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.