Thursday 30 July 2009

Time Out

I'm taking a few days off. See you soon. Write well.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Words of Ruth

There's a really interesting judge's report from Ruth Padel on the Mslexia website about the entries from the Poetry Competition. (Did I win? Did I 'eck as like)

One thing she mentions is to look again at the treacherous adverbs and adjectives and think what the poem would be like without it. (Same applies to fiction and non-fiction I suggest) I'm off to frisk my entries.

She also mentions over reliance on short lines. I put my hand up for this one.

Note: none of the winners were written to form. Again.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Cinnamon Press Microfiction Submissions

What's the difference between flash fiction, micro fiction and short stories?

Cinnamon Press is looking for pieces of microfiction - short short fiction or flash fiction, and pieces of prose poetry that tell a story in under 600 words.

Deadline: 15 Aug 2009
Fee: can't find any mention of a fee
Prize: Published in anthology (see fee)

You may submit as many pieces as you wish, and those selected will appear in a new Cinnamon microfiction and prose anthology to be published in late 2010, co-edited by Holly Howitt and Jan Fortune-Wood.
Submission Guidelines:
- Each piece must be no longer than 600 words. There is no minimum length.
- Pieces can be on any subject and you may send several pieces, but please submit them as a single Word attachment using a .doc or .rtf format
- Submit pieces to both Holly Howitt and Jan Fortune-Wood with the words Microfiction Anthology in the subject line.
- In the body of the e-mail please type your name and location.

Monday 27 July 2009

What do you think of online Poetry Journals

Southword has gone exclusively online. I think it's a terrible idea. It lumps it together with many many other journals whose reputation and choice of published pieces range from substandard to highly questionable through dire, woegeous and pathetic.

And who reads online journals anyway? Not very many poets. Only those who waste valuable writing time surfing.

I had a virtual flick through it and I know I'm not going to read them all. It's much easier to stop reading a webpage than a book. A book sits on the floor, table, in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen until you either shelve it or pick it up and continue to read it. As for a webpage, you have to decide to go back to it deliberately.

Are the writers paid? I don't think so. Update - they are paid in Southword. How does their cashflow work then? Advertising?

Did they select my poem? No (!) I think I would have withdrawn anyway.

Having said all this, there's a quality list of poets ...

What do you think?

Sunday 26 July 2009

The SHOp

SO I'm in the summer 2009 issue of the Shop. (Please buy one, they're struggling for funds. Actually it doesn't show up on the website yet so you can get this as BREAKING NEWS.

Anyway, they noted that they received few submissions of poems on dark but important matters such as terrorism, torture, political corruption, slavery, child labour, people trafficking, denial of women's rights (surely loads of those?) religious persecution.

They had an "abundant response"

The trouble is, mine's included and that's not what it's about. My poem is reportage from a lady I knew, of where she put the blame for the Irish tendency to swear a lot. But if you read my poem alongside some of the others, you could interpret it as agreeing with her. And it is all the fault of the squaddies. I don't. That's the point.

Other poets included are:

Gerald Dawe, Eva Bourke, Paddy Bushe, Harry Clifton, Derek Mahon, Gabriel Rosenstock, Matthew Sweeney and lots of names unfamiliar to me for now.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Best Beach Books

NPR , National Public Radio, slightly higher brow than Radio 4 I'd say, via Nathan Branford literary Agent are collating the best beach books ever. With a US bias but no harm there. The criteria are for a good read that takes you out of your environment, keeps you turning pages, doesn't disintegrate if you drop it in the pool, has handy ridges for collecting sand and is both olive oil and sun cream factor 40 proof. And fiction only so one of my favourite's Bill Bryson has to be left behind at home, waving sadly out of the window as we drive away.

You can vote for 10 of the 100 shortlist at NPR. The results are shown 29th July.

What's on your list?
What's on your list that's not on their list?

What about of the top of my head:
Bernard Cornwell, William Boyd, Marian Keyes, David Mitchell, all gripping reads

Friday 24 July 2009

Poetry Divas I

The legend that is the Poetry Divas rides again this summer, not once, not twice but thrice. Too much, I hear you cry. But no. You can never get too much of a Poetry Diva. Plus we're slightly different every appearance, never the same twice, let alone thrice, that's us.

Think Poetry.
Think Performance.
Think Sequins and Wellies.

Where: Castlepaooza Festival, Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Co Offaly. Nominated for thebest European Festival 2008, no mean feat.

When: August 1st and 2nd, Bank Holiday Weekend

Tickets: a paltry 89 Euro, camping included.

Supporting Acts for the Poetry Divas include: Rain Forest Day Spa, Rocky Horror Picture Show.
* 8ball
* Angiel Pier
* Channel One
* Dark Room Notes
* David Kitt
* Glint
* Land Lovers
* Lauren Guillery
* Le Galaxie
* Nell Bryden
* Noise Control
* Not Squares
* Patrick Kelleher
* Project Jenny Project Jan
* Robotnik
* Scribble Sound Soundsystem
* Skibunny
* The Followers of Otis
* The Hot Sprockets
* The Lost Brothers
* The Lowly Knights
* The Spikes
* Toy Horses
* Ynvgve and the Innocent
* 2025
* DJ Steve Reddy
* DJ Tu-ki

Thursday 23 July 2009

Gerard Manley Hopkins Festival

This Kildare based festival has been running for years. It does have a clique-y whiff about it and GMH is not my favourite poet, not even up there. Although who wouldn't like Manley as a middle name? Really? How cool would that be?

I'm too good to them really. Their website isn't working, the discover Ireland link is the best I could find or this one AND they didn't think to ask me to read. As well known Kildare poet. Imagine! Actually, I'm a little busy that week but anyway.

When: 25 July 2009 - 31 July 2009
Where: Monasterevin, County Kildare,
Contact: Telephone:+353 (0)45 43 3613, Fax:+353 (0)45 43 4648 (does anyone still use Fax?)

XArt Exhibitions: leading Irish Artists including Michael Kane, Benedict Byrne, Eva Kelly, Daniel Lipstein ...Music: Traditional Music and Poetry with Frankie Gavin and Desmond Egan; Classical Music Concert in Baronial Hall, Moore Abbey; Poetry Readings: Salah Niazi (Iraq); Giorgos Chouliaras (Greece); David Axelrod (USA); Vicki Rhomberg (Austria); Enrice Joncosa (Spain); Tomas Salmun (Slovenia); and Irish poets.; Workshops: Creative Writings; Film; Words and Music – Song Writing; Tie Dying and more; Lectures: Patrick Samway (USA); Miho Tagahashi (Japan); Field-trips to Maynooth University, Glasnevin and Emo; Catherine Phillips (UK); Robert Welch (N.I.); Brian Arkins (Ireland); Ciaran O Hare (N.I.); Alan Riach (Scotland) and others.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Yeats International Summer School

Friday 24 July - Saturday 15 August

Head to Sligo.

Reading highlights include:
Monday 27 July
@ 1.10pm a reading by Greg Delanty
Yeats Memorial Building, Sligo. €5

@ 8.30pm a reading by Seamus Heaney
Hawk's Well Theatre, Sligo. €18/€15

How much?!

Tuesday 28 July
@ 8.30pm a reading by Gerald Dawe and Bernard O'Donoghue
Methodist Church, Wine St, Sligo. €10/€8

Wednesday 29 July
@ 8.30pm a reading by Eavan Boland and harpist Claire Roche
Methodist Church, Wine St, Co Sligo. €10/€8

Summer School lecture highlights:
From the 27 -29 July, lectures given by Jonathan Allison (University of Kentucky), Maureen Murphy (Hofstra University), Denis Donoghue (New York University), Helen Vendler (Harvard University), Ronald Schuchard (Emory University) and Colbert Kearney (Univeristy College Cork). Admission to each €5.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Workshop comments

I have run a good few workshops in my time. Commenting on work in workshops where you don't know any of the other people, is a whole other ballgame to commenting on work in an established writers' group where you know each person's quirks/what they can take and who really doesn't take any criticism other than positive. But why go to a workshop or writers' group if all you want to hear is positive praise? surely you should only take Work In Progress that you know can still be improved or you know has a hole in it that you're too close to see.

My most top 12 most frequent workshops comments:

1. Bad punctuation - missing commas change the meaning (see Eats Shoots and Leaves)
2. Bad Grammar - yes it does matter particularly when it affects the meaning. And keep to one tense. Present or past.
3. Spelling. No excuse really with spellchecker.
4. Too many characters in a short story. I have lousy short term memory. Who is who?
5. Characters have similar sounding names: Siobhan, Sinead, Sive and Sorcha should never hang out together.
6. Stilted dialogue. Read it out loud.
7. What's the point? So the man died/is gay/is unhappy. So what?
8. Change of Point Of View in mid story. You need really good reason to change from Siobhan's to Sinead's POV and once you've changed, I'd fight like hell not to change it back again or on to Sive's.
9. Lack of Sense of place. Let the readers experience the bedsit/city park/cowfield.
10. Too much descriptive prose. So the sun set. Why does that deserve 2 1/2 paragraphs?
11. DOn't clear your throat. Start the story right in the middle of it.
12. Too long. Cut and cut again. 10%, 20%, 50% even. Leave the reader some room for their imagination.

Anyway, minor leagure rant over. Read these workshop comments from MacSweeney and try and imagine the piece of writing each comment was on.

Monday 20 July 2009

Over The Edge New Writer of the Year

Over The Edge has been advertising this for a while but the deadline's getting near. If you want to read at Over The Edge and get some dosh

Deadline: 3 August 2009

The competition is open to both poets and fiction writers.
Prizes: The best fiction entry will win €300. The best poetry entry will win €300. One of these will then be chosen as the overall winner and will receive an additional €400, giving the author total prize money of €700 and the title Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2009. The 2009 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a Featured Reader at a reading to be scheduled in Galway City Library in Winter 09/10.

Entries should be sent to Over The Edge, New Writer of the Year competition, 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland with an accompanying SAE. Do not put your name on your poem(s) or story. Put your contact details on a separate sheet.

* Although anonymous is a good intention, it's hard I think, not to recognise individual styles in such a small literary community. Local writers will, I suspect, feature highly.

Criteria: Fiction up 3,000 words, 3 poems of up to 40 lines, or one poem of up to one hundred lines.

Fee: one entry €10. Multiple entries is €7.50 per entry e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on.

Fee payable by cheque or money order to Over The Edge.
To take part you must be at least sixteen years old by September 1st 2009 and not have a book published or accepted for publication in that genre. Chapbooks excepted.

Entries must not have been previously published or be currently entered in any other

A longlist will be announced in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009. A shortlist will be announced at the Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, August 27th 2009. The winners will be announced at the Over The Edge reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, September 24th, 2009.

Judge: Patrick Chapman.
He is a poet, fiction-writer and screenwriter. His poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts Press, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). His fifth collection will appear from Salmon in 2010. He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); Burning the Bed (2003), a multi-award-winning film starring Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen; and an audio play, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks (Big Finish, 2007). He lives in Dublin.

For further details contact Over The Edge on 087-6431748 or see

Sunday 19 July 2009

The Stony Thursday Book

I was in this illustrious, Limerick based publication once so I think it's great. And they link in with the Cuisle festival.

The Stony Thursday Book is calling for submissions from local, national and international poets for the next issue which will be published in Limerick, Ireland, as part of Cuisle, Limerick City International Poetry Festival in October 2009.

This year the editor will be Ciaran O’Driscoll.

Deadline: August 10th 2009.

How to submit:

Send no more than 6 poems

When submitting poems, write your name and address on each page.

Send poems by post to :

The Arts Service, Limerick City Council, City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick

Please mark your envelope : The Stony Thursday Book

Or by email :

Telephone : 061 407363 or 061 407421

*Cuisle, Limerick City International Poetry Festival will take place in Limerick from 14th – 17th October.

Saturday 18 July 2009

Guess who's in the Irish Times?

Yes, it's me. No, not the news section with a scary report of a woman gone wild around Ronaldo (although it's not beyond the realms of impossibility) nor in the business section about a woman gone stony broke so her children are looking desparately for work so they can eat (anyone know of a temporary bar staff job or security or general casual labour? There's nothing going that we can find - completely demoralising)

No I'm in the Go section (Travel). Hidden Gems. Buy one today and read it and then write your own, why not?

I've loads more ideas from when I used to travel places. Maybe they'd be interested in a piece about travelling when you've no money...

BTW - they pay. 300 words. Give it a go.

Friday 17 July 2009

NGG Gallery

I was part of the inaugural exhibition. I had great fund with copydex and sparkles creating my illustration (still available for sale. price on demand!)

The No Grants Gallery Creative Writing Exhibition is back by popular demand. Titled The Illustrated Word Exhibition this is a celebration of verbal, visual and performance art showcasing the written word with an artistic eye and the spoken tongue bringing the whole exhibition to life.

The exhibition includes all forms of writing such as poetry, book extracts and lyrics, with a range of works from both established and up-coming writers.

The exhibition will be launched on the 2nd September with a selection of live performances. This will be a collaboration of writers and performers giving the exhibition a voice.

The creative writing exhibition is open to a range of artists. If you are interested in exhibiting or performing please contact Carol Eakins at Temple Bar Cultural Trust

All applicants will be chosen based on their application and a short interview.

Thursday 16 July 2009



This small festival sounds like a good opportunity to have some fun and get good reading experience all in one.

KnockanStockan, a three day camping music and arts festival happening from 24 to 26 July 2009 is now inviting art performers to participate in the Performance Tent, a new addition to the festival this year.

The tent will screen short films and video pieces, and feature performances from dancers, poets, visual artists, comedians and more. KnockanStockan has doubled in size since last year and was awarded Best Small Irish Festival last year. The site is less than an hour's drive from Dublin on the Blessington Lakes surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery.

There is no budget for expenses or artist's fee, however it may be possible to source materials required by performers. For more information about the festival

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Travel Acts of Kindness

Write in 100 words about a time when travelling in a developing country, you experienced an act of kindness. Read some of the entries to get an idea the type of story. Try not avoid saccharine.


Deadline: 22 July 2009
The competition from Global Giving I think is more to raise awareness.

Enter the 'Acts of Kindness' Travel Competition

To enter, simply spend five minutes telling us about an 'Act of Kindness' that you have experienced whilst travelling by adding your story below (in no more than 100 words).

Prizes: A lucky winner will win a trip for two to visit a GlobalGiving project in a country of their choice. 10 runners up will win goody bags containing a selection of prizes including travel gear.

8 out of 10 Brits have experienced an 'Act of Kindness' whilst travelling. Tell us your story below.

Were you lost and someone gave you directions?
Were you invited to a local event or festivity?
Did you receive a gift?
Did your vehicle break down and someone helped you?
Did you receive an impromptu local tour?

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Basil Bunting Poetry Competition

The Inaugural Basil Bunting Poetry Award 2009 sounds very interesting and rich.

This award has been launched to acknowledge and celebrate the life and work of Basil Bunting. He was a leading British modernist poet whose poems have established their place amongst the twentieth century’s best poetry. Bunting’s precise and measured speech in his best known long poem Briggflatts led the critic Cyril Connolly to describe it as ‘the finest long poem to have been published in English since T S Eliot’s Four Quartets'.

First Prize: £1000.00

Second Prize: £500.00

Third Prize: £250.00

Up to three commendations of £75.00 each

Judges: Sean O'Brien, Linda France, Paul Batchelor

Deadline:30 September 2009
Winners will be announced: 10 December 2009
Max 42 lines
Fee: first poem is £7 and for any further poems £3 each.

Monday 13 July 2009

Here we go again - Patrick Kavanagh Award

Just to tell you, there is no point whatsoever anyone else entering this competition year because this award is mine, mine, mine I tell you (demonic laugh)

Prize: €1,000.
Entry fee: €25.

For a first unpublished collection of poems in English. The award is open to poets, born on the island of Ireland, or of Irish nationality, or long term resident in Ireland.

The collection of poems in English must be original and consist of 20 poems. Individual poems should not be more than 40 lines.

Only works that are unpublished or published in a magazine are eligible (as a opposed to what?)

Two typed copies of the collection must be submitted with an entry form.

The Patrick Kavanagh Society reserves the right to arrange with the poet a reading from their award winning poetry at the Annual Kavanagh Commemoration at Inniskeen on November 27, 2009.

Deadline: September 25, 2009.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Oxegen 2009

We went to the Friday as day trippers, mainly because of the great lineup. 100 Euro each for a day compared to 90 Euros for your average concert at The Point (O2) or Croker is a good deal in these recessionary times.

Goffs parking and buses well organised - free sweets too. Not very nice - Randoms. Loads of car parking attendants, security and bar staff. Where do they go to get these temp jobs? My son would kill for that type of work. Anyone tell me?

First pint of Heinie then out of the drizzle and in to the Green Sphere tent to see The Dirty Epics - a good, Irish (light) rock band with a sassy lead singer in a frock that defied gravity and cut her hands with mirror ball cut outs. (Pony and The Cure) Radio Friendly and a good festival band.

The rain was more of a shower now than a drizzle. Then the main stage for The Coronas. Again, a crowd pleaser. And they were obviously having a good time themselves, which is infectious. The lead singer smiled as he sang
and was on the cute side. Note to self for readings. Smile.

Now the rain was actual rain. I put on my poncho which is a bit like wearing a tent. Not a good look but dry. Went to the Heineken Green Bar (they should sponsor me for this. I'd welcome that. I'm a big Heineken fan, me) which was covered over and had a good view of the O2 stage while we sat and sipped The Answer were playing. Apparently they're from Downpatrick but they played like they wished they were from New Jersey or Detroit. Long flowing locks and lots of heavy guitar thrashing. If they were the answer, I quipped (I don't often quip) I wondered what the question was. I missed God is An Astronaut at the Green Spheres stage.

Back for some wishy-washy noodles then to the main stage for James. We had the Millionaires CD in the car for years and know the album inside out. They didn't play anything I recognised. They had a good time with solid music and a bit of manic dancing on stage but didn't rock this audience. The trumpet player was wearing a dress. He was a male trumpet player and quite hairy. Actually he looked pretty cool. This could start a trend. The rain stopped though.

Some jolly nice coffee, a pitstop at the pretty OK festival loos and a very nice falafel and hummous wrap at the vegetarian and vegan stand. Then Lily Allen. She's very funny, very rude and a talented wordsmith. Great fun. The crowd were word perfect even for songs that hadn't been on the radio - too rude. She pointed out her young cousin watching from the sound gantry. The Northerners around me talked a lot though so I couldn't make out everything she said between sets. She did give some tips for the gentlemen on their lovemaking techniques I have to endorse. (The Fear, LDN) Someone kicked a footbal with a banana taped to it. Why? She kicked it back.

Girl in the crowd was very hazy and made everyone nearby twirl. She didn't ask me at first, just the good looking guys (of which there were many) then the good looking girls (also many) then anyone and everyone including me. Was strangely relieved not to be left out.

Then to the Green Spheres tent to see what Mogwai were like. They wre very serious, very loud, staring at their shoelaces while playing. Not a great festival band. Lots of enthusiastic head nodding and not much toe tapping from the audience.

Many dozy teenagers around now, jolly rather than agressive, no fighting that I saw. I did see a sheepish looking man being lead away by 4 garda followed by his girlfriend. No idea what he did but he wasn't putting up any resistance, physical or verbal.

The Script I wasn't expecting much from so we watched from afar, lying down in a field. They were much better than forecast with some great sing a long tunes and a fairly packed crowd. I people watched. Wellies are the thing for all girls and lots of lads. Short shorts and Tropicana coloured legs, clashing colours also de rigeur. And waterproofs.

Overheard from a Cork girl. "When in Rome, drink like the Romans do." Imagine this in a strong Cork city accent.

Escaped to get some wine (not me, driving) then to Snow Patrol. Not top on my list, I was torn between them and Republic of Loose, but they played a terrific set. They had a very responsive audience. They brought two young girls on stage to sing and did lots of 'now you sing' girls first, then the lads. Lads won hands down. I wonder what the make up of the audience is. There were lots of gaggles of girls but also loads of lads with the man buddies. Anyway, Snow Patrol won me over completely. I think they supported U2 so have had lots of practise recently. Chasing Cars was a real stormer. Open Your Eyes and Shut Your Eyes.

They played videos on the main screens between acts. While we were waiting for Blur, they played Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and everyone joined in. Brilliant. Then Billy Jean by Michael Jackson.

Dark now and everyone ready for my main reason for coming. Blur. I've seen them twice before, once in Cork and once at the RDS. Both times absolutely fantastic. I tried not to watch the Glastonbury set on TV so as not to spoil it. Great set. All the best ones. Girls and Boys had the tiring crowd bouncing and hands in the air. Graham Coxon's guitar screaming, heavy heavy bass making my trouser legs vibrate but Damon is the one for me. A real showman, so energetic, leaping about the stage and slightly stoned too.

Lots of the older stuff I didn't know so well, rough around the edges but that's what made it great. Slick has no place at a festival. Super light show. Beetlebum was great and Coffee & TV, always a good 'un. Park Life. The End. Love it. All Join In. Gradually made my way forward for the first encore. A good proportion of the crowd was tiring. Second encore I was at the barrier between the main crowd and the front section with a brilliant view. Song 2 had the crowd leaving the ground and The Universal finished the day. Damon coming down into the crowd, adoring it and they adoring him. A massive, fantastic day. Icing. really, you're spoiling us.

Saturday 11 July 2009


Vair vair funny lyrics, good singing and dancing too. Who said Americans had no sense of humour?
Stolen from

Friday 10 July 2009

Rules from Kurt

Kurt Vonnegut once published a list of rules for writing fiction. This is what he said: Which ones chime with you? Me it's 2 and 3 and I'm going to have to think more 4.

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

He also said, ‘The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.'

From Andrew O'Hagan's interview of M.J.Hyland at the Manchester Review.

Do you think they're all bogus or only partly bogus?

Thursday 9 July 2009

Where have you done it?

Check this out from the Guardian, Ledbury Festival.

Me? On a train, on a plane, in hospital, on a bus, in a car (not driving) nowhere really weird that springs to mind.

Wednesday 8 July 2009

What makes a good movie quote?

The trick is to first think about what well known, well quoted movie lines might be in it and then give yourself points for everyone you get. This could turn into a competitive sport.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

HappenStance Press short story competition

The third short story competition from HappenStance, a Scottish press that's making its presence known. I used to live in Scotland. I wonder would that make them more likely to publish me? I feel a story coming on about Lochs, the Glaswegian railway and rain.

Prizes: £150, £75 and £50
Judge: Janice Galloway
Length: 2,500 words (maximum).
Entry fee: £5.00 per story (£6 online entry).
Deadline: Saturday, August 9th, 2009.

Winners' (possibly also commended) entries will be published in a HappenStance chapbook.
Extracts from winning stories will also be published online.
Each contributor to the STORY chapbook will receive three complimentary copies.
A free tick-box critique will be offered to each entrant if an SAE is enclosed (or by email for online entry).

Monday 6 July 2009

Inspiring Authors

Summed up - write, do it, read and write, persevere.

Sunday 5 July 2009

Writing Advice

Some very good advice on being a writer from Poetry Scotland includes:

Always beat deadlines. If they want it yesterday - send it to them tonight. Utter reliability of the copy arriving, and you will be asked again.

Never write ill of anyone. It will come home to roost.

Think laterally, and act on hunches. Sending things to unlikely sources may pay off, and can only make you friends. Specialist journals may take poems on their
subjects, for instance.

Balance paid work with gains in profile. Magazines that take unpaid poetry may bring you other opportunities.

Paid work and status are not the same. Nearly all payments for poetry come from the government, directly or indirectly. You don't get paid by the readers. You
may be able to earn money for greetings card verses but you wont earn respect from other poets for this. (not sure I agree with this. Other writers will be well aware that sometime you have to do stuff for money)

Turn up at writers events. Be seen.

Don't knock your head on brick walls. If they turn you down three times, go elsewhere.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Stinging Fly Readings

If you want to hear the type of writing that does get accepted for the Stingy Fly, you could go along to one of more of these events. Alas, not me. To hear me, you'll have to go to one of the summer festivals in August, details to be announced when I know them.

The Stinging Fly Summer Readings Series
Irish Writers’ Centre: Three

Admission €5 (which can be used towards the purchase of any Stinging Fly publication)

Irish Writers’ Centre is at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.

Thursday 9 July 7pm:

Launch of Issue 13, the Summer 2009 issue
Readers will include Phillip Cummings, Martin Dyar, Catherine Finn, Máighréad Medbh and Geraldine Mitchell.

Thursday 16 July 7pm:

Readings by Featured Poet Richard W. Halperin (Summer ’09), Alison MacLeod, Adam Marek and 2008 Stinging Fly Prize winner Orlaith O’Sullivan.

Thursday 23 July 7pm:

Reading by Michael J. Farrell, author of the new short story collection, Life in the Universe (Stinging Fly Press, 2009) and the six winners of The Stinging Fly New Work Showcase.

Friday 3 July 2009

Succour Submissions

Succour magazine are now accepting submissions for issue 10. The issue will be entitled The Banal.

For this issue, they’re interested in work that takes the everyday or the commonplace as its subject, considers the nature of boredom, or indeed that questions what we think of as banal. You may also like to consider The Banal as a counterpart to Fantasies (the S/S 2009 issue), in that the fantastical tends to emerge from, or be contained within, the banal.

Submission guidelines here.

Deadline: Friday 21 August

Thursday 2 July 2009

Dromineer Festival

2009 Dromineer Literary Festival poetry and short story competitions.

Prizes: €500 for first place, €350 for second place and €150 for third place.
Fee: €5 for first poem and €3 for additional entries.
Fee: The entry fee for stories is €10 per story.
Deadline: 7 August 2009
Judges: Vona Groarke (Poetry) David Rice (Short Story)

Maximum length is 40 lines per poem.
The maximum number of words is 600 per story.

Festival Programme



20.00 ALL-IRELAND POETRY DAY Readings featuring Vona Groarke.


20.00 COMPETITION RESULTS & READINGS: Judges Vona Groarke, Mary Arrigan, David Rice.


10.00 - 13.00 POETRY WORKSHOP: Vona Groarke.
10.00 - 13.00 SHORT STORY WORKSHOP: David Rice.
10.30 - 12.30 CHILDRENS' WORKSHOP (8 - 12) Printing & Hat Making
14.30 - 16.30 CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP ( 12+) Making a Book.
20.00 - 22.00 MEET THE AUTHOR(S). Peter Cunningham: "The Sea and the Silence".
Michael Harding: "Displaced in Mullingar".


15.00 - 17.00 AFLOAT ON LOUGH DERG: David Courtney: "Nine Lives".
20-00 - 22.00 FESTIVAL FINALE: " Darwin / Hooker: The Dromineer Connection"

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Patrick Kavanagh Writers' Weekend

Annual Writers' Weekend 2009
When: Saturday 1st - Sunday 2nd August 2009

The Patrick Kavanagh Centre is the venue for this weekend of creative writing workshops in which acclaimed poet and author, Catherine Phil MacCarthy will direct participants. The Centre which is dedicated to Patrick Kavanagh, one of Ireland’s best loved poets, is located in the picturesque and tranquil village of Inniskeen which nestles among the Monaghan drumlins. Over the centuries, this ancient landscape has been an inspiration for legends and a home to poets and proved to be such a rich source of inspiration for Patrick Kavanagh, prompting him to ‘dabble in verse’. The locale hasn’t changed since Kavanagh’s time, providing the perfect backdrop for this weekend of literary activity.

Finding a Voice
This workshop is intended for beginners and those already involved in the process of writing who wish to develop their creative powers and gain feedback on their work. The sessions introduce some ‘ways in’ to writing that stir both memory and the imagination. The overall focus of the workshop is on finding a voice, and tuning in to tone, imagery, and structure in their own work. In addition, participants are invited to pay close attention to the craft of the short story and the handling of narrative, character and of time. By the end of the weekend participants will have a chance to explore narrative voice and its diversity of style in contemporary prose and poetry.

Workshop Director:
Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s collections include How High the Moon (Poetry Ireland, Sense of Place Award, 1991, a joint book), This Hour of the Tide (1994), the blue globe (1998), Suntrap (2007), and a first novel, One Room an Everywhere (2003). She was awarded a bursary in poetry from the Arts Council, in 1994, 1999 and 2007/8. Writer in Residence for Dublin City, (1994), University College Dublin (2002), she works freelance as a Creative Writing tutor. She is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review.

Saturday, 1st August
10.00am Workshop 1
12.30pm Lunch
2.00pm - 5.00pm Workshop 2

Sunday, 2nd August
11.00am Workshop 3
12.30pm Lunch
1.30pm Depart Inniskeen

Course Fee €100
The price includes all tuition, lunch and refreshments.
Accommodation can be arranged in local quality B & B's. A separate charge will apply.