Ann Zell came to Northern Ireland from the USA and settled in West Belfast in the 1980s. She helped to spearhead the Word of Mouth Poetry Collective in 1991. This collective gathered together some of the most important women poets of the time to create anthologies of work discussing various themes. Members of the collective met for poetry parties, and also gave readings and commentary in the Linen Hall Library.
Two key collections by Ann Zell are Weathering (1998) and Between Me and All Harm (2005), and she also published work in many leading journals. The themes of motherhood, politics, friendship, and escape feature in her work and combine to offer a complete movement of thought and experience between the reader and author.
Ann Zell was also a committed activist who could frequently be seen at protest marches. She was involved in the feminist, LGBTQ+, and socialist movements and also took part in anti-racist campaigns. Personal observations gave her the opportunity to record everyday life, couples, teenagers, politics, and relationships.
The Linen Hall Library is honoured to hold the Word of Mouth archive in its collections.