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: The essays included in this volume mostly originate from the conference organised by the editors at Glasgow Women's Library in March 2012. Language, multilingual narratives and interaction between cultures and languages were key themes of the conference. Interdisciplinary and international, the conference, like this edited volume, brought together specialists working in a range of fields and provided an opportunity for interaction between historians, sociologists, scientists and literary scholars, as well as between theoreticians and practitioners, academics and non-academics. In spite of these many different approaches, all the papers presented here transcend the idea of 'national identity' as an epic heritage or destiny, both linguistic and literary, and suggest a much more fluid definition of citizenship. Working from this perspective and within this general framework, both the editors and the contributors of this volume encourage a broader discussion on women's narratives of displacement that compels us to rethink the notions of 'mother tongue' and 'native speaker' and raises philosophical questions about linguistic ownership; in other words, whether a language is owned, appropriated imposed or rejected and how women experience and express their sense of 'permanent strangeness'.