Monday, September 13, 2010

Mexican Literary Magazine looking for Irish Writers

An exciting new opportunity for young Irish writers!
Cuadrivio, a Mexican literary magazine, is putting together a collection of young Irish writers for the next edition and are seeking submissions from Irish writers under 35 years of age.
You can contact the editor, Joaquin at and   for more information.
Best of luck, and let us know how you get on!

National Day of Action

Friday, 17 September

In solidarity with all the other arts organisations concerned that funding for the arts might be regarded as less important than other demands on the public purse, the Writers’ Centre is participating wholeheartedly in this Day of Action. We hold that writers and writing are highly effective contributors to our society and our economy, and that some of the income generated by our sector particularly through cultural tourism should be re-invested in the sector to nurture writing for the future and to cultivate a society of readers.

Our action on the day will be as follows:

At 1.00 pm the Chairman of the Irish Writers’ Centre, Jack Harte, will walk from our premises, 19 Parnell Square, accompanied by a piper to lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in honour and in recognition of all the dead generations of writers who contributed to the creation of our state and the formation of our national identity. As part of this ceremony, Liam Mac Uistin will read his poem that is inscribed on the back wall of the Garden and that encapsulates the spirit of this commemorative shrine.

All present will then return to the Writers’ Centre, where writers and members of the public will read short pieces from the writers we are commemorating. For this purpose we are inviting the public in advance to nominate the writers who should be recognised, to choose a suitable poem or piece of prose that is representative of that writer’s work, and to come along and read it on the day. The obvious writers such as Pearse, Connolly, McDonagh, and Plunkett, will be included but we have already nominations for such people as John McGahern, Benedict Kiely, and Kate O’Brien.

The Invitation: Any of our supporters or members of the public who would like to nominate a writer and be considered for participation in this event should submit their proposals, titled Day of Action, to

More information can be found at

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The living and working conditions of artists in the Republic and North of Ireland.

Arts Council study reveals poor living and working conditions of artists

The average professional artist living in the Republic of Ireland earns just €14,500 a year from his or her art, despite having a higher level of formal education than the wider labour force, new research shows.
The data, published this month by the Arts Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, reveals how many artists are now working on the island, and the challenges they face as they pursue their chosen professions.

In the most comprehensive study for a generation, the two Arts Councils have shed critical new light on what it means to be an artist, writer, painter, musician or performer in modern day Ireland, north and south.
The Living and Working Conditions of Artists in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland shows that artists are an exceptionally highly educated group, with over two-thirds having attained a university degree. They are also hard working, putting in more than 55 hours per week and frequently holding down extra jobs to support their creative endeavours.

In stark contrast to their academic achievements and evident commitment, however, the overwhelming majority of artists still earn just two-thirds of the average income for all others workers. Lack of provision for pensions also spells financial hardship ahead for the current generation of artists.
The findings of the report will influence how the Arts Councils continue to provide support and the measures they take to improve conditions for artists on the island.

Here's the full report.

Irish Wheelchair Association Competition Winners

IWC is delighted to announce the winners of the Irish Wheelchair Association 50th Anniversary Creative Writing Competition.

In first place we have Kevin B. Clancy with his poem, 'Otley's Island', and in joint second place we have, Corina Duyn with her autobiographical piece, 'Edvard Munch meets Louis Armstrong' and Jerry O'Shea with his short story, 'Sheila'.

Michael J Farrell was judge, and he was suitably impressed with the talent shown.

The Irish Writers' Centre wishes to congratulate these three on their fantastic achievements!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What’s the use of a creative writing course?

People write. If they’re good enough, they get published. Then they write more and get more things published. Then they earn lots of money. All this happens smoothly and words flow in a constant stream of inspiration.

Pah! If only the business of writing were that simple!

Human beings are a complicated lot and writers themselves are a scruffy, jumbled bag. They write very different things and in very different ways. One thing holds true though, whether you wop words out on the page quicker than a laser-jet printer, or mull over your masterpiece for decades; it’s a long, tough road and you will probably write alone. You may get lonely and self-doubt could well tag along for the ride.

Creative writing courses are a great way to shake off pesky cling-ons of uncertainty and isolation that can be so severe as to make some writers give up completely. The chance to sit in amongst like-minded people who love to shuffle words around and tell stories, coming with their own ideas and angles, can be an invigorating experience not just for a complete beginner, but just as much for a writer who’s been battling along alone for a good while. And a writer at absolutely any stage can meet an inspirational writer or teacher who highlights something about their writing that they could not themselves see.

Want some hard proof of the brilliant revitalising power a writing course can have? No problem…

Poet Jane Clarke took part in a poetry course at the IWC back in 2007 led by Catherine Phil MacCarthy. She sowed the seeds of a poem there, The Lighthouse Keeper, drawing on Catherine’s encouragement to explore persona and to absorb herself completely in someone else’s life

Jane finished the course and abandoned the poem, thinking it was not really working and that she would return to it later. It didn’t happen. That is until, three years later, Jane found herself in another poetry course at the Centre, this time led by Paula Meehan, whose focus was very different; breath, rhythm and line. Inspired once more, Jane rustled through her papers at home, pulled out that poem and reworked it from a new angle. She then submitted it to an international poetry competition, the iYeats Poetry Contest, and won first prize.

Jane, a member of the Airfield Writers’ Group, has been writing for a long time and has had many poems published, but she has no doubt that putting yourself into different, creative experiences can take you in exciting writing directions. So as well as a chance to learn new things, a creative writing course could be just as useful in giving you an external stimulus; to put it another way, a blooming good kick up the typewriter!

Congratulations to Jane on her win and we look forward to seeing more of her work published in the future.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Design our new logo

The Irish Writers’ Centre is rebranding and to celebrate the rejuvenation of the Centre they are inviting interested parties to create a new logo for the organisation this summer.

The aim is to portray the sense of community amongst the Prose writers, Poets and Playwrights of Ireland. The winning design will be selected for its innovation and understanding of the concept of the Irish Writers’ Centre. The Centre encourages aspiring and established designers to partake. The logo will be chosen by a panel of judges made up of board and staff members of the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Submissions should be sent to
Closing date: 20th August 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dalkey Book Festival

You may still be recovering from your Bloomsday hangovers, but it's worth continuing your literary odyssey, and taking the train out to Dalkey for the first annual Dalkey Book Festival, which starts today. It may be Dublin's newest literary festival, but it's certainly got an impressive line-up, the sheer diversity and innovation of some of the events is pretty impressive. I've been poring over the programme for the last two weeks, and I've compiled a wish list of my fantasy weekend at Dalkey Book Festival. Here it is:

Friday 18th June.

6pm. See The Happy Prince in the Town Hall. Yes, it's aimed primarily at children, but you can never have enough Oscar Wilde and Michael James Ford's adaptation of the story has had fantastic reviews.

Saturday 19th June.

10am. Guided Joycean Walk. Bloomsday may have been on Wednesday, but you can never have enough Joyce. Starting the festival early will also give you the moral highground over the latecomers who show up in the afternoon. Appearing at the heritage centre at 10am shows that you mean business. And it's free.

12pm. Decorate a Cupcake Competition at Select Stores. Select Stores is the mecca of organic foodmarkets. It's almost worth making a pilgrimage out to Dalkey just to visit it... so the prospect of being able to ice cupcakes in such a lovely shop is absolutely irresistable.

1pm. Writing about Art. Bruce Arnold, critic extraordinaire, will be giving a talk about writing on the arts in the Tramyard Gallery. I've tried to write about art repeatedly, and trust me, it's much harder than you might think. Pick up some tips from an expert and enjoy the fabulous art that is displayed in the gallery (including my mother's paintings!!).

2.30pm. Children's Puppet Show. Need I say more?

3pm. At this point, I know that problems will arise due to the fact that two brilliant authors are due to speak at the same time. Marita Conlon-McKenna, who wrote Under the Hawthorn Tree will be doing children's story-telling at the same time that Joseph O'Connor will be reading from his new novel, Ghost Light. I'm torn between the two of them.

6pm After all this literary diversion, a little relaxation might be in order. Luckily, The Irish Times Favourite Wines event is at On The Grapevine, and guess what, it's free. Make the most of the wine tasting, because the evening won't stop here...

10pm. Oh yes, the fun continues, as you're going to be PARTYING WITH ROSS O'CARROLL KELLY! Paul Howard will be doing a reading at The Queens followed by Rosser himself spinning the decks. Fun times.

11.40pm. The partying should be well underway by now, but it's time to get out of the pub and on to the most exciting event of the entire festival. Make your way down to St Begnet's Graveyard (yes, I'm serious) for Midnight Poe, and see Bewley's Cafe Theatre's acclaimed Poe Show in the most eerie setting ever.

Sunday 20th June

11.30am. Make sure you get up in time to catch the wonderful Maeve Binchy, who'll be giving a free talk in Finnegans. Don't miss it, no matter what happened after the Midnight Poe last night.

2.30pm. Ferdia McAnna and Lia Mills will be giving some advice on how to write memoirs. If the weekend has gone according to plan so far, this workshop might come in useful.

6pm. Finish off the weekend with the Midsummer's Night Barbeque at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel. There'll be Prosecco on the lawn with barbeque and music, to round off the festival in a suitably summery way.

Check out the festival programme for the complete listings - there were lots of brilliant things that I didn't mention, this being one of the most unashamedly subjective posts ever to taint the archives of the Writers' Centre blog.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Beginnning the Novel

While Ali was having fun at the Bloomsday Festival talk at the Dublin Writers' Museum yesterday, I was taking part in one of the weekend courses at the centre: Beginning the Novel, which was taught by Catherine Dunne. I've been toying with the idea of writing a novel for an embarrassingly long time, so the opportunity to take a course on the subject was too tempting to resist. The course was very well structured, and as it was a small class, there was plenty of opportunity for each person to receive a lot of feedback on their writing. Some of the exercises were a little daunting - attempting to sum up the plot of an as-yet unwritten novel in five sentences is not exactly the easiest thing in the world - but we certainly got a lot of feedback from Catherine, and she provided some genuinely great advice on how to improve what we had already written. A lot of information was packed into a short space of time - it was a very intensive couple of days - and if you're thinking about taking one of these courses in the autumn, I'd highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bloomsday has kicked off!

It's Day Two of the Bloomsday Festival and we managed to sneak in a quick lunch time lecture on sex and music in James Joyce's Ulysses. The event entitled 'shall i wear a red yes' was taking place next door at the Dublin Writer's Museum.

The great Dublin actor and Joyce enthusiast Barry McGovern greeted a packed room of 50 odd people and enthralled us with a spirited reading complete with musical interludes.

We look forward to attending other events before the festival wraps up. We will definitely attend David Norris's one-man Joycean show 'Do you see what I'm hearing'. We might even make a trip to Sweny's Chemist to gawk at the people dressed in character and purchase a bar of delightfully fragrant lemon soap.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Maurice Harmon: When Love is Not Enough

We're really looking forward to the launch of Maurice Harmon's new collection of poetry, When Love is Not Enough, published by Salmon Poetry. The launch is being hosted in association with Poetry Ireland and takes place in the Unitarian Church in St Stephen's Green, on Tuesday 15th June at 6.30pm. The following day sees a further celebration of Maurice Harmon's work, this time in the Kevin Barry Room of the National Concert Hall. The composer, Derek Bell, has written Of Caílte's Time, a suite for Irish harp inspired by one of Harmon's recent works, to celebrate the poet's eightieth birthday. For more information on both events, visit Poetry Ireland's website.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Halo Life Book Launch

Pop down to the Irish Writers' Centre tomorrow, June 8th at 6.30pm for the launch of Jane Ovbude's Halo Life, a collection of uplifting essays, poetry, romance and thoughts concentrated on the idea of diversity. If the frankly disgusting weather is making the idea of trekking all the way to Parnell Square a bit off-putting, be warned: we're closing for the month of July, so if you want to come to one of our delightful book launches, your time is running out!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May Lonely Voice!

Last week the Irish Writers’ Centre was treated to shaggy dog stories, sadistic narrators, stirring statues and ladies tangled up in webs as the winners of this month’s Lonely Voice Short Story competition gathered to read aloud their various tales. As always we were delighted to see a wide range of styles and a diverse array of topics to tickle our fancy.

Micheal O’Loughlin (author of a short story collection and several poetry collections) selected this month’s winning entries and was on hand to give a few words about this month’s winning entrants. He praised the winners for their attention to style and form and for eschewing the typical route of Irish writers to focus on very detailed, very realistic content.

We were delighted to see a range of ages and backgrounds amongst our writers this month. One of the main aims of this competition has always been to provide a platform for writers at all stages of their careers and with all approaches to their craft so it was really rewarding to see the beginnings of new literary generation coming together.

Particularly gratifying was the large audience that showed up to support the event. It was great to see such a turn-out for emerging writers and even better to see how much they enjoyed the night. From the first word spoken, the audience were on the edge of their seats.

We want to extend big congratulations to all those who took part this month: David Cahill, Pat O ‘Connor, Elizabeth Reapy and Cathy Sweeney. We wish them all the best and hope to have them back again soon.

For our part, all here at the Irish Writers' Centre are looking forward to the next Lonely Voice. The submission deadline for our September event is Friday 27th so get writing!

To read more about the Lonely Voice, visit our main website


Monday, May 31, 2010

Dedalus Press Book Launch

Tonight sees a double book launch at the Centre, showcasing two new collections of poetry published by the Dedalus Press: Afterlife by Padraig J. Daly, and Drifting Under the Moon by Ger Reidy. Check out the Dedalus Press's excellent website for more information - it's well worth a visit - they even have an audio recording of Padraig Daly reading two of his poems, to get you into the spirit for tonight's event!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Lonely Voice: May shortlist announced!

Congratulations to this months winners of the Lonely Voice Short Story competition!

Cathy Sweeney - The Web
Cathy Sweeney lives in Bray. In 2008 she was a runner up in the Sean O'Faolain Short Story Competition. In July 2009 she read at the Writers’ Centre as part of the Stinging Fly’s new writers’ season and in October 2009 she won the someblindalleys short story competition.
David Cahill - Until Tomorrow
David Cahill recently received his diploma in Journalism from Dublin Business School and is now studying English at University College Dublin. He is twenty one years old and lives in Swords, Co. Dublin
Pat O'Connor - Don't Start Reading This Story Unless You Are Sitting Down
Pat O'Connor lives near Limerick with his wife and children and has been writing for many years.
Elizabeth Reapey - Moving Statues
E.M. Reapy is a 25-year-old writer from Claremorris. She has recently completed an M.A. in Creative Writing from Queen’s University Belfast. Her work has been featured in La Bouche Magazine, Flash International and several local publications. In 2009, she was shortlisted for Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award and she is the founder and current editor of wordlegs online magazine.

The readings will kick off at 7pm on Thursday 27th of May, refreshments will be provided and all are welcome!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Atlantis Collective Launch Second Short Story Collection

The Atlantis Collective Launch Second Short Story Collection

The Atlantis Collective launch 'Faceless Monsters' at The Irish Writers' Centre on Friday May 21st. The short story collection contains new work from the eight members of the group who have been meeting on a weekly basis in the Galway Arts Centre for the past two years. This is the second book by the group. Last year's debut 'Town of Fiction' was described by Des Kenny as ‘an important collection’ containing 'gems of stories'.

Though the individual styles of the writers may vary, when it comes to the quality of the work they have plenty in common, according to contributing editor Nuala Ní Chonchúir. ‘Each writer draws from a separate well – there are the humorists and the dark-lovers, the long-short writers and the flash aficionados – but they are all clearly dedicated to achieving excellence in their art.’

The launch of ‘Faceless Monsters’ takes place in The Irish Writers' Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, at 7pm. There will be refreshments and readings. Copies of the book will be available on the night and also through the Atlantis Collective website,

The Atlantis Collective are Colm Brady, Alan Caden, Dara Ó’ Foghlú, Aideen Henry, Trish Holmes, Paul McMahon, Conor Montague, and Máire T. Robinson. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Write for Your Life talks to the Irish Writers' Centre

So everyone. The Writers' Centre has delved into the mysterious world of the Podcast.

A little while ago, I had the pleasure of chatting to Iain Broome who runs a great website for writers in the UK called Write for Your Life, about the frolicking funding fiasco in the Irish Arts and literature in particular.

If you can cope with the fact that I used the word "basically" and the expression "you know" about a million times, much to my embarrassment, you may find the interview of interest. The Writers' Centre's bit comes in after 20 mins as the first bit of the podcast is an interview with Manuela Boyle, a writer and founder of a spoken word night in Sheffield.

A small footnote: I noticed that I said The Irish Writers' Centre had its funding pulled in 1998 rather than 2008 at one point. Whoopsie! You all know the story anyway...

Write for Your Life Podcast

Friday, May 14, 2010

On navigating yourself through the Slush Pile: Publishing Day at the Irish Writers' Centre

Exactly how many pages of your story will an editor actually bother reading? Would an extraordinary cover-letter ever better your chances of getting noticed by a publisher or an agent? And if you do ever get accepted by one of them, once you’ve finished doing an elaborate victory dance and telling everyone you’ve ever met, how much writing will you have time for what with online publicity, blogging, tweeting, networking and touring yourself?

These were all questions put to the expert panel of publishing industry professionals at our Publishing Day last Saturday 8th May. In an intimate setting, each speaker presented key points on their area of speciality, from representing authors to discovering authors to trawling the earth for stories worth writing, then opened themselves up for the bit everyone had come along for; the chance to quiz them with their burning questions on the ins and outs of the publishing process.

Ciara Considine, commissioning editor at Hachette Books and afterwards literary agent Jonathan Williams started things off with the hard-edged bottom line of it all. Synopses more often than not, turn out to be over-wrought snooze-fests that struggle to do justice to an actual text. With piles and piles of texts for them to get through, you’d better just have a jaw-dropping opening and stick it to them in the first few pages or you might as well forget it.

They told anecdotes which we all scoffed at out loud but there were no doubt more than a few red cheeks about! For example, a lot of people send texts with cover letters and CVs which include everything from their children’s names to the grades they got at school 40 years ago. The message from both of them was clear; just write something amazing and research which agents or publishers are most likely to be as excited by it as you are. Whatever you do, don’t just start at A in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and work you way through!

They were followed by digital publishing expert Eoin Purcell and literary publicist Cormac Kinsella who talked about how to use digital media to prolong your writing career and what kind of publicity is involved in a finished book respectively. One of the audience confessed to me that Eoin’s bit on digital publishing was the bit she was least looking forward to but that it had been the most eye-opening and interesting of all in terms of the tools it had given her to push herself forward in the clamouring crowd of would-be writers.

Some useful tips? Experiment with making snippets or whole bits of your texts available online. There are some excellent sites (e.g. smashwords and kindle) where you can set up a pay-to-view system for your work that bypasses agents and publishers completely. In some cases, the customer themselves can suggest how much or how little they’d like to pay to read something you’ve written. In short, there are more and more options for getting yourself read in this day and age and if you don’t explore them, the chances you’ll succeed are pretty slim.

We brought our final speaker in to clear the house out quickly at the end of the day. At least that’s what he suspected! In reality, everyone could have sat there into the small wee hours listening to prolific writer Dermot Bolger’s tales of the farcical life of a writer. His hilarious presentation, which not once followed his notes but was more a glorious oral short-story collection spanning his life pre-writing with all the characters he met back then, to now and his life hobnobbing with other writers, achieved something special; it got everyone pumped up and ready to go with pen in hand to set the world alight with their writing.

And so we all went home to write.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Not-So Lonely Voices of April

Left to right: Orla Price, Jan Carson, Molly McCloskey, Anne Harris and Susan Lanigan

Bouncing burlesque sex-scenes, two-headed people, burning butterfly houses... it can only be The Lonely Voice! Last night, the Irish Writers' Centre was home to all the above as this month's winning short story writers read from their differing yet all highly entertaining stories, selected by this month's guest judge Molly McCloskey (author of two short story collections, a novel and a soon to be published non-fiction book).

Molly was on hand to explain why exactly it was she picked the four stories on subjects as diverse as book club sex-scandals, imaginary operations to remove superfluous heads and using the funerals of strangers to cope with your own personal loss. In particular, Molly drew attention to the power of the opening line, when a writer has so little word count to play with, and she praised this month's winners for their grabbing starts.

Of this month's winners, all happened to be of the female variety yet each writer came with a different bag of experience and very different writing styles. Two came down from the North to attend the reading and all of the writers revelled in the chance to meet others ploughing away at the craft of the short story and to share experiences and ideas.

I definitely heard a lot of laughing from the audience and I imagine they were inwardly "aaww-ing" at all the touching moments in the stories and at the quality of the writing and so I can only glean from all this, that a good time was had by all. Having organised the thing, I am of course completely biased. I should also note that the MC'ing (also me) was of the utmost quality and good taste.

Big congratulations to the winners who shared in April's experience with us; Susan Lanigan, Anne Harris, Orla Price and Jan Carson. We wish them well in their future writing endeavours.

For us here at the Irish Writers' Centre, it's onwards to the May Lonely Voice (May 27th). Submission deadline is tomorrow so get writing and don't forget to knock us out with the opening line!

To read more about the Lonely Voice, visit our main website

Monday, April 26, 2010

May Lonely Voice Short Story Competition!


If you missed your chance to submit for the April Lonely Voice short story competition don't fret! The Irish Writers' Centre is still taking in stories until this Friday 30th April for the May event. Up to four short story writers will be selected and invited to read their work at the Centre on Thursday 27th May.

Please send the short story you would like to read (max 3,000 words and limited to one entry per person per month) and a short bio to: Please attach bios and stories seperately and make sure they are in .doc format. Your name should not appear on the story.

Please note: The Lonely Voice May Event will be the last Lonely Voice competition before the summer break in June. The competition will restart in September.

Oh and don't forgot the winners of the April event will take place on Wednesday 28th April and is free, so come along to hear the very best of this month's submissions!

Monday, April 19, 2010

National Poetry Competition Open for Entries      

 Now in its 33rd year, the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious poetry competitions. Winners include both established and emerging poets and for many the prize has proved an important milestone in their professional careers. Add your name to a roll-call of winners that includes Carol Ann Duffy, Ian Duhig, Philip Gross, and Jo Shapcott – and have your work published in the Poetry Society’s leading international journal, Poetry Review.
The judges this year are poets George Szirtes, Deryn Rees-Jones and Sinéad Morrissey. The prizes are: £5,000 for the overall winner, £2,000 for the second, £1,000 for the third and seven commendations of £100.
The deadline is 31 October.
Enter online or download an entry form at
Over the May Bank Holiday Weekend a number of exciting poetry events will be taking place in Drogheda as part of their Fringe Fest. Some of you may be interested in the following:

The Great Drogheda Poetry Slam

An open competition with great cash prizes in two categories:

1. Performance Poetry,
2. Spoken Word

Audience adjudicated. Guest poet Steve Downes, who will launch his new collection of poetry entitles "Urbania"
Great fun and non-poets welcome......

Date: Friday, April 30th
Time: 7.30 pm
Venue: Upstairs @ McHughs, Cord Rd. Drogheda
Free entry

Jinx Lennon:

Part punk folk poet troubadour, part gospel music energy preacher..... Using his words, electro beats, a six string guitar and bullhorn, Jinx Lennon exposes his cracked mirror view of Hibernia and society in general, he draws theaudience into his world like a drowsy insect into the mouth of a flesh eating plant. He is a regular at festivals such as Electric Picnic, CQAF in Belfast and is now part of Drogheda’s First Ever Fringe!

Date: Friday, April 30th
Time: 10pm
Venue: Elbow Room, Drogheda

Poetry Reading

Some of Drogheda's finest poets gather for an intimate reading session of published and non-published work.

Date: Saturday, May 1st
Time: 3pm
Venue: Cafe @ Drochead Arts Centre, Stockwell St., Drogheda
Free entry

See also:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lonely Voice Reading

from left to right: Tony Devlin, Anthony Glavin, Pat O'Connor, Mark Kilroy, Brian Kirk

The winners of the Lonely Voice short-story competition in March – Brian Kirk, Mark Kilroy, Tony Devlin and Pat O’Connor – read their stories at the Irish Writers’ Centre on Wednesday 31st March.

This month’s judge and acclaimed short-story writer Anthony Glavin gave an introduction to the winning stories and talked about the difficulties that short-story writers have to face when trying to publish their work. He highlighted how the Lonely Voice is a great opportunity for emerging writers to get their stories heard.

The winners came not only from Dublin, but from all over the country. Four outstanding short-stories and a glass or two of French red wine made for a very enjoyable evening and we are all looking forward to the next reading on Wednesday 28th April.

The Lonely Voice is a monthly competition, for more information on our submission guidelines see our website:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Read all about the IWC in the Irish Times

The Centre gets mentioned in the Irish Times! Journalist Fiona McCann writes an interesting article, "One voice to tell a positive story", about how our organisation has been struggling since our funding was cut back in 2008.

Our very own Chairman Jack Harte is interviewed about the precarious state of the Centre and about how budget cuts impede Ireland's national art form: literature.

Here's a sample of what was said:

'There are two factors that could close the centre down,' admits Harte. “If our bills and overheads outstrip what we raise, then we’ve got to close it down. If the young people working there were no longer able to offer their time for free, then we would have to close it down. We’re hanging on by our fingernails.'

The article quotes other literature big wigs, people like Mags Walsh from CBI, Joseph Woods from Poetry Ireland and Sarah Bannon from the Arts Council. It also examines the positive work that is being done by the Literature Alliance.

To read the article in full, go to

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Irish Writers' Centre: the rightful place of Irish literature

Writing is considered by many to be the national art form of Ireland, a cultural powerhouse drawing people from across the world experience the historical and contemporary traditions of Irish literature. Within Ireland itself, literature has had the power to drive change and to set the tone of the nation. The richness of this influence on Irish society stands Dublin in good stead to receive a UNESCO denomination as a City of Culture, which will only strengthen the draw of Ireland and its capital to the rest of the world.

Set right at the heart of this dramatic literary landscape is the Irish Writers’ Centre. Perched atop Parnell Square overlooking the Memorial Park, the city and the mountains beyond, the Centre has provided a nucleus for Irish writers and writing, and for international writers visiting Ireland, for the last twenty years. While tourists can visit the James Joyce Centre, exhibitions on Yeats at the National Library and the homes of Oscar Wilde around the city, when people wish to connect with and experience the works of Ireland’s great contemporary writers, they come to the Irish Writers’ Centre. After all, there is very much more to the Irish literary canon than the nine faces on the tourist postcards and tea-towels that many people take home with them from Ireland.

Since its inception in 1991, the Irish Writers’ Centre has welcomed many award winning writers through its doors, including Nobel, Costa, Man Booker, IMPAC, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Whether giving readings to the public, or lending their expertise to up-and-coming writers through seminars and workshops, great names such as Seamus Heaney, John Banville and Sebastian Barry have all been part of the Centre’s history.

It has also served as an important platform for breakthrough talent, with many young writers giving their first public readings in the elegant Reading Room, which once served the Jameson family as part of their home. Many of these writers have been nurtured through the Centre’s Creative Writing courses, or through one of the many writing groups which use the Centre to meet regularly and work on their poetry or prose.

The Writers’ Centre is an integral part of the capital’s literary infrastructure and continues to exist despite the fact that it has not received funding from the Arts Council since 2008. The sheer will of support from writers, readers and the general public alike keeps the Centre open and motivates it’s voluntary team of staff and board to strive harder to meet the needs of the literary community in the face of funding adversity. The Centre’s Membership programme has been developed to open the Centre’s doors to a wider audience and the public are welcome to visit the Centre to discover all it has to offer, from its library to its extensive art collection. The Centre belongs to its members, who use the Centre daily to read, write and relax from the bustle of Dublin outside.

To all those who wish literature to be accorded the esteem it has earned and to fight to keep the Irish Writers’ Centre as a central part of Dublin’s literary landscape, find out more about what you can do by visiting the Irish Writers’ Centre website:.
The Irish writers Centre is at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Tel: +353 1 8721302; e-mail:;

Donna Sorensen

The New Theatre

The New Theatre in Temple Bar is looking for budding or experienced playwrights to participate in playreadings. These readings will take place the first Saturday of every month. The theatre is currently seeking outlines which can be sent to to the attention of Jane or Anthony.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

June Caldwell's Notes from Publishing Day

The book publishing industry is changing rapidly and unless you’re directly involved, it's hard to gauge the impact of these changes on both the author and the reader. From interactive and illustrated Ebooks to the effect that social networking is having on our creativity, through to declining sales, a shifting business model and a slow economy. Some would say the industry is in turmoil, but one vital component remains deliciously static: the essence of books - the connection between author and reader.

The IWC Publishing Day was a great opportunity to scrutinise the links between the author, agent, publisher, publicist and reader. Author John Boyne (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, etc.) spoke from the heart about the slow hard work of writing. “Make no mistake; it’s a difficult, slow process, requiring lots of deliberate effort,” he said. He also spoke about the importance of ‘intuition’ in the author’s life when it comes to “dreaming up ideas” and sticking by them if they demand to be written. “If you have that burning sensation that says ‘this is not going to let me go until I write it’...then just write it,” he urged.

A word of caution too about ‘large advances’ that can turn out to be a poisoned chalice of sorts for newbie novelists...if the book doesn’t sell, the author can be blacklisted. “Their careers are effectively over,” he said. John has had a prolific career with seven novels to date and over 70 short stories published. It was fascinating to hear how it all came about and the day to day continuation of his success story. “I write the first draft of a novel in six months,” he explained. “Then usually spend up to a year and a half re-writing as needs be.”

Why are agents so important nowadays and what exactly do they do? According to Jonathan Williams whose literary agency currently represents 160 authors, “An agent is someone who minds someone else’s business.” He received in excess of 2,800 manuscripts within Ireland last year. “Cascades of manuscripts and I’m afraid that the writing is getting worse!” he quipped. His main message was that authors should only submit a manuscript when it is “entirely ready”, meaning after it’s been worked on, re-written, edited, re-written again, etc. “Make it as near perfect as it can possibly get, then you are more likely to be taken seriously,” he said.

Jonathan was a joy to listen to and came loaded down with practical information. “Double space your text, for God's sake include page numbers! Also, get the manuscript flexi-bound so it stays in one piece when the agent is reading it." The industry is such a challenge these days that he works “day and night and weekends too, just to keep up with the lava flow.” For fiction; send two or three chapters to the agent. DO NOT submit by email as your beautifully carved novel will end its life in an electronic recycle bin. Keep the cover letter short. Don’t go overboard on a synopsis. “These can be terribly boring in fiction, but terribly necessary for non-fiction,” he said.

Two thirds of submissions he receives are from fiction writers, but Jonathan stressed that in the current market, non-fiction is easier to sell. “Out of 120,000 books sold in the UK and Ireland last year, around ten turned out to be successful novels,” he said. “With fiction writing there needs to be a unique texture to the prose...variety just isn’t there anymore as the mid-market writer gets squeezed out." A lot of publishers are choosing to concentrate on their biggest names now that the market in general is suffering. “Around 20% of books bought now are sold in supermarkets. If they sell, well and good, if they don’t, the leftovers get pulped which can mean your book is very quickly out of print.”

Thrillers are doing very well at the moment but the overall winner in the buying and selling stakes is the historical novel. “In the future there may not be any need for agents. The author and reader both work alone and increasingly the links in-between are blurring and changing. Self publishing is also on the increase as is online publication, so in future you may not have someone like me standing here telling you these marvellous facts!” he concluded.

Publisher Ciara Considine, Editor with Hachette Book Group Ireland, explained the editorial process and outlined the publishing opportunities for fiction and non-fiction writers. Like John Boyne, Ciara stressed the importance of hard work and 'strict routine' if you want to succeed as a writer. Writer’s groups are also good for ‘feedback’ and staying focussed on your goal. “The biggest mistake most writers make is sending a manuscript to a publisher in an embryonic state,” she warned. “This could ruin your one and only chance of being taken seriously”.

While Hachette accept unsolicited manuscripts, as do other publishers like Penguin Ireland, for instance, it is becoming rarer. “A lot of publishers only have time to filter through an agent due to the sheer volumes out there.” Graduates of MA’s in Creative Writing are at an advantage. “This already shows commitment and can be a good foot up on the ladder,” she explained. “You have to stick at it regardless and the people who do so, generally get there. I also believe a good novel WILL find its publisher, no matter how long it takes. It is a regular occurrence that authors don’t publish their first novel or sometimes the first one penned is not published but subsequent ones are. Keep going and you will hit the Zeitgeist.”
Ciara explained that ‘two book deals’ are now the norm. “A publisher usually commits to a second book if they are excited enough to go with a first,” she said. “But like everything in life, there are no sure-fire equations. It’s important to write what you want to write, not to try out a particular genre just because you think it will sell. If it’s good enough, it will get published. Cream always rises.”

Eoin Purcell gave a fascinating talk on digital publishing and how he feels it will impact in the near future. He believes the digital world is “utterly transforming the models that business is based on, particularly in Ireland where buying and selling is so insulated.” He cited how various blogs and online projects led to publishing deals and impressive book sales. “The phenomena of Overheard in Dublin, which started out as a type of ‘send in snippets you overhear when you’re out and about’ on the internet, ended up as a series of books and other merchandise.” The wry and often comedic blogger Twenty Major also had his blogosphere transformed into a novel, as did – an online beauty tips site.

“Booksellers are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet,” he explained. “Hughes and Hughes Bookstore cited the revolutionary wave of competition from the digital world as part of the reason for closure recently.” The linear model of author to agent to publisher to distributor to book seller is now being challenged by the internet. “Amazon for instance is already selling a range of Ebooks from well-known authors that they approached directly,” he said. “This often means bigger profit for the author and seller...anyone in-between is getting squeezed out.”

So how should aspiring writers use the internet to increase their author advantage? “It’s vital that you start a blog and at the very least follow other writers in the same genre you’re interested in. Chart your journey so prospective readers can get a feel for what makes you tick,” he said. Wordpress or BlogSpot are both good for this, as is Twitter for getting your message across and probably less so, is Facebook. “The latter is a kind of AOL for the modern world,” he said. “Virtual book tours are now starting to take place on the internet as a more efficient way of meeting up with a larger audience.”

Purcell believes that writers are not ‘exploiting’ the internet for profit as much as they could. “Even incorporating a PayPal button on your blog or website to sell chapters or extracts of your book is a real option and many US writers are taking the bull by the horns and selling direct to their readers,” he said. "This can even be done with books already published conventionally via a publisher, by buying off remaining copies at a discount and selling them on."

Sites such as; a portal for Ebooks from independent authors and publishers, is huge in the US with 250,000 books on sale but it has barely said "hi" in Ireland as yet. “Irish authors Sheila O’Kelly and Mary Malone are both selling their work this way." To emphasise fully how much the electronic world is impacting on reading markets in other jurisdictions, Purcell finished up with an astonishing fact: the top four novels in Japan last year were all ‘text novels’ reaching vast numbers of readers that the traditional book selling world couldn't muster.

Finally, what happens when a writer’s work is done and the publicist steps in? Literary Publicist, Cormac Kinsella discussed ‘Marketing a Book from Manuscript to Paperback’ using his work on Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín as a case study. While Tóibín is already a core ingredient in the Irish literary diet, Kinsella nonetheless stressed the importance of timing. “It is a vital component and can often mean the difference between success and failure,” he said. Into this ‘timing’ mix he organised TV and radio slots that would complement one another while allowing print media various ‘exclusive' snippets and interviews with the author that didn't clash with other forms of publicity. “A writer’s work is never done, but the publicist's work is endless,” he said.

Free Course for One Lucky Person!

We have an amazing free course to give away to one lucky person. This Saturday, Sean Hardie, the writer, producer and director of Not the Nine O'Clock News, is teaching a one-day workshop entitled Storytelling for Film and TV. Here's the course information and a brief description:

Storytelling for Film and TV with Sean Hardie

Saturday 27th March: 10.30am-4.30pm
There are three things, according to Sam Goldwyn, that go to make up a great film. The problem, he added, is that no-one knows what they are. Nonetheless there are resources which anyone setting out to write a screenplay or a TV script would do well to have in his or her paint box. It’s not enough to have a story –you need to know how to tell it; how to hold the attention of an audience and keep them interested and involved as the plot unfolds.
This one-day hands-on workshop explores the art and craft of screenplay storytelling for film and television; ways to create and maintain dramatic tension through the interplay of plot and character; how to play games with your characters’ – and your audience’s - emotions, assumptions and expectations. This course is suitable for anyone trying to write for film or television, but particularly for those who’ve tried and would like to do better next time.

This prize is valued at €70. For your chance to win all you have to do is tell us why you deserve to this prize. Submissions can be sent to: We'll be contacting the winner Friday March 26 so make sure to include your telephone number.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Slides from Eoin Purcell's Talk on Publishing Day

A lot of the Publishing Day participants were eager to feast their eyes on Eoin Purcell's slides. After all, Eoin gave some great tips on how to market your writing by using tools off the internet. The good news is that he has sent them in and I can now share them with you.

To get a copy, visit Eoin's blog at Make sure to click on the link that mentions the Irish Writers' Centre.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Winners of the Lonely Voice

Our esteemed judge Anthony Glavin has chosen four readers to participate in this month's Lonely Voice competition. Here are the winning stories and short bios on the selected readers:

'That Day' by Brian Kirk. Brian is an accomplished poet and prose writer from Clondalkin. He was shortlisted for a Hennessy Award for fiction in 2007, placed third in the Peoples College short story Competition 2009 and shortlisted for the Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009. He was commended in 2009 Sean O’Faolain Competition. He recently won the inaugural Writing Spirit Award for his story Perpetuity. His stories have appeared in the Sunday Tribune and Crannog.

'Coronary Care' by Tony Devlin. From Dublin, Tony writes poetry and short fiction. He told us that he gets published occasionally and that only encourages him to write more.

'Alterations' by Mark Kilroy. Mark has written the screenplays for and directed two fiction films, “Hard Shoulder” (C4/RTE) and “Double Carpet” (IFB/RTE) which were screened at the IFI and broadcast on RTE and Channel 4. He has also written several short stories, with “Bog People” published in the Sunday Tribune (and shortlisted for a Hennessey Award in 2008), and “How Big is the Sea?” published in Southword 5. He told us that he has never read in public and wants to learn from the experience.

'Sex for the Organism' by Pat O'Connor. Pat O’Connor grew up in Limerick where he lives with his wife and two teenagers. He has been writing short stories for many years and hopes to have one published soon.

The Irish Writers' Centre looks forward to their reading which will take place on Wednesday, March 31st at 7pm. This event is free and open to everyone.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shortlisted readers for March's Lonely Voice

We are delighted to announce the eight readers who have been shortlisted for March's short story competition The Lonely Voice:

Mark Kilroy, Alterations
Stephen Wade, In the Teeth of freedom
Shauna Busto Gilligan, Raised Pink Wallpaper
Tony Devlin, Coronary Care
Pat O'Connor, Sex for the Organism
Brian Kirk, That Day
Cathal McDermott, The Homecoming
Maureen Gallagher, Troubles Come

Out of these writers, a select few will be chosen to read at the event which is on Wednesday March 31st from 7pm. Our esteemed judge Anthony Glavin make this selection.

Anthony Glavin served as editor of ‘New Irish Writing’ in the Irish Press and as a Commissioning Editor for New Island Books. Author of an acclaimed first novel Nighthawk Alley and two short-story collections, One for Sorrow and The Draughtsman and The Unicorn, his stories have been anthologised in numerous Irish publications. Anthony will be teaching Writing the Short Story April 24th at the Irish Writers' Centre.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The new website of Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing is now online

The new website of Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing is now online at

On the website, you can:

  • Subscribe or renew online, or print off an order form to order by post
  • Read our submission guidelines for writing and photography
  • Browse the contents of previous issues
  • Browse samples from our current selection of photographs, Portfolio
  • Find out about our latest news and events

Note from the Editors:

Each issue assembles a carefully edited mix of English and Irish, prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction, style and subject matter, in an overall fit aimed at a wide range of reading tastes. 

In addition, IRISH PAGES includes a number of regular features: The View from the Linen Hall, an editorial commenting on cultural or political issues in Ireland or overseas; From the Irish Archive, an extract of writing from a non-contemporary Irish writer, accompanied by a brief biographical note; In Other Words, a selection of translated work from a particular country; and The Publishing Scene, a commissioned piece taking a critical look at some aspect of the literary world in Ireland, Britain or the United States.

Each issue also contains a portfolio of photographs from a leading photographer; an article on Belfast or Northern Ireland; work from at least one emergent or new writer; writing on the natural world; and a major essay of literary distinction on an ethical, historical, religious, social or scientific topic. There are no standard reviews or narrowly academic articles.  Irish Language and Ulster Scots writing are published in the original, with English translations or glosses.

Although Irish Pages is mainly a prose journal, poetry is, of course, a major component of the journal’s mix of genres. On average, about a third of contributors and about a quarter of each issue have been given over to poetry, in both Irish and English, and including translations from other languages. There are also substantial essays on the poetic art by noted practitioners. This distinct but circumscribed space for poetry reflects the view of both poet-editors that in the context of a general-readership journal such as Irish Pages, a lean selection of poetry is likely to be read more attentively within the overall mix.

The sole criteria for inclusion in the journal are the distinction of the writing and the integrity of the individual voice. There are no favoured styles, themes, schools, publishers, critical hierarchies, and so on. Equal editorial attention will be given to established, emergent and new writers. Submissions are especially encouraged from younger writers, or writers at an early stage in their careers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Listowel Writers' Week

This year's Listowel Writers's Week is taking place from 2nd-6th June. Since it's inception in 1970 the event has been recognised as the primary event in Ireland's literary calendar. Writers' Week festival celebrates established writers and seeks to provide an opportunity for Irish writers in general to develop their talents and meet new audiences.

This year's festival programme will feature the usual range of workshops and competitions, with a €30, 000 prize fund for over sixteen competitions and workshop directors like Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Roddy Doyle, Sheila O'Flanagan, Paddy Breathnach, and Terry Prone.

More information is available from

DLR Poetry Now International Poetry Festival


Ireland’s biggest and best-loved festival of poetry, dlr Poetry Now, reaches its fifteenth year in 2010. As always, the readings, discussions and events will have an excitingly international flavour, with poets set to visit from countries including the US, Mexico, Spain, and Albania, and the festival will also present a bounty of superb Irish poets.

The festival will consist of a weekend of readings, workshops, talks and events, as well as The Irish Times and the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award presentations at the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire.

Full programme is available at and festival tickets are available from the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, 01 231 2929

Dates Showing: Thu 25 March - Sun 28 March

The Landscape in Literature Lecture Series

The School of English, Trinity College Dublin, presents a lectures series, The Landscape in Literature, focussing on the function and necessity of landscape.

The series will examine texts across a range of genre inlcuding myth and legend, epic, the realist novel, plays, poetry, fairy tales, the adventure story, colonial and postcolonial writing whilest exploring a wide array of themes including displacement and alienation, futuristic and apocalyptic landscapes, landscape and memory and disputed territories.

Timetable as follows:

02.03.2010: Joycean Landshapes, presented by Sam Slote.

09.03.2010: Cloudscapes: Shakespeare, Yeats, Beckett, Mahon, presented by Nicholas Grene.

16.03.2010: Burned Countryside: Reading Irish poetry of war from W B Yeats to Eavan Boland, presented by Gerald Dawe.

23.03.2010: Seeing New Englandly: Writing a Region, presented by Philip Coleman.

30.03.2010: Intertextual Landscapes in Irish Children's Literature: Lynch, Dillon, Thompson and Dowd, presented by Amanda Piesse.

Admission: The cost for the full series will be €45 or €6 for individual lectures. Concessionary rates are €30 for the full series or €4 for individual lectures.

Venue: Uí Chadhain Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College, D2

Time: 7.30pm, every Tuesday.

T: 01-8962885

International Women's Day at the Irish Writers' Centre, March 10th at 7.30pm

In celebration of female prose writing, the Irish Writers' Centre is pleased to host an evening of prose readings in honour of International Women's Day, highlighting the work of un-published women writers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Are contemporary Irish writers fixated with Ireland's past?

Journalist John Burns wrote an interesting article that was published in The Sunday Times this past weekend. Entitled "Can Irish authors turn the page?", Burns wonders if contemporary Irish writers are fixated with Ireland's past. He asks readers where are the stories about the Celtic Tiger and the years after the boom?

His questions stem from an online debate posted on Julian Gough's blog where the blogger states: "I hardly read Irish writers any more, I’ve been disappointed so often. I mean [what]are writers in their 20s and 30s doing, copying the very great John McGahern, his style, his subject matter, in the 21st century?"

Burns questions the veracity of this statement by examing Ireland's leading authors and their recent works.

To read the article in full go to:

To read Julian Gough's blog go to:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Creative Writing: Going For it and Going Back to it with Pat Boran

Creative Writing: Going For it and Going Back to it with Pat Boran
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March: 10.30am-4.30pm
Visual artists often start off a new work by doodling and sketching. Why not writers? On Day One of this two-day session, participants will be introduced to a number of simple approaches to get the creative ball rolling, long tried-and-tested solutions that act as a kind of limbering up for the work to follow. On Day Two, the raw bits and pieces produced on Day One will be returned to and re-examined, both to expose the inherent problems but also to help participants reveal (and learn how to revise and amplify) their strengths. A lively, productive weekend is promised.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

World Book Day at the Irish Writers' Centre

In celebration of World Book Day, the Irish Writers' Centre invites all interested parties through its doors to experience an array of free events and activities for an Open House on Thursday 4th March. The Centre will be open to the public from 10am to 10pm. Events include the inaurural Ink Slingers Creative Writing Hour (a free writing workshop), book sale, the Neverending Story and an evening of literary performances. We are also delighted to announce that Senator David Norris will be performing his highly acclaimed Joycean One-Man Show at the Centre from 8pm.

Irish Writers' Centre features in the Guardian newspaper regarding the Arts Councils' decision to deny funding in 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dublin Book Festival

The line-up for The Dublin Book Festival has been announced and it promises to be both an exciting and diverse three days, with over 100 Irish writers taking part. There are events to suit all ages and literary interests and as if that wasn't enough . . . they are all free!

Several Irish Writers' Centre tutors are participating, including Nessa O' Mahony, Jean O' Brien, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Conor Kostick, Molly McCloskey and Kerry Hardie.

The festival runs from Saturday 6th March to Monday 8th March and events take place at City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2. Further information and booking available here

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions - February Readers Announced!

We are delighted to announce our four featured readers for the February round of The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions, as chosen by our judge this month, Catherine Phil MacCarthy. They are David Murray, Megan Stack, Monica Strina, and Susan O’ Keeffe.

Megan has always had a passion for the written word, whether writing, editing or reading. After many false starts over the years she has started writing short fiction recently and finds this medium a great creative outlet. Megan is originally from Chicago. She lives in Greystones and works in a public relations consultancy in Dublin.

Monica was born in Cagliari, Sardinia, in 1978. She wrote in Italian until she moved to Ireland in 2000, when she won an Erasmus scholarship for UCD. She holds a Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and completed a Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing in Trinity College Dublin. She is currently working on a novel, and a collection of stories set in Sardinia.

David is a secondary school teacher. He has completed an Advanced Creative Writing course in the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Susan lives in Co. Sligo with her husband, three children, two dogs, two cats, four hens, one duck and one guinea pig. She enjoys walking, beautiful Sligo scenery, reading and the odd glass of red wine. She wishes there were more hours in the day to spend writing.

The reading takes place on Wednesday February 24th at 7pm. It is free and open to all, so do come along for what promises to be a great night of fiction.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reading: Nights at the Round Table

Members of the St. Stephen's Green Writers' Group will read from their work tomorrow evening, Wednesday 17th, from 7.30pm. For only €5 you can enjoy their poems and stories and you'll get a glass of wine, too! Hope to see lots of you tomorrow at the Writers' Centre.

More information on the event is here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day Reading

On Sunday 14th February, Young Hearts Run Free presents When Only Words Can Describe: Love at 2pm in the beautiful environs of the Unitarian Church, 112 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. The event features Kevin Barry (There are Little Kingdoms), Paul Murray (An Evening of Long Goodbyes, Skippy Dies) and Gerry Hunt Blood Upon the Rose) reading some of their favourite writing on the complex subject of love, and a musical performance from 3epKano. And there will be afternoon tea.

Admission is €10, and is, as ever, supporting the Simon Community.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions - shortlist announced

We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the February round of The Lonely Voice: Short Story Introductions. They are:
Megan Stack
Phyl Herbert
David Murray
Marie Gahan
Monica Strina
John Martin
Elizabeth Costello
Susan O’ Keeffe
Brian Kirk
Congratulations to all of the writers! The shortlisted stories are with our judge for this month, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, and the winners will be announced shortly.
This is an ongoing monthly event for emerging prose writers, in celebration of the short story form. Further information available here

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Who Loses Lost

Who Loses Lost is a new Irish literary webzine which aims to showcase up and coming talent in a variety of disciplines. Issues will be published on the site every two months, with topics ranging from Frederich Nietzsche to Intergalactic Warfare. Their first issue will be on the theme of Crowds and they are currently seeking submissions from "youngish and talented writers of poetry, prose, music, film and the visual photograph."

Further information can be found on their website, here.

Literary Death Match in Dublin

Here's an exciting one for your diaries. New York based Opium Magazine bring their infamous Literary Death Match series to Dublin.

"Opium’s Literary Death Match . . . marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.
Each episode of this competitive, humor-centric reading series features a thrilling mix of four famous and emerging authors (all representing a literary publication, press or concern--either online or in print) who perform their most electric writing (in eight minutes or less) before a lively audience and a panel of three all-star judges."

The Dublin judging panel features journalist/radio presenter Nadine O' Regan, playwright/producer Philly McMahon, and journalist/TV presenter Una Mullally. Contestants for the evening are award-winning fiction writer and poet Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Stinging Fly's hand-picked reader-representative Colm Liddy, author Brian O'Connell and spoken-word artist Marty Mulligan. The event is hosted by Opium's Todd Zuniga and co-produced by journalist Belinda McKeon.

The event takes place at The Sugar, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin on Friday, March 5th.

When: Doors at 7:30, show at 9:15 (sharp), afterparty: 11 p.m. and beyond.

Cost: €6 preorder; €9 at the door; €6 with a valid student ID.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lapwing Poetry Book Launch

Time: 7pm
Date: February 10th
Venue: Irish Writers' Centre

Lapwing is a small poetry press based in Belfast, they have been publishing both local and international poets for over twenty years. Lapwing will be launching two collections tonight, Idle Time by Aubrey Malone and After The Accident by John Saunders. The launch will be introduced by Adam Rudden and will feature readings by both poets. The event is free and a complimentary glass of wine will be provided.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winners of the Writing Spirit Award 2009

The winners for the Writing Spirit Award were announced and the Irish Writers' Centre's Maire Robinson came in third for her short story The Weight of Words. Congratulations Maire!

Brian K won the top prize for his work Perpetuity and Gerry Boland was a close second for The Fox.

Writing4all, the organiser of the competition, said: "The high standard of the Top Ten shortlisted stories made the final selection very difficult."

The website quoted their esteemed judge Nadine O'Regan, who is also the Sunday Business Post's Books and Arts Editor. She said: "It was a very tough task to choose the top three, even after I had read and reread them several times. The ten (shortlisted) stories showed spark, ambition and great observational powers. I hope all ten writers persevere in their work; they have a lot of talent."

O'Regan went on to explain the reasons for selecting the top three: "For me, the outright winner was Perpetuity. The story was beautifully structured and paced, with simple, understated, yet specific language and compelling characters that were well individuated.

In second position, I placed The Fox. The author has a clear talent for etching characters with wonderfully strong, individual voices.

In third place comes The Weight of Words. I was moved by this story and I felt that the author gave a very truthful, poignant depiction of how a family can be affected by disease."

Writing4all reminds writers that a new competition has started. The 2nd Annual Writing Spirit Award for Short Fiction and Poetry is currently accepting submissions. Have a look at the Writers' Centre's website for more details.

Apprenticeships in Fiction 2010

Apprenticeships in Fiction 2010
A one-year professional development programme for first-time novelists
Deadline: 31st May 2010

Adventures in Fiction is proud to present five subsidized placements for first-time novelists of commercial and literary fiction, including one for crime, one for fantasy and one for fiction for children and young people (9+/teenage). The placements, which have an individual value of over £2,750 will take the form of an apprenticeships with a professional writer working in a similar genre. The five apprentices will be selected from open competition by a panel of experts including Hannah Westland from leading literary agency Rogers, Coleridge, White.
In its first three years, the scheme has already resulted in three publications and referred eight writers to literary agents. Six writers have secured funding, two from Arts Council England, to support placements.
Apprenticeships in Fiction aims to encourage diversity, excellence and originality.

For further information go to

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Girl in the Wardrobe

Jennifer Farrell has written a memoir entitled The Girl in the Wardrobe which was published last month by Original Writing. It won the inaugural Memoir prize at Listowel Writers' Week where Nuala O'Faolain was the judge.

For more information about Jennifer and to buy the book, visit her website:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Online Literary Magazine

wordlegs is a new online literary magazine, founded by Elizabeth Reapy and Cathal Sherlock.

"wordlegs was thought up to offer literature to a younger Irish audience by younger writers...The main objective of wordlegs is to bring an audience of young Irish people back to literature by using the medium they are most comfortable with."

The first issue is now available online and features a short story by IWC's own Andrew McEneff. wordlegs are now accepting submissions for their summer issue. They accept short stories, poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction and one-act plays. See the website for further details:

Friday, February 5, 2010

2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition

2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition sponsored by Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop

In 2010 Over The Edge is continuing its exciting annual creative writing competition. The competition is open to both poets and fiction writers. The total prize money is €1,000. The best fiction entry will win €300. The best poetry entry will win €300. One of these will then be chosen as the overall winner and will receive an additional €400, giving the overall winner total prize money of €700 and the title Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2010. The 2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a Featured Reader at a reading to be scheduled in Galway City Library in Winter 2010/11. Salmon Poetry will read without prejudice a manuscript submitted to them by the winner in the poetry category. 

Entries should be sent to Over The Edge, New Writer of the Year competition, 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland with an accompanying SAE. Entries will be judged anonymously, so do not put your name on your poem(s) or story. Put your contact details on a separate sheet.

Criteria: fiction of up to three thousand words, three poems of up to forty lines, or one poem of up to one hundred lines. Multiple entries are acceptable but each must be accompanied by a fee. The fee for one entry is €10. The fee for multiple entries is €7.50 per entry e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on. Fee payable by cheque or money order to Over The Edge. To take part you must be at least sixteen years old by September 1st 2010 and not have a book published or accepted for publication in that genre. Chapbooks excepted. Entries must not have been previously published or be currently entered in any other competition.

The closing date is Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010. A longlist will be announced in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010. A shortlist will be announced at the Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, August 26th. The winners will be announced at the Over The Edge reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, September 30th, 2010.

This year’s competition judge is James Martyn
James is from Galway where he is a member of The Talking Stick Writing Workshop. James writes both fiction and poetry. He has had work broadcast on both RTE and BBC and won the Listowel Writers Week Originals Short Story Competition. His work has appeared in The Cúirt Journal, West 47, Books Ireland, Crannóg, TheSunday Tribune, The Stinging Fly and The Shop. He was shortlisted for a Hennessy Award in 2006. He was shortlisted for the Francis McManus award in both 2007 and 2008 and for The William Trevor International Short Story Competition in 2007. His first collection of poetry, Shedding Skin, has just been published by Arlen House.


For further details contact Over The Edge on 087-6431748, e-mail or see


Free Workshop Space

The Irish Writers' Centre is sponsoring one student or unemployed person with a free place on the weekend course "Introduction to Writing with Catherine Phil MacCarthy". 

Interested parties should send a brief email to before 5pm today and tell us why you would like to do this course.  The recipient of the scholarship will be contacted this evening.

This scholarship is worth €140