Friday 30 November 2007


Check this out. Poets on strike. Hilarious!

Feeling low today. My agent hasn't talked or emailed in a month. I am struggling to find time to write. Bits at pieces in stolen time.

I'm thinking about jacking in the contract. It doesn't pay huge and can be boring. It can be interesting too and I enjoy the contact. I don't use much of my terrific brain capacity though or skills built up over years in multi-nationals. My 15 year old child could do my job. I don't know what to do. Maybe I could try 4 days a week. They turned me down for a permanent job I was well skilled for from a few years ago. Not even interviewed. I'm used to rejections being a writer but when you get a rejection, it's not you personally that's getting rejected but that particular piece of writing. When you are rejected from a job, it's you, the person they are rejecting.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Desert Island Disks or songs to play at my funeral

This one always does it for me. (Shamelessly stolen from another blog)

Also the dying song in La Boheme. My first opera was La Boheme at the Covent Garden Royal Opera House at the proms as a student. I didn't know the opera so didn't know what happened in the end. I was devastated. Devastated and thrilled that I could be devastated by an opera.

Wednesday 28 November 2007

Who won the Patrick Kavanagh?

The 2007 Award was presented to Conor Carville who resides in London. His family orginate from Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan and Keady in Co. Armagh. Dr Carville lectures on Professional and Creative Writing and Irish Studies in St Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.

Second place went to Connie Roberts a native of Tullamore, Co. Offaly who now resides in New York. I don't think she's the same artist who works in Iowa of the photo.

Third place went to Grace Wells from Nine-Mile-House, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
She is the Literature Officer with South Tipperary Art Centre based in Clonmel.

Judges for the 2007 competition were distinguished poets, Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan.

No one I know then. Good luck to the winners and I look forward to seeing their collections out in the near future.

Tuesday 27 November 2007

More blogs

More blogs worth checking out:

Bookeywookey has lots of poetry and opinions.

The Journal of a Writing Wolf a ladywolf who writes and enjoys fantasy.

Moo-Dog The amazing adventures of Terence McDanger.

Tales from the Reading Room

Get On With it blog is wittily written by Karen Clarke, a writer and librarian in England

Lady with a Laptop blogs about lots of writing projects.

In Search of Adam blogs about her new novels.

Chicklit Writer is another Wannabe writer's weekly diary.

Julia Buckley is working on her first novel but has a tendency to proscrastinate and pretend to bake.

The Yorkshire Pudding Club (killer title!) is the blog of a newly published author Milly Johnson.

Nathan Brasford is a US literary agent with Curtis Brown and has lots of interesting information, funnily enough, agents.

Obheal has details about readings and open mics in Cork city. Check it out!

Over the Edge showcases literary events in Galway.

Deconstructive Wasteland is a poet blogger.

Monday 26 November 2007

The People's College short story competition

The People's College is based in Dublin. The writing facilitator is the writer Susan Knight. Ask youself is a 10 Euro entry fee worth a gamble for a possible 25 Euro book token and publication or a possible prize. I don't have any short stories suitable to enter at present as I am concentrating on the novel. The last story I wrote was an adaptation of a chapter, so I wasn't cheating. Actually it was a good character building exercise. (My character, not me!)

Entry Fee: 10 Euro for the first entry, 5 for subsequent.
Prizes:First prize €500, second prize €300 and third prize €200. Runners-up book tokens.
Deadline: 28 Feb 2008
Result: late Spring
Judges: novelist Mary Rose Callaghan
Restrictions: usual stuff, original, unpublished, anonymous, less than 2,500 words.
Contact Details: PEOPLE'S COLLEGE, 32 Parnell Square,Dublin 1. Tel: 01-8735879
Email:, web:

More importantly, who won last year?
First prize of €350 to Alyn Fenn for her story The Saddest Girl in the Whole World
Second prize of €250 to Evelyn Walsh for Taraxacum Officinale
Third prize of €150 to Geraldine Mills for Waiting for the Fall

Unfortunately the winning stories are no longer on the website but I am familair with Geraldine Mills and she's a terrific writer.

All these stories are published in Ink What You Think, the 2007 in-house anthology of the People’s College Creative Writing Workshop.
There were in addition 6 runners-up, who have each received a book token for €25.
Nuala Ní Choncúir for Jackson and Jerusalem
Wes Lee for Advent
Joe McKiernan for The Rain and the Roses
Marie McSweeney for How the Dust Settles
Cathy Sweeney for Secrets
Debbie Thomas for Beyond

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Pieces not accepted by Sunday Miscellany #4

Another Piece not taken by Sunday Miscellany.
Moving in Irish Circles

My grandmother, Dorothy Driscoll was Irish, or that’s what I was always told. She raised her family to be proud of their Irish roots. Rebel songs and sentimental ballads were sung in the house. Intricate yarns were spun when they visited their huge family of relatives in the East End of London. I never met her; she died long before I was born. She married a Kent man before the First World War and raised a family of nine children, the second youngest my mother. Dorothy was a practising catholic but the nearest catholic church was a train ride away in Maidstone. She only went to mass once a month and most of her children were baptised at the local Church of England church.

Family legend said the Driscolls came from Cork. They emigrated to England sometime after the famine and found work digging the London underground as Navvies. I think of them when I’m in London and descend on those long escalators to the Piccadilly line, the deepest and first to be dug.

Her Irish roots must have been in her mind when my mother travelled with her future husband and his parents to West Cork in 1959. They ambled in a horse-drawn caravan and along the narrow roads, stopping in the small towns. They visited pubs and stone circles and set up camp in the fields. My parents bought their engagement ring in a jeweller’s shop in Bandon. My grandmother, though raised Church of England, dabbled with the catholic church and, ever the chameleon, started to speak with a stage Irish brogue which mortified my mother and probably confused or amused the locals. She insisted on stopping to genuflect at every roadside shrine, holy well and grotto. This was did not slow them down as they were only travelling at four miles an hour.

The photos they took on their little box Brownie show a different world to today. One picture in particular intrigued me when I was young. It was a donkey cart with milk churns parked outside a pub in a small town called Rosscarbery. I considered it the absolute dark ages.

When I met and married a young, brown-eyed engineer from that town in 1988, we thought the family had come full circle. The photos were brought to Ireland to show the new in-laws and my parents visited West Cork for the second time. We found the original jeweller’s shop in Bandon and showed them the ring. We drank in the same pub in the same square in Rosscarbery and talked about coincidences. My mother recalled watching a picture show in the parish hall, filmed around the locality. Whenever somebody in the audience came on the screen, they stood up and took a bow. My father-in-law had seen it many times. It used to be shown every summer. I wonder where that film is now.

Recently I became interested in genealogy, an art, not a science as I discovered. I traced my grandmother Dorothy Driscoll’s birth not to Ireland but to West Ham in Essex on the east side of London. I was disappointed. I could no longer claim to be available for the Irish football team. Dorothy’s mother, Emma, whom my aunt swore spoke with a strong Irish accent, turned out to come from Burton on Trent. Believe me, a Staffordshire accent is as far removed from the West Cork accent of my in-laws as a glass of Guinness is from Burton ale. It’s still the same language but that’s about it.

Emma Driscoll was a fervent mass-goer but she was baptised and raised Church of England. Dabbling with the church seems to run in both sides of my family.
Struggling through old census forms and birth certificates, deciphering the faded scrawls from more than a century ago, I pieced together the generations of Driscolls moving around the East End. Emma’s husband, my Great Grandfather was Edward Driscoll, a gas stoker born in West Ham; his father Edward senior, a shoemaker, born in Ireland. I struck lucky using a marriage certificate and the 1861 census in Bexley Heath in Kent. Edward Driscoll was born around 1837 in Ardfield, county Cork, only 4 miles from Rosscarbery. Another Irish family circle has been completed.

Monday 19 November 2007

Greetings Cards?

This one from my new buddy, Vanessa.
British company Wishing Well are looking for submissions for their wide range of cards. As usual, do your research and check their range before sending something. They do get a lot of submissions so be patient, but if they like you they will get in touch and agree a fee.

They say:
We buy a wide selection of wording for our cards including jokes, complimentary or cheeky humorous verse, sentimental and inspirational verses. Jokes ideally are hilariously funny with great sendability, covering the regular old favourite subjects to more topical matters.

Verses can be rhyme or prose but need to flow well and be easily readable first time. They can be anything from 4-24 lines but the majority we use are 8, 12 or 16 lines. Try not to be too specific, it needs to sound personal but in reality must have a wide appeal.

Sunday 18 November 2007

Submit now, not in January

Bits and pieces. I've reached 4,000 hits on the blog. Wow. I wonder how many stopped to read?

I did a poetry reading last night in a church, which was interesting. Reading from the pulpit with a candle and great acoustics. I read 3 poems, a mix of styles finishing on a blinder, mad one. The other readers were a mixed bag, some funny, some fiction, some intense, some self-referential. One great shape poem, a mirror poem similar to a couple i;ve read before by Julia Copus, which are great. I'll have to experiment with that when I get some time.

Time. it's all about time. Working full time leaves little time over. I'd like to take some days over Christmas but it seems selfish to lock myself away from the family and festive goings on. But when else is there?

By the way, read the line above. Submit your stuff now. Apparently there is often a lull coming up to Christmas and then a glut after Christmas when everyone goes through their new year resolutions and Starts Sending Out at last. Good thinking.

Saturday 17 November 2007

Old Anthologies - Giving up?

I was reading some old anthologies the other day and when reading through the contributers' names I was surprised to realise how few I recognised.
The first anthology was from 1993.
The only names I recognised were Pat Boran, Mark Roper, Sheila O'Hagan, Ted McNulty who died in 1998, Mario Luzi who died in 2005 and the editors. What's happened to all the rest? Have they given up writing? Are they still scribbling? Have they all died? What's happened to Janet Shepperson, Robert Drake, Fay Marshall, Mariana Marin, Kitty Fitzgerald, Fabio Doplicher, Howard Wright, Janessa Fox-Roberts, Simion D, John Siberry, Sabine Wichert, Franco Fortini, Augustin Ioan, Geraldine Mulgrew.
OK, so some of the names are still in the game but what I mean here is that I'm in this type of anthology now. What I don't want in 5years time is for someone to be flicking through the dusty book and asking themselves what happened to me.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Strokestown Poetry

The well known, well regarded annual Strokestown poetry competition is now open for entries.
Usual rules except this is for slightly longer poems - unpublished poem in English not exceeding 70 lines.
Prizes of €4,000, €2000 and €1000. In addition there will be up to 7 commended poets
who will be invited to read at the festival for a reading fee and travelling expenses totalling €450.
Judges: George Szirtes, Peter Fallon, Vona Groarke

There's a similar one for Irish or Scots Gaelic.

Also backhanders of €500, €100, €80 and various other sums will be passed under the table in brown envelopes, for light, witty satirical verse on the subject of Irish politics, or other burning topical and/or social issues of the day.
Judge: Margaret Hickey

Entry fee €5 (or £4 sterling, or $5) per poem.
Address: Poetry Festival Office, Strokestown, County Roscommon
All poems must be the unpublished, original work of a living author. Poems must not have been previously published, self-published or published on a website or broadcast. (which is why I don't recommend publishing poems on blogs etc)

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Cork Literary Review/Bradshaw Books Poetry Collection Competition

OK, I can't read this. It says:

Cork Literary Review and Bradshaw books are running a competition for a poetry collection, 25-35 poems, anonymously submitted, unpublished as a collection,
Put your contact details on a separate piece of paper.
Deadline 31 March 2008
Fee: 35 Euro. Cheques made payable to Cork Women's Poetry Circle Ltd
Editors: Sheila O'Hagan, Eugene O'Connell, John W Sexton

Cork Literary Review
Poetry Manuscript Competition
Bradshaw Books
c/o Cork Arts Theatre
Carroll's Quay

021 450 9274

Now 35 Euro is quite steep for an entry fee. And in my personal opinion, Cork/Munster based poets are more favourably viewed. The CorkLit scene is known for being pretty insular.

Bradshaw books. Who have they published. Chuck Kruger. Geraldine Mills Tony O'Dwyer, Michael McCarthy , Roderick Ford, John W Sexton, Tommy Frank O'Connor etc etc

I can't seem to find out if this ran last year, who won.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

Arts Council of England, South West poetry competition

Here are details of a free competition being run by The Arts Council of England, South West. It's free. What have you got to lose?

Prize: £500 cash. Winning poem published on the Arts Council website.

Subject: Food, nature or the South West and should be no longer than 250 words.
Judges: Patricia Oxley, editor of poetry journal Acumen, Sally Crabtree from TipofyourTongue in Penzance, and Arts Council England, South West's literature officer Kate Offord.
Deadline:30th November 2008.

Enter online at

Monday 12 November 2007

RTE Arts Show

Since the demise of the rather good Rattlebag on RTE Radio 1, and the failure of the last night 11th Hour radio show, put down to lousy scheduling, we now have a new one.

RTÉ Radio 1's new dedicated arts' programme, The Arts Show, will be broadcast for the first time on Monday, 5th November. The broadaster is playwright Vincent Woods and it's on for an hour each weekday evening from 8pm.

In the first few weeks, The Arts Show will be looking at the writings of Kate O'Brien and Philip Roth, the life of the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev and the poetry of Seán Ó Ríordáin. Author Robert Harris will be discussing his favourite book and Vincent will be talking to writer Ken Follet and to Sandra Smith, translator of the novels of Irene Nemirovsky.

So quite a lot of literary stuff, worth tuning in. They have it available online too.

The reviews have been pretty dreary. Apparently the programme is not allowed the scope of, say, Front Row on BBC Radio 4, which can cover both serious bleeding edge art installations and the latest, shot 'em up blockbuster film. The slots are too long and too turgid. Give them a while to find their feet. Last week had two slots I was very interested in. Eilis Ni Dhuibhne's new novel, 'Fox, Swallow, Scarecrow' and Red Kettle's new play based on the book 'Riddley Walker' by Russell Hoban' in Waterford. Let's hope it tours.

The production team is:

Sian O'Gorman - - 01 208 2412
Aoife Nic Cormaic - - 01 208 3265
Kevin Brew - - 01 208 2445

To contact the programme email:

Sunday 11 November 2007

Pieces not accepted by Sunday Miscellany #3

Another piece not taken by Sunday Miscellany. Checkpoint Charlie.

Before The Wall came down, I travelled to Berlin with my father. We wanted a European adventure together to get to know each other as adults. We drove from Holland where I lived at the time and spent the night in Hannover near the East-West border crossing. We were directed to stay on the autobahn, no stopping, no turning off until we got to West Berlin. My dad had, how shall I put it, an unreliable bladder in the mornings. He was petrified he would be caught short on the 2 hour journey and be shot by the roadside in an embarrassing position. He must have gone 17 times between getting up and leaving our guesthouse and once more at the border crossing.

The conversation as we buzzed down the concrete autobahn was a little stilted, exploring our newly modified relationship. This was the longest we’d been together without my mother or someone else to dilute the company but we got to West Berlin without incident. The next day, after a hearty Bundesrepublik breakfast, we walked down to The Wall. It was covered from top to bottom with paintings, heartfelt but sometimes banal verses and general ‘Gerhard wos ‘ere’ type graffiti.

Checkpoint Charlie was a collection of dour and unwelcoming reinforced prefabs. The route through the compound was zigzagged, designed so you couldn’t see what was round each corner. There were mysterious rooms off to the side and unsmiling soldiers in fur hats watching us. They made us wait a long time while they wrote in laborious longhand every last detail from our passports in a huge ledger. They checked each page for visas and other indications of our despicable western bourgeoisie. Eventually we were satisfactorily processed and after changing our 25 Bundesrepublik Deutchmarks to 25 Deutsche Demokratische Marks, we were let out into the cold spring day. In the West, the trees were starting to green and bulbs to poke shoots above the soil but in East Berlin, all was still in hibernation as if somehow the seasons were affected by the political border.

We went first to the Pergamon museum and gorged ourselves on the fabulous blue-tiled gateways and enormous statues liberated from Babylon in the twenties. Then we went for lunch in a municipal canteen. There was no gorging here. The only thing on offer was a stodgy stew and dumplings with unidentifiable grey meat and no flavour. It was served by scary, scowling ladies of the same girth from shoulder to knee. It was very cheap. We were left with about twenty-two marks each to squander.

We wandered down the wide Unten dem Linden avenue and stared at the Brandenburg Gate. The chariot atop faced East and flew the East German flag. The Wall from this side was an unapproachable double barrier of unblemished concrete, in contrast to the colourful Western side.

We tried to spend some more of our money in a department store. The pickings were slim. My dad pointed out the contrast to the store we had visited on the Western side. Kaufhaus or KaDeWe as it was known was opulent beyond anything we knew. They had American jeans, a rainbow of tropical fruit and an oyster and champagne bar. In the East the offerings were drab and utilitarian. I bought nutcrackers and some paper flags of Eastern block countries. I hung them in my living room until long after every flag had become obsolete, every flag but Cuba. My dad bought a leaden loaf of bread and a bar of communist chocolate that tasted like brown Shredded Wheat.
We still had 20 DMarks left after this shopping spree. A grey man in a grey raincoat approached us and offered to change some more. So this was what the black market looked like. We declined.

That left beer. This was good and strong but, alas, also very cheap. If we were to spend our remaining dosh on drink we would be swimming back to the West. We made a good effort however and staggered arm in arm through the tank barriers of Checkpoint Charlie before it closed for the night, father and daughter, East meets West, our own wall tumbling between us like a portent for the future.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Willesden Sunset - short stories

I wonder how easy it is to run your own writing contest? Lots have judges I've never heard of. And usually the judges only get a few entries, the rest are filtered by the unnamed organisers. A grant application, a few emails to writing newletters and website, a thoughful name and Bob's your uncle. Poetry would be easier, less reading.

The humorous website Willesden Herald is looking for short stories of an irreverent nature and offering £5000 to the winner. Word count is only limited to the 'highly variable attention span of our editorial team'. Winner, 9 runners up and 4 commendeds will be published in a new anthology (optional.) Entry is free. Judge Zadie Smith.

Friday 9 November 2007

Longford Writers Groups Festival

Writers Group of the Year Award 2008

One of my writers' groups entered this last year (I'm greedy and have two) and we got highly recommended. A nice plaque. We meet in a posh hotel every month so don't have anywhere to put it. We were considering asking the hotel if they would be interested in putting it on the wall but it would classh with the modern Irish Art currently displayed.
The competition was a good focus though on where we are going as a group. Worth considering.

deadline: 14 December 2007

As part of the second National Writers Group Festival, the Longford Arts Office is pleased to invite entries for the Writers Group of the Year Award 2008. This award is open to writers groups in Ireland (including Northern Ireland)and is unique in that the places are decided not only by the quality of the writing submitted, but also the successful functioning of the group. The adjudication panel is Jean O'Brien, Leo Cullen, Martina Devlin and Kevin Higgins.

I wonder what successful functioning of the group means?

"Women with clean houses do not have finished books." - Joy Held

Thursday 8 November 2007

News from Dublin City Libraries

I sent an email to Dublin City Libraries to say thanks for organising the great Writers' Day and they sent back the following.

We are planning to do another one next year - most likely the first Saturday in November. You may be interested in another couple of events we are planning - a session on crime writing and another on writing for children. These will be in Dublin but in association with the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry. The crime one will be at the end of January & the children's one in mid February. Dates are not finalised but keep an eye on our website as we will post the events there as soon as they are confirmed.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

Authors and Artists Introductory Series 7

Why not go along and support your local writers and artists?

Thursday 8 November @ 8.00pm

Edited by poets Heather Brett and Noel Monaghan, Windows Publications will launch 15 years of the anthology and workshop with an Authors and Artists Introductory Series 7.
The Norman Villa Gallery, Salthill, Galway
T: 091 533594 E:

Tuesday 20th November @ 6:30pm

Poetry Ireland in association with Windows Publications presents the Dublin launch of Authors and Artists Introductory Series 7 showcasing the work of emerging (there's that word again!) poets, fiction writers and visual artists with Wendy Mooney, Phil Young, Tom Conaty, Kate Dempsey, Michelle O'Sullivan and Aoife Casby.
Unitarian Church (aka Damer Hall) 112 St Stephen's Green West, Dublin 2

Thursday 22nd November @ 6:30pm
Poetry Ireland and Dedelas Press presents the launch of Snow Negatives the first collection by Enda Coyle-Greene who won the Patrick Kavanagh award in 2006. Introduced by Mary O'Donnell
Damer Hall (aka Unitarian Church) 112 St Stephen's Green West, Dublin 2

Lots more poetry events on the Poetry Ireland link.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

William Trevor Short Story Competition

Short story competition - very expensive. I wonder how many entries they get and whether it is a money-making thing or what?

1. Maximum of 3,000 words.
2. Entry fee € 20.00 per entry. Bank Drafts only should be made payable to William Trevor Short Story Competition.
3. Entries must not have been previously published.
4. Anonymous. : please use the official entry form that can be downloaded from
5. Typed using double spacing, two copies.
6. Awards will only be made where a satisfactory standard is achieved. (interesting)
The 6 finalists will be notified by letter/email on or before 30th April 2008.
The prizes will be presented at a ceremony, in Mitchelstown, on Saturday 24th May 2008.
The adjudicator is William Trevor.
Closing Date Friday 30th November 2007
Entries by post only to: William Trevor Short Story Competition, 37 Upper Cork Street, Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland.
1st Prize: €2,500 plus laptop computer

Monday 5 November 2007

From Inspiration to Publication. A writers day with Dublin City Libraries

Good writers day with Font International literary Agents and Dublin City libraries. Hope they do it again next year with new faces.

• Lia Mills, the author talked about journaling.
• Karen Gillece talked about keeping a diary. She wrote My Glass Heart and left a comment on my blog earlier so it was great to meet her in the flesh. A lovely person.
• Aine McCarthy talked about F-R-E-E writing as in the morning pages idea.
• Garbhan Downey, an editor from Derry, talked about writing non-fiction articles for newspapers mainly. The first thing he thinks of when reading a submission is whether it will land him in court. Look for a gap in the coverage. Have perfect spelling and grammar. Remember the rule, ‘Nobody ever reads the second paragraph,’ so spend 50% of your time on the first paragraph and the headline. Make it something to be enjoyed rather than endured.
• Susan Knight talked about the short story and plugged the magazine Mslexia which I adore. ‘Read like a Thief’
• Dominic Taylor from the Whitehouse Poets Revival talked about Blogging as a means of self-promotion and marketing.
• Orna Ross (another hat of Aine McCarthy) talked about the 7 stages of writing the novel.
o Preparation. Free writing, drifting ideas and images, chasing an idea around the page. Reject nothing at this stage. Read.
o Planning. Keep your mind open but start to focus. What is your book going to do? Slot the writing into your daily life. Make time for it. Keep reading.
o Germination. Let ideas take root. Think or scenes, characters, setting, phrases, set pieces, time, places. Read books written the way your want to write.
o Working. This is when you start writing. Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. 1st draft only so keep your inner critic boxed away. Finish what you start then leave it.
o Deepening. Ask yourself: What else can I say about this? What else would my character feel or do here? What else might I have missed? Why does this scene happen? Does it move the story along? Is this really how it was? Is it clear? Are there connections?
o Shape and Order. Think of the reader. Is it clear? What is the structure of this book? Begin to let it go.
o Completion. Edit, polish, copyedit, fine tune.
• Paul Kilduff talked about non-fiction. Look out for his book about cheap airlines, 'Ruinair' next year.
o Take first steps. Get writing
o Be clear about your subject matter
o Be passionate if not obsessed about your topic
o Demonstrate expertise and credibility
o Read in your genre. Can you do better?
o Read about writing
o Write non-fiction as if it is fiction. Have story, characters. Show don’t tell.
o Know the point of your book
o Be commercial
o Be fashionable
• Mia Gallagher, the author, did some fiction writing exercises (which didn’t work so well in such a large group.) An interesting exercise to write a 3 sentence story using words that all start with the same letter. I had E. It was a stretch!
• Ita O’Driscoll from Font International Agency talked about an agents’ job.
• Patricia Deevy from Penguin Ireland talked about a publisher’s job. She hasn't bought a book for over a year. Why are manuscripts rejected?
o Writing that isn’t good enough/doesn’t stand out (for the right reasons) The writer’s voice isn’t coming through or there isn’t a Unique Selling Point.
o The writing is lovely but there’s no story or the story runs out before the book does.
o It’s a lovely story but the writer can’t write.
o The book/writer is not promotable or credible.
o A gut instinct says there’s something off. There’s passion missing, needs authenticity and conviction.
• Eoin McHugh talked about publishers/book buyers and the commercial aspects or book placement which was sobering.

Sunday 4 November 2007

Short Story and poetry outlets in Ireland

I was thinking about the Poetry Ireland introductions series that is looking for poets with an established body of work in recognised magazines. They don't specify which magazines to consider. Now there are more poetry outlets in Ireland than short stories. The best list is from Poetry Ireland.

Short Stories
There are very few, fewer pay. There are competitions from time to time of varying degrees of recognition and with varying styles. If at all possible check back copies of the magazine or competition to see what type of story they take. A story that fits in to The Stinging Fly would be unlikely to be taken by The People's Friend. I have an earlier entry about 'Women's Magazines' short stories.

Sunday Tribune. Once a month, the first Sunday of the month. Ciaran Carty choses a story 2,500 words or under. All 12 entries are put forward the following year for a Hennessey Award. Fairly literary, a mixed bag, can be funny or urban or rural, or glum, modern or traditional. Ciaran Carty, Sunday Tribune, 15 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

Crannog magazine looks for prose as well as poetry. < 2,000 words.

Cork Literary Review. The details for this are vague. Most of the online information is out of date. Cork-centric but some great writing.
Same for Southword, also out of Cork. Both published by Tigh Fili/Bradshaw Books. Looks like they accept submissions at the start of the year.

Irish Pages from Belfast is a bit high-falutin' for my taste.

Stinging Fly has a regular magazine for which they seek admissions of prose and poetry, Jan-Mar only. They also have a 2008 anthology for which they are seeking submission between now and 14th December 2007.
Urban, risky writing does well.

is an online magazine out of Galway Arts Centre. The deadline for the January-March 2008 edition is Friday 16 November 2007. The maximum length for prose is 2000 words and 75 lines in total for poetry. Call me old fashioned but I prefer my journals on paper.

Prestigious Competitions include
The Cork based Sean O'Faolain short story competition where the winners are published in Southword.
The RTE Francis MacManus Short story award which looks for submissions of short stories for Radio every October. Free to enter.
There's also the Fish, which I don't rate highly though others love. It's expensive.
And the Molly Keane from Waterford, although these stories are never published, just win some money.

Otherwise, go to the UK or USA. That's all I can think of. Have I missed something?

Thursday 1 November 2007

Feile Filiochta Poetry Competition

Competition Rules
Poem(s) accepted by EMAIL ONLY to
There is no entry fee.
Attach entry form (found on the website) and poem(s) separately to the same email.
Write your name on the entry form only, not on the poem.
Please include the title of the poem(s) on top of each page.
Entrants may submit up to 4 poems in each language category in their age group.
In the junior categories entrants must be under 12 or under 17 on the closing date of the competition.
Poems must not have been published prior to entering the competition and should not appear in print, on a website, self-published or broadcast in any form before announcement of competition results. They must be the original work of the author.
The list of prizewinners and winning poems will appear on the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries website in early March 2008. Winners will be personally notified by February 2008.
Entry forms available online in Gaelige, English, Deutsch, Français, Italiano, Cymraeg, Espãnol, Gàidhlig na hAlbann, Svenska and Polski.