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.