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