Monday 30 November 2009

Write This

This is a paying market ... but only for short stories. They say

We are now paying our writers - except for the poets who might be the only good thing in the issue (i don't know) but the poet always gets screwed. They accept this as the blessing of their profession and we wouldn't want to deny them.

Sorry, mate. That's not even funny. That's pathetic.

If you want to submit a short story, here's the latest theme.

the blasphemy issue - issue 4.8
Opening Date: October 22nd
Closing Date: December 1st
Publication Date: December 21st

Summation: You love God. You hate God. We won't judge. Come to us to with your devotions, your confessions, or your proclamations. Or come to us with your disdain, your warnings. Bring us your Goddesses and Nymphs. Jesuses. Or your Darwins. Your Hubbardwacks. Your when you're dead you're dead. We don't care. And join together, one and all, in what shall be a heartwarming dialogue of "Fuck God." "Fuck God? No. God is Great. Fuck you." We will choose fairly from the pro god and anti god camps. No agnostics please.

Sunday 29 November 2009

The Phantom Tollbooth

My favourite children's book, full of wit and wordplay. Have you ever read it? I adore it. I reread it often as a child ann now often use it when teaching. Author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer and now, after 49 years, they are getting back together again. The book is called The Odious Ogre. An brutish Ogre who meets a kindly girl who teaches him a lesson he is not likely to forget.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Ever Tried Englynion?

It's a British/Anglo Saxon type of Haiku. See this interesting post from Billy Mills in the Guardian. Writing in form is a challenge but I think every poet should try it.
Anglow Saxon/Viking forms are big into syllable counting. There are some variations but why not try the englyn cyrch. It's four seven-syllable lines of which lines one, two and four rhyme and the end of line three has an internal rhyme in line four:

_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ a
_ _ _ _ _ _ b
_ _ _ b _ _ a

Friday 27 November 2009

I didn't win the Patrick Kavanagh Award


Where are these people going to see sense? Do I have to abandon the plan to win the Kavanagh before I get my first collection out there?

Have not even been shortlisted for the Troubadour Poetry prize nor Poetry Can. Back to the drawing board.

Don't think I've been shortlisted for the Varilux short story competition either. I just saw a twitter from 2 days ago from someone who was. No news is bad news.

And while I'm on the subject, I sent some really good poems to a minor poetry journal, thinking I was doing them a favour. Really. That's the kind of headspace I was in. Guess what? They rejected them. All of them. As if! That's the last time they get offered my fantastic work. More fool them, that's what I say. More fool.

And while I'm off subject somewhat, don't you think Robert Pattinson's hair has an unfortunate resemblance to Jedwards? Scary.

I'm off to eat chocolate...

Thursday 26 November 2009

Writing of a Medical Nature

Do you have any pieces of a medical nature, having an illness, having someone close to you with an illness, perhaps you work in the medical profession? Here's a journal you may find interesting, from the University of Toronto press, Ars Medica (link from Paperback Writer blog.)

Payment in contributor copies, electronic submissions preferred.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

iad-T in the Park

Starting on Sat Nov 28th, IADT and the lovely people at DLR Arts Office are starting ad-T in the Park, a series of literary happenings taking place once a month at the Tea Rooms in the People's Park, Dun Laoghaire.

Writers, readers and booklovers of all ages are invited to drop in and join Mia Gallagher, writer-in-residence at the IADT, for an exciting mix of literature, cakes and hot drinks. iad-T in the Park offers you the chance to share your work in public, chat with other writers, meet some of Ireland's brightest literary talents - or just talk about the books you love reading.

The events are free of charge, open to all and will run from midday to 4pm.

Saturday 28th November Opening Lines 12noon: Open Mic. Poetry, fiction, spoken word, music, comedy all welcome, with a 3-minute time limit per act! Time is tight so turn up early if you want your slot guaranteed.

3 minutes!

2pm: Readings & discussion by writers-in-residence Mia Gallagher and Paul Perry

Saturday 30th January Murder on the Bookshelves (crime fiction) 12noon: Writing the Dark Side (workshop). A fun workshop exploring how to get the most out of your dark side, structure suspense and play with horror and thriller motifs.

2pm: Readings & discussion by crime writers Declan Hughes and Arlene Hunt.

Saturday 27th February Exquisite Fictions (literary fiction) 12noon: Fiction Slam. Calling all fiction writers! You are challenged to go head-to head in an epic battle of literary performance. Numbers for this will be restricted. Contact for details.

2pm: Readings/discussion by two of Ireland's most exciting young writers, Claire Kilroy and Kevin Barry

Love Kevin Barry. Do yourself a favour and read some of his short stories.

Saturday 20th March Stranger than Fiction (non-fiction & poetry) 12noon: Poetry Coffee Morning. Share your favourite poems with other lovers of the artform? Poems can be by yourself or another. Max two poems per person.

2pm: Readings & discussion by memoirist Lia Mills and historical writer Neil Hegarty.

Why not with poets?

Saturday 24th April Play 4 Today (drama) 12noon: Improvisation and Storytelling (workshop). A playful workshop exploring ways to create, build and improve your stories.
2pm: Presentation by Annie Ryan and Michael West of The Corn Exchange, the ground-breaking theatre company behind Dublin Theatre Festival hit 'Freefall'.
Emerging writers can also set up a one-to-one session with Mia to talk about their work. Space for these is limited to two per month and will need to be booked in advance.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Guess the first line

Here's a (old) competition from Betsy Lerner's blog. She who wrote the classic book on writing call The Forest For The Trees. Get it out the library now.

Match the first lines with the author's pictures. And identify the (American) authors too. Don't peak at the comments until you've had a go.

Read some more of BBetsy's blog for an good insight into agency work.

Monday 23 November 2009

Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition

This is the 2nd outing for this short story competition run by Interact.

Any Genre (not just crime)
The length of each story must not exceed 1000 words.
Deadline: 21st December
Fee: £10

Prize: The winner will receive £2,000 and become InterAct Reading Service’s Writer in Residence for a period of one year. In that capacity the winner will be expected to produce five further short stories.

While the copyright of any story submitted to the Ruth Rendell Short Story Competition will remain with the author, the submission of a story is done with the understanding that InterAct Reading Service has the right to copy and distribute the story to its actors for use in hospital and stroke club readings.

I would think that a story for use in hospitals and stroke clubs must be uplifting, probably humourous (shock, horror!)

It sounds like a worthy cause anyway.

If you have won a prize in a competition you saw on my blog, please let me know. We should share success stories.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Travel Writing Competition

Want to try travel writing but never been published and paid? This one's for you.

The British Guild of Travel Writers has announced that as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, it is launching a new travel writing competition for unpublished travel writers in partnership with Traveller magazine.

The competition is open to all writers aged over 18, both UK and non-UK residents, who have not been published [paid work] in the travel field. Entrants should submit an 800-word article with the theme: A Very Special Place.

Deadline: 31 December 2009.

The prizes:

First prize comes courtesy of Travellers' Tales, the training agency for travel writing and travel photography, and the winner will enjoy a four-day travel writing holiday in the intoxicating city of Istanbul.

More on the website.

You will discover the city while practising your writing skills with a small group of fellow writers under the expert tuition of tutors such as Anthony Sattin, the distinguished Middle East expert, and Jonathan Lorie, former editor of Traveller and founder of the Travellers' Tales Festival (the next one takes place in London on 19-21 February 2010). See

Second prize is a trip to Berlin courtesy of WEXAS, The Traveller's Club, in association with Hotel Berlin and Lufthansa. The prizewinner will enjoy a two-night stay in a double or twin room at the Hotel Berlin on a B&B basis, plus two return economy flights from the UK with Lufthansa.

Third prize is the winner's selection of 10 travel guides from award-winning publisher Bradt.

Saturday 21 November 2009

No More Hot Air


Where: Tallaght Library

When: Monday, November 23rd at 7pm

Poets include:
Theo Dorgan
Iggy McGovern
Eileen Casey
& Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill

in discussion on climate change with
Niamh Garvey &
Mary Shine Thompson

Friday 20 November 2009

Bad Sex Awards

As in written about Bad Sex. I've personally written sex badly and written bad sex quote badly too. Here's the nominees for this year.

Paul Theroux’s A Dead Hand (Hamish Hamilton)
Philip Roth’s The Humbling (Jonathan Cape),
Anthony Quinn’s The Rescue Man (Jonathan Cape),
Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones (Chatto),
Amos Oz’s Rhyming Life and Death (Chatto),
Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro (Canongate),
John Banville’s The Infinities (Picador),
Simon Van Booy’s Love Begins in Winter (Beautiful Books),
Sanjida O’Connell’s The Naked Name of Love (John Murray)
Richard Milward’s Ten Storey Love Song (Faber).

All men except for Dr Sanjida O'Connell who I'm pretty sure is a woman. Strange that.

The lucky winner will be announced on 30th November.

Rachel Johnson won last year for Shire Hell (Penguin), while John Updike was awarded a lifetime achievement, having been nominated four years in a row.

P.S. I'm hoping for an increase in hits for this post!

Thursday 19 November 2009

Cork gets it on

Cork flashmob - Mr Blue Sky to publicise the National Campaign for the Arts. Looks like they're all having fun. There's another planned in Wexford town, next Saturday 21 November at 12pm. (Apologies if you've seen this before.)

Wednesday 18 November 2009

More links

Really interesting post from Poemshape on Elizabethan fonts (no, really)

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Surfing links

Fifty-Two Poets - a blog about reading one collection a week and commenting on it.

Melancholy post about having to choose between writing, making money and family time from Declan Burke. Buy one of his books, if you haven't already, and cheer him up.

Bookwitch - blog worth reading.

Litdrift has Writing prompts.

How royalties work by Rachel Gardner, Literary Agent.

Hivemind. All your characters talk alike. Plain talking from

Bards in the Bog from Shetland. We should SO do this here. Any takers?

International Writing Contents from Arts Grants

Monday 16 November 2009

Paul Durcan Fans

Dermot Bolger will be in conversation with renowned Irish poet Paul Durcan in Deansgrange Library on Tuesday 17th November at 7.00pm.

Famous for his electrifying poetry readings, this autumn Paul Durcan marks four decades of writing with a magnificent collection, Life is a Dream: Forty Years of Reading Poetry, 1967-2007.

Admission is free but booking is essential Call (01) 285 0860

Presented by dlr Place and Identity Per Cent for Art Programme in association with dlr Libraries.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Willesden Herald

The Willesden Herald Short story competition is now open.

Deadline: 18 December 2009.

Judge: Richard Peabody is a distinguished poet, author, lecturer on creative writing and editor of Gargoyle magazine. Shortlist chosen by Steve Moran.

How to enter here.

Word limit is a generous 8,000 words.

Fee: £3

The prizes for 2010 are:

1st place: £300 plus a one-off Willesden Herald mug inscribed "The Willesden Short Story Prize 2010"

2nd: 2 x £150 (two runners-up)

All ten short-listed stories will be included in "New Short Stories 4" to be published by Pretend Genius Press.

Author compensation for inclusion in New Short Stories is limited to 2 complimentary copies of the anthology.

Saturday 14 November 2009

Tony Doyle Bursary

Not much notice for this one. First I've seen of it.

Deadline: 4th December 2009

The Tony Doyle Bursary for New Writing is currently accepting submissions. The aim of the bursary is to promote, assist and develop writing for television from Irish writers who are new to the medium and to create links between broadcasters and writers in Ireland.

Entrants are asked to send in either a 60 or 90 minute script for an original television, theatre, film or radio drama in the form of a single drama or the first episode of a two-parter, serial or series. The chosen finalists will then participate in a residential seminar where they will undergo concentrated script sessions with members of BBC Northern Ireland Drama’s development team and various script writers and producers.

The winner of the bursary competition will receive a cash prize of £2,000.

Friday 13 November 2009


I met a man who met Ernest Hemingway once, or he said he did. He met Marilyn Monroe too and Mike Tyson too. The world's a small place.

You too can meet someone who met Hemingway. There is a lecture on 18th November by Valerie Hemingway in the RDS,


Advance booking by emailing

Valerie is a writer, living in the US but originally from Dublin, who met a certain Ernest in Spain in 1959. Their first meeting was as interviewer and subject, however the subject then hired Valerie as a personal secretary. She spent two years following him and his wife around France, Spain and Cuba as confidante and secret keeper. She even managed to pick up a husband along the way in the form of Hemingway’s son Dr. Gregory Hemingway.

Pop down to the RDS and hear these tales of a true adventurer. It’ll perk you up during the midweek slump and you might even learn a thing or two about one of America’s best writers.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Sunday Miscellany

Berlin Wall 1990

Result! After many years of trying to get a piece accepted on this radio show (RTE Radio 1 Sunday morning at 9:10) I'm in. I first sent something in in 2002 so perseverance is key. I wasn't at all continuous, please understand, more off than on, but I did send in my share. Some, on re-reading, were rubbish. Some weren't. This one is spot on.

Listen in on Sunday 15th November at 9:10 am or listen to the podcast later. I think it will start the programme.

I think some new voices would be good for the programme.

I hope to this space.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Fancy a stab at crime writing

Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Competition.

I read a lot of crime and enjoy it. There are some fantastic writers in this genre and it is often said that they are ignored by the literatti. If you have it in you, try for this prestigious prize. More details here.

Deadline: midnight on 6th February 2010

The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. First prize is £500 plus two free tickets to the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards and night’s stay for two in a top London hotel. All shortlisted entrants will receive a generous selection of crime novels and professional assessments of their entries, and will also be invited to the Dagger Awards.

Send the opening chapter(s) – up to 3000 words – and a short synopsis of your proposed crime novel.

They also send out a regular newsletter with tips and guidelines that is very good.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Readers Day


Anyone going to this years Reader's Day from South Dublin Libraries?

Info and brochure here.

Call 086-0492815 to book.

It's in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght (formerly the Tower Hotel). It's free. Lunch available for 10 Euro on the day.

The authors taking part this year are Chris Binchy, Kevin Power, Diarmaid Ferriter, Paul Howard, Paul Durcan, Paula Meehan, Judith Mok and John Curran.

(Personally I'll be staying for some but not all.)

Monday 9 November 2009

For the Day that's in it. Berlin.

Poems on the Dart Winners

Some familiar names here. Congratulations

John O’Donnell, Dublin for his poem - The Blue Man

Cecilia McGovern, Dublin for her poem - It is Dangerous to lean out

Eamonn Bonner, Donegal for his poem - Climbing out of the window

These poems will be displayed on trains, in stations and will be published after the awards ceremony on

announcement here.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Some links worth surfing

Indulge yourself. Nibble on these.

How can good new writers be published when the industry is ruled by people who aren't interested in originality? from the Guardian

Sunday Washup of writing related links from Andy Shack.

Titus the dog. Blog from the Scottish Poet, Joanne McKay.

Magma Poetry Magazine

Blog from Matt Bolton on his world view.

42 Essential third act Twists. Brilliant. Which do you recognise?

Warning from Quiller's Place about Chapter One Promotions.

How not to run a Literary Festival by Amanda Craig.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Birthday Post

Not posting today. It's my birthday. Have a virtual slice on me.

And if you go here and click the podcast marked "Kate Thompson July 24th," it isn't Kate Thompson, it's me. Enjoy.

Friday 6 November 2009

All your November Deadlines in one easy to find list

All your November Deadlines in on easy to find list - so you've no excuses for missing one.

Faber Poetry Course 20 November


Iota competition 30 November
The Plough Prize competition 30 November
Abridged submission 30 November
Cafe Writers competition 30 November

Poetry Collection:
Cinnamon Press Poetry Competition 30 November

Short Story:
Sunday Times competition Deadline 30 November
Abridged submission 30 November

Ledig House 20 November

Thursday 5 November 2009

Cafe Writers Poetry Competition

This one is based in Norfolk.

Judge : George Szirtes

Fee: £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2 per poem thereafter

Deadline: 30th November 2009

Winner: £1000, Runner Up: £300, plus Five Commended Prizes of £50#
Also £100 Norfolk Prize awarded to best poem from a permanent Norfolk resident and

The Nancy Jervis Poetry Prize £150 for best poem on theme of reconciliation not winning another prize

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Abridged call for submissions

Abridged is a great magazine produced in Derry. For the next edition, they are looking for writing and artwork on the theme of Absence.

Up to three poems may be submitted, max length approx 100 lines

Art can be up to A4 sized and full colour. It should be at least 300 dpi.

Submissions may be emailed to

Or can be sent to:

Abridged, c/o Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall,

Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU

Deadline: 30th November

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Ledig House Residency

Ledig House
Here's a residency in the US that sounds marvellous. Ledig House International Writers Residency (from Paperback Writer Blog)

Two and a half hours north of New York City in the town of Omi, in the scenic Hudson River Valley
Ledig House provides all meals, and each night a cook prepares dinner.

Deadline for spring session: 20 November 2009
Spring session is March 12-June 4

You'd need to arrange your own travel. There may be a possibility of a travel grant from the arts council.

Read the details here. Includes:

# How did you hear about Ledig House?

# A biographical sketch including publications, performances and writing credits.

# One non-returnable copy of your latest published work. If unpublished, send a ten page sample of your latest work.

# A one page description of the work to be undertaken while at Ledig House.

# One letter of recommendation.

# One self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for notification. (Non-US applicants are asked to include a sufficient "international postage coupon" in lieu of stamps.)

(this will be hard as these are not for sale in Ireland)

Applicants should specify a preference for the spring or fall session as well as the amount of time desired - no shorter than two weeks and no longer than two months.

Again hard for any artist with a full time job or family commitments or a dog etc.

Monday 2 November 2009

Cinnamon Press Poetry Competition

Poetry Collection Award - The aim of this award is to provide a platform for new voices in poetry.

Prize: £100 and The winning author has his/her poetry collection published with Cinnamon Press. We also publish an anthology of the best poems submitted and entry includes a copy of the winners' anthology. We have commissioned several other collections as a result of being short-listed.

Entrants for the poetry categories should not previously have had a full poetry collection published.

10 poems up to 40 lines

Deadline: 30th November 2009

Fee: £16

This press is not lightweight. They've had a collection shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Reading at Glor


I'm reading on Monday night 2nd November at the Glor Sessions, introduced and curated by the energetic and innovative Stephen James Smith. (Look for him on YouTube)

They run every week starting around 9pm until quite late and feature a mix of spoken word and acoustic songwriters. Recommended - an enjoyable way to spend a Monday night. And it's free too.

Dunno what I'm going to read yet though... Any requests?

See previous reviews at
- Uiscebots here and also here.
- Matt Bolton's Blog
- Various Cushions