Sunday 30 December 2012

Francis MacManus Short Story Competition

It's a competition to write a short story for the ear, for the radio. That's not the same as a story on the page. Read your story out loud. Remember your audience can't go back to check a detail. Think lyric, rhythmic.

  • The competition is open to anyone born or resident in Ireland.
  • Only one entry per person is allowed.
  • Entries must be original work of the author and not previously published or broadcast.
  • Stories must be between 1,800 - 2,000 words.
  • Entries should be double spaced and type written on one side of A4 paper.
  • The Authors name should only appear on the official entry form.
Deadline: 21st January 2013

There is no Entry Fee for Submission. Free

Entries should be posted or delivered to:
                                                                RTE Radio 1 Short Story Competition
                                                                RTE Radio Centre
                                                                Dublin 4
Application and details here

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Next Big Thing

This a pass the parcel sort of a blog post, a challenge passed to me from the lovely poet Nessa O'Mahony here.
Have a read. She's discussing her next collection Her Father's Daughter. Then you can continue backwards to Noel Duffy to Colin Bell and so on.

I dithered for a while whether to answer about my novel or my poetry collection but the poetry is much closer to the finish line so I went with that.

1) What is the working title of your next book?
It keeps changing. Sometimes Good Sherry Trifle, after a poem title and a painting by a German painter, sometimes Dancer Cows Crossing from a line in another poem. A title should reflect the theme of the book, the mood but a first collection is written over a much longer time period than subsequent and I'm finding it hard to pin down. Maybe A Box Full Of Love or Opening The Box or Moon Water. The jury is still out.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I started writing poetry when I did a creative writing class and the teacher, the late Stuart Lane, made me. I came back with a sonnet which was the first poem I'd written since school. My English teacher had put me off poetry for decades.
And once you have some publications, prizes and poems you are proud of, you want them to go out into the world. But not too soon. I've read a good few first collections that, in my humble opinion, are not ready. Not cooked, still a bit raw on the inside and not in a good way, in an indigestible way.
So I've held back and kept at it, writing, doing readings, sending out, publishing. last year, moth editions published a poetry pamphlet, a dinky book called Some Poems (still available, €4 or £4 a bargain) and that went really well. We had to reprint. Now I have sheaves of poems that I think would work well between covers.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Um, poetry?
I do feel I have my own voice. I would be more upbeat than a lot of poets. Not always of course. That would just be wearying and dishonest but I do like to see the positive where I can. I also have a science bent that pops out in unexpected places. I am well read but not an academic poet.
I write as an immigrant so I do have the advantage of seeing some parts of contemporary life from the outside. I work full time and have a family and these parts of my life come into my poems too. Of course, there are universal themes, love, children, inadequacies and feminism but also there's Facebook, honey roasted parsnips, spicy wine and the economic crisis.
Some poems are in form, some are written to be read out loud but most are carefully honed free verse.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of the characters in the movie rendition?
Are there any movies based on poems? There's a thought.
Damien Lewis (Homeland) would be perfect for the poem Flaming For Vincent.
Otto from Amsterdam Otto recommends could be Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock).
This is fun. What else?
Fred Astaire is already in The Full Experience
My Mother in While It Lasted could be played by Alison Steadman and my Dad by Colin Firth.

5) What is a one-line synopsis of your book?
Opening the Box to find thoughts, worries, incidents and joy from contemporary life.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?
No. I don't see the point in self-published poetry. And agents who represent poets at the start of their careers are...rare as moon water.
I'd be extremely happy if a prominent poetry publisher in Ireland or in the UK were to publish me. Call me! Tweet me! Read my manuscript!

7) How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
The oldest poem in the collection is probably ten years old. The youngest would be this autumn. I spend a lot of time with each poem, honing, changing, looking for the exact right word, the syllables, the sound, rhymes, half rhymes where rhymes add something. References to science, film, cartoon, songs, Greek Gods etc are carefully chosen. And if the reader doesn't get them, the poem will still stand on its own.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I'd like to think I am the new Wendy Cope or Sophie Hannah when she still did poetry but I don't write so much in form. Carol Ann Duffy? Except not so prolific. If someone paid me just to write poetry, I would be so much more prolific. Except sometimes you can get too locked inside your head. Work gets you out the door and into the real world.
>Also love e e cummings and the way he plays with words and lines and grammar. He has fun and still gets the serious things out there.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The late Stuart Lane triggered my dip into poetry. Otherwise it's just life, listening to people on the train, looking out of the window, arguing with my nearest and dearest and the outlaws, reading contemporary poetry and fiction and watching tv and films and going to art galleries and eating and drinking and dancing and going to festivals.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Where else could you find a massive crush on Vincent Van Gogh, conga-ing cows, silhouettes of ponderosa pines, shrivelled conkers, bloody arm stumps, the buckled end of a belt, Monaghan mosquitos, Schrodinger's Cat, bubbles of ashes, a mashed potato contest and a box full of love?
Dip in, the water's lovely.

I have now taken off one more layer and am passing the parcel to the very talented poet JoAnne McKay.
JoAnne is an Essex native who has lived in Dumfriesshire for the past 14 years. She grew up in a slaughterhouse in Romford, and her first career was as a police officer in Bristol.
JoAnne published her first poetry pamphlet, 'The fat plant', in 2009. Her pamphlet Venti was runner up in the 2011 Callum Macdonald Memorial Award. She is currently studying at the University of Glasgow, between paid employment and bringing up her family.
She blogs often and interestingly at Titus The Dog.
She's looking to get her post up on or around 7th January 2013.

Monday 24 December 2012

2013 Cardiff International Poetry Competition

A biggie. Line up your poem-ist poems.

The judges in the 2013 Cardiff International Poetry Competition areformer Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion and National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke alongside Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

The first prize-winner will walk away with a cheque for £5,000 for just one poem.
Further prizes available are £500 for second place, £250 for third plus five runners up will receive £50 each.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 15 February 2013
The competition is accessible to all; it doesn't matter if you are an established poet or just dabble with verse now and then. All entries to the competition will be judged anonymously, so this is a great opportunity to have your poetry judged on its own merits.

Just make sure your poem is no longer than 50 lines, is unpublished, in English and is not a translation of another authors work, then send it, along with your entry form and payment, to Literature Wales.

The 2013 Cardiff International Poetry Competition is administered by Literature Wales and supported by Cardiff Council, follow it on Twitter @LitWales hashtag is #CIPC13

For more information visit http://www.literaturewales. org/cipc/

Saturday 22 December 2012

Doire Press Short Story competition

Doire Press have a competition for short stories to be published in a chapbook. It has the whiff of vanity publishing about it, only a whiff but buyer beware. It may be what you're looking for. Especially with the lack of outlets for short stories.

Doire Press is pleased to announce 2013 International Fiction Chapbook Competition

Winners will each receive 75 copies of their own professionally edited and printed chapbook published by Doire Press. Chapbooks will be perfect-bound, contain up to 40 pages, feature colour front and back covers, as well as their own ISBN and barcode.

Ten shortlisted entries will be included in an anthology.

Entries: one short story (3,000 words max)

Deadline: January 9th, 2013

Submission Guidelines:
Euro 10 for first entry, Euro 8 for each additional entry.
Cheques or money orders to be made payable to Doire Press.
Entry fees can also be paid via Paypal through the Doire Press website.
Email submissions will also be accepted with an additional €1 printing fee per entry email

Send entries via postal mail to: Doire Press, Aille, Inverin, County Galway, Ireland.

Entries must include cover page with full contact information and title of story. Entrants name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

To read the full list of contest guidelines, submit via email or to pay by Paypal, please visit our website at

Thursday 20 December 2012

Stinging Fly Submission Guidelines

The Stinging Fly have changed their submission guidelines. I wonder why? Maybe one submission period meant the magazine was less in the spotlight for the rest of the year.

During 2013 The Stinging Fly will accept submissions in February, June and October. We will effectively, from now on, be working two issues in advance. Submissions received in February 2013 will be considered for our October issue (Winter 2013–14); June 2013 submissions will be read for our Spring 2014 issue; October 2013 submissions will be read for our Summer 2014 issue.

The editors remain the same though it appears.

Details here

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Ballymaloe Poetry Prize

It's close to the deadline if you are going to enter this. 31st December 2013

Details here

It's alsways useful to check previous winners and if you don't have the right Moth Magazine issue 8, here are some links.

Winner Bourdon by Paul McMahon

2nd Prize: I Crept Out by Sarah Clancy. (Facebook)

3rd Prize: The Fisherman (Facebook) by Lydia Macpherson

The Commended poems are in Issue 9.

Vico on The State (facebook) by Laurence O’Dwyer

Soldier and Piano’ by Kona Macphee

and ‘Girl with a Bag in Barcelona’ by Adam Wyeth
Note: The editor of The Moth will read everything, and then pass on a long longlist to the judge. Leontia Flynn.

Monday 17 December 2012

The Abandoned Darlings

The Abandoned Darlings invite you to come celebrate the launch of our anthology!

The anthology will be launched by very special guest EVA BOURKE
and will feature readings by some of the Abandoned Darlings.

And just to get you into the Christmas mood there will be mulled wine and mince pies!
So come join us for an evening of poetry, prose and Christmas festivities!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012
The launch takes place in upstairs in Busker Brownes at 18:30

See Galway Advertiser article

The anthology features poetry, fiction, and non-fiction set in harsh Russian winters, the Irish midlands, the Atlantic, and the Americas.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Uniquely Dublin International Competition

This is an all encompassing competition but includes an entry of up to 100 words. So get writing!

People from all over the world are invited to celebrate Dublin in a way that is compelling, innovative and popular. From a few simple words to short films, the competition is open to everyone, amateurs and professionals alike.

We're looking for entries that celebrate Dublin today. If you have something original to say, we want to hear it. Show us something that surprises or delights us. It could be a cartoon of your favourite character or a poem on Sandymount Strand. It could be a poster for the new Dublin or a piece of local slang as we've never seen or heard it before. It could be a painting, a slogan, a piece of propaganda or even a song. Make us look at Dublin with fresh eyes. Your eyes.

All you have to do is make a piece of work in one of the competition categories and send it to us. Works will be shortlisted by our distinguished panel of judges and then the public will decide the overall winner.

Why Enter?Not only will you have a say in Dublin's identity, but your work could be seen by thousands of people, and there are loads of prizes to be won.

There will be an exhibition of the winning entries in the Little Museum of Dublin in April 2013, submissions will be shown on billboards all over Dublin City, and prizes for the best work, including €10,000 for the overall winner and €1,000 for each of the category winners!

How to EnterThere are seven categories in which work can be entered; Film, Animation, Photography, Graphic Design, Written Word, Visual Arts and Music.

Entries must be sent by email. Please see the relevant category page for entry requirements and how to submit a work.
Entries will be accepted until January 28th 2013

Category Guidelines

Entries must be no longer than two minutes in length, of broadcast quality, and ideally in widescreen (16:9) ratio. All film entries must possess model release forms where applicable. Entries may be submitted by Dropbox only, and in both full HD and web optimised formats - contact for access.

Entries must be no longer than two minutes in length, of broadcast quality, and ideally in widescreen (16:9) ratio. Animation of any kind (digital, stop-motion, hand drawn) is accepted. Entries may be submitted by Dropbox only, and in both full HD and web optimised formats - contact for access.

Photographs may be colour or black and white, digital or film, and must be 300 DPI A3 portrait or landscape format. Entries must be submitted via email to

Graphic Design
Entries must be in hi-res pdf format, with all fonts outlined, CMYK, or hi resolution TIFF files - A3 landscape or portrait. If chosen for exhibition, entrant may be asked to provide artwork for display size larger than A3. Entries can be submitted via email only to

Written Word
Each entry must be no longer than 100 words long. Entries must be submitted via email to

Visual Arts
One single piece of painting, drawing, sculpture or handcraft. Work must be documented thoroughly. That documentation will form the basis of initial appraisal of the work. If chosen for exhibition, entrant will be required to deliver actual artwork to the Little Museum of Dublin on a pre-arranged date. In the first instance photos of work must be submitted via email to

One single piece of music, must be no longer than four minutes in length. Entrants must provide a high-quality audio recording (stereo 44khz minimum). Entries must be submitted by email only to

All entries must be submitted as per the category instructions. All entries will be acknowledged by email: if you do not receive an acknowledgement your entry has not been received. No entries posted or delivered to any of the competition patrons will be accepted.
For more information, visit

Friday 14 December 2012

Paradise Lost Reading

Friday 14 December starting at 10am 
Trinity College Dublin presents a reading of Paradise Lost aid of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland  
featuring including Seamus Heaney, Harry Clifton, Gerald Dawe, Seamus Heaney, Dave Lordan, Thomas Luxon, Iggy McGovern, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, David Norris, Michael O'Loughlin, Nessa O'Mahony, Eve Patten, Patrick Prendergast, Gerard Smyth, Joseph Woods, Macdara Woods and many more.
Graduate Memorial Building, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2

Monday 10 December 2012


Yes, it's that time of year again. And again I am a little late starting. Time is creeping on. Others are well on in their plans. Others have planned already and prepared. And as the lesser of the two instigators, I am honor bound to paticipate. But never fear, I am up to the task.

It's International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month.

(And Ireland are falling behind!)

Come on peeps. Write it, Put It, Photo it and Post it.

This year Titus has graciously volunteered to host. See here for a much better description about it.

So here's mine.
I was in London at the weekend and I was struck how friendly people were. Friendlier than I was used to. I'm wondering if it is the Olympics spirit that has kept on. When I was in Trafalgar Square, there was a lovely carol concert for the volunteers.

Since the Olympics

Now's the time for festive cheer
but London's friendly all the year
since last July it's our good luck
the volunteer spirit stuck.

I wrote it on a napkin from Pret a Manger and left it in said establishment in London City Airport.

So I don't know where Titus wants to count it!
I'm English.
I left it in England
I was going to Ireland.
I blog in Ireland.


Teaching Creativity Course

Teaching Creativity Teaching Creativity is an innovative new course in which anyone interested in becoming a teacher of Creative Writing can acquire the fundamental skills and inspiration to do so.

The module will be taught by poet Dave Lordan on behalf of The Irish Centre for Poetry Studies at the Mater Dei Institute, and will cover the teaching of creative writing in primary, secondary, adult and community contexts, areas in which he has acquired an abundance of experience over the years.

As well as boosting the CVs of participants and enhancing their teaching abilities, it will also provide specific opportunities for particular groups of people: Qualified teachers will discover new inspiration for the integration of creativity into the design and delivery of curriculum, as well as how to design a short course in creative writing, enabling a confident response to the increased emphasis on creativity in the Junior Cert, for example. Community educators and youth workers will be able to develop the potential for incorporating creativity into their work. Writers, both aspiring and established, can develop the skills that will enable them to do creative teaching work that will complement their craft.

Participants will be asked to produce a short course and lesson plans. A certificate will be issued to all participants.

The course can also be taken for credit as part of MDI’s Masters in Poetry Studies, as long as an expanded assessment piece is presented.

The module will be taught over four Saturdays at the Mater Dei Institute: January 19th, February 2nd, March 9th and April 13th.
Sessions will run from 9.45a.m- 12.45p.m.

The course fee is 200 euro.

The module co-ordinator, Michael Hinds, is happy to answer any

Saturday 8 December 2012

Strokestown International Poetry Award

I have never got anywhere with this competition though I've sent them some of my very best stuff. I wonder are the submissions pre-selected? I'm not bitter. No. No.

The Strokestown International Poetry Award is awarded for a poem in English not exceeding 70 lines, has a first prize of €3000, a second prize of €1500 and a third prize of €1000.

The judges this year are Iggy McGovern and Michael Schmidt for English. for Duais Cholmcille, CaoimhĂ­n Mac Giolla Leith; and for the inaugural Percy French Prize for Comic Verse, Eleanor Tiernan

Deadline: January 25th 2013
For more information, click here.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Gifts for Writers

Wondering what to get the writer in your life for Christmas? Or for me? Here's some ideas.

A beautiful notebook    

and a lovely pen or pencil

A Booker Prize winning book (or three)
Chocolates for inspiration or a word game or both together

A literary mug for tea. Also suitable for coffee, hot chocolate...
A Kindle

A really good book for your Kindle.

A really good dinky little poetry book

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Poetry Ireland Introductions

The Poetry Ireland Introduction Series aims to showcase emerging talent by offering a paid, public reading to poets workingtowards a first collection, and with a track record of publication injournals and magazines.

To apply for the Introductions series in Spring 2013, send no more than ten pages of poems and a short biographical note emphasising publication credits to: Introductions, Poetry Ireland, 32 Kildare St, D2

Deadline: Monday 7 January 2013.

This year Doghouse Books in Co Kerry has agreed to read (without commitment from publisher or poet) the shortlisted Introductions readers, with a view to publishing one full collection within the following year.


Saturday 1 December 2012


Kaleidoscope : A night of Music and Poetry
Featuring: Maya Homburger on violin, Barry Guy on double bass, Siobhan Armstrong on Harp, Benjamin Dwyer on Guitar, and Lucas Niggli on percussion, with poetry by Paul Perry

Curated by Maya Homburger and Barry Guy
The Odessa Cluib, 13 Dame Court, Dublin 2.
Wednesday December 5th, 2012. Doors @ 8.30pm, Music @ 9pm.

Tickets available from the Odessa Club on 016703080 - priced €10 (including €2 booking fee).

Kaleidoscope night, described by the Irish Times “one of those life-saving, spirit-lifting, pioneering Cultural Ventures we keep hearing about” brings a vibrant, dynamic musical experience to audiences and performers. Innovative and imaginative programming offers a diverse range of music from ancient to contemporary and experimental in a relaxed, intimate and beautiful setting.