Friday 31 December 2010

Short Film - the black hole

Thursday 30 December 2010

Listowel Writers Week

The 40th Listowel Writers Week Festival in 2011 is 1st to 5th June.

They have launched the Literary Workshops and Competitions - check out their website for full details.

Literary Workshops - limited to 15 in each workshop.
Directors include:- Aifric Campbell, Sean O'Reilly, Irene Graham, Adrian Frazier, David Park, John Hartley Williams, Harry Clifton, John MacKenna, Jeremy Sheldon, Mark O'Halloran, Sarah Webb, Mick Hanly, Terry Prone, Marina Carr and Robert Lacey.
They will be directing workshops in Novel, Memoir, Creative Writing, Poetry, Short Fiction, Writing Funny, Writing for Screen, Theatre and Journalism, Popular Fiction. A new addition for 2011 is a History Writing workshop.

The Closing Date for receipt of competition entries is Friday 25th February 2011.

Guests writers include Robert McCrum, Thomas Lynch, John Lynch, David Sedaris, Alice Sebold, Blake Morrison, Michael Holroyd, Joel Hynes, Kevin Barry, Rita Ann Higgins, Cathy Kelly, Judi Curtin, John Boyne, Dr Robyn Rowland, Mary Swander, Denis Sexton, Ali Sparks and Joe Craig.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art

From Emily Firetog:

Their Publication Contest is on!

$1,500 in prizes and publication in Columbia: Issue 49.

Top ten finalists judged by Robert Olen Butler - A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner - Fiction
Joanna Klink - Raptus - Poetry
Jo Ann Beard - The Boys of My Youth - Nonfiction

First-place winners in each genre will receive a $500 prize, and their work will be published in Issue 49 of the Journal (Spring 2011). Runners-up will be considered for publication on the journal's website.

Visit their website for submission guidelines.

Entry fee : $12.

Deadline : January 18, 2011.

Tuesday 28 December 2010


This sounds like a wonderful idea. Wouldn't you love to see your words along the Liffey?

UpStart is a non-profit arts collective which aims to put creativity at the centre of public consciousness during the Irish General Election Campaign in 2011. They plan to do this by reinterpreting the spaces commonly used for displaying election campaign posters in Dublin City and are calling on all artists to submit work for this exhibition.

The objectives of UpStart are to encourage a debate on the role of the arts in this state. We hope to highlight the importance of creativity and ingenuity when society is in need of direction and solutions, and to emphasize the value of the arts to public life. We believe that the future development of the country requires a healthy cultivation of the Arts.

Submission details here

Their aim is to receive 500 submissions from writers and visual artists, photographers, painters and graphic designers. These works will be duplicated and 1000 pieces will be printed as election size posters and be erected throughout Dublin city.

Bear in mind the words will be read by all ages...

Upstart is open for submissions from the 15th of December and closes on the 15th of January.

Monday 27 December 2010

Arts Council Bursary

Have you applied for this?

The Arts Council provides Bursary Awards in order to assist individual artists in the development of their arts practice. The award emphasises the value and benefit to an artist’s development that is derived from an extended process of engagement with their practice.

The deadline for the next round of Bursary Awards is Thursday 20 January, 2011 at 5.30pm. Applications must be submitted online.

More details here

Thursday 23 December 2010

International Put Your Poem in a Shop Month

Oh yes. Was finally in a shop, with some poems and a camera and a brain to remember to participate in International Put Your Poem In A Shop month.

Words from earlier blog post here.

Juice of Citrus

When she was a pip, I drank jugs of ice tea,
the red-brown liquid swirls and clanking cube melt.
I’d take salt and suck the fat slices of lemon,
a whole fruit sometimes of sour satisfaction.

She crooks her finger into her diet coke
and crams the hooked lemon sliver, dripping into her mouth,
looks up with her father’s sharp eyes.

verses from 13 Ways of Looking at a Diva

I know iambic pentameters
and sly, slant rhymes;
But I know too
that what the Diva tells
sparks what I know.

When the Diva left
it marked the end
of one of many nights.

Happy Christmas everyone


1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy : Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido : All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Writing Historical Fiction

Some really good tips from the Debut Dagger award.

RS (Ruth) Downie, whose novels are set in Roman Britain and feature doctor and reluctant sleuth, Gaius Petreius Ruso

A few thoughts on writing the historical crime novel
‘Historical,’ can cover every period between the dawn of time and the era in which someone my own age could have appeared as a character. If your novel is set before Ronnie Wood auditioned for the Rolling Stones, then you may not have thought so, but it’s historical.

Choose your moment
One seasoned professional advises writers to set their historical whodunits in a period that readers will already know something about. This is sound advice. It saves a great deal of tedious explanation – most of us know who Henry VIII was – and to be honest a familiar background is more likely to attract readers than something they’ve never heard of.

However, I suspect most of us don’t choose our settings on a rational basis. We fall blindly in love with them. So I’d say, go for the era that grabs you by the throat: the one that you find curious and shocking and that makes you feel sorry – or relieved – that you missed it. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time there. If you aren’t fascinated by it, why would your readers be?

Know the world
Screenwriting guru Robert McKee (author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting) stresses how important it is for a writer to know the world of the story. Research – your own, not culled from other people’s novels – may turn into an addictive distraction, but there are at least two huge benefits.

Firstly, the deeper your knowledge, the wider the choices you have about what to include in your own story, and the less likely you are to produce cliché.

Secondly, your understanding of how your characters’ world works will help to convince a reader that it’s real. If that world is real, then so are the challenges and dangers the characters face, and the risks they must take to overcome them. That worried reader will just have to keep turning the pages to find out what happens…

The delights of research
With the advent of broadband, research is easier than ever. Most public libraries offer free home access to Encyclopaedia Britannica and other good reference material online, and libraries can often track down costly or obscure books in return for very modest fees.

Sadly writers of historical crime can’t cadge free rides in police cars in the interests of art, but we can enjoy plenty of site visits and trips to museums. We also deserve the occasional Grand Day Out. One of my favourites is the English Heritage Festival of History, where swathes of re-enactors can provide answers to questions about ‘how it feels/smells/tastes/works’ – the sort of hands-on knowledge that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Incidentally, everyone gets the occasional ‘fact’ wrong. A healthy amount of concern about potential errors will make you a more thorough researcher. Beyond that, you can either lie awake picturing your public humiliation when the book is published, or just accept that you have done your best and get on with the next chapter.

And the dangers…
Having done all that research, it’s time to step back and make some tough decisions about how much of it to include in the text. The reader doesn’t need to know everything you’ve taken all that trouble to find out.

It’s worth skimming back over a few historical crime novels you’ve enjoyed, to see how much factual material is included, how it’s relevant to the plot, and how cleverly (or not) it’s been slipped in. Personally, when I read a novel, I want to be given enough detail to surprise and intrigue, to draw me into a different world and to fire the imagination – but what I’m really hoping for is to be swept up into a good story where I care what happens to the characters.

Being economical with the truth
Obviously if your novel involves real people, you will have to abide by what we know of them – but writers edit the ‘facts’. They adapt and interpret. They guess. Some even decide to improve upon history for the sake of a good story. The Emperor Commodus didn’t really die in the arena while murdering Russell Crowe, but did Gladiator’s audiences care? A few of them did. The rest made it into a huge box-office hit.

The joy of writing fiction is that it doesn’t have to be true. It just has to look that way.

Art thou looking at me, sunshine?
Language evolves surprisingly fast, and the historical novelist’s challenge is to create the feel of one era while using the language of another. The further back your setting, the wider the gulf between what reads easily now and what would be authentic for the time.

Dialogue is especially tricky. Again, check out a few good historical novels and what you’ll find is a compromise, with the writer working to give a flavour of the period while remaining accessible to the present-day reader.

My own books are set in Roman Britain, so I’m lucky enough to have characters who wouldn’t have spoken English anyway. This allows me a certain freedom but also means that word-play is pretty much off-limits. As are anachronistic metaphors. Romano-Britons, wearers of tunics held together with metal clasps, wouldn’t have pocketed money. Or buttoned their lips.

Would you believe it?
Another gulf between ‘now’ and ‘then’ is more subtle: it’s the difference between how we think and feel today, and the attitudes our ancestors would have held. Greed, lust, anger and love may be constant, and murder is shocking in any age, but what are your characters’ views on casual violence? On public hangings? On child labour? On slavery? On religion? On sex? On married women owning property?

You may not share their opinions – you may not much like them, either - but it’s important to acknowledge them. They could well provide the tension that underlies a gripping plot.

How far will your characters go to defend their rights, or to preserve their good name? Would they threaten? Bribe? Blackmail? Would they kill? And how, given the technology of the day, would they go about it?

It’s up to you.

Ruth’s latest book is published in the UK as Ruso and the Root of All Evils and in the USA as Persona Non Grata. You can find out more about Ruth and her books on her website:

Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Strokestown International Poetry Prizes 2011

I may enter this again. I feel I have been financing them for years so they owe me...

Not only do all the judges in each category read ALL the poems (there is no filtering committee), but we also invite the shortlisted poets in each category to read a selection of their work at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival in May for which we pay them a reading fee of €400.

The Strokestown International Poetry Prize
of €4,000 (currently approximately £3,500 sterling or $5,500 US dollars), €2000 and €1000 for an unpublished poem in English not exceeding 70 lines. The ten shortlisted poets are invited to read at the festival

Duais Cholmcille / The Colmcille Poetry Prize
of €4,000 (currently approximately £3,500 sterling or $5,600 US dollars) €2,000 and €1,000 for a poem in Irish or Scottish Gaelic, unpublished and not exceeding 70 lines. The six shortlisted poets are invited to read at the festival
for a reading fee and travelling expenses totalling €400 (about £380 / $640).

Arís i mbliana, le tacaíocht Cholmcille, beidh an duais is luachmhaire atá ar fáil do dhán i nGaeilge nó i nGàidhlig á thairiscint ag Féile Idirnáisiúnta Bhéal Átha na mBuillí. Tá príomhdhuais €4,000 á thairiscint, dara duais €2,000 agus triú duais €1,000. Chomh maith leis sin beidh táille léitheoireachta agus taistil €400 ar fáil don dtriúr eile ar an ngearrliosta.

The Percy French Prize for witty - ideally topical - verse. Backhanders of €300, €100, €80 and various other sums in brown envelopes are passed under the table for witty verse in English, or with a translation if in Irish. Poems can be on any subject but they must be funny!

Deadline: January 24th 2011

Geographically the judges' range is equally wide - they read and lecture in Ireland, the UK and America. Peter Fallon runs Gallery Press, one of Ireland's most venerable and prestigious poetry publishing houses; James Harpur has taught at the Arvon Foundation and elsewhere, and has four collections published by Anvil; Mary O'Donohue's poetry has been published by both Salmon Poetry and Dedalus Press and teaches creative writing in Boston, USA.

More info here

Monday 20 December 2010

The Larkin & East Riding Poetry Prize 2011

This doesn't seem to be so well advertised so may be a good one to try for.

Each poem must be no longer than 45 lines and may be on any subject or in any style.

The entrant may submit an unlimited number of poems, each to be accompanied by a £3.00 entry fee.

Prizes: £1000 First, £500 Second, £200 Third, East Riding Prize £100, Ten commendations £20

All winners invited to read their winning poems at Bridlington Poetry Festival, 10-12 June 2011

Judge: Douglas Dunn
Deadline: 31 Jan 2011

Please send your competition entries to:
Larkin & East Riding Poetry Prize
Libraries and Information
Council Offices
HU11 5HN

Entry Form here

Sunday 19 December 2010

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2011 short story competition

In association with ARVON

For published and aspiring writers alike - enter the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2011 short story competition and you could win:
• a cash prize of £500
• a place on an Arvon Foundation residential writing course of your choice
• publication of your story on the Writers'& Artists' Yearbook website

Competition closes 14th February 2011

2,000 words max.
Theme Compulsion.

Seems to be free to enter

Visit for full details.

Friday 17 December 2010

Templar Poetry - Straid Poetry Prize 2011

deadline 28th Feb 2011


Straid Poetry Collection Award is a new annual poetry publishing initiative which offers three poets writing in English the opportunity to have their work published as full collections by Templar Poetry. Submissions of full collections are invited from both previously published and unpublished authors writing in English and residing anywhere in the world.

Translated work is not eligible for submission.

Individual poems and poetry submitted may have been published previously and may be submitted simultaneously for consideration elsewhere, subject to the conditions detailed in the Straid Collection Award Rules and Conditions. The work submitted must not have been published previously as a full collection anywhere in the world or part published in pamphlet or chapbook format. (Bit tough that, I think)

The poetry section of the submission should be no less than 40 pages and no more than 70 pages in extent, with no more than forty lines of poetry per page, excluding the title of the poem..

Submissions may be sent either in printed format by mail, or in digital format to

  • Postal Submission Fee £22

  • Digital Submission Fee £25

  • For full Award Guidelines visit:

    Thursday 16 December 2010

    Cúirt New Writing Prize 2011

    3 Categories: Poetry, Fiction, Non Fiction/Memoir

    Prize: €500 cash prize and an opportunity to read at Cúirt 2011

    * We will only consider entries from writers who have not had a collection of their work published or do not currently have a collection under consideration for publication.

    Deadline: Friday 4th February 2011 at 5pm.

    Poetry: 3 poems, each under 50 lines

    Fiction: up to 2000 words

    Non Fiction/Memoir: up to 2000 words

    Entries must be sent in hard copy only to:

    Cúirt New Writing Prize
    Galway Arts Centre
    47 Dominick Street
    Galway City

    An entry fee of €10 is applicable for each entry. This must be a postal order or a bank draft made out to Cúirt International Festival of Literature. (What about a cheque?)

    * You must submit 3 copies of your work.
    * Entries in both the Irish and English language are welcome.
    * In addition to your work we ask that you include the following contact details on a separate sheet: Name, email address, phone number. Please do not type your name on each page you submit as we judge the entries anonymously.
    * You may include a short biography of yourself if you so wish. If you do so please do not staple or attach it to your work; place it at the back of the envelope; separate to your work.

    For any further enquiries please see:
    or email:

    Wednesday 15 December 2010

    Short Fiction Writers Competition

    From Tow Vowler's blog here How to Write a Novel.

    The Short Fiction Writers Competition 2011 accepts entries between January 1st and March 31st.

    The first prize is £500 plus publication, with award-winning Irish writer Gerard Donovan as our guest judge.

    What’s more, you can submit two stories for £10, which also gets you a copy of the journal, effectively making entry free.

    Stories must be no longer than 6000 words. See here.

    Tuesday 14 December 2010

    Award for an Unpublished Novel by a Woman: Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize 2011

    Deadline: 29 April 2011

    This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for some woman emerging novelist. It could be written exactly with me in mind.

    Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, is delighted to announce that its first ever fiction prize will be awarded on Thursday 9 June 2011. We are now inviting people to submit work to be considered for the prize, subject to the following terms and conditions:


    1) The prize is for a novel by a woman over the age of 21 that marries literary merit with unputdownability.

    2) The novel may be on any subject at all. We welcome submissions of literary fiction and genre fiction equally.

    3) The novel must be unpublished, and must not have been accepted for future publication or self-published.

    4) Anyone who has previously published a full-length novel is not eligible to enter the competition.
    5) Each entry must consist of: the first 30 pages of the novel and a synopsis of the remainder of the novel that may be up to 10 pages long. The form the synopsis takes is left to the discretion of the entrant - it might be a detailed breakdown of the remainder of the plot, or a few paragraphs that give a flavour/overview. The novel does not need to be complete in order to be entered for the competition. It is acceptable to enter novels-in-progress and/or the first 30 pages of a novel you would like to write, or intend to write.

    6) The entrance fee is £10 per entry. Entrants may submit a maximum of 3 entries, but no more than 1 submission per entrant will be shortlisted.

    7) Entries must be submitted in an envelope clearly marked ‘Fiction Prize’ and must consist of:

    * the first 30 pages of the novel, printed in black ink on white A4 paper, 1.5 line spacing. The entrant’s name must not appear on the manuscript.

    * up to 10 pages of synopsis, printed in black ink on white A4 paper, 1.5 line spacing. The entrant’s name must not appear on the synopsis.

    *a separate sheet of white A4 paper that contains the following details: entrant’s name, address, phone numbers, email address, date of birth, title(s) of novel(s) submitted.

    * a cheque for the appropriate entry fee. Cheques should be made payable to Lucy Cavendish College.

    The judges will be bestselling novelist and poet Sophie Hannah and Professor Janet Todd, President of Lucy Cavendish College.
    The Shortlist, the Prize-giving Dinner and the Prize
    The judges will draw up a shortlist of five submissions. Those five entrants, plus one guest per shortlisted entrant, will be invited to the prize-giving dinner at Lucy Cavendish College on the evening of Thursday 9 June 2011. Fiction editors, literary agents and journalists will also be present at the dinner, as will fellows and students of the college. The judges will talk about all five shortlisted entries before announcing the winner and awarding the prize. The winner of the prize will receive a cheque for £1000, an editorial report and advice about publication from the judges. All five shortlistees will have the chance to meet editors and agents at the dinner.

    Fiction Prize, c/o President’s Secretary, Lucy Cavendish College, Lady Margaret Road Cambridge

    More information here.

    Monday 13 December 2010

    Clare Champion Schools Short Story Competition

    Pupils, from first year to Leaving Cert, should get thinking and writing to enter the fifth annual Clare Champion second-level schools short story competition. Since the competition was launched in 2007, pupils from schools in Clare and South Galway have submitted over 800 stories.

    The stories’ authors are anonymous when read by independent judges – Noel Crowley, former county librarian, novelist Niall Williams and folklorist Eddie Lenihan.

    Prizes for the competition also whet the appetite. With €300, €200 and €100 on offer for the first three in both the junior and senior categories, in addition to prizes for highly commended, in this regard, it surpasses many national creative writing competitions.

    An important aspect of the competition is that all the winning entries appear in a special Clare Champion feature, giving the pupils an opportunity to have their work published for the first time. The stories are also posted on the Clare County Library website.

    A new dimension was added to the competition last year, the outcome of which will be experienced during Ennis Book Club Festival 2011 in early March. Winners in the 2010 competition will be invited to read their stories at a series of events over the festival weekend.

    Teachers have encouraged their pupils to embrace the challenge of writing 1,000 to 1,500 words on any subject or theme and the stories that have emerged have been incredible. The standard of writing has been very high and the stories have run the spectrum from humorous to serious and mysterious to bizarre. Some writers have drawn from real life experiences and situations while others have delved into the world of fantasy.

    Posters with full details of the competition will be sent to schools in the coming weeks. Entries, specifying junior or senior category, age, class and teacher, should reach The Clare Champion before Friday, February 4, 2011.

    Sunday 12 December 2010

    Poets to Check Out - Kelly Tsai

    Friday 10 December 2010

    Twisted Tales Short Story Competition

    Twisted Tails is a competition specifically designed to satisfy our craving for stories of the ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ type. While we’re not necessarily looking for a devastating denouement, what we do hope for is to be surprised. It’s as simple as that. The surprise itself can be as gentle or as traumatic as you like – hopefully we won’t see it coming!

    We are now accepting entries for the Winter Competition, with a deadline of 31st December. As usual, we are offering four cash prizes, with publication for those and the six runners-up.

    # The competition is now open to both published and unpublished authors, but stories should not have been previously published in hard copy. Entrants must be over 17.

    # Copyright will always remain with the author.

    # This year's competitions will be judged by Nuala Ní Chonchúir, fiction writer and poet.

    See website for more details.

    Thursday 9 December 2010

    Interview with a Hero of Mine

    I admire David Mitchell hugely, his writing and his approach. (plus he lives near my in laws and was brought up near where and when I was too and I met him too this year, geek geek)

    There's a (long) fascinating interview with him in the Paris Review here. Check out what he says about structure, about voice, about lots of things.
    Get the structure wrong and you blow up shortly after takeoff. Get it right and you save yourself an aborted manuscript and months and months of wasted writing. Make your structure original and you may end up with a novel that looks unlike any other.
    Dialogue can be a revealing tool—you can smuggle in a lot about your characters simply by their choice of words.
    Startling is OK—provided it’s not so startling that the reader dumps the book in the charity shop unfinished.
    There's this facebook page here, not sure how legit it is...

    and an interview with therumpus
    I can’t leave a book alone. I need very patient people at the printers and the typesetters—I always find things that begin to work themselves out when I’m writing, or rather after I’ve written. “Maybe” or “perhaps”—or perhaps “possibly?” They’re all quite different, though, aren’t they? The same word, but one glance of the eyeball and sometimes it needs to be “maybe” and other times it needs to be “perhaps.” I don’t quite know why, but you do have a sense when you’re in the voice.

    Wednesday 8 December 2010

    Submissions to Crannog

    I was in the 25th issue of Crannóg Magazine of Galway and a mighty publication it was, including the mighty, Alison Wells, the mighty Paul Mullineaux, the mighty Tom Matthews and many more.

    Buy it here

    It is now open internationally to submissions of fiction (max 2000 words) and poetry (max 50 lines) for its 26th issue.

    Deadline: 1st January 2011.

    Submissions may be sent by email to or posted to:

    Crannog Magazine, Galway Language Centre, Bridge Mills, Galway, Ireland.

    Before submitting please read complete submission details on website.

    Tuesday 7 December 2010

    100 Word story

    Readers Digest have a competition to write a story in exactly 100 words. Excluding the title.

    Free to enter.
    Only one prize £5000
    Website here

    Deadline: 31 January 2011

    Entries can be submitted via the website or sent to:  \n
    It also says

    We may use entries in all print and electronic media.

    so you may have your story used even if you don't win. Not sure what I think about that...

    Monday 6 December 2010

    Festive Stories for Derry Journal

    For the second year the ‘Derry Journal’ in partnership with Eason bookstore in Foyleside is running a special Christmas writing competition.

    Readers of all ages are asked to let the holiday spirit inspire their imaginations and submit a story based on a Christmas theme. The story can be a work of fiction or a fond memory of Christmas past.

    Margaret Foley, Divisional Regional Sales Manager with the Derry Journal, says the company is delighted to be working in conjunction with Eason for a second year.
    “We hope the short story competition will get local people putting pen to paper with some festive stories,” she says.

    Martin McGinley, Editor of the ‘Journal,’ is encouraging schools and budding writers to enter. “We’re delighted to be running a short story competition this Christmas,” he said. “The great thing about this competition is the talent and imagination that will be exhibited by the people of Derry and Donegal.”

    To take part, entrants will need to submit their own short story. There are four age categories in which writers can enter:
    Ages 5 -7 (up to 150words),
    Ages 8 -11 (up to300 words),
    Ages 12-17 (up to 1,000 words) and
    Adults (up to 2,000 words).

    Winners will receive vouchers for Eason.

    All winning stories will be printed in the Derry Journal.

    All entries must be submitted by noon on Tuesday, December 14.

    All articles must be original and must not have been published elsewhere.

    You can send your entry to: Derry Journal Christmas story competition, 22 Buncrana Road, Derry, BT48 8AA or email

    Entries will be judged by a panel of experts including local writers.

    Normal Derry Journal competition rules apply. All entries must be marked with an address and contact phone number.

    Sunday 5 December 2010

    Advanced Poetry Seminar

    UK poet? Close to first or second collection? This poetry seminar sounds like the biz.

    14 - 18 March 2011
    Now open for nominations / applications
    Deadline: 17 January 2011

    Stretched, challenged and propelled and Undoubtedly one of the best weeks of my life – this is how two previous participants described their experience of the Aldeburgh Seminar, an outstanding professional and creative development opportunity for poets early in their publishing careers.

    The Poetry Trust is looking for a maximum of eight UK poets either at first collection or between first and second collection stage to participate in this residential course. Led by Michael Laskey and Peter Sansom – two exceptional poets/tutors with strong editorial experience – the course will include new writing exercises, workshopping poems, one-to-one surgeries, close readings and a session in a theatre to offer practical help on how to deliver good live readings.
    Over five days, participants will stay and learn together at Bruisyard Hall, a 14th century atmospheric and spacious retreat in rural Suffolk.

    Tuition, accommodation and all meals are included in the highly subsidised cost of £295 per participant.

    Further details
    or call 01986 835950
    or email:

    Friday 3 December 2010

    Dogs Singing - A Tribute Anthology

    Dogs Singing - A Tribute Anthology
    (Anyone know is Galway under snow? Is this still going ahead?)

    Compiled & Edited by
    Jessie Lendennie


    Venue: The Unitarian Church, 112 St Stephen’s Green West, Dublin 2
    Date/Time: Tuesday 14th December, 7.30pm
    Launch introduction by Sharon Ní Bheoláin

    Venue: The Town Hall Theatre, Courthouse Square, Galway

    Date/Time: Saturday 4th December, 2pm

    "Dogs Singing:A Tribute Anthology" brings together poems which highlight and examine and celebrate the canine world, and our place in it.

    "First love, enduring love; the witness, the stoic, the companion, the protector, the better part of us, the abiding presence, the warrior, the survivor, the guardian angel. Here is a big book of many poems, all inspired, devoted, motivated by a sacred bond that happens, the supreme privilege, that something far bigger than romance - a relationship with a dog. Dogs do sing; they also smile, socialise, engage and celebrate, mark a homecoming in proper style, even if it’s only the return from the local grocery store; they sigh, but most of all they understand, they grieve, they mourn, they empathise, they remember..." Eileen Battersby, Arts Writer & Literary Correspondent, The Irish Times

    Royalties from the sale of this book go to the Soi Dog Foundation (Phuket, Thailand) and MADRA (Co. Galway, Ireland)

    For more info,and to purchase copies online, visit our website:

    Published by:
    Salmon Poetry, Knockeven,
    Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

    Another New Open Mic

    They're popping up like dear little toadstools. This one from the Irish Writers Centre

    We are going to be holding our first open mic night here at the Centre on Sunday 5th December at 8pm. We're hoping this will become a monthly event if we get a good following.  We  are trying to get a few people who we know will definitely be there and would be willing to go through with it. Can you tell absolutely everyone you know about this?!? Everyone is welcome to come along and sign up on the night - we're looking for writers, musicians, comedians, actors - bit of everything.

    They say "Pass it onto everyone you know too." so I am!

    Thursday 2 December 2010

    Links of Interest

    At least to me:

    Anagram map of the London tube. Let's see, start at Pitosleer Revolt, change at Crux for Disco, alight at Chronic Grass

    Do you know what an Epithalamium is? (Clue, it is a type of poem)

    How to Perform Poetry - enthusiasm and arms.

    How to perform in a poetry slam - repetition, rhyme and rhythm.

    11 Tips for Spoken Word Beginners - Love your audience

    Fascinating and open interview with a hero of mine, Alan Bennett

    Wednesday 1 December 2010