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.