Friday 30 October 2009

Reading at the Chocolate Festival

Two loves. Chocolate. Poetry. What more could you want?

Temple Bar. Be there.
New Theatre (Opps The Clarence)

Saturday 31st October (yes Halloween night) 5:30 - 6:30 pm

The fabulous Brian Kirk, the inimitable Catherine Ann Cullen, the seductive Emma Clarke Conway, the chocolatey Kate Dempsey, the delicious Nollaig Rowan, the appealing Oran Ryan, the super Steve Conway and the groovy Chloe Ni Dhuada.

More here

Simon's Cat

I love this short series of animations. They capture how truly self-serving and manipulative a cat can be. I'd love to write a character based on a cat.

The author, Simon Tofield has made his name starting from a short animation that was posted on Youtube. A rags to riches story. He's a book out now too.

Thursday 29 October 2009

TS Elliot Shortlist

Some great names on the shortlist this year.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleánain The Sun-fish (Gallery)
Fred D'Aguiar Continental Shelf (Carcanet)
Jane Draycott Over (Carcanet)
Philip Gross The Water Table (Bloodaxe)
Sinéad Morrissey Through the Square Window (Carcanet)
Sharon Olds One Secret Thing (Cape)
Alice Oswald Weeds & Wild Flowers (Faber)
Christopher Reid A Scattering (Areté)
George Szirtes The Burning of the Books and Other Poems (Bloodaxe)
Hugo Williams West End Final (Faber)

and some Irish ones too. Check the poetry press names to know which consistently publish the 'best' or shortlist worthy writing.

Judges Simon Armitage, Colette Bryce and Penelope Shuttle chose the titles from the 98 poetry titles published in 2009.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Faber Poetry Course

Here's another interesting offering from Faber.

“Becoming a Poet 2010”, a six-month workshop-based course which ranges from the improvement of technical skills to putting together a first collection, starts in January with poet Paul Perry as its director. Perry’s most recent collection is The Orchid Keeper . His next, The Last Falcon and Small Ordinance will be published by the Dedalus Press next year.

(I've never heard of him but he teaches at UCD Creative Writing)

Poets Ciaran Carson, Dennis O'Driscoll and Leontia Flynn are among those lined up as visiting writers.

Who is it for: This is aimed at writers who aspire to publishing a first collection of poetry.

When: Starts 7th January 2010. 24 two-hour evening sessions on Tuesdays and six full-day sessions on Saturdays.

How Many: There are 16 places.

Fee: €3,000 but one place will be given free – based on merit, not financial circumstances.

OK, that's really expensive, close to the cost of a full MA without the certificate. Unless you get the one free place. I wonder how open that is? It's obviously not judged anonymously...

Where: St Stephens Green Hibernian Club in Dublin.

At the end of the course, all students will give a short reading.

The curriculum includes sessions on a range of topics including “The Dramatic Monologue”, “The Epistolary Poem”, “The Ode”, “Haiku” – and “Repetition, Rhythm and Blues”.

See Faber website here.

Deadline: 20th November

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Another Get Published Day

This one from the Irish Writers Centre.

When: November 7th 10am to 4pm
Where : Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
Fee: €50 (€40 for members)

Who: Guest speakers Dermot Bolger, Stephen Boylan, Sarah Bannan, Declan Meade, Caitriona O'Reilly, and Abie Philbin Bowman.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Poem for TFE's poetry prompt

TFE's poetry prompt this week reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

For more poems in response, see TFE's Poetry Bus here.

If my poem sounds familiar, you may have heard it on Various Cushions radio show this morning. Cheating? Maybe.

Sorry, it would help if I added the actual poem.

Note: Poem now removed because I want to edit and get it published in print!

Getting Published

Another one of the getting published workshops. This one has potentional. The panel doesn't scream out to me though.

When: 7 November 2009 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Fee: €50
Where: Centre for Creative Practices, 15 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2
Phone 01 254 2100

The panel will include a number of speakers, from authors, editors, agents and publishers who are only to happy to share their information and experience with you. Participants include:

* Patricia O'Reilly, Author and Creative Writing Tutor
* Chris Agee, Editor Irish Pages
* Emma Walsh, Literary Agent, Walsh Communications
* Miriam Gallagher, author, tutor and Writer-in-residence at IADT

The Getting Published seminar gives new writers and people interested in publishing an opportunity to meet with leading industry professionals and to gather information on the current publishing options and procedures.

This one-day seminar is a mixture of presentations, talks, workshops and question/answer sessions with literary agents, publishers, tutors and authors. Opportunities for networking, discussions and asking your questions are important part of this interactive event.

The seminar will be followed up by a One-to-One Manuscript Assessment Workshop which will take place in the Centre for Creative Practices before the end of the year.

For more details and to book your place on this highly anticipated seminar please fill out the online registration form.

Saturday 24 October 2009


I was thinking about going on an Arvon Course. There's a lovely sounding one on poetry starting 9th November called Stage and Page with tutors Francesca Beard and the rather dishy Luke Wright. It's residential in Lumb Bank, but guess how much it costs?
£525 for a shared room.

Who can afford that sort of money? Not an impoverished poet such as myself. Do they only tutor people who are loaded/don't have mortgages and children at college?

They do have small bursaries they offer to the financially straitened (Sp?) but still, it's a lot. Are you supposed to compare it to the cost of a week's holiday, maybe?

Do they have last minute special offers? They still have places.

Perhaps they offer them to bloggers who blog about how wonderful an environment it is?

Here's a spot on guide at Strictly Writing to writing workshop attenddees. Which one are you?

Friday 23 October 2009

You Heard it Here Second

What are you doing this Sunday at 11 a.m.? Nothing much? Why not tune into Liffey Sound here live to hear the wonderful Various Cushions interview me.

Be prepared to hear me waffle and dither and make a fool of myself (as well as offering amazing insights to my writing, other people's writing and the Fabulous Poetry Diva Collective.) I even read a story and a few pomes.

Or you can listen after the fact at the podcast archive. There are also other lively and surprising interviews with other writers for your amazement and amusement.

(It was here first.)

Thursday 22 October 2009

Asham Award Winners

I've read a couple of these anthologies (for UK resident women writers) and there are some great stories, maybe a little gloomy in the main.

This year's winners are:

Jo Lloyd, a software company project manager from Oxford won the £1,000 top prize. She was brought up in Wales and now lives in Oxford. Her stories have been long listed for the Bridport Prize and she has won this year’s Willesden Herald Short Story Prize for her story Work.

You can read her story on the website.

Second prize of £500 went to Hilary Plews for Lily’s Army and £300 to Cherise Saywell from Edinburgh, who came third with her story The Candle Garden.

Hilary, a previous Asham finalist, has worked as a community lawyer with refugees and in carers’ development. Her story sees the breakdown of a marriage through a child's eyes.

Cherise won the V.S.Pritchett Prize in 2003 and her short stories have been published in The London Magazine, New Writing Scotland and Carve Magazine. The Candle Garden is set in a world where there are no open spaces left for a mother to scatter the ashes of her dead child.

Nine runners-up all received cash prizes from the Asham Trust, and were congratulated on the quality and originality of their writing by the three judges.

The runners-up were Alexandra Fox, Nora Morrison, Janna Connerton, Erica Rocca, Vicky Grut, Alison Dunn, Juno McKittrick, Liz Day and Catherine Chanter.

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Ragged Robin Poetry Competition

There are loads more poetry competitions that for short stories. Here's another based, confusingly for me, where I used to pick strawberries in my youth. Snittersfield.

First prize - £300

Four runners-up prizes of £50

A selection of entries will be included in an anthology scheduled for publication in March 2010.

Deadline: 31st October 2009

Fee: £3 per poem, £10 for 4 poems.
Free entry for one poem with the purchase of any Ragged Raven Poetry book. (This type of offer is a good idea, I think)

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Poetry Can Competition

This competition has a prize of a week's course at the Arvon Foundation. Lovely.

Deadline: 30 October 2009 (entries postmarked no later than October 29 2009) Remember there's a postal dispute in the UK at the moment.

Fee: £7

You must send 5 poems. any style, of any length, on any theme.

Resident in the UK. (Hello Mum)
Judge: Catherine Smith

Update: results here. (Not me, bah!)

Winner: Heidi Williamson from Wymondham, Norfolk


Philip Rush from Stroud

Pat Simmons from Bristol

Alesha Rachine from Cambridge

Kim Moore from Barrow-in-Furness

Monday 19 October 2009

National Poetry Competition

Do you have a cracker of a Poem that's crying out to win something really, really big? Do you have a few?
Send them here. Britain top poetry prize since 1978.

Deadline 31 October 2009
Judges: Ruth Padel, Daljit Nagra, Neil Rollinson

Previous winners include Carol Ann Duffy, Collette Bryce, Sinead Morrissey, Ian Duhig, Julia Copus, Ruth Padel, Jo Shapcott, Medbh McGuckian

Poems must not exceed 40 lines.
Fee: £5 first poem £3 thereafter.

First Prize £5000, Second prize £1000, Third Prize £500

Sunday 18 October 2009

Julie Feeny - Impossibly Beautiful

I met Julie at Annaghmakerrig. She's truly talented and delightful company. She composed and sang this, did all the orchestration and music production.

Scott Prize for a Short Story Collection

Salt Publishing also publish a lot of shirt story collections. I would worry how well they are marketed and sold, particularly outside the UK. Anyone got any experience in this? You can't rely selling online only, I think.

I can't see that this was run before, no list of previous winners. Do check first if it is really running this year in this currect economic climate.

The Scott Prize for Short Stories deadline is fast approaching.

Deadline: 31st October 2009

The Walter Scott Prize winners will receive synchronous publication in hardback in the UK and Australia and in paperback in the USA by Salt. There will be up to four winners each year. Winners will be issued with a standard publishing contract from Salt.

45,000 words in length total.

Manuscripts must include a table of contents and a list of acknowledgments for stories previously published. The first page must include a biographical note of not more than 80 words. Your name, address, phone number and email address should appear on the title page of your manuscript.

The Scott Prize is judged by members of the Board of Salt Publishing. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Manuscripts may be screened by Salt staff.

Fee: £18

Saturday 17 October 2009

Crawshaw Prize

I'm assuming that Salt Publishing are running the Crashaw Prize this year. This company were in financial trouble earlier in the year and launched a 'Just One Book' campaign that appeared to be very successful in getting readers and writers to buy just one book from them. They are the UK largest publisher of poetry and short stories.

Salt have a good reputation. They often have a collection or two on the Forward Prize list. This year Siân Hughes was short listed for her First Collection called The Missing. She was also longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

In 2007 they had Eleanor Rees’s shortlisted debut collection Andraste’s Hair and Melanie Challenger’s Galatea.

Siân Hughes and Andrew Philip have both been shortlisted in the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

Last year the list was:
# Tom Chivers How to Build a City (UK)
# Abi Curtis Unexpected Weather (UK)
# Jamey Dunham The Bible of Lost Pets (USA)
# Jared Stanley Book Made of Forest (USA)

There were originally 6. Ian Pinder and Ailbhe Darcy both mysteriously had to withdraw.

Deadline: 31 October 2009

Read the Crawshaw Prize Conditions: No previous collection published.
65-70 pages. (yerk!)

Entrants must permanently reside in the UK & Ireland, the USA, or Australia & New Zealand.

Manuscripts must include a table of contents and a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. The first page must include a biographical note of not more than 80 words. Your name, address, phone number and email address should appear on the title page of your manuscript.

The Crashaw Prize is judged by members of the Board of Salt Publishing. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Manuscripts may be screened by Salt staff.

Send by email. See the website.

Fee: £18

Friday 16 October 2009

Teenagers workshop

As you may remember, I taught a teenagers workshop the other day. It was a small secondary school class so not all of them were interested in being there. I think it's important to bear in mind whether a workshop participant is a volunteer or volunteered.

Anyway, we moved the chairs into a circle and I read them one of my madder poems (the football one in case you've heard it, originally published in the Derry journal Abridged)

then got them to warm up their creative muscles on an exercise suggested by Various Cushions. That had mixed results, some got it, some let their imaginations run and some were flumoxed.

Then I read a couple of How To poems - Wendy Cope. How to deal with journalists, One by William Carlos Williams (a long one) about how to have a funeral and How to Disappear and how to grow old (Warning by Jenny Joseph). Then wrote up some suggestions and got them to write a How To Poem.

They Wrote:

How to Overthrow the Government
How to Put your Teacher in a Good Mood
How to Make a Wedding Dress
How to Be Yourself
How to Be Angry
How to Fly
How To Win X-Factor

amongst others.

I had very few volunteers to read, no girls, total gender imbalance. But I promised not to make anyone if they didn't want to.

I read a couple more of my poems and ended with Wendy Cope - Song, which always goes down a storm. One even asked for a copy but I know Wendy is heavy on copyright and she's quite right. I told him he may be able to find a podcast.

And I'm going to get paid (soon)

Thursday 15 October 2009

BUXTON'S third annual poetry competition

The competition's theme in 2010 is 'A Breath of Fresh Air.'

Poets of all ages are welcome to enter – there are three categories:
- Open Poetry for poets 19 and over,
- Young People's for budding poets between 12 and 18,
- Children's Poetry for the 11`and under.

The competition, run in collaboration between Buxton Festival and the University of Derby, has inspired over 3,000 poems since it began in 2007. Entries have come from all over the world including America, New Zealand and Europe.

Judges: husband and wife team Peter and Ann Sansom. Peter and Ann are both published poets with experience in all aspects of poetry from writing and performing to editing and teaching.

Deadline: April 1 2010.

Website here where you can get the entry form.

Maximum three poems per entrant

Prizes: £300 first prize then £200, £100. 15 finalists will have their poems displayed at the festival and invited to the awards.

Fee: £5. Young people and children's entries are free.

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Forward Prize

Have you ever read or heard any Don Paterson poems? I heard him the other day on the radio, reading a poem he'd written to his son when his son asked him what he did. Called Why do you stay up so late. It was in this Saturday's Guardian too. Lovely poem. Lovely sounding man too, a Scot.

He's just won the Forward prize for his poetry collection, "Rain" which means he has now won all 3 Forward prizes, single poem and first collection.

Monday 12 October 2009

Downwind of the Spire

Downwind of the Spire

What are you looking at anyway?
Don’t you know how cold it is up there?
I had my winter coat dry cleaned last Monday
and the hat I think was my brother’s
I found it at the back door
but I’ve gone and forgotten my gloves

I’m not delaying it any more.
My mind’s made up
I’ve spent long enough thinking about it
checking the prevailing winds
and today’s definitely the day
one more now, maybe two
and it’s up, up and away.

For TFE's Monday challenge. Check out the others.

Words from Dr Johnson's Dictionary

Thanks to Ms Baroque in Hackney for pointing out this one.

Dr Samuel Johnson's original dictionary is posting an underused word-a-day for wordlovers (is there a word for that?) so we should all try to use some.

I love words. I could eat them for dinner. How about

Pinfeathered to describe an adolescent?
A pickthank for a politician's sidekick?
Pat as an adjective ( I don't think he liked this word. H e said it should only be used in burlesque writing.)
A Macaroon - I know a few of these.
Demure as a verb.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Winners over the edge

David Mohan won (again - a great year for David) in the poetry category for his poems 'Nursing a Star', 'Come to Light' and 'The Samurai Lovers'; and the title of 2009 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year. David received a cash prize of €700 and will be a Featured Reader at an Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library.

David lives and works in Dublin and is a member of the Lucan Writers' group. He has had poems featured in the 2008 and 2009 Oxfam calendars, and his poems have appeared in various publications including The Sunday Tribune, Revival and the 2008 poetry anthology Night and Day. He won the 2008 Hennessy/Sunday Tribune Poetry Award, as well as the overall New Irish Writing Award.


Orla Higgins won the fiction category for her story Thin Blue Line. Orla received a cash prize of €300.

Orla lives in Galway city and lectures part-time at NUIG with the Department of Marketing and the Huston School of Film. Orla was a Featured Reader at the September 2008 Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library and was also selected by the Cúirt Festival panel to read at the 2009 Cúirt Festival Over The Edge showcase.

The competition judge was Patrick Chapman. He had this to say about the winning entries:

'while there were many fine pieces on the shortlist, the winners stood out. They sustained their individual visions to the end with clarity, style and imagination; and their work was a pleasure to discover. I am glad to congratulate David Mohan and Orla Higgins, and I look forward to seeing much more of their work in the future.'

Saturday 10 October 2009

Interesting Links

Why a writer should blog (and why not) at There are no rules

Authors taking pay cuts
- worrying - from the Bookseller

7 Mistakes that will get your novel rejected from Selling Books

Click on the orange square, type your name or any other word(s) in lower case letters, and hear how it sounds on the craymachine.

UCD English Society have a useful competitions page. blog Omnivoracious about books, a bit US-centric but wittily written.

Friday 9 October 2009

what do you think of this?

A little perspective on page versus stage.
What does this look like written down? I'm not sure how long I could listen to poems in this genre. Call me a traditionalist but I do feel a poem has to be good first then second well performed.

From jacket magazine

Christian Bök's wildly experimental book Eunoia is the bestselling book of poetry in Canadian history. In fact, when the British edition of the book was released last year around Christmas, it hit the UK top ten list, just under Barack Obama! Most of Christian’s readers are not poets at all; they’re just folks who are stunned by the achievement of his book. Christian is a populist and an avant-gardist; someone who shows us that these two don’t necessarily need to be oppositional.

This one might be words. How would it read?

Thursday 8 October 2009


Check this Raymond Carver example of a before and after. Note that the after was after his editor, Gordon Lish, got ahold of it.

Before: “My friend Herb McGinnis, a cardiologist, was talking.”

This is fine; it gets the job done and has a nicely understated quality.

After: “My friend Mel McGinnis was talking. Mel McGinnis is a cardiologist, and sometimes that gives him the right.”

We learn more about the narrator. We learn that he has a sense of humour and also an edge. I'm not sure what changing the name from Herb to Mel acheives but maybe that's a cultural judgement from the US in the 70's. There is a mix of resentment and respect in that “sometimes” — and to find out whether resentment or respect wins, we’ll have to read on.

But as Toby Litt puts it

Even more importantly, Lish’s rewrite of the opening line shifts the register of the entire story, pushing it closer to that of American hard-boiled detective fiction. The syntax changes from that of the page to that of the page mimicking the voice. The formality of punctuation is violated. The revised story artfully comes across as gutsier, and truer.

Wednesday 7 October 2009


Doing research (don't ask) I came across this lovely video. Feel free to use it as a writing prompt.

I lived in a tumbleweed zone for a while and they were fascinating to watch, but a bit scary if you spotted on in your rearview mirror catching up on you.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Varilux Short-Story Competition

A nationwide short-story competition is set to mark the 50th anniversary of Essilor’s Limerick-made Varilux lens, which has changed how people throughout the world see that world.

Word Limit: 2,000 words
Deadline: Friday, 30 October 2009
Judge: David Rice

a well-renowned and long-established figure in Irish literary circles, and founder and director of the Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing, will select the winning entries.

They say:

we are asking people to give rein to their ideas and to craft their own stories about vision; about seeing something for the first time. This should exercise their minds.

To enter the ‘Varilux Short-Story Competition’, simply register your interest by email to or pick up an entry form from opticians nationwide where the Varilux Short-Story posters are on display.

Overall winner: 1 pair VARILUX spectacles + €300 + a weekend writing workshop of choice at Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing, including overnight accommodation.
Runner-up: €200 + a weekend writing workshop of choice at Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing, including overnight accommodation.
Third place: €100 + a weekend writing workshop of choice at Killaloe Hedge-School of Writing, including overnight accommodation.

Update 20 November:
Varilux say:

Due to the large number of entries received, we have taken a little longer than planned to get through phase 1 i.e. first reading of all entries. We want to give careful consideration to the wonderful manuscripts submitted and the excellent standard displayed is making the judge's job all the harder.

We are almost ready to reduce the entries to a shortlist; we anticipate this phase to be reached by next Monday, 23 November, following which the final selection of winner and runners-up will be made.

We anticipate that an Awards reception will be held in Essilor, Raheen, Limerick on either Thursday or Friday, 10 or 11 December. If you are on the shortlist selection, we will invite you to attend this small but atmospheric reception, where the winners will be announced.

Monday 5 October 2009

Upcoming Nighthawks Charity gig

Who: The Nighthawks People are putting on a very special show.

What for: in aid of Concern

Where: the Project Arts Centre 39 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

When: October 27th 8-10:30pm

How much: 17.50 euro (15 euro concession) call (01) 881 9613, or by going to this link


All these fine people have given their time free-of-charge.

Vyvienne Long first came to prominence a few years ago as the cellist in Damien Rice’s band. Then, in 2006, Vyvienne released her wonderful debut EP, entitled Birdtalk, and it quickly became obvious that she was a hugely talented singer-songwriter in her own right. Vyvienne is also a wonderful live performer, and, not surprisingly, she has sold out venues all over Ireland. Vyvienne is currently putting the finishing touches to her debut album, and her recent single ‘Happy Thoughts’ has enjoyed extensive radio play (and, yes, it’s used in that TV advert too!).

Put simply – Pony Club are one of the best bands Ireland has ever produced. (If you don’t believe us, then check with Morrissey, because that’s his opinion too.) In the last decade Pony Club have released three brilliant albums – Post Romantic, Family Business and Home Truths – and we would strongly encourage you to buy every single one of them – twice. Pony Club are definitely one of the most popular acts that we’ve ever had at Nighthawks, and it’s great to welcome them back for this show.

In the last year the Nighthawks people have spent more than their fair share of time in Dublin comedy clubs, and we can honestly say that Foil Arms and Hog are the best comedy sketch group that we have come across in this city. They consist of Sean Finegan, Sean Flanagan and Conor McKenna; and they are guaranteed to make you laugh. They have just returned from a month of sell-out shows at the Edinburgh International Festival, and they were perfectly summed up recently, by Damo Clarke from RTE, when he confessed – “Foil Arms and Hog are the best threesome I’ve ever had.”

Jade Strings are Aisling Ennis (harp) and Jenny Dowdall (cello), and they are regularly joined by the sweet voice of Helene Hutchinson. They play an exciting mix of classical, jazz and opera, and they recently released their debut album with a fantastic concert at the National Gallery in Dublin. This is one act not to be missed. They are the touch of class that we’ve been waiting for.

Since the dawn of time human beings have gathered in pubs and argued about who is greater – John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Now, finally, here at last (and not a moment too soon), is a short play that definitively sorts out the argument once and for all. Well… sort of. ‘Lennon v McCartney’ is written and directed by Stephen Kennedy, and performed by Robbie O’Connor and Seamus Brennan. This short play has recently been selected for performance at Beatle Week 2010 in Liverpool.

Simona Zaino is originally from Italy, but has lived in Dublin for over a decade. She has been teaching tango since 2004, and has even danced with the great Pablo Veron (you may remember him from the film The Tango Lesson). Simona’s dance partner at Nighthawks will be Leslie Handelman. Leslie somehow came to tango nine years ago via Tai Chi, and since then he has danced all over the world, and is frequently seen in the tango clubs of New York. And we are delighted to announce that live music on the night will come from Javier Criado. Javier is a gifted tango guitarist and singer from Spain. He has performed solo at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and played at countless tango venues in his home country. A combination of Javier, Leslie and Simona is certain to produce something very special.

Colm Keegan is a poet, a short story writer, a screenwriter and a novelist. He is also the seventh son of a seventh son and plays a mean symphony on the spoons. Colm has been short-listed for the Sunday Tribune’s Hennessy X.O Literary Awards on three separate occasions – so it’s about time he won it! Colm has just completed a hectic summer, performing at festivals up and down the country, and there’ll be no living with him now that he’s conquered the Electric Picnic.

OK, let’s be honest about this, Enda Muldoon is probably insane; but he’s insane in a good way. A funny, insightful way. Basically, when Enda Muldoon does stand-up comedy you just cannot look away. The man has courage. The man has truth. The man has two bottles of Budweiser and a song about polar bears. Furthermore, Enda was recently a finalist in the prestigious Bulmers Comedy Competition at the Laughter Lounge in Dublin. Best of all, though, is the fact that Enda’s PR ends with the line – “The race to the bottom is over – come and see the winner!”

Graham Dowling insists that he is completely unsuited to stand-up comedy, despite the fact that he was a former finalist in the Bulmers Comedy Competition mentioned above. In fairness to Graham, he has genuinely tried to quit comedy many times, but feckers like us just keep dragging him out of retirement for ‘one last job’. So please, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Graham's last ever gig (again)…

Damon Blake is one of the most intelligent and insightful stand-up comics currently working the Irish ‘circuit’. He has performed all over Ireland, and, in 2008, he had a very successful show at the Edinburgh International Festival. At present Damon is working on ‘Apartment Red’ – a popular weekly series of comic sketches for RTE’s The Den. Damon is funny and Damon is hip. Damon is heading to the top – so catch him now.

This short piece ‘The Money Chair’ examines exactly what can happen when torture goes badly wrong! It is written and directed by Stephen Kennedy, and performed by Padraic McGinley, Enda Muldoon and Damon Blake. Be careful where you sit in the auditorium!

Sunday 4 October 2009


Iota International Poetry Competition. Iota is a well established, high quality UK mag. Check out their website here.

Entry fees: One Poem £4: Two Poems £7: Three Poems £9: Four Poems £10

Deadline: 30th November 2009

Length: maximum 80 lines

Judge: Tim Turnbull

Prizes: 1st 2,000 GBP, 2nd 1,000 GBP, 3rd 500 GBP, (plus 10 x 50 GBP supplementary prizes).

All winning poems to be published in Iota. Guidelines here.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Anyone read The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger? One of my favourite books from last year. She's in Dublin, Dundrum to be precise:

Where: Hughes and Hughes Bookshops, Dundrum
When: Friday 9th October 2009 at 7pm

What: In a reading from Her Fearful Symmetry and Q & A with Edel Coffey
In ‘Movies in Dundrum’

Tickets available from Hughes and Hughes Bookshops

Friday 2 October 2009

Frances MacManus Short Story Competition

Is everyone buffing up this year's short story entry?

Deadline: Monday 26th October 2009

Written for radio so lots of dialogue doesn't work too well but you can travel into space, into a human intestine, underwater, New York 1880, Hawaii 2110, Kenya 3000 BC, Troy 500 BC etc etc

Prizes of €3,000, €2,000 and €1,000 will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd winning stories respectively. The winners and all of the shortlisted stories will be broadcast on RTE Radio 1.

See the website here

Do listen to previous winners to see what sort or thing gets shortlisted.

Fee: Free

One story only within the range of 1,800 to 2,000 words.

open to people born or normally resident in Ireland.

Thursday 1 October 2009


There was an interesting article on titles in Saturday's Guardian (my favourite paper of the week and the only news I believe)

Kate Clanchy wrote a book about her Kosovan nanny/cleaner originally title "What is she doing here?" and now called "Antgona and Me" in paperback. The thinking being the hardback title sounded a bit negative and even poe-faced. They basically want to sell more copies and titles are so important for that.

Read the rest here

Did you know for instance that The Great Gatsby was nearly called "Trimalchio in the West Egg?" Me neither.

And there's The Golden Compass v Northern Lights. The first is, I think, more evocative but possibly less correct - Philip Pullman.

Here's another post that worth a read from Writing World.