Sunday 30 September 2012

Peregrine Readings

Coming to a library near you.
Irish Writers on tour. Lock up your

Dermot Healy & Cláir Ní Aonghusa
Tuesday, October 2nd, 7.30pm, Irish Writers' Centre
Wednesday, October 3rd, 7.30pm, Longford County Library
Thursday, October 4th, 7.00pm, Cavan County Library

Karen Gillece & Sean O'Reilly

Tuesday, October 9th, 7.30pm, Irish Writers' Centre
Wednesday, October 10th, 7.30pm, Yeats Memorial Building, Sligo.
Thursday, October 11th, 7.30pm, Ballymahon Library, Longford. 
Paul Murray & Val Mulkerns

Tuesday, October 16th, 7.30pm, Irish Writers' Centre
Wednesday, October 17th, 7.30pm, City Library, John's Quay, Kilkenny
Thursday, October 18th, 7.30pm, Church of Ireland, Portumna, Co. Galway

Arlene Hunt & Declan Burke

Tuesday, October 23rd, 7.30pm, Irish Writers' Centre
Wednesday, October 24th, 7.30pm, Tramore Library, Co. Waterford
Thursday, October 25th, 7.30pm, Triskel Christchurch, Co. Cork

Morgan Llywelyn & Mike McCormack

Tuesday, October 30th, 7.30pm, Irish Writers' Centre
Wednesday, October 31st, 8.30pm, Anam Cara, Eyeries, Co. Cork
Thursday, November 1st, 7.30pm, Dingle Bookshop, Co. Kerry

Darach Ó Scolaí & Liam Mac Cóil

Dé Máirt, Samhain 6ú, 7.30pm, Áras na Scríbhneoirí
Dé Chéadaoin, Samhain 7ú, 7.00pm, Ionad Ealaíon Bhéal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo
Déardaoin, Samhain 8ú, 7.30pm, Leabharlann na Ceathrún Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe

Saturday 29 September 2012

Nominations for Professor

I can think of a few names. I expect it will end up kind of old school though.

Professor Harry Clifton will complete his term as Ireland Professor of Poetry in October 2013 and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust now invites nominations to fill this prestigious role. The Ireland Chair of Poetry was established by the Arts Council/ An Chomhairle Ealaíon, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin to celebrate the exceptional contribution of Irish poets to the world of literature.

The Chair is tenable for a period of three years (non-renewable) during which time the holder will be attached to each of the three universities in turn and will be required to be in residence at each for approximately one academic term per year. In addition, the holder will make three formal presentations and hold other informal workshops, lectures and readings for the public.
The value of the professorship will be £30,000 sterling per annum to the holder and is open to poets of achievement and distinction.
Nominations should be addressed to the Chairman, Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust, c/o Arts Council, 70 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 or sent by email to to arrive no later than Friday 12th October 2012.

The Ireland Chair of Poetry was set up following the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Seamus Heaney, to honour his achievement and that of Irish poets more generally. The Ireland Chair of Poetry is supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
The panel of trustees is made up of: Bob Collins, Chairman, (Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), Pat Moylan, (Chairman of the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon), Sir Donnell Deeny, Professor Ciaran Carson (Queen’s University Belfast), Professor Nicholas Grene (Trinity College Dublin), Professor Mary Clayton (University College Dublin), Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Adrian Hall and Brian Walker.

Friday 28 September 2012

Talking TV Drama

Galway Film Centre is delighted to welcome Bryan Cogman, Executive Story Editor and Writer on HBO’s Game of Thrones to Galway to take part in a seminar focused on writing drama for television. An in-depth interview will be conducted with Bryan on Saturday, October 6th by GMIT lecturer, Felim Mac Dermott. Talking TV Drama 2012 will comprise panel discussions, workshops and public interviews and is run in partnership with GMIT, Fás Screen Training Ireland and the BAI.
Hans Rosenfeldt, the concept creator and one of the main writers on The Bridge is now confirmed for the Nordic Noir Masterclass. Also attending this Masterclass is Richard Cottan, writer of 2 seasons of Wallander UK. This panel will be chaired by Declan Croghan. Declan is a leading Irish crime writers for TV. He is currently developing Life of Crime with Octagon and ITV. He is a huge fan of Scandinavian Crime TV and is delighted to be chairing this session.

Participants can attend the full 2 days of Interviews, Seminars, and Masterclasses for just €85 / €95.

Talking TV Drama
will take place in the Radisson Hotel in Galway City. Early booking is strongly advised as places are limited and this event sold out last year. Further details of the event will be available at

Thursday 27 September 2012

Merriman Short Story Competition

From Women Rule Writer's blog here.

The Merriman Short Story Competition is dedicated to the memory of the late Maeve Binchy, who was a life-long supporter of Cumann Merriman and a regular visitor to the Merriman Summer School. 
In 2005 Maeve wrote a special short story for the Brian Merriman bicentenary celebrations. The story, entitled A Week in Summer, was read by the author at that year’s Summer School in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare and was recorded live. A limited edition of the story was subsequently published in CD and booklet form. Maeve generously donated the royalties from the US edition to Cumann Merriman, and she agreed that her donation be used to award a short story prize. 

Prize of €1000 will be awarded to the winning short story, which must be original, unpublished and unbroadcast. Entries should be not more than 2,500 words in length and set in Ireland. 
Stories may be written in Irish or English. 
The competition is confined to writers born or living on the island of Ireland. 
Deadline: October 31st 2012
Only one story per entrant will be accepted.
Entry fee €10

The Merriman Short Story Competition is being run in association with Cumann Merriman, the Ennis Book Club Festival, Clare County Library and the Irish Times. The winning story will be read at the 2013 Ennis Book Club Festival and will be published in the Irish Times.

See Nuala's blog for more.

Writing Winning Short Stories

The short story workshops often book out and Nuala Ní Chonchúir is a popular and able teacher of this one day course.

Saturday 13th October: 10.30am-4.30pm, €80 / €70 (members)

How can you make your short story shine to editors, competition judges and publishers? You do it by being mindful of every element: presentation, spelling, title, beginnings, language, story, character, POV, dialogue and endings. This course will examine how to get your story working from beginning to end. There will be handouts and participants will write in class. This workshop is suitable for the first-time writer as well as those who have been writing for a while.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Poetry Taster Menu

Commenced Monday, 24th September, Time: 6.30pm - 9.00pm,
Duration: 10 Weeks, Cost: €350/€320.

This ten-week workshop series will be taught by a different poet each week. The theme and style of the workshop will change from writer to writer, giving participants a taste of various types of poetry and approached to writing. Through the course of the ten week students will encounter a variety of writing styles and maybe a poet they haven't encountered before.

Already missed Paula Meehan

1st October: Paul Perry
8th October: Leanne O'Sullivan
15th October: Pat Boran
22nd October: Máighréad Medbh
5th November: Peter Sirr
12th November: Maurice Scully
19th November: Catherine Phil MacCarthy
26th November: Geraldine Mitchell
3rd December: Alan Jude Moore
For details and to book go to the Irish Writers Centre website here.

A limited number of spaces for single workshops may be made available at noon on Monday 24 September costing  €40 for non-members or €35 for members.  Bookings for the individual sessions will not be available to book before then and will be dependent on availability.

Out of this World: Fantasy Fiction

Celine Kiernan is running a workshop this weekend. 

Sat 29th & Sun 30th September: 10.30am to 4.30pm, €150/€135 members

This exciting and intensive two-day course will be ideal for aspiring and already practising fantasy fiction writers. The first day will cover the problems and techniques of building imaginary worlds and how to make them believable. Key to this is the question of style and how language is used to express the fantastical. Methods and contrasting techniques of character description will also be explored, and students will be given writing exercises in the class to develop their strengths in both these areas.

The second day will cover the process and business of writing. Attendees will be encouraged to discuss their approaches to date and the successes and pitfalls they encountered along the way. Finally, the practical issues of how to find a publisher or an agent for your finished work will be covered in step-by-step detail, from writing your first query letter to what to expect once you've sold your manuscript. This will be an all-encompassing two-day course and should prove to be supremely beneficial to anyone interested in writing fantasy fiction.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Creative Bookmaking Workshops

Sandi Sexton is a talented artist and she's running workshops so you can learn to make your own books. Highly recommended.

Workshops Dates and Timetable:
Thursday Mornings 10.30am - 12.30pm
September 27, October 4, 11 & 18th

Friday Evenings 6.00 - 8.00pm
September 28, October 5, 12 & 19th

Week 1. Case Bound Notebook In this workshop the basic book binding techniques will be covered.
Folding paper, sewing sections of paper together, coverering boards with bookcloth and pasting book
block into covers.

Week 2. Chain Stitch Book Hard Cover Notebook with exposed spine. This book has two boards covered in bookcloth and the sections of paper will be stitched onto the boards using a chain stitch style binding.

Week 3. Combination Book A hard cover with concertina spine and pamphlet stitch. The book in this workshop will be made using a combination of techniques. Boards covered in bookcloth, paper folded into a concertina for the book spine, paper folded into sections and sew nonto concertina spine
using a pamphlet stich. When the book is open it resembles a star shape.

Week 4. Long Stitch A soft covered leather notebook with an exposed spine. No pasting used with this technique. Paper folded and placed into sections and stitched onto a soft leather. The stitching is exposed on the spine.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Athlone Literary Festival

Athlone Literary Festival has lots of interesting readings.

Friday 5th October

5-6pm  One act play by Martin Kelleher.
Venue : Passionfruit Theatre
7.30pm Recital by Athlone A  Cappalla
8.00pm  Reading by Paul Durcan. Paul will be reading from his new book “Praise in which I live and more and have my Being”
Venue : Shamrock Lodge Hotel

Saturday 6th  October   Venue : Shamrock Lodge Hotel

11.00am  Walking tour West Side of Athlone by Gearoid O’Brien.
Meeting point : Side of Castle.
1.00– 2.00pm  Scones and Readings from contributors to Flash Fiction competition.
3.00 – 5.00pm  Mental Illness : The Great Illusion.
Nell McCafferty in conversation with Dr Ivor Browne.
8.00pm Poetry Slam chaired by The Gombeens.

Sunday 7th October

12noon. Athlone Literary Festival Sunday Miscellany.

There are also workshops

9:30 - 4:30pm, Fri 5th, Playwriting Workshop with Thomas Conway of Druid Theatre.
10:30 - 12:30pm, Sat 6th, Creative Writing Workshop with Ann Skelly.
10:30 - 12:30pm Sat 6th, Creative Writing Workshop (11-14 yr olds) with Sinead Kilgarriff.
13:00 - 15:30pm, Sat 6th 'Me Maps' Book Making Workshop with Eilis Murphy
2:30 - 4:30pm, Sat 6th, Poetry Masterclass with Noel Monahan.

Website here

Saturday 22 September 2012

Desmond O'Grady Poetry Competition

Fancy a Trip to Limerick?

White House Limerick Poetry presents the Desmond O'Grady Poetry Competition, open to all poets from all around the world.


Each poet can submit up to three poems.
Poems can be in English or Irish language and must be unpublished.
Free to Enter.

Deadline: 31st October 2012

Judge: Gabriel Fitzmaurice

A shortlist of 40 poems will be selected by the judges and author poets are invited to read them during November 2012 (10 poems per evening) at the White House Limerick Poetry Open Mic that takes place every Wednesday at White House Bar in Limerick, Ireland. Poets that cannot come to the live readings, due to distance or other impediments, can read their poems in video conference over the internet or can submit a recorded video or, if they are technology shy, can nominate someone to read in their place.

Judges will select 10 finalists that are invited to read their poems at the Final Competition Celebration at the beginning of December in Limerick. During this, the winner will be presented with Desmond O'Grady Perpetual Trophy.

More details how to enter here.

Friday 21 September 2012

Poetry Meets Science

The physicist, Paul Dirac, certainly had a low opinion of poetry (and perhaps poets too). He said something like:

“ In science you want to say something that nobody knew before, in words which everyone can understand. In poetry you are bound to say something that everybody knows already, in words that nobody can understand.”

Now, at the risk of dissing  a Nobel prize winner,  in the Science Gallery, to boot, I don’t completely agree. Experiments with structure and with form  such as rhyme and rhythm play an important part in poetry, just as experiments  do in science,

Watch the rest of my talk at Ignite at Electric Picnic here
(Please ignore the festival hair and general dishevelment)

Thursday 20 September 2012

Seanchaí - The Kerry Writers Museum in Listowel - Creative Writing

  Are you finding it hard to get started? Do you feel 'stuck' in the middle of a novel going nowhere?
Or are you simply anxious to develop your writing skills for personal reasons? Whatever the
answer, this Workshop will help you unlock your creativity.

Through exercises, motivational tips and an in-depth look at the writing process, participants will learn how to harness the creative energy that fuels all the stories we write. We will look at how to develop character, how to write dialogue, and how to put together all the elements of a plot.
Every short story or novel begins with a 'moment of illumination' - a memory, an old photograph, an overheard scrap of conversation. Bring along any potential sources of inspiration and begin your story in earnest during two days of total immersion in the writing process.

Catherine will read from her work on Saturday September 29th at 8pm.  Admission free to workshop participants and €5 to the general public.

Course Fees & Booking Information
Fee Per Workshop : €130.00
  • The fee includes all tuition. It does not include accommodation, meals and transport to and from Listowel. 
  • Light refreshments will be available at break times. 
  • A non-refundable deposit of €50.00 is required when booking your course. The balance is due 2 weeks prior to commencement of the workshop.
  • All payments should be made in €uro. All major credit cards are accepted. Cheques should be made payable to The Seanchaí Centre.
  • Seanchaí reserves the right to cancel the course at short notice. In this event, a full refund will be made.
  • Courses will run from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. Daily times may be subject to change, and participants will be notified of any changes prior to the workshop.
  • The workshop director will agree appropriate break times with participants on arrival.
  • Places are limited. Strict priority will be given to those who register 4 weeks in advance of the workshop.
  • Where participants are asked to submit work, this should be done at least 2 weeks in advance of the workshop.
How to Book :
See website here

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Food and Drink Writing Award

The Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing 2013 will be awarded at next year’s Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival to the best short story on the theme of food and drink.

Food and drink has to be at the heart of the tale. The story could, for instance, be fiction or fact about a chance meeting over a drink, a life-changing conversation over dinner, or a relationship explored through food or drink. It could be crime or intrigue; in fact, any subject you like as long as it involves food and/or drink in some way.

The panel of judges will include Jeremy Mogford, owner of Oxford’s Old Parsonage and Old Bank hotels and Gee’s restaurant, Donald Sloan, co-founder and chair of Oxford Gastronomica and head of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management at Oxford Brookes University, and Pru Leith, the celebrated food writer and novelist.

Up to 2500 words in total in English and have a food and drink theme at its heart.

Entries should be submitted by email as a Word document to the

Deadline: October 1, 2012.

The winning entry will be announced at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in March 2013. The winner will receive £7500.
Entrants should also supply their home address, email and telephone number, their age and profession.

All entries submitted remain the property of the entrant. However, the Oxford Literary Festival, Mogford Group and their subsidiaries/associates retain the right to publish the winning and highly commended entries without fee - including the right to print an excerpt for use on festival promotional materials, for example website/brochure and in any festival media or broadcasting coverage, without fee; and the right for entries to be read in public during the festival without fee.

So it looks like it's free to enter but only one prize.

Monday 17 September 2012

Arts & Disability Ireland on Culture Night

There is never a dull moment when Jessica Casey is around – with her long purple nails, UGG boots, piña coladas, her dog Rosie and her plans to go to Ibiza, or to Australia, or to invent a new lipstick, or to become a farmer - or maybe a nun?

A Screening of ‘Jessica Casey – The Film’ and readings from ‘Jessica Casey and Other Works’
in Temple Bar as part of

Culture Night Friday 21st September

Arts & Disability Ireland are delighted to be presenting two related activities, readings and a film, as part of Dublin’s Culture Night on 21st September.

From 5.30pm there will be readings from ‘Jessica Casey and Other Works’, a collection of poetry by Away with Words, an innovative arts project in which people with intellectual disabilities explore creativity through writing. The readings will be given by well-known actors in locations across Temple Bar. These events will be followed at 7.45pm by a screening of animated short ‘Jessica Casey – The Film’, in Meeting House Square, which brings to cinematic life one of the main characters created by the authors of the book. There is never a dull moment when Jessica Casey is around – with her long purple nails, UGG boots, piña coladas, her dog Rosie and her plans to go to Ibiza, or to Australia, or to invent a new lipstick, or to become a farmer - or maybe a nun?

‘Jessica Casey and Other Works’ is the first formal publication of Away with Words, which was dreamed up by Claude and Mary Madec and set up as a collaboration between local writers and That’s Life (an initiative of the Brothers of Charity Services in County Galway to support people with intellectual disabilities to engage in the arts life of their communities.)

Mary Madec says, “In the individual poems… you will get many insights into how these writers see, feel, taste and hear the world they live in… Poetry also develops an ability to observe and listen to others as well as to oneself. It teaches empathy and compassion…” The book features the three poems that won First, Second and Third in the Inclusion Ireland Poetry Awards.

The12-minute animated short ‘Jessica Casey – The Film’ was created with the collaboration of members of Away with Words collective and visual artist Aideen Barry. The tour de force that is Jessica Casey was brought to cinematic life using stop motion animation and inspired by the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Many of the writers, artists and stars of this project will be in attendance for the Culture Night screening and readings.

Padraig Naughton, Director of Arts & Disability Ireland, says, “In championing the creativity of artists with disabilities, ADI is continually seeking out the very best in artistic practice from at home and abroad. ‘Jessica and Other Works’ is an exemplary Irish collaboration. First premièred at Galway’s 2012 Cuírt International Festival of Literature, ADI is delighted to showcase this beautiful film and thought provoking writing with a Dublin audience on Culture Night.”

These presentations are part of Arts & Disability Ireland’s on-going and internationally-recognised work creating lasting change in the way people with disabilities are involved with, and engage in, artistic and cultural life in Ireland. Arts & Disability Ireland is the resource and development organization for Arts and Disability in Ireland. They champion the creativity of artists with disabilities; promote inclusive experiences for audiences with disabilities and work to enhance the disability-related capacity of arts organizations.

The readings will take place in the following locations:

5.30pm – 5.45pm: Gutter Book Shop, Cows Lane, Temple Bar

6.00pm – 6.15pm: Queen of Tarts, Cows Lane, Temple Bar

7.00pm – 7.15pm: Outside Project Arts Centre, 39 Essex Street East, Temple Bar

Or look out for the hot pink umbrella’s….

7.45pm – 7.57pm: Screening of Jessica Casey, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.

Arts and Disability Ireland would like to acknowledge the support of Salmon Poetry, publishers of ‘Jessica Casey and Other Works.’

Sunday 16 September 2012

Burning Bush Submissions

This is one of the better online mags. (IMHO)

Here's Issue 3

Looking for submissions
Send no more than 4 poems, in the body of an email with “Poetry – Your Name” as the subject heading. A short biographical note should also be included. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for a decision. There are no restrictions on style, themes etc. Do not send attachments unless requested.

Issue #4 will include flash fiction as well as poetry. Please send submissions of short fiction, limit is 500 words, in the body of an email.

Details here

Saturday 15 September 2012

Bamboo Dreams

Launch of anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland
6.30pm, Tuesday 25 September

The Embassy of Japan in Ireland is pleased to inform you that Poetry Ireland, in association with Doghouse Books and the Irish Haiku Society, is to present the launch of Bamboo Dreams, an anthology of haiku poetry from Ireland edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. 

The event will be launched by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and will include musical accompaniment from Junshi Murakami (Celtic harp) and Philip Horan (shakuhachi bamboo flute). 

· Date: Tuesday, 25 September 2012
· Time: 6.30pm

· Venue: Unitarian Church, 112 St Stephen’s Green West, Dublin 2 

Admission to this event is free, and further information is available on

Friday 14 September 2012

New launches from Dedalus Press

Tuesday 18th September sees the launch of three new Dedaus Press titles with a launch reading at the Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, commencing at 7.00 pm.

The Invisible Threshold, by Catherine Phil MacCarthy, A Gather of Shadow by Mark Roper and The Next Life by Pat Boran represent new work by three mid-career poets who have already made significant names for themselves in Ireland and abroad.

The evening will be introduced by Joseph Woods, poet and Director of Poetry Ireland.

As well as being popular writers in their own right, all three poets are also well known for their encouragement of new writers and upcoming voices, facilitating workshops and classes throughout the country. As there is likely to be a sizeable turnout for the event, patrons are advised to note the starting time and perhaps come a few minutes early.

On another note, if you're thinking of submitting a poetry manuscript to this or any other press, read this post first here.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Dunfest Writing Competitions

To mark the 2012 Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival, there are three separate competitions that are open to anyone who has ever spent any time in Dunshaughlin – so they welcome entries from present-day and erstwhile Dunshaughlonians as well as people from all over the world who have paid the town a visit.

The three competitions have one overall theme: “A good time in Dunshaughlin

Photography, Short Story and Poetry are the 3 categories and each has 2 classes: Youth (under 16yrs) and Adult.

Poem should be no longer than 500 words

Short story between 500-2000 words.

Deadline: Monday 17th September, 2012

It seems to be free to enter but can see no mention of a prize so just glory?   
They say  
"While it is not our intention to generate commercial income from your work, we reserve the right to publish it in order to generate awareness/sponsorship for the festival – without remuneration. However, in all other aspects you will retain the rights of your work."

There's also a robot competition!

Other details here 

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Fiction Writing Master Class with Christine Dwyer Hickey

An intensive one-day workshop with the award-winning novelist and short story writer, Christine Dwyer Hickey

Twice winner of the Listowel Writers’ Week short story competition, Christine has also been a prize-winner in the prestigious Observer/Penguin short story competition. Her bestselling novel Tatty was chosen as one of the 50 Irish Books of the Decade, longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award. Her novel Last Train from Liguria was also a bestseller and was nominated for the Prix L’Européen de Littérature. Her latest novel The Cold Eye of Heaven was shortlisted for the Hughes & Hughes Irish Book of the Year 2011 and won the Irish Kerry Group Book of the Year in June 2012. 

An ideal course if you are working on a novel or on a collection of short stories. Christine will familiarise herself with a sample of your work beforehand so that you get the most out of the time you spend with her. The course will conclude with a reading by Christine at the Moth Studios. 

Date: 27 October 2012

Cost: €80

Venue: The Moth Studios, Cavan, Co. Cavan, Ireland
Cavan is just an hour and a half away from Dublin, and there are regular bus services. If you would like to know more about travel/accommodation, or to find out more about the course or to book a place, please contact Rebecca O'Connor at editor@themothmagazine.comor call (0)494362677.
Spaces are limited, so do book early!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Great Writing Great Places

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature has great pleasure in launching the 2012 Great Writing Great Places series, bringing writers into unusual venues but venues connected with their writing.
Where have all the Summers Gone? The science of weather. Evelyn Cusack, one of Ireland’s best-known meteorologists discusses the issue on everyone’s mind.
A tour of the library is included as part of the event.
Wednesday 12th September @ 6.00pm
Archbishop Marsh’s Library,St. Patrick’s Close (off Upper Kevin Street), Dublin 8
Admission free. Booking essential.
Tel: 01 674 4862 Email:

Writing Turns Criminal Crime writers Alex Barclay, Conor Brady, Declan Burke and Jane Casey discuss fact and fiction in this iconic location.
Wednesday 26th September @ 6.00pm
Green Street Court House
Halston Street (near Capel Street), Dublin 7
Admission free. Booking essential.

Tel: 01 674 4862 Email:
Parnell Without the Split: what if history had been different? Historian, author and RTÉ broadcaster Myles Dungan looks at the legacy of Charles Stewart Parnell and asks, what if?
Wednesday 3rd October @ 1pm
House of Lords
Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin 2
Admission free. Booking advisable.
Tel: 01 674 4862 Email:

Monday 10 September 2012

Cork International Short Story Festival

I have never been to this festival.
Not out of choice.
It just always coincides with other stuff.
I've heard loads of good things though.

2012 festival workshops will include several 4-day workshops, running during the day from the 19- 22 September, from 9.30am - 12.30pm. All workshops will run concurrently at a number of venues in Cork City centre, each no more than a ten minute walk from the main festival venue: the Triskel Arts Centre in South Main Street. The exact venue for each workshop will be determined by the number of participants and mobility considerations. Maximum number of participants in each workshop is 15.

Link here

There are still places on the flash fiction workshop.

Flash fiction: the shortest of short stories, the short story distilled to its essence — but also in many ways its own form, one that has been around for decades, with Borges, Kafka, Raymond Carver, Margaret Atwood and Richard Brautigan as some of its many proponents. Sometimes called microfiction, nanofiction, short shorts, ultra-short stories and even prose poems, we will be taking an in-depth look at the what, why, how and who of flash fiction, and embracing brevity ourselves. You will have at least 4 complete flash stories by the end of the week to submit to the many publications and contests that want your flash!

And Contemporary fairytales

This workshop is suitable for any writer who likes fairy tales from any tradition or time, and whether by Oscar Wilde, Angela Carter, the Brothers Grimm or any number of other practitioners around the world. In this workshop you will learn more about fairy-tale techniques. This craft workshop is suitable for writers from published to emerging and new, realist to fabulist, and mainstream to experimental — for fairy tales lend themselves freely to all. Through reading, discussion, and brief writing exercises, we will work with the basic techniques of fairy tales. These include, but are not limited to: flatness, everyday magic, intuitive logic, equivalency, and abstraction. Working from a series of very short traditional tales, you will produce new prose works. This workshop welcomes writers of all styles interested in going under the influence of wonder. Participants will receive a daily handout at each workshop. We will also have an opportunity to look at and discuss the many international journals that publish work that can be considered fairy-tale fiction; we will compare their different editorial lenses with an eye toward making submissions. You will also receive suggested reading lists for further investigation of this brilliant art form.

and Short story for young children

This course may be of interest to writers who have experience of writing for adults, but it is primarily designed for novice writers interested in writing for young audiences. Each day’s work begins with reading a poem together. The idea here is to help students to relax into a writing frame of mind by enjoying a short but complete piece of writing together and to allow them to exchange ideas about a piece of writing for which they are not responsible.

and Story Onto Stage

This workshop is designed for anyone who is interested in looking to prose fiction as a source of material for the stage. You may be a theatre practitioner with a favourite story that you would like to experience in a dramatic form or you may be a short story writer who is interested in examining your own world of concerns from the point of view of theatre. Either way, this workshop could be just the thing for you. If you are a first time writer and are interested in writing a play, the process of adapting a story for the stage is a good introduction to the playwriting process. If you already have experience in another literary form, it provides a great way of giving a whole new take on the literary experience.

And Story Into Song

At my song writing workshops we actually write songs. In the past I have attended a few workshops where the participants play their songs only to be criticised by experts who talk down to them. I was inspired to invent a novel approach, where we all sit down and write a finished song in one session. This teaches many lessons, including finishing things, which is often a big problem for writers. I create a space where all negativity, all criticism and judgement are locked outside. We get down and dirty and write songs. First we write words. Then we assemble them in a certain order, using the tricks of the trade, verse, chorus, repetition, rhyme etc. Then we sing them and we have a song. I try to come behind people and help them lose whatever inhibitions and fears they may have about writing songs. Positivity is the key, and this can be applied to other parts of life also. Anyone who signs up for my song writing workshop should be prepared to sing, it doesn’t matter at all how good or bad a singer you think you are!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Poem about your personal history

Here's an interesting one from Holland Park Press.

It’s about your personal history but at the same time we’re looking for an individual history that has a universal resonance; in other words, a poem which uses the literary form to say something more, and which is not just about yourself.

The poem could feature a country, or a particular area, a particular time, a generation, things we have lost, or of course new developments, changes in opinion, landscape, sexuality, thoughts on belief or atheism, or be about a conflict, migration, slowly getting to grips with something, or letting go, the list goes on.

We’re especially interested in the interaction between the personal and the universal, in something that happened to you, or a thing that you witnessed and which still colours your life and even that of others. It may well be the essence or theme of your life and you should present this in striking images.

The author of the winning poem will receive £100 plus the winning poem will be published in our online magazine.

Because we invite entries in Dutch and English, two poems will be awarded the first prize, one in English and one Dutch poem. For the benefit of our English readers the winning Dutch poem will be translated into English and published in both languages in our magazine.

  • Written in English or Dutch
  • 50 lines or fewer
  • Original work of the entrant and must not have been previously awarded or published
  • One poem per entrant
Deadline: 31 December 2012.

Free to enter

Link here

Saturday 8 September 2012

Troubadour International Poetry Prize

Announcing the £2,500 Sixth Annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize

Judged by Susan Wicks & David Harsent (with both judges reading all poems)

Sponsored by Cegin Productions

Prizes: 1st £2,500, 2nd £500, 3rd £250 & 20 prizes of £20 each
Plus a Spring 2012 Coffee-House-Poetry season-ticket
and  a prizewinners' Coffee-House Poetry reading
with Susan Wicks & David Harsent on Mon 28th Nov 2011
for all prize-winning poets

- Both judges will read all poems submitted.


- Poems: Poems must be in English, must each be no longer than 45 lines, must be the original work of the entrant (no translations) and must not have been previously broadcast or published (in print or online); winning & commended poems may be published (in print or online) by Troubadour International Poetry Prize

- Fees: All entries must be accompanied by fee of £5/€6/$8 per poem; payment by cheque or money order (Sterling/Euro/US-Dollars only) payable to 'Coffee-House Poetry' with Poet's Name (and e-mail Entry Acknowledgement Reference, if paying for earlier e-mail submission) written clearly on back.

- By Post: No entry form required; two copies required of each poem submitted; each poem must be typed on one side of A4 white paper showing title & poem only; include a separate page showing Poet's Name, Address, Phone No., E-Mail (if available), List of Poem Titles, Total Number of Poems and Total Fees
Troubadour International Poetry Prize, Coffee-House Poetry, PO Box 16210, LONDON, W4 1ZP

- By E-mail:
No entry form required; poems must be submitted as attachments (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf only) to; please include the following details in your e-mail message—Poet’s Name & Address, Phone No, List of Titles, No. of Poems, Total Fees, and EITHER PayPal reference OR cheque to arrive by post within 7 days; no Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery or Registered Post.

- Deadline: postmarked on or before Monday 15th October 2012

Prizegiving will be on Monday 26th November 2011 at Coffee-House Poetry at the Troubadour in Earls Court, London.

Friday 7 September 2012

Interview with poet Noel Duffy

Noel Duffy's first collection, In the Library of Lost Objects published by Ward Wood, is nominated for the Strong Award alongside

• Nerys Williams, Sound Archive, Seren
• Eoghan Walls, The Salt Harvest, Seren
• Ailbhe Darcy, Imaginary Menagerie, Bloodaxe

The winner will be announced this weekend at the Poetry Now Festival. Kingston Hotel, Sunday 9th September at 4pm. Entry €5.

Hello Noel and welcome my blog. How did you first get into poetry?

When I was in first year in secondary school, our English teacher asked us to write a poem. (He was probably after an easy afternoon!) I wrote something called 'In the City at Night' which was a bleak portrait of Dublin in the small hours. Other kids wrote poems about hating cabbage and the like. My teacher liked my piece so much he put it in the school magazine. I remember the sense of excitement and my hope that a friend's sister might see it. I don't know if she ever did but it was the first spark of excitement about what you could do with language broken up into lines. (I saw it again recently and I have to say it was pretty good for a 13 year old).

I enjoyed poetry in school after that, but couldn't reproduce the magic of writing poems. Much later, in my final year we studied Thomas Kinsella's 'Mirror in February' and it really had a powerful impact. It was a poem written by a poet who was still alive (the only one of the syllabus at the time) and again I was struck by how much you could say – and convey emotionally - in such a short space.

Despite this interest, in the end, I choose to study Natural Sciences at university, majoring in Experimental Physics. I still kept up an interest in poetry though, reading almost exclusively 20th Century poetry (recommended by friends in English) such as e.e. cummins, Wallace Stevens, Eliot and so on. At this point, I still assumed my future was in physics and I graduated with a first and looked into doing PhDs at various colleges in the UK. I decided though to take a year out and we all know that that can be fatal to your future studies! In truth, I didn't particularly like lab work and it precipitated something of a crisis and the way I found to deal with that was to try write poetry. This was around late 1993. My first stuff was all flow of consciousness, impressionistic musings and pretty awful to boot - thankfully now lost - but I remember encountering Seamus Heaney's collection Seeing Things around that time and decided to try write 'a bit like him'. 

I went to Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street with the sole purpose of writing a more formal type of poem. I managed to write a piece called 'Mama's Dance' (which was a play on Theodore Roethke's 'Papa's Waltz') and recognised that something had clicked in my writing. I started doing it with more intent after this breakthrough and published my first poem in Poetry Ireland Review about 18 months later in autumn 1995. So I guess the first poem I wrote in school was a seed and that evening in Bewley's was a turning point.

How do you think your Science background influences your writing? Both subject matter and the way you write?

Well, that first published poem was called 'Apple' and was a piece about Isaac Newton so from the beginning I was drawing on science. I should say, I was a very dedicated physics student and loved the subject - and science in general - so it seemed natural to try write about that, among other things. As well as Newton, I wrote pieces about Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter and a dramatic monologue by an unnamed woman (in my mind, a housekeeper) about Einstein as a child ('Einstein's Compass'). 

The strange thing, though, is that I moved away from physics as subject matter and started a series of poems about insects (bees, wasps, ants and so on) as well as geology, palaeontology, anthropology and even mathematics. There were also, of course, poems about more emotionally direct material such as family, lovers and loss etc. It wasn't really clear at this point what I was trying to do, but as the poems accumulated, I recognised that a pattern was emerging with the science poems acting as a kind of grand backdrop to the smaller, more personal human dramas. In a sense, the book was like life played out against the epic scale and timeframe of nature and the fleeting nature of life positioned beside or, perhaps, against this. 

As to how my background in science affects the way I write, that is a harder question to answer. Someone asked me recently why as a 'physicist' (I pointed out a very much lapsed one!) I wasn't more interested in a more formal poetics. By this they meant, I think, why I didn't writing in fixed forms such as sonnets, villanelles, sestinas and so on; they thought that would appeal to someone with a mathematical slant. To be honest, I've never been terribly interested in these forms. To go back to the evening in Bewley's, I think I realised that 'form' wasn't the same thing as conformity or whatever other notions I was carrying around with me. So, let's say, shape and some kind of formal design entered my work then.  

At the same time, I'm not that interested in language as a puzzle game in the way that certain writers approach it (I'm thinking of someone like Paul Muldoon who does that brilliantly). Perhaps, having studied the biggest 'puzzle-game' we know in science, I sought out poetry to sustain a part of me that also needed to express experience and emotion and not to be locked down by too many rules. So there is - I think at least - a formal quality in what I write which perhaps reflects my background in science, but I'm not what you'd call a formalist per se. It's as the poem requires! That said, I really do admire those poets who write in fixed forms and make them seem organic.

Your first book was two novellas. Tell me about that.

I had my novellas The Return Journey & Our Friends Electric accepted for publication with Bluechrome but they went bust just before they published it. I was disappointed at the time but in retrospect, if they’d gone bust after publication, it would have been worse. Adele Ward who published with Bluechrome then joined forces with Mike Fortune-Wood (who had previously managed the Cinnamon Press) and together they started Ward Wood in summer 2010. 

So I sent them my novellas in September 2010 and they were published in February 2011. I noticed that they also publish poetry so I sent them my collection, In the Library of Lost Objects and that was published in June 2011.

Why did you choose Ward Wood?

Well, it’s hard to get a publisher to begin with and while I had one offer by then, I would’ve had to have waited over 2 years for publication. I heard about Ward Wood at this point and they seemed like a fresh new press. They took the collection on straight away. Also as I was only the 3rd person on their list so I felt our relationship was more personal. That’s since proved to be the case.

How did you get your first collection ready for publication?

I had been working towards that collection for some time. The sensibility of the book was formed in 2001 when I was 30. I did a Masters in Creative Writing in Galway with the idea of finishing. In 2005, I thought I had the manuscript ready and I sent it out. In hindsight, I sent out too soon.

So I started culling poems. I became ruthless. The more I cut, the better the reception from publishers, although I was still getting rejections. But now they were saying, “Come back in a year.”

I went back to a folder of poems that I hadn’t quite managed to finish and realised most needed to be just edited back. Some important poems came out of that process, which I added to the 30 poems that remained, so these 40 pieces were my finished collection. By this time, I had been honing the book for a long time, but I realised then that it was finished – which was a massive relief! My editor later did a close edit of the poems. She’s a very good close reader of material and helped with nuance and detail in several pieces, as well as punctuation and occasional lapses into prose. But the initial list of 40 she saw, were the final 40. She now has some readers who you can send work-in-progress to and get feedback at important moments. That’s been very helpful with the collection I’m currently working on.

Do they give different responses?

Sometimes the advice converges, sometimes it diverges completely. And I’m there thinking, which way do I go? I have made changes based on some comments, but not all. Sometimes I changed things and then just changed them back. I have more confidence now with one book published and sometimes you’ve got to trust your own ear and instincts!

The period when I was getting rejection letters for the first collection was very difficult. You begin to wonder if the collection will ever come out. And then even getting a publisher isn’t the end. Beyond that, it’s how people respond. Another thing I hadn’t expected was how it affected people who don’t read poetry, how it found its way to them. I was trying to create a narrative with the ordering of the poems but many people told me they dipped in and out rather than reading the whole thing from start to finish. You have to accept that people will cherry pick poems, which is fine, but I did spend a lot of time sequencing the book to create a kind of emotional arc through the collection. I hope some people, at least, have noticed that!

You had some good reviews

The Poetry Book Society review was a great start and drew some magazine editor’s eyes to the book, particularly in the UK. There were also reviews in Poetry Ireland Review, Orbis and in Magma. One response talked about how one piece (‘Baltic Amber’) pulled a lot of threads together to give the book cohesion. I wouldn’t have recognised it in those terms – as being so central to the collection, I mean - but I did place it near the end of the book and poems there are intended to complete the narrative I mentioned. Even doing things like this interview make you think it through more. Speaking about the poems can be sometimes harder than writing them, but it’s very useful I find. It’s like holding the work up to a mirror and sometimes being surprised by it and how others see it.

And then you were nominated for the Strong Award for a first collection.

Yes. It’s great. These awards help draw attention to your work. Ward Wood is a London-based publisher and the book is in some shops there. Hodges & Figges and Dubray Books both took it on the basis of the nomination. That was very lucky. There are fewer bookshops now that stock debut collections. But credit should also go to Book Upstairs who carried the book from the beginning and are great champions of new Irish writing.

How far along is your second collection?

It’s called On Light And Carbon and again I’ve been combining science poems and personal poems. I’ve been playing with the different meanings of light and carbon. It’s nearly there in a rough draft. I’ve been editing seriously for the last couple of months. It’s coming together more quickly than I expected. It was written in a much more contracted time frame than the first collection;I was also lucky enough to get an arts council grant so I could devote a lot more time to writing this year.

I’ve also used a slightly different approach with this one by trying to write a first draft of each poem as quickly as possible to try maintain the movement of intent and emotion. That said, I’ve probably only used every other poem I’ve written for the book. The general idea for this collection is to explore the physics of light and waves, both as literal ideas and as metaphors.

There’s your Physics background coming through

Even though I didn’t go on in physics, I have a passion for it and science in general so it informs how I see the world. I try to make such poems both readable and intelligible for non-scientists. You don’t have to be a scientist to write about science, or I should add, to understand them. For example, in a poem called Harmonic Resonance, I try to explain the concept within the poem, rather than adding it as a footnote. But there has to be more to the poem. The physics was a starting point but it turned into an elegy to my friend’s father, who was a very fine pianist. In the end, I think a poem has to be more than an idea.

Is your first collection available in ebook format?

Yes, it’s coming out on Kindle. It’s much harder to layout poetry in this form due to line breaks and stanza patterns and so on but my publisher has found a way to do it and we have to cover that base. E-books look like they are now beginning to outsell paper books. And poetry books are sold in fewer and fewer places now so maybe it will help to make the work more available.

Ward Wood also encourage their authors to have a good online presence. Facebook, in particular, is a nice way of meeting poets. I’ve met some in real life who I first encountered online. I’ve also put some of my poems in various places on the web. The conundrum is if lots of the poems are available, then large chunks of the collection may have been read already. So there’s less reason to buy the book. It’s a balance really.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

In every creative writing class I’ve taught, there was at least one student with great talent. So talent isn’t as rare as you’d think. What’s really important is how hard you work after that. You should also read and learn as much as you can to refine your knowledge of the form.  I’d also say, don’t be afraid to write badly, just write. Some poems will come out better than others and that’s fine. I’ve been writing for nearly twenty years and that’s still true. Some of the poems in my second collection were orphaned from the first, and others – in revised form – go back to my first year’s writing. The difference now is that I can make more of them with experience. Don’t be too precious about it either, nor think that rewriting is cheating as some new writers feel. Also, don’t always wait for lightening to strike. Meet the muse halfway! And one final word – and perhaps the most important – enjoy it.

Thanks very much Noel and good luck with the Strong Award

Noel Duffy was born in Dublin in 1971 and studied Experimental Physics at Trinity College, Dublin, before turning his hand to writing. He co-edited (with Theo Dorgan) Watching the River Flow: A Century in Irish Poetry (Poetry Ireland, 1999) and was the winner in 2003 of the START Chapbook Prize for his collection, The Silence After.
His work has been published widely in Ireland and abroad, including Poetry Ireland Review, The Dublin Review, The Cuirt Journal and De Brakke Hond: Special Irish Issue (Belgium). His collection of two novellas The Return Journey & Our Friends Electric was published by Ward Wood in early 2011, followed by his debut poetry collection In the Library of Lost Objects, again published by Ward Wood. It been shortlisted for the 2012 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish author.