Monday 26 March 2007

That difficult first novel

Check out this article in the Guardian on writing and getting published your first novel. It's enough to put you off trying. The advances seem to be either up to £12K for a two book deal or silly money if you have ever been on Big Brother or have slept with the prime minister. I haven't done either. Yet. I was wondering if I chopped off my leg it would help. (Did it for Heather Mills.)

Har Har.

There's a competition for first novels from Transworld and the Daily Mail.
a contract and at least 30K and publicity. Any genre. Judged by Joanne Harris and Lee Child. Date is 2nd July. 80 to 150K words.

Sunday 25 March 2007

Strokestown Poetry and other competitions

Well, I didn't win the Strokestown International Poetry Competition again this year. The shortlisted poets are mostly names I don't recognise apart from Mark Granier whose name appears regularly. At this rate I'll never get to the festival. I don't think I write the right sort of poem to win this type of competition. I have been wondering whether to try UK markets and competitions as perhaps my style is more British.

The Francis MacManus short story RTE radio 1 short story list is out too. Again I only recognise one name Geraldine Mills but the stories are usually varied and interesting to listen to. You can listen online.

I was thinking of entering the Dunlavin Festival Poetry competition but they only say 'prizes' so I don't think I'll bother. I want cash and prestige!

Wednesday 21 March 2007

Poetry Workshop


A few days off with St Patrick's weekend and family event.
Back to find an email from Poetry Now festival person saying I was accepted for the Poetry Workshop with Peter Fallon - Founder and editor of The Gallery Press. Hope this proves fruitful.

Got a rejection from the Abbey Theatre for a temporary Education and Outreach Assistant saying they had another candidate with more relevant skills and experience. Am beginning to despair that I may never get the chance to get relevant experience. Even offers of voluntary work are rejected.

Thursday 15 March 2007

Literary Agents in Ireland

Note: Agents and agents' needs change. Please refer to this most recent blog post from November 2010.

There are only a few agents in Ireland. I'm looking for one who deals with UK publishers.

I dealt with this one once when my book wasn't polished:
The Lisa Richards Agency
Founded in 1998
46 Upper Baggot St
Dublin 4
Tel: (01)6603534
Fax: (01)6603545
Contact: Faith O’Grady
Seeks - Writers of Fiction, Non-Fiction,Childrens and Screenplays.
Send synopsis, 2 -3 speciman chapters, cover letter and s.a.e. (essential)
Translation rights handled by The Marsh Agency Ltd.
No reading fee
Authors include June Considine, Tara Heavey,Colm Keena,Martin Malone,Pauline McLynn, Sarah O’Brien,David O’Doherty,Damien Owens,Homan Poetterton,Kevin Rafter,Annie Sparrow
and Hector

The most high profile one (but Jonathan is a bit grumpy when I've met him.)
Jonathan Williams Literary Agency
Rosney Mews
Upper Glenageary Road
Co Dublin
Tel: (01) 2803482
Fax: (01) 2803482
Contact: Jonathan Williams
Founded in 1981. Literary Agency, evaluating, editing, rewriting, proof reading, consultancy; experience in Canada as well as Ireland. General fiction and non-fiction, preferably by Irish authors (home 10%) Will suggest revision; no reading fee unless a fast decision is required. Return postage appreciated (No British stamps-please use IRCs).
Sub-agents in Italy, Spain, Denmark, Holland, France and Japan.

This is the one recommended to me by someone I met recently. Ger represents a few woman's fiction authors, usually Poolbeg published.
The Book Bureau
7 Duncairn Avenue
Co Wicklow
Tel: (01) 2764996
Fax: (01) 2764834
Contact: Geraldine Nichol
Full-length MSS (home 100%, USA 15%,translation 20%) Fiction preferred -thrillers, Irish novels, Literary fiction,women’s novels and general commercial. No horror,science fiction,children’s or Poetry.Strong editorial support.
No reading fee. Preliminary letter,synopsis and 3 sample chapters.
Return postage essential. Works with agents overseas.

The big name one who launched Cecilia Ahearn:
Marianne Gunne-O’Connor
Suite 17 Morrison Chambers
32 Nassau Street
Dublin 2
Tel: (01) 6779100
Commercial and literary fiction, non-fiction, biography, children's fiction (UK 15%, overseas 20%, film/TV 20%). Send preliminary letter plus half-page synopsis and first 50pp. Translation rights handled by Vicki Satlow Literary Agency, Milan. Authors: Cecelia Ahern, Chris Binchy, Ken Bruen, Claudia Carroll, Julie Dam, Noelle Harrison, Claire Kilroy, Patrick McCabe, Mike McCormack, Paddy McMahon, Anita Notaro, Morag Prunty, Naill Williams. Founded 1996.

One I hadn't heard of:
Font International
45 Victoria Road
Dublin 3
Tel: (01) 8532356
Ita O’Driscoll
launched in 2003
Commission 15%,Overseas 20%.
Experienced published writers only. Adult fiction,non-fiction. (No childrens,drama,sci-fi, erotic,technical or poetry.) Unsolicited manuscripts will be returned unopened. Cover letter,word count,SAE for return.

Another new one:
Causeway Literary Agency
24 East Claremont Street,
Edinburgh EH7 4JP
PO Box 833,
Co. Kildare
Tel No: 0131 556 2006 / 3534 586 9801

The Causeway Literary Agency is a new Scottish and Irish agency with a particular interest in writing by Irish and Scottish authors in the commercial or literary genre. It is looking for new and established authors of fiction, including children's, and non-fiction. It is run by Nick Lyth in Edinburgh.

Wednesday 14 March 2007

Channel 4 The play's the thing

I wanted to enter this. They are looking from some writers to do a proposal of a radio play, 15 minutes long. They will work with the short listed authors on the proposed play, I think on TV like they did the the West end play last year sometime. But they are looking for UK residents and UK citizens so I only qualify for one of those.

"any person who resides outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and/or is not at a UK citizen or at all material times a "qualifying person" under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988."

They are looking for a synopsis of about 200-300 words telling the story of the play together with at least one scene in radio drama script format and short character descriptions of approximately 20 words per character and a single paragraph by the Entrant explaining why he/she has chosen the particular idea for his/her Submission.

Tuesday 13 March 2007


Well, I have no money. But reading this article on how much the average writer earns is sobering. I have to hope I'll end up in the top 10%. Figures from the UK Society of Authors.

£907.5m is earned by the 55,000 authors in Britain every year but 50 per cent of the cash goes to 10 % of the authors, meaning that the 5,500 bestselling writers share at least £453.75m of it, giving them an average annual income of £82,500. The other 49,500 authors share the rest, typically earning £4,000.,,2030195,00.html

Maybe there's more money in TV and film.

Monday 12 March 2007

Scottish Slang and dialect

I was changing a play I had from being set in Ireland to being set in Scotland. I used to live near Glasgow so I think I still have an ear for the accent but I needed a refresher so I did some googling. This is the best site I found. Great words I'd forgotten I knew.


used Googleworld to choose the actual, imaginary setting, near Glasgow but referring to Dundee.

Sunday 11 March 2007

Youtube Poetry

Check this out. Animated poetry by Billy Collins (former US Poet Laureate)

More of his poems are on which is a great resource if you are looking for a poem or poet you once knew (reference the title of the animated poem - forgetfulness)

Saturday 10 March 2007

Bebo/ Guardian short story Competition

Uploaded a short story, less than 1,000 words, for this online competition from the Guardian online site. It's a few years old, started from an Arvon course I went on with Susan Elderkin and Philip Henshaw. The premise is two people having a conversation where the basis is that one person says or wants to say "I don't love you." It's a very good trigger for a story - conflict, characters, relationships etc. Try it.

Had to set up a bebo page which was interesting but haven't got the patience to make it as well populated as my son's. Is it right to be able to spy on your offspring's bebo pages? Anyway, if I get selected, please vote for me in the final, however it works.

Friday 9 March 2007

Poetry Ireland Introductions

Went to my monthly writers' group and went through my short story for Seoige and O’Shea. I will update and post out the earlier the better as I expect they will be flooded at the last minute and I don't want to get lost in the rush - assuming they read at least the first page of each one. Getting over 4,500 words without being stodgy is tough for me. I expect they will choose a range of stories for the eventual Poolbeg publication - 14 in all, I believe.

I told the group about my reading in Poetry Ireland Introductions series April 3rd. 6:30 pm which is a little early to get into town if you won't work in town. 5 poets reading.

Be there, it'll be interesting. May be the start of something new. Who knows. The Original Print Gallery near Temple Bar square.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

ChickLit - Miss Write

My mum called me yesterday and told me about a chicklit competition with Waterstones and Cosmopolitan.

3000 words and a synopsis with a nice, likeable warm main character and lots of humour. There are some good tips from Louise Candlish.

Irish Writers' Centre Masterclass

Here's a question. I would like to go on the Irish Writers' Centre Masterclass with Roddy Doyle this weekend but do you know how much it costs? 290 Euro for one day. 10 am. to 4 pm so I guess it's pretty intensive but it's hardly going to be one-on-one is it? Who has that kind of money? What kind of writers are going to be your fellow classmates? It is a selective process, I believe but all the same. Just my opinion.

I've applied for the poetry masterclass as part of Poetry Now. I applied last year too but I never got a confirmation and didn't hear anything back. When I called, they didn't seem to know I'd applied. I blame spamcatchers. Hope I get there this time. The tutors are Jean Valentine and Peter Fallon - editor of Gallery Press, I think. (Writers have to network to survive - same as any other job I guess)

First Poetry Collection


I am working towards my first poetry collection. I have a number of published poems and successes in competitions and the like. But I can't work out how many poems you need to put in your first collection. I know I need a few more but should I aim at 20? 30? 40?

I googled but nothing obvious came up. Any advice?

Once I have that, of course, I need to work out where and how to submit.

Salmon Poetry says they are "not considering any new work at present. We've had to make some scheduling changes because of rising costs."

Dedalus Press says "Due to volume of work received, we are not currently reading new work."

Arrowhead Press says "We are NOT accepting unsolicited submissions at the moment."

Jonathan Cape says "Ideally, any submission should include 30-40 poems;" so maybe that's the answer.

Poetry Ireland website says "If you are planning to approach to a publisher it is preferable to send a small representative sample of your work (eg. the first 8 - 10 poems) with an introductory letter and a brief biographical note. Remember to include an S.A.E. If the publisher is interested in publishing your work they will contact you for a full manuscript. You should allow at least three months for a response."