Dublin Book Festival Presents ‘Stand Up, Speak Out’

Dublin Book Festival are delighted to be partnering with Belfast Book Festival for an important event with authors Sarah Grace and Mia Döring. Sexual violence is a subject that has long been mistreated by the media and public opinion, often at the expense of the women who have suffered from it. Both Sarah Grace and Mia Döring have first hand experience of sexual violence. For the first time they will sit down together with activist and academic Monica McWilliams to discuss violence against women along with their own powerful accounts of surviving, healing and thriving.

Taking place on Thursday the 16th June at The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, this event is sure to contain some difficult but ultimately uplifting, affirming elements. It is recommended for ages 16 and over.


Monica McWilliams is an activist, advocate and academic. She served on the management committee of the first Women’s Centre in Belfast and established the Northern Ireland Poverty Lobby. She started the first Women’s Studies courses in Ireland and produced a study of the experience of abused women that influenced the development of policy on domestic violence. She is author of numerous journal articles, essays and reports on family and sexual matters; domestic violence; and human rights in Northern Ireland. A co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, she also took part in the peace talks that culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. She served as a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly for South Belfast between 1998 and 2003.
Mia Döring is a writer and psychotherapist specialising in sexual trauma and is a long time campaigner against male violence, working to shine a light not only on the victims but the perpetrators in the illicit world of prostitution. She lives and works in Dublin and her essays, fiction and articles have been published in Litro MagazineThe BohemythRopes Journal and Huffington Post. Her bestselling memoir Any Girl, ‘a blistering account of the Irish sex trade’, is her first book. #ANYGIRL
Sarah Grace is a solicitor and certified yoga teacher. Of French and Irish nationality, raised in Japan and France, she obtained an LLB degree in Law and French law from University College London and Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas. After surviving a violent sexual assault in 2019 that turned her life upside-down, Sarah publicly called for changes to Ireland’s criminal justice system for other sexual violence survivors, which culminated in her meeting with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee TD and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in March 2021 to discuss legal reforms. In recognition of her work and of the remarkable difference she made in Irish society, Sarah was awarded the Irish Tatler’s Women of the Year Special Recognition Award in 2021. Through her Instagram account @busywarrioryoga, she shares motivational content, tips on healing, and yoga tutorials. She is the author of the bestselling book Ash + Salt, a raw and powerful account of healing and thriving after assault. It has been described as “a phenomenal book” and is not only a personal testimony of survival but a call to action for women everywhere.