In May 2021, Words Ireland commissioned a survey of Ireland’s writers, illustrators and literature sector workers which was led by Heather Maitland. Over 500 people responded. In October, a presentation of the headline findings took place online, including information on pay, conditions and diversity in Irish literature. This was followed in November by a 3-part webinar series on Diversity and Inclusion in the literature sector. The webinar series examined the barriers to inclusion in the sector and identified possible solutions. It delivered presentations on projects to increase diversity and inclusion in the Irish literature sector and more widely in the arts, and presented and discussed a draft of Words Ireland’s Charter for Inclusion.
The finalised Charter for Inclusion has been adopted by the seven literature organisations which make up Words Ireland: Children’s Books Ireland, Irish Writers Centre, Literature Ireland, Munster Literature Centre, Poetry Ireland, Publishing Ireland and The Stinging Fly.
It is a statement of intent that set out the organisations’ commitment to making the literature sector more inclusive and to sharing learning on an ongoing basis. The Charter is intended to accompany each organisation’s own policies, statements and plans relating to diversity and inclusion, whether those are currently published or in development. Words Ireland is grateful to Noeleen Hartigan for all the work she put into developing the Charter with Words Ireland, and to the Arts Council for funding the survey, webinars and Noeleen and Heather’s work through the Capacity Building Support Scheme.
This Charter has been adopted by the seven literature organisations in Words Ireland. We are Children’s Books Ireland, Irish Writers Centre, Literature Ireland, Munster Literature Centre, Poetry Ireland, Publishing Ireland and The Stinging Fly. We encourage others to use the Charter to progress their own commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion principles.