devoted fan, you’re welcome to chat about her semi-autobiographical novel with us. In true TLW style, free refreshments and snacks will be provided!

Remember to collect your free copies of the book at the launch of TLW Season 2, on Tuesday the 19th of September. You can find more details about the launch here.

Sylvia Plath is perhaps one of the most famous transatlantic women we’ve looked at in the series so far. Born in Boston to German parents in 1932, Plath was raised in the US and moved to England to study at Cambridge University. She published The Colossus and Other Poems, and The Bell Jar during her lifetime, married the poet Ted Hughes, and lived in England until her death in 1963. Several collections of her works have been published posthumously, including the celebrated poetry collection Ariel.


The Bell Jar was first published under Plath’s pseudonym, Victoria Lucas.

This is a pretty big year for Plath fans and scholars. A few months ago, it was announced that two previously unknown poems by Plath were discovered in her notebooks, around 50 years after they were originally written: ‘To a Refractory Santa Claus’, and ‘Megrims’. The academics who discovered these, Gail Crowther and Peter K. Steinberg, also found two previously unseen photos of her. For more about these discoveries check out this article from The Guardian. What’s more, this autumn sees the much anticipated first publication of The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Volume 1 (Faber and Faber). These collected letters are bound to offer fresh insight into Plath’s world. What better way to celebrate this transatlantic writer than by reading and discussing her work?

This is a relaxed, informal evening. You can drop in and out whenever suits you. The venue may be called the ‘postgraduate club’, but the event is open to all! In the meantime, here’s a link to a Plath-inspired poem you might remember from last year’s creative writing event at the Scottish Writer’s Centre, poet Maria Sledmere’s ‘Sylvia’.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our other events, including our Edith Wharton workshop, more to details to come… If you have any questions just email us at or Tweet them to @atlantlitwomen. See you there!

By Saskia McCracken


Edith Wharton Workshop

Wednesday 4 October, 2-5pm, Gannochy Seminar Room, Wolfson Medical Building,
University Avenue, Glasgow University.

Join us for a fun, informal, relaxed afternoon devoted to one of America’s most successful writers. However much or little you know about Edith Wharton and her work, this event is for you! Everyone welcome. The afternoon will feature talks, presentations, a quiz, film excerpts, brief readings of writing by and inspired by Wharton, alongside the results of our writing competition. And if all that isn’t enough, free refreshments and snacks provided!

Discussions will cover Wharton’s work in context, Wharton and feminism, modernism, her contemporaries, race, taste and design. Did you know that the author of Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country and The Age of Innocence (for which Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction) was also a poet, a playwright, a renowned designer, an animal rights’ campaigner, and a woman honoured by the French government for her work in World War I? What about her attitudes to other writers, to women’s suffrage, to the homeland she left behind? Join us at the Wharton workshop to uncover and discuss more! The event programme can be found here: Wharton Workshop Programme.

Speakers include Katie Ahern (University College Cork), Ailsa Boyd, Anna Girling (University of Edinburgh) and Laura Rattray.

Enter the TLW Edith Wharton writing competition! Details available here.

This is a relaxed, informal event. You can join us for part of the workshop or for the whole afternoon. We’ll be posting a schedule a little nearer the event date, but in the meantime if you have any questions, send them our way. We look forward to seeing you there!

Transatlantic Literary Women: Series 2 Launch

The launch night will be on Tuesday 19 September, from 5.15 – 7pm, at Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

As promised, we’re on our way back! We’ve been busy prepping events for the second season of the Transatlantic Literary Women series and very much hope you’ll join us.

In 2016/17 we held a total of eleven events, from bookclubs to talks, workshops, creative writing events and our summer symposium with speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. We teamed up with organisations across Glasgow, including the fabulous Scottish Writers’ Centre, Northlight Heritage and Glasgow Women’s Library. We even headed into the trenches for our Transatlantic Women and War Day at Pollok Park! Many thanks again to those who supported the first season. Details of our events are available on this website and via our Twitter account @atlantlitwomen, where you can also listen to podcasts of symposium talks, recorded by the brilliant Jamie Loggie and Mark Cunningham.

We’re all back (Laura, Marine, Louisa and Saskia), along with two new members of the team: Kari Sund and Sarah Thomson. Welcome! Read about Sarah and Kari here and here.

Here are the details for our first event:

TLW Season Two Launch and Talk. Tuesday 19 September 5-15-7. Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

Join us for this friendly, social event: our season two launch AND a great talk! Wine, soft drinks and snacks available, plus thirty free copies of our bookclub choice, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to give away. And if this isn’t enough, we’re delighted to be welcoming Latinx expert Dr Eilidh Hall to give a talk ‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism.’ We look forward to seeing you!

‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism’ with Dr Eilidh A B Hall.

For many people in Latinx communities in the US, bi- or multilingualism is a part of everyday life. Simply put, Spanglish is a dynamic form of language made up of a conglomeration of Spanish and English dialects. And yet, to some, this is a threat to an ‘American’ culture that historically, and to this day, denies diversity and cultural complexity. This talk explores how, in an environment of intense hostility against people of Latinx heritage, Spanglish is used by activist women writers to resist the colonial erasure of their rich and diverse cultures.

Eilidh is a researcher interested in Latinx literatures and cultures. Her work focuses on Chicanx (Mexican American heritage) writings and the ways in which women negotiate their feminisms in patriarchal institutions. She is also co-jefa of The SALSA Collective, an online community for people interested in latinidades across the Americas.

Sandra Cisneros, writer and artist
Ana Castillo, a Mexican-American Chicana writer

For the diaries, our next two events are an Edith Wharton workshop on Wednesday 4 October 2-5pm, and our bookclub is on Tuesday 17 October at 5pm in the Gilchrist postgraduate club (entry open to all). Join us for an evening discussing Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!