Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Short Story Event in 2010

At the Irish Writers’ Centre we are committed to supporting writers at every stage of their development. With this in mind, we are delighted to announce a new event starting in January 2010. The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions will take place on the last Wednesday of every month. Four short story writers will be selected and invited to read their work at the event. We are particularly interested in providing a platform for emerging writers who previously may not have had the opportunity to read their work in public.

Our inaugural event will take place on Wednesday 27th January. We are currently seeking featured readers and are accepting submissions until 8th January. Please send the short story (Max 3,000 words) you would like to read and a short bio to:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Peter Sirr, Enda Wyley and Hugo Hamilton on Thursday

This week John F. Deane will host the last of our Autumn Benefit Readings. Peter Sirr, Enda Wyley and Hugo Hamilton will be reading from their works on Thursday at 7.30pm.

Tickets for this event are 10€ and can be booked on our website or in person in the Centre. All proceeds will go to the Irish Writers' Centre.

For more information on this week's authors or to book just visit

Open Day last Saturday

We would like to thank everybody who contributed to the huge success of our Open Day on Saturday!

Many people came to get to know the Centre or had a look at the books that were on sale. Maire Robinson did a brilliant job facilitating a creative writing hour and we listened to fascinating presentations by our board members Jack Harte and Nuala Nì Dhomhnaill and our writer-in-residence Catherine Morris. We also got some good feedback to our work, which will help us improve the Centre further.

So, again, many, many thanks to all those people who helped making the Open Day a very special day for the Irish Writers' Centre!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Calling all curious visitors!

On Saturday, December 5th 's Open Day, IWC's big navy door will be wide open so that curious people can come in and have a look at our building.

Open Day is the perfect opportunity to discover what actually goes on at the Centre. The idea behind the event is to promote the courses and activities that take place here.

There are numerous literary activities planned for the day. The day starts at noon with Tiger Tales, a cosy get-together at our reception room table. Over mugs of tea and coffee, participants are invited to share their favourite poem or short story.

At one o'clock, Eileen Casey and Keiran Furey will give a free reading. Both writers have won numerous awards for their poetry and prose.

There will be an informal creative writing hour called The Rag and Bone Shop after a W. B. Yeats poem. This informal workshop starts at 3 pm and is led by the interns. We promise to get your creative juices flowing.

At 4 pm, Jack Harte, accomplished prose writer and IWC chairman, will give a short talk about the Centre, its history and its future. One of our tutors will also talk about the merits of creative writing courses.
Catherine Morris, IWC's writer-in-residence, will give a presentation on Alice Milligan at quarter to five. Morris is writing a book about the Irish poet and her research will be displayed in our illustrious reading room.

In the evening, there are two final activities: an open mike at 5 pm and a table quiz at 7 pm. Anyone is welcomed to take the podium for the open mike. Teams of four are needed for the literary table quiz. There are some great prizes to win: the top prize being a bundle of new shiny books from Easons.

Open Day is jam-packed with things to do, but people don't have to be super keen to enjoy the day. Everyone is invited to browse the library and inspect our art collection.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Patrick and Katherine Fellowship in poetry

We received the following press release from Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Associate Professor of English at Trinity College Dublin, which may be of interest:
The Patrick and Katherine Fellowship in poetry for 2009 has been awarded to Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons. The Fellowship is given annually under the terms of the will of Patrick Kavanagh's widow Katherine.
Katherine Kavanagh set up a Trust to help Irish poets who are in need of assistance. She wrote in her will, 'In the light of certain conversations that I had with my late husband I am of the opinion that poets can best benefit from grants, bursaries, loans or any manner of financial assistance during their "middle years ," that is to say that period of their creative life when they have established that they are capable of work of merit and before they are too old to reap the full benefit of such assistance.'
The award is made to a poet who has published a substantial body of work over time. Applicants are asked to submit evidence of age, of citizenship, and of income, along with copies of published work.
Janice Fitzpatrick is an Irish poet born in Boston, who has published five collections, including Settler, The Bowsprit and most recently Saint Michael in Peril of the Sea (Salmon, 2009). Her 'poems of pilgrimage and of physicality' question the engagements between humans and landscape, between people at odds with themselves and each other. In her work, human figures are rarely alone; their scenes and encounters are observed and captured in a language often plain, but strongly suggestive and full of feeling.
A former Assistant Director of the Robert Frost Place in New Hampshire, Janice Fitzpatrick was co-founder, with her late husband James Simmons (who died in 2001), and Director of the Poets' House/Teach na h éigse, located in Falcarragh, County Donegal. She also taught an MA in poetry at Waterford Institute of Technology. She now lives in Donegal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

John Banville and Seamus Heaney Reading at the Centre

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John Banville and Seamus Heaney

A group of hardy souls braved the worst rain on record to venture out to the IWC for one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Centre’s calendar: a reading by two of Ireland’s best-loved writers, Seamus Heaney and John Banville.

The reputations of both Banville and Heaney are so well-known that they don’t need to be described here, suffice to say that they lived up to the high expectations of the audience. John Banville read from his most recent novel, the wildly popular The Infinities, choosing a moving and amusing excerpt dealing with childhood memories, while Seamus Heaney treated us to a preview of his soon-to-be published translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, which describes a journey into the Underworld, and, sticking with a similar theme, read from his 1991 book Seeing Things, a collection of poetry which draws parallels between Greek mythology and day-to-day life.

Of course the evening wouldn’t have been complete without some mention of Ireland’s devastating exit from the World Cup Qualifiers, and the IWC’s treasurer Catherine Phil MacCarthy touched upon this painful subject, but also reminded the audience that Irish writers win the literary equivalent of the World Cup on a regular basis, citing Colum McCann winning the US National Book Award for Fiction for Let the Great World Spin on Wednesday night.

Many friends of the Centre turned out for the evening, including writers Nessa O’Mahony, Celine Dé Freine, Desmond Traynor, Padraig J. Daly, Paddy Bushe and Michael O’Loughlin. John Kearns from the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association, Brendan Nolan, writer and Communications Officer of the Irish Writers’ Union and special guest, the Bulgarian Ambassador, his Excellency Emil Yalnazov where also in attendance.

This event was part of a series of benefit readings, hosted by John F Deane and featuring popular Irish writers including Gabriel Rosentock, Claire Kilroy and Áine Ni Ghlinn. The final reading, with Peter Sirr, Enda Wiley and Hugo Hamilton will take place on the 10th of December. (click here for details>>>)

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John F. Deane, John Banville, Seamus Heaney, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, and Joe McCain.

Photograph Stephanie Joy © 2009
John F. Deane and Jack Harte

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book Club Reads All Names Have Been Changed

-The Parnell Square Readers Read All Names Have Been Changed-

The first meeting of our book club comprised of a gathering of us interns here at the Irish Writers’ Centre. High up on the fourth floor, in a little room usually given over to poetry workshops, we sat around tables, books on desk, expectant and ready to rock ‘n’ roll. We uncapped and uncorked a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white, passed around a plate of biscuits and waited to see if anyone else would show up. The Parnell Square Readers is open to the public. We encourage people to come and join us. But after a while of giddy munching, chattering and sipping amongst ourselves, it was clear that no one else would show up. Ah well, work in progress.

Every now and then a faint tremor of boardroom-type etiquette swept through the room, but with our collective will we quickly dispelled the ever-present seduction of formality, hierarchy and interpersonal competitiveness that usually haunt these types of things. I shivered and swore to myself that, ‘if this thing gets ridiculous, I’m outta here’.

First one up, All Names Have Been Changed by Claire Kilroy. So here, transcribed from our Dictaphone recording of our round-table discussion, and presented in a heavily edited and dramatic format, is our opinions, insights, praise and criticism of the book
—Well, what did you think?
—Where’s the wine?
—I mean did you think Glynn was realistic?
—Oh, let’s not start talking about realism already
—It was slow to start off
—Yes, I found that too
—I wouldn’t have read past page fifty if it wasn’t something that I had to do for this
—I’m glad I stuck with it though.
—Yeah, it really takes off after the description of the bonfire on Halloween
—Yeah, that was great.
—Really well done
—You could see her skill as a writer then, once she allowed herself the time to stick with a scene for more than a page. I really liked—
—No the red, pass the red, the red! I don’t drink white in the evenings.
—The reported speech at the beginning really bugged me though
—What about the picture of Dublin it gives?
—Grim, wet, full of strife and disappointment, not like today!
—I mean, there’s more than just the pubs today.
—Well, that’s what I think anyways.
—And what about all the use of allusion?
—The way the name of every chapter comes from something else like a song or a poem of a novel?
—Yeah, that, and references to Joyce and Beckett
—I guess it’s in keeping with the characters and their world.
—Give us a Jammy Dodger.
—Has anyone read her other books?
—No, but I’d like to now.
—Does anyone want to say anything about the characters? What about the narrative voice. Written by a female, Declan, a male protagonist, did it work? Did you believe you were in a young man’s head?
—And what about this obsession theme, the myth, the cult of personality. Does it hold up? I made a note around page forty which says, here, hang on, where is it?
—Is that heater on? Is anyone else cold?
—Yes, here it is, ‘If this character is obsessional shouldn’t there be more?’
—It’s hard to write about a great writer I think
—It’s all the unsaid things in this novel that I liked. Here’s a famous Irish writer, whose obviously hit-rock bottom, sitting amongst the damp and lost and ambitious, I think its quite touching, this picture of a pathetic genius, who, you can imagine, if he pulled himself through, could again be great. But when we meet him, he is his furthest from greatness. That’s what I like. You meet him when writing isn’t working for him and because of that he’s reckless, self-destructive. I think she pulled it off.
—Yeah, but the tortured genius? The Blake references? His demons?
—But it was well written!
—I liked Giz. The description of his brain, ‘like grey chewed gum’. He was interesting.
—Yeah, and the photo of him from his Communion on the stolen televisions! Brilliant.
—What is that, Pinot Noir? Oh yeah, that’s juicy! Gimme a biccy? Why don’t we have crackers and cheese at this?
—Does she deal with the heroin epidemic in the 80s in Dublin that the sleeve talks about?
—Implicitly, yes, its there in the background. The beating Giz gets at the end.
—I guess I was expecting more.
—Doesn’t Giz mug Declan with a syringe?
—Yeah, kinda, but not really. Did she even need it? Even in the background?
—What’s that man doing on the building over there?
—Over there, out the window. On the building. Over there!
—Oh yeah. I don’t know. Looks like he’s drilling.
—What are we reading next week? Banville?
—What about the ending?
—I thought it was a fantasy or a dream.
—Oh, it was terrible! I couldn’t believe she tacked that on!
—It wasn’t that bad.
—What about the other characters. We haven’t talked about them. I thought Aisling was interesting. But Faye, she didn’t really figure at all, did she?
—But what about the ending. What did you—

Tape ends.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Excitement about IWC's publishing day

From Inspiration to Publication, our one-day publishing seminar, took place last Saturday on a cold sunny November day. Around forty people showed up to hear our industry professionals talk and our illustrious reading room was packed. A buzz of excitement was in the air.

After teas and coffees and an opening address, the seminar started with two PowerPoint presentations, one given by Stephen Boylan and the other by Sarah Bannon. Boylan works as a buyer for Easons and he discussed current market trends (such as DIY books and teen fiction) and the importance of book jackets, among other things. Bannon, who is the Head of Literature at the Arts Council, explained how to apply for literary bursaries. She went over the application form with detailed instructions.

In the afternoon two editors, Declan Meade from The Stinging Fly Press and Catriona O'Reilly from Poetry Ireland Review, took the podium to answer the attendees' questions about what makes a poem or short story publishable. The format of the discussion was an informal Q&A session which allowed people to get an insight into the editing process. Both guest speakers talked about the importance of writing a good cover letter and the need to read other people's work in order to improve one's own craft.

The final speakers of the day were Dermot Bolger and Abie Philman Bowman. Bolger, a renowed author, entertained the crowd with personal stories of his rise to fame. His words were inspiring and he gave excellent tips on how to sustain a writer's life. Being a comedian and a journalist, Phibin Bowman gave some humourous advice on doing your own publicity and ways to manipulate the media.

The whole day was a great success, thanks to our speakers and participants. IWC plans on doing a similar event with literary agents in the new year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A new book by Ellen Gunning will be launched on Tuesday November 10th at The Irish Writers’ Centre. "Capital Women of Influence" is based on a radio series of the same name which was written and presented by Ellen and broadcast during the summer on 103.2 Dublin City FM. The book focuses on thirteen successful women from a cross-section of Irish life. Elected Senator, Ivana Bacik and charity founder, Christina Noble, are just two of the influential women profiled in the book.

“All of these women have achieved status and influence and respect in different fields of endeavour. All have different backgrounds, but all share a number of traits in common. They are all passionate about what they do. They all work much longer hours that the standard nine to five. They are all supremely organised, in their business and home lives. They get all things done. They all see opportunities, not obstacles. They are all great talkers, and they enthuse as they talk. They are all generous in giving credit to others who helped them along the way: teachers, family members, influencers, past employers and friends. They are all, undoubtedly, high achievers.They are also genuinely nice people. It really is a pleasure to have a cuppa and a chat with them. These women all have incredible energy levels, amazing ability and great personalities. I am fascinated and inspired by each and every one of them. I hope you will be too.”

- Capital Women of Influence, Preface extract

The book will be launched by Senator David Norris at 6.30pm and will be followed by a wine reception.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Belfast Launch of "Next to Nothing" by Chris Agee

The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry & Salt Publishing (Cambridge, England) cordially invite you to the Belfast launch of

Next to Nothing
by Chris Agee

Thursday, 29 October, 2009 at 7.00 pm

The Visitors Centre,
QUB See attached invitation.
A Journal of Contemporary Writing
The Linen Hall Library
17 Donegall Square North
Belfast BT1 5GB
Telephone: ++ 44(0)28 90434800
Chris Agee is published by Salt Publishing, Cambridge, England

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Anne Enright Opens Some Blind Alleys

Congratulations to Greg Baxter and all involved with the online journal Some Blind Alleys!

Friday night saw the long-anticipated launch of the website, which drew a diverse crowd down one of Dublin's own dark little alleys in Stoneybatter. The venue mirrored the website perfectly; raw and real; a sparse gallery space where the work on the walls spoke for itself.

Highlights of the event included an official opening by Anne Enright, who graciously clambered up onto a large box in her skirt and heels to start the proceedings. Anne praised the quality of the new work she had seen on the site, both written and visual, and shared her insight on what makes a good editor- an individual capable of opening up an intellectual space for a writer to fill.

She was followed by three gripping new pieces, written and read by the winners of the Some Blind Alleys' 2009 Writing Competition in the categories Short Story, Translation and Essay. The Coin Machine by Cathy Sweeney was a hard, uncompromising tale of bare flesh and poverty. The Crooked Hat by Kurt Tucholsky was translated by Nora Butler, who read the gentle piece with equal softness. And finally the essay entitled My Obsession with End Stations by Susan Leahy, wryly exposed the often hollow existence of a person posted abroad. Susan herself began writing in the Beginners' Creative Writing class at the Irish Writers' Centre and is now scribbling her own unique mark on a currently fluid and refreshing Irish writing scene.

The winning pieces can be read on the website:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Windows Publications Launch at The Irish Writers' Centre

Windows Publications launched the ninth book in their Authors & Artists Introduction Series last night at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Readers included contributing poets Michael Farry, David Rowell, Honor Duff and Nollaig Rowan. Musical entertainment was provided by singer songwriter Michael O’ Brien, from Cavan.

Michael Farry

Honor Duff

Nollaig Rowan (On left)

David Rowell

Michael O' Brien

Poets Heather Brett and Noel Monahan edit the Cavan-based publication, which puts an emphasis on the emerging writer. Writers such as Joe Woods, Catriona Clutterbuck, Nessa O’ Mahony, Grace Wells and Mary Medec have all been published in previous Windows Introductions. For further information on Windows Publications:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Benefit Readings at The Irish Writers' Centre

We are delighted to announce our upcoming series of benefit readings by leading writers. All proceeds will go towards The Irish Writers' Centre. There will be three readings in Irish hosted by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill and three in English hosted by John F Deane. All readings will start at 7.30 pm.

Thursday 8th October - Irish
Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Pádraig Ó Snodaigh, Aifric Mac Aodha

Thursday 22nd October - English
Gerard Smyth, Claire Kilroy, Padraig J Daly

Thursday 5th November - Irish
Gabriel Rosenstock, Paddy Bushe, Seán Mac Mathúna

Thursday 19th November - English Gala Reading*
Seamus Heaney, John Banville

Thursday 3rd December - Irish
Áine Ní Ghlinn, Gréagóir Ó Dúill, Celia de Fréine

Thursday 10th December - English
Peter Sirr, Enda Wylie, Hugo Hamilton

To Reserve Seats -
By phone:(01)8721302
In person: Between 10.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Saturday – 19 Parnell Square, D1.

Each reading is €10, except the *Gala Reading on 19 November, which is €50.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Culture Night at the Irish Writers' Centre 25-09-09

Culture Night at the Irish Writers' Centre

The Irish Writers' Centre is opening up its doors this Friday for culture night (the 25th of September), with readings throughout the night, tours of the building and a chance to see the beautiful collection of paintings on loan from Frank Buckley. To add to the occasion the centre will be selling hundred of its books for a song – prices will start at 2euros.

The first readings will begin at 7.30pm and will be hosted by the Thornfield Poets. Among the line up is Catherine Dunne, Susan Connolly, Cecilia McGovern, Maggie O'Dwyer, Helena Nolan, Colette Connor, and Enda Coyle-Greene.

Sapphire Writing Group will then host the second wave of readings from 9pm. The line up includes many writers who frequent the Centre, like Phyl Herbert, Sile Agnew, Cathy Sweeney, Richard Stevens, Sheila Purdy, Gerry Moloney, Mary Heneghan and Ross Skelton.

There will be lots of staff on hand to show you around, caffeinate you and give you the lowdown on the courses and events that will be taking place in the Irish Writers' Centre in the coming months.

So do come admire the art, the ceilings, the walls of books and listen to some readings, or simply sit in the beautiful building in Parnell square and enjoy a coffee.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

IWC Innovates

IWC Innovates

The Irish Writers’ Centre has announced a more innovative and varied line-up of courses and events for the Autumn programme.  Upcoming courses include The Novel with Juliet Bressan, Finish Your Novel with Conor Kostick, Reading as Writers with Nessa O’Mahony, Learn to Write Poetry with Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Poetry Workshop with Alan Jude Moore, Writing Children’s Fiction with Siobhán Parkinson, Writing Memoir, Autobiography and Personal Essay with Lia Mills, and Writing the Short Story with Michael J Farrell.

The line-up also includes some interesting new courses like Making Radio: A Guide to Presenting Your Ideas On Air taught by Susan Cahill, Writing and Touring a Successful One-person Comedy Show with Abie Philbin Bowman, Turning a Story into a Screenplay with Michael O’Loughlin, Telling your Story with Brendan Nolan, and Writing and Singing your own Lyrics with Larry Beau.

Courses will be taught by established writers, a comedian, a musician, and a radio producer.  Some courses run over several weeks while others take place on a weekend.  They cater for all levels and skill sets.  In addition to the courses, the Irish Writers’ Centre hosts information days on getting published; the next one is Finding a Publisher and How to Sell the Book that you Write (November 7th).

This month for Culture Night (September 25th) the centre will open its doors all night and will host a series of readings.  Members of the public will be free to come in and listen to the readings or simply enjoy the artwork (the Frank X. Buckley collection) that adorns the walls.  Also in September, IMRAM will be hosting several events in the centre, such as an Irish language screenwriting workshop taught by Ailbhe Nic Giolla Bhrighde from TG4 (September 19th).


Further Details on New Courses

Making Radio: A Guide to Presenting Your Ideas On Air is taught by Susan Cahill, a Radio Producer with Newstalk 106-108 fm. Susan has produced a range of high profile news and current affairs programmes for Newstalk including The Right Hook with George Hook and The Wide Angle presented by Karen Coleman. Susan has been nominated for a range of prestigious radio awards and currently produces Talking History and Sunday with Norris.

Comedian Abie Philbin Bowman will be teaching Writing and Touring a Successful One-person Comedy Show.  This course will cover all the elements of writing and touring a one-person show: concept, title, structure, narrative arc, marketing pitch, finances, publicity and touring opportunities.  Abie Philbin Bowman’s shows Jesus: The Guantanamo Years and Eco-Friendly Jihad, have sold out in Edinburgh for three years running and received rave reviews and attracted phenomenal media attention (over 30 outlets including The New York Times, Le Monde, and BBC News). He has also toured throughout Ireland and the world including: The Galway Comedy Festival, Monaghan’s Flat Lake Festival, London’s West End, Jimmy Tingle’s ‘Off Broadway’ Theatre and the World Performing Arts Festival in Pakistan.

Screenwriter and Poet Michael O’Loughlin will take you through the process of Turning a Story into a Screenplay.  In this ten-week course he will look at the techniques needed to turn the story into the screenplay, breaking down each into its key components. He will analyse the different kinds of structure in story and screenplay, as well as characterisation and plot, using some well-known examples.  Michael O’Loughlin’s film For My Baby/Goodnight Vienna, starring Alan Cumming and Frank Finlay, won the Golden Calf Award for Best Dutch Film in 1997. His most recent film is Snapshots, starring Burt Reynolds and Julie Christie.

Larry Beau kicks off the weekends on Friday nights with his course on Writing and Singing your own Lyrics.  The class looks at combining structure and melody, styles and traditions, tempo and rhythm before delving into ideas like the aesthetic of language, the chanson tradition, lure and romance and finally will give some hands on performance training and the opportunity to record some songs.  Larry Beau is an annual performer with the Dublin Fringe Festival, he has performed live on TV3, TV4, and RTE Radio 1. RTE Radio 1 featured his Oscar Wilde Tribute song Dandy Blues in association with Fringe Festival 2009 and his lyrics have been published in literary magazine The Stinging Fly.  His second album I Dream of Tiger Rose is released this year with 3 short music-movies, one of which was directed by Oscar nominee Daniel O’ Hara.

For more details check out