Thursday 30 July 2015

Irish Times Travel Writing Competition

Fancy turning your hand to a 600 word feature on travel for the Irish Times? Fancy no more.

The Irish Times is inviting aspiring writers to have a go at penning a feature for the Travel section online. The author of the best entry, selected by our judges, will win the title of Irish Times Amateur Travel Writer of the Year, along with a travel writing assignment abroad for The Irish Times Magazine.
Your article could focus on a particular encounter with a person or place, or a big adventure or journey to somewhere wild or exotic. It could be a trip in Ireland or thousands of kilometres away, alone or with friends or family; the destination doesn’t matter, but the more unusual your angle, the better your chances of winning. They are looking for are engaging, entertaining, original and well-written stories.
Articles should be 600 words or under and submitted using this form. 
A selection of the best contributions will be published on, or in the Saturday Magazine travel section.
Link here
Deadline 26 September 2015

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Southword Poetry Submissions

Southword is now accepting submissions of poetry and submissions of litríocht as Gaeilge 

Submitting via Submittable (formerly Submishmash) is quick, easy and free! The only details you are required to provide is your name and email address. The advantage to using this site is that submitters will now be able to check the status of their submission, seeing easily for themselves whether their work has been accepted or declined.

To send poetry or short stories to Southword Journal Online, click here to go to Southword's Submittable page.

There is a strict submission limit of six poems or two short fiction pieces of 3000 words each. Authors are paid €30 per poem and/or €120 per story published in Southword Journal.

More details here

Check previous journals for an idea of what they're looking for.

Deadline: 15th September

The editor may take up to 8 weeks after the submission deadline to make their decision.

Sunday 26 July 2015

New Regular Poetry Reading Evening

Outburst magazine are holding their inaugural reading on Tuesday 28th July in the Workman's club, Wellington Quay Dublin,  starting at 7 pm. 

Kim Moore, the very wonderful U.K poet, the equally wonderful Jane Clarke and Arthur Broomfield will be reading. 

They hope to continue the readings on a monthly schedule. 

Admission is free 

Outburst is an e-zine on the margins. They say
we are openly hostile to cronyism and corneyism. We really do not want submissions that over sentimentalize experiences in the potato field or on the bog. We will welcome poetry that , to quote John Ashbery, is ‘ambrosia in the alley under the stars…that makes us aware of certain moments.’

Friday 24 July 2015

3rd Ó Bhéal Five Words Poetry Competition

If you are looking for some inspiration and/or writing exercise, have a look at this competition.

The 3rd Ó Bhéal Five Words Poetry Competition runs until the end of January 2016. 

Each Tuesday at noon (GMT), five words are posted on the competition page at

Entrants have one week to compose and submit poems that include all five words given for the week. 

A prize of 500 euros will be awarded to one winner, and if available, invited to read at Ó Bhéal’s ninth anniversary event in April, 2016 (an additional travel fee of 100 euro plus B&B accommodation will be provided for this).

The shortlisted poems and winning entry will also be published in Five Words Vol IX – the next annual anthology of five word poems, launched at the same event.

This year’s judges are Marie Coveney and Colm Scully. 

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Axis Poems

I have experimented with concrete poems where the shape on the page is as important as the words. Here's a new (for me) type that sounds interesting. An Axis poem.

- Possibly for two voices.
- Centred on the page
- with the two halves echoing or chiming with each other but distinct
- Rhymes and heteronyms or homonyms can work well

See this one Derwent Water from Paul Hurt (I think)

He says
The rhymes of the two halves are 'along,' horizontal, but the grammatical sense is vertical, 'down' each of the two columns. Although the diction is plain and simple - 'milky' applied to light and to ice, for example - it's transformed by putting the words and phrases in the two halves of the poem in close proximity. The two halves obviously show strong contrasts of theme - summer and winter - but there are also subtle contrasts of syntax and punctuation, for example, 'still' in the half-line of the first voice, 'still and distant' is different, grammatically, from the 'still' in the half-line of the second voice next to it, 'still distant.'
More here 

Monday 20 July 2015

Carried in Waves short stories for radio

UCC radio are running a short story competition for radio with a prize fund. 
1ST PRIZE €300 | 2ND PRIZE €200 | 3RD PRIZE €100
The competition is open to original short stories in the English language of 3,000 words or less. These stories can be on any subject, in any style, by a writer of any age and of any nationality, living anywhere in the world. The themes explored may be of any nature but keep in mind that a shortlist of forty stories will be recorded for broadcast. By way of guidance the recordings of the shortlisted stories will be performed by one actor who will be chosen from a panel of six which will represent all voices and ages. All copyright and ownership remains the property of the writer. 
The entry fee for one story of ten euro can be paid here you wish you may enter a maximum of two additional stories for a fee of five euro each.
Quite steep?
The adjudicating of the submissions will be by a panel of five people drawn from across all relevant disciplines. The panel will be chaired by Dr. Jools Gilson. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 
Closing date September 30th.
There's also a George Boole category for young adults.

Saturday 18 July 2015

Finding a Place: Landscapes Within and Without

Finding a Place: Landscapes Within and Without is a one day writing workshop hosted by John MacKenna. The day will focus on touring St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and using the beautiful grounds as a muse for creating original works.
The event will take place on 21 July, and includes a full day of activities designed to inspire.

Schedule for the Day:
10:00: Convene at the South Campus Reception
10:30: Guided Tour of Campus
11:15: Coffee/Tea Break
11:45: Writing Workshop
13:00 Lunch in Historic Pugin Hall
14:00: Individual Writing Time
15:30: Reading and Performance Cafe
17:00: Conclusion of the Day

Tickets for the event are €30. Booking by debit or credit only.
Please click this link to book tickets. Spaces are limited.

Link here

Thursday 16 July 2015

Inishbofin and Inishturk Writing Jaunts

Start to Write courses & Guided Writing Retreats with Yvonne Cullen who has been running these island writing trips for 7 years.

INISHTURK 18-25 July
€625 fee includes tuition, one week’s accommodation and most meals.



For information on availability see

TO BOOK or discuss, contact:

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Write Your Mind - Youth mental Health Theatre Project

Jigsaw Offaly in collaboration with Offaly Youth Theatre are launching a Youth Theatre Project to highlight Youth Mental Health through the Arts.

They invite writers to submit stories or theatrical monologues on the topic of living with mental health issues.

It could be a character’s account of their experience of mental health issues, for example; coping with
anxiety, depression, bullying, self-harm, loneliness, relationship difficulties or eating disorders to
mention but a few of the challenges that some young people may face on a daily basis. The
stories/ monologues should feature issues that may affect a young person in the 12 - 25 age category and will be performed by young actors in this age range.

Selected accounts will then form the basis of a theatre project.

Playwright Eugene O’ Brien (Eden/Pure Mule/Red Rock) will lead a collaborative process with young actors from Offaly Youth Theatre (OYT) and young people from Jigsaw’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) in the adaption/editing of a selection of these accounts into dramatic monologues. The end product will be staged in Birr and Tullamore, filmed for YouTube and recorded for radio, over a 12 month process.

This will act as an awareness exercise on the topics presented, giving an insight into the reality of Youth Mental Health in contemporary Ireland.

Written accounts can be emailed to or posted to Jigsaw Offaly, 1 Cormac Street,
Tullamore, Co. Offaly marked Theatre Project. Typed accounts are preferred and can be from 1-5 A4
pages in length. Jigsaw wish to put the emphasis on stories which will inspire young people to
overcome difficult times.

Deadline: 1 p.m. on Friday July 30th 2015

See or for project updates

Monday 13 July 2015

Song Writing Workshop

Singer/songwriter John Spillane will be holding a Song writing Workshop in Naas Arts and Culture Centre on Saturday 25th of July, starting at 2pm. This is a rare opportunity to get tips on song writing from one of Irelands best know songwriters, and get a rare insight into the world of the professional songwriter. 

John says about his workshops;
“At my song writing workshops we actually write songs. Having attended a few workshops where the participants play their songs 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 judgment are locked outside”

Prices are €50 for the half day workshop, with an early-bird price of €40 if booked and paid for before 15th of July.

Booking can be made at reception, McAuley Place, Sallins Rd. Naas.

Phone enquiries on 045 897833
What: Song writing Workshop with John Spillane
Where: Naas Arts and Culture Centre

When: Saturday 25th July. 2pm.

Sunday 12 July 2015

Roscommon Writing Award

Do you have connections to Roscommon? Here’s one for you.

The NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2015 is organised by the Roscommon Writer-in-Residence scheme, which is funded by Roscommon County Council and The Arts Council and supported by the Roscommon Herald, the Roscommon People and by Shannonside FM.

The winner will receive a monetary prize of €500.

Deadline: Tuesday, 30 August

Competition Rules
Entries, in English, on any theme, in any literary form, will be accepted.
The competition is open to anyone over 18 with a connection with the county of Roscommon (born in, living in, currently working in, went to school in, etc).
Typed entries (handwritten entries cannot be accepted) must be no more than 500 words. Mark the number of words in your entry on the bottom of the page.
Include your name, address and contact details, plus your connection to the county. Include these on a separate page, not on your entry.

There is no entry fee - Free to enter

The competition will be adjudicated by Jessamine O Connor.

Post your entry to: NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2015, Roscommon Library, Roscommon Town, Ireland.
email your entry to: Title your email NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2015.

Friday 10 July 2015

Writing with Oulipian constraints

I've been reading about Oulipo, a French group of writers who use constraints, often mathematical in their writing, poetry and prose. Ouvroir de litterature potentielle. See Wikipedia entry here.

TBH it mostly sounds mighty high falutin' but some ideas sounds exciting to try. Why not give it a go. Feel free to post any examples as comments.

S+7, sometimes called N+7 
Replace every noun in a text with the seventh noun after it in a dictionary. For example, "Call me Ishmael. Some years ago..." becomes "Call me islander. Some yeggs ago...". Results will vary depending upon the dictionary used. This technique can also be performed on other lexical classes, such as verbs.

I was going to try Sonnet 18, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day but Brian Wasko got there first
So how about:

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."

changes to 

“Our reverences now are ended. These our ads,
As I foretold you, were all spitchcocks and
Are melted into alarmists, into thin alarmists:
And, like the baseless facial of this visor,
The club-capp’d toxophilites, the gorgeous palafittes,
The solemn tempura, the great gloom itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial paint faded,
Leave not a raddle behind. We are such stunts
As dresses are made on, and our little lighter
Is rounded with a slew.

This brings on a refreshed love of words and appreciation of Shakespeare's vocabulary. 
- Toxophilites are lovers of archery.
- Palafittes are prehistoric huts on piles over lakes in Switzerland.
Here are some more links worth a read with examples. LIES/ISLE Issue 3 and Words without Borders  and an introduction on
You could also try:
A poem in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer. 
Worth reading the link from JoAnne Growney
Writing that excludes one or more letters. The previous sentence is a lipogram in B, F, H, J, K, Q, V, Y, and Z (it does not contain any of those letters).
Prisoner's constraint, also called Macao constraint 
A type of lipogram that omits letters with ascenders and descenders (b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, p, q, t, and y).
Sonnets and other poems constructed using palindromic techniques.
A poem using only one vowel, although the vowel may be used in any of its aural forms. For example, "born" and "cot" could both be used in a univocalism, but "sue" and "beau" could not.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Plough International Poetry Prize

Judge Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate.  However, I think the Plough pre-selects a shortlist for her which you may not like.
Entry fee £5 per poem.
1st prize £1,000
2nd prize £500
3rd prize £250

Closing date: 30 November 2015

40 lines, no theme.

Monday 6 July 2015

Submissions open for "After Heaney" Irish Pages

Seamus Heaney said Hi to me once. I've been dining out on it ever since. I watched him getting virtually chased down the road once by people wanting a bit of him.
This has the potential to be very interesting and diverse...or just the same old sucking up/academic-to-the-point-of-pointlessness/band wagon/neo-deification of a fascinating, brave and wonderful poet. Let's shake it up a bit.
The Editors of Irish Pages, Chris Agee and Cathal Ó Searcaigh, are currently assembling a second issue devoted to Seamus Heaney, entitled “After Heaney”, in English and Irish, focussing on the Maestro’s creative, cultural and critical legacy. In addition to further submissions of poetry, fiction, creative-non-fiction, memoir and reminiscence, we welcome non-specialist scholarly essays of literary distinction.  
Submissions should be sent to, or by post to The Editors, Irish Pages/Duillí Éireann, 129 Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 1SH. 
Full details of the journal and its submission procedure can be found at
In the first issue, “Heaney” (Vol 8, No 2), there was a particular focus on poetry, memoir, reminiscence and literary essays of a non-specialist nature directly relating to the man and his work; but the issue also included outstanding writing of all creative genres, especially poems, from Ireland and overseas, in a posthumous celebration of the enduring literary imagination in general. 
Deadline: 31st July

Saturday 4 July 2015

Red Line Poetry Competition

The Red Line Festival Poetry Competition is now open for submissions. The festival is in Tallaght in October.

First prize is €300, second prize is €200 and the third prize is €100.

All shortlisted entrants will be invited to read their poems at an event in The Red Line Book Festival this October.

Deadline: Friday 14th August 2015. 

  • A maximum number of 2 poems per person may be submitted.
  • Free to enter (sure why wouldn't you?)
  • Each entered poem, including its title, should be typed single-spaced in a standard 12 point font on one side of a single A4 sheet. 
  • All entrants must be 16 years of age or over. 
  • Open to anyone living on the island of Ireland. 
  • Entrants must not have published a full collection of poems at the time of entry. 

 The competition rules and entry forms can be downloaded here.

 The Red Line Poetry Competition will be judged by the poet Enda Wyley.

Thursday 2 July 2015

Summer Shot Fund Raiser Poetry Evening

AN EVENING OF POETRY AND SPOKEN WORD featuring some of Ireland's best-loved poets.


And maybe some special guests!

All proceeds go towards funding venue costs and reader fees for the next series of DOUBLE SHOT readings at Books Upstairs. Come along and support Ireland's poetry scene!

The Workman's club - The Vintage Room
10 Wellington Quay Dublin 2

Saturday, July 11, 2015 at 6:30 PM

A mighty line up. Not to be missed

Tickets €10 plus €1.35 fee here