Friday, 29 February 2008

Royal Opera House at Covent Garden

The day after going to see the Terracotta warriors, I went to see Simon Keenlyside singing as Papageno in the Magic Flute. Here's an extract. He was brilliant. What a staging and singing and acting and music. To tell the truth, it puts the operas that come to Dublin to shame, makes them seem amateur. I'm spoiled for opera now.
We went back stage after, which took a little of the magic away and added more intrigue and food for thought.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Poetry Now Workshop

The Poetry Now Festival is seeking 12 participants for a Poetry workshop with Henri Cole and Jamie McKendrick. The workshop will take place on the Saturday 6 April at a cost of €25 or €20 for students. There will be one scholarship available for each workshop

The deadline for applications is March 10th. The Poetry Now Festival is highly recomended and runs 3rd to 6th April so I suppose you have to be available in Dun Laoghaire that weekend.

Anyone interested in taking part should send three poems and a covering letter with contact details to Katie Donovan, Writer-in-Residence, c/o Arts Office, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Co Council, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

There's an excellent analysis on how to read one of Jamie McKendrick's poems in the Independent here by Ruth Padel. Have you read her book, 52 ways to read a poem (or something like that.) Very insightful. I feel a distinct lack of education on how to read and analyse poems and fiction.

You can hear Henri Cole reading one of his poems here. He was a finalist for the Pulizer prize for poetry. He was featured on the blog, Poem of the week. I wonder if he knows and has been contacted for copyright?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Ennis Book Festival

Who's going to the Ennis Book Festival? Apart from the readers?

Poetry Ireland, in association with Ennis Book Club Festival, presents a poetry reading with with Richard Tillinghast, Theo Dorgan and Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

Admission: €10/8
Old Ground Hotel, Ennis, County Clare

There's also an evening with Roddy Doyle and Joanna Harris as well as a short story reading from Mary O'Donnell and two workshops (on at the same time - mad!) on how to read, which I'll be interested in, and many others. The problem is, it all costs a lot. Last year I believe they had one ticket to get into everything. This year you pay by event which can really add up. Couldn't they make up the money by selling books or running workshops or something?

The following weekend is the Dublin Book festival organised by Cle, the Irish publishers organisation. And that one is all FREE. It has 100 readings from established and exisiting writers and sounds very exciting and innovative. (I can't go) Includes Joseph O'Connor, Dermot Bolger, John Montague, Cathy Kelly, Margaret Mac Curtain and Enda Coyle Greene.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Trinity College Readings

To mark the 10th anniversary of the Master of Philosophy in Creative Writing & The Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing are having a series of classy readings:

This sounds really good. Not to be missed.

Tuesday April 1st Derek Mahon, Mary Morrissy and George Szirtes
Introduced by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Tuesday April 8th Sebastian Barry, Douglas Dunn and Jacqueline McCarrick
Introduced by Deirdre Madden

Tuesday April 15th Anne Enright, Peter Fallon, Bernard O’Donoghue,
Introduced by Gerald Dawe

Tuesday April 22nd Claire Kilroy, Gina Moxley and Andrew O’Hagan
Introduced by Jonathan Williams

Monday, 25 February 2008

Terracotta warriors

I went to the British Museum last week to see the Terracotta army, or those parts the Chinese were generous enough to let out of the country. They were wonderful. I've been wanting to go and see them since I remember. They were discovered in 1974 in China and I was wondering when the news was broken to the Western World. They have always been there in my memory. But when I told some people I work with, they hadn't heard of them. I found this very strange. Was the Terracotta army discovery suppressed in Ireland? Or do they just not watch documentaries and the like?

They've been buried since about 210 BC and now you can look at them face to face. Each head is individualised so the face is based on a real person, now dead a long time ago. I find that fascinating.

And there are thousands left still buried, a huge area. As technology improves, they are retrieved in better nick. The tomb of the Emporer Qin who had them made, is still untouched. Records written about 100 years after his death mention recreations of the world with rivers of mercury and stars of precious jewels. And Indiana Jones type protection to shoot any intruders automatically.

There were not only warriors, archers, generals, charioteers and horses but also accountants, musicians, strongmen, acrobats and ducks and geese for the life in the afterworld. So where are the women? Where are the dancers, the washerwomen, the concubines? Be pretty boring without them, I think.

The exhibition is on until April 6th 2008. You should pre book or turn up early on the day to get one of the tickets released every morning.

And check out this link. A German art student infiltrated the army in China in a terracotta warrior costume and stood undetected until the guards worked out which one he was and carried him out.

Then I went to the Juan Munoz exhibition at the Tate Modern, more modern terracota men and one modern terracotta female dwarf.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

William Trevor Short Story Competition

The shortlist for the William Trevor Short Story Competition has been announced.
It was judged by Seamus Hosey, a well known producer from RTE radio. Not by Mr Trevor. I wonder is he judging the cutdown list? The site says he is the 2007 adjudicator. The competition fee was 20 Euro in bank draft only so not surprisingingly, although they had a international competitor list, only 2 of the 14 are from outside Ireland, both London. A commentor on my blog says the organisers told him only a small percentage were submitted from outside Ireland so it's probably just a proportion thing.

Steve Smithson London, Passing the Leek.
Ivy Bannister Dublin, Archaeology of the Soul.
Tanya Farrelly Dublin, By the River's Edge.
Philip Lumley Offaly, Small Voices.
Jo Campbell London, Staging Post.
Rosalind Lloyd Wexford, Passing Time.
Orla Shanaghy Waterford. Yesterday's Snow.
Imelda Carroll Wexford, The Elephant in the Room.
Richard Stevens Dublin, Rex.
Mary O'Shea Cork, The Winter Visit.
James Martyn Galway, Angelground.
Orlaith O'Sullivan Dublin, Louisa and the Sea.
Thalia Miller Dublin, The Blue Olive Tree.
Alyn Fenn West Cork, The Wire Road.

And one story was withdrawn after what sounds like a bit of a kerfuffle. I hope there is not problem chosing a good winner. First prize is 3,500 Euro. I wonder is it in a bank draft too!

Now worryingly, following the contentious Willesden Herald competition, last years (aka 2006) William Trevor Short Story Competition had no winner. The site said

William Trevor has completed his adjudication of the short-listed entries in the William Trevor Short Story Competition 2006. There was an excellent response to the competition with entries being received from Australia, England, India, Italy, Scotland, Singapore and U.S.A. as well as nearly every county in Ireland.

He chose five stories as being worthy of prizes, one by a name I know, but did not award the cash prize:

The first prize in the competition had a cash value of, circa, € 2,500. William Trevor decided against the awarding of this substantial prize.

It didn't say exactly why.

The competition will run in 2008 under the title of the Mitchelstown Short Story Prize. Consult this site after 01/08/2008 for further information on this competition.

McLaverty Short Story Award 2008

Here's a short story competition from the Linenhall in Belfast I hadn't heard of before.

Judges: Anne Tannahill, retired Managing Director of Blackstaff Press and Carlo Gébler, novelist and short story writer (he really gets around, judging must pay OK)

Prize: £2,000

Fee: £5 or 10 Euro - no cash so for Euro payers without a UK cheque accounts, that's a bit steep.

Deadline: 30th June 2008

Rules: Irish writers (born in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland) over eighteen years of age. So not foreign born people living in Ireland nor Irish people born abroad? Bit iffy if you ask me.

3,000 words max.

Other usual rules about publishing and anonymity.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Chick Lit Programme

There was a programme, Art Lives on RTE last night, a repeat I think with Anne Marie Hourihane on Chick Lit. (She who got 9,000 Euro grant from the arts council recently) Goodness but what a facetious, biased programme it was.

Chick Lit authors are retiscent about talking about their income. Gee. I wonder why? Could it be manners? COuld it be they're not men boasting about how big their wad is?

Some chick Lit is badly written. Gee. Some crime is badly written. Some Journalism. Some children's books, lots of poetry. Oodles of films and TV programmes, music and radio shows. Why does fiction written predominantly for women, by women get so much flack?

Why if when a woman writes about relationships is it 'only' chick lit and when men do, it's deep, insightful literature?

Yes, it's an industry. Yes there are lots of books that go on a bit much about shopping and finding Mr Right but so what? They also tackle adoption, drugs, alcoholism, IVF, death, divorce etc.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Photomeme - creative writing prompts

Thanks for this idea from Moondreamer.

1) Answer the questions below
2) Take each answer and type it into Photobucket
3) Take a picture from the first page of results and copy the html code
4) You can’t copy the persons answers who posted this before you!

A place you'd like to visit:

A favourite object:

Your favourite place:

Your favourite food:

Your favourite animal:

Your favourite colour:

The name of your pet:

The first name of the one you love:

Your Nickname:

A Bad Habit:

Your First Job:

Your favourite Book:

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Poetry Competition - Siarsceal Festival

I don't understand the theme of this one.

"Connacht’s Queen Medb"
"Suck Meandering"

What is suck meandering when it's at home? There's nothing shows up on google except things like " life must suck meandering from dead end job to dead end job..." and this competition.
Is it perhaps the River Suck which borders Galway and Roscommon? They may get some interesting poems slightly off the subject.

Usual rules as well as:
• Bilingual poems are encouraged especially poetry submitted in the Irish Language.
• Entries are limited to two poems per person
• Max 60 lines.
• Anonymous
• Closing date Friday February 29th 2008 - the leap day.
and it seems to be free.

1st prize the perpetual "Hanna Greally Award" Trophy and €100.
2 runners-up will each receive a Certificate and €50.

Judge : Ann Joyce. The winners will be invited to read during the Festival Launch.

Send to:
Richie Farrell,
County Librarian,
Roscommon County Library,
Abbey Street,

For further details contact Gwen McNamara Bond at
Ph: 087-2628191

Friday, 15 February 2008

Molly Keane Award

This short story competition is free to enter so all you have to lose is some time when your story isn't being sent out somewhere else. On the negative side, there is only one prize. Now I entered this for 3 or 4 years in a row and each year I was told I was shortlisted in the top ten. But I never won. They sent me a list of names so I presume this was the case and it wasn't a wind up, but after 4 years, enough was enough. Always the bridesmaid. I was hanging up my peach nylon dresss. Actually I've only been a bridesmaid once, for my uncle when I was six. I wore a blue velvet dress and a white headpiece and I looked the picture of innocence.

Anyway here are the details of the competition:

Free to enter
Short story under 2,000 words. They like fairly literate stories.
Prize is 650 Euro presented during the IMMRAMA Literary Festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford (June 12th - 15th 2008).
Download the entry form here
Deadline: Friday 4th April 2008

Now 2,000 max is quite short but it's a good exercise to cut your longer stories to suit. You can often learn more about what your story is actually about by editing and cutting like Edward Scissorhands at his most ruthless. In fact, try cutting it some more. Try telling the same story in 25 words. Then in 50.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Arts Council Commissions Award Decisions

Commissions award decisions round 2 (2007)

The Commissions award encourages creative partnerships between a diverse range of commissioners and artists. It provides valuable opportunities for artists and organisations to work together. The aim of this award is to foster the creation of new work, encourage dynamic proposals for repertoire renewal and to build artistic networks and artistic relationships between artists and commissioners. It also aims to encourage new types of commissioners and to promote greater diversity in the opportunities available to artists.
The Arts Council received 77 applications for the Commissions award in round 2 of 2007, of which 31 have been offered funding. The total amount of funding offered for this round of Commissions is €196,630.

So why are none of them involved in literature? Did none apply? They're all music, dance, film, theatre and visual arts.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

More shortlisted Oxfam Poets

Here are some of the other poets shortlisted for the Oxfam poetry in 2004 by Oxfam poet in residence Todd Swift. They didn't tell me and I just only found out when ego-surfing so maybe other shortlisted poets will spot their own names the same way.

You can download the pamphlet Poems for a Better Future here. All sales went to the Oxfam Sudan Crisis relief fund.

The winners were Isobel Dixon, Roisin Tierney and Katy Evans-Bush.

Honorable Mentions:
Robert Davidson,
Jen Hadfield,
Pam Moolman (is this the lady who married Joe Strummer?),
Emma Phillips,
Maureen Weldon.

Other shortlisted poets:
Philip Burton,
Matt Bryden,
Aisling Byrne,
Helen Chapman,
Lorna Collins,
Claire Crowther,
Kate Dempsey,
Frank Dullaghan,
Carrie Etter,
Wendy French,
Annie Freud,
Jan Harris,
Emily Hinshelwood,
Sarah James,
Richard Tyrone Jones,
Emma Katono,
Mark Leech,
Jo Mazelis,
Helen Moore,
Mary M Robertson,
Jude Rosen,
Philip Wilson,
Jules Webster,
Andrew Youngson,
Attila the Stockbroker.

What an interesting mix.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Oxfam Poetry

Oxfam has been linked with poetry for years now. They organise some great sounding poetry readings in the UK with some of the greatest names in poetry.

They have produced a CD called Lifelines which you can by in the shops or online in their ebay shop.

They have an annual competition to produce a calendar with 12 poems, 6 by established writers and 6 by (dare I say it) emerging writers. You can buy this years from Oxfam.

But here's the thing. I entered this competition for 2004 and never heard anything. While doing a little ego-surfing (I know, I know) I found I was shortlisted and appeared in a pamphlet. THEY NEVER TOLD ME. This was 4 years ago. I'm speechless.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Dublin Book Festival

The programme is out:
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th March in Dublin’s City Hall.

This is another initiative by Cle, the Irish publishers association. This follows the imaginative project of readings in libraries up and down the country (but none in Kildare or Meath or Westmeath...why is that?)

Check out these interesting sounding ones:

Friday 1.30pm
Author Reading with Emerging Writers Geraldine Creed, Alison Foster and David Maybury

In Conversation: Anthony Cronin
Limited Seating, please email your booking - maximum 2 names

Author Reading with Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Karen Ardiff and Stephen Price

Celebration: Stinging Fly 10th Birthday Party

Saturday 12pm
Author Reading with Patricia Scanlon

In Conversation: Dermot Bolger & Joe O'Connor with Anthony Glavin
Limited Seating, please email your booking - maximum 2 names

Author Reading with Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Kate Newmann, Pat Cotter and Jessie Lendennie

In Conversation: with Kate Thompson & Cathy Kelly
Limited Seating, please email your booking - maximum 2 names

Author Reading with Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Medbh McGuckian, Pat Boran and Joan Newmann

Sunday 1pm
Author Reading with Patrick Chapman, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Billy Ramsell and Enda Coyle-Greene

Author Reading with Manchán Magan and Gabriel Rosenstock

Celebration: with Salmon Poetry

Author Reading with Kevin Barry, Geraldine Mills and Mike McCormack

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Abbey Theatre Talks

The Abbey Theatre have some interesting sounding readings coming up, as well as great plays - Romeo and Juliet anyone? Or Sam Shepard's 'Fool for Love' with Don Wytcherly at The Peacock.

INSPIRING LOVE: Shakespeare's Sonnets
Shakespeare's Sonnets read for you on Valentine's Day.
Thursday 14 February 6.15pm - 7pm

Poet and broadcaster, Theo Dorgan explores the light of undying love in our dark time.
Thursday 21 February 6.15pm - 7pm

Admission free but booking essential
Booking 01 8787222

There's also public readings of 6 short plays from new (emerging?) playwrights.

When Cows Go Boom by Stacey Gregg
Love in a Glass Jar by Nancy Harris
Kama by Paul Murray
Wednesday 5 March

Stop/Over by Gary Duggan
Two Houses by Belinda McKeon
Investment Potential by Phillip McMahon
Friday 7 March

Admission is free but booking essential on 01 87 87 222

Sounds interesting but it's a bit early for most people who work.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Willesden Herald Short Story Competition


The rather good sounding Willesden Herald Short Story Competition results are in and...there is no winner and no resultant anthology. From the blog, it looks like they had a hard time of it. 850 entries, a shortlist winnowed to 20 then 10 but none made the grade. The organisers did seem to dither openly when deciding what to do and left themselves open to some bitchy comments.

Writers get so touchy about rejection. Read some of the disgruntled comments. Even those shortlisted were disgruntled, refusing the money and asking for their shortlisted names not to be published. I think this was a result of the negative comments from the 840 who were not shortlisted. I don't think I would have rejected £500. There are some wierd writers out there.

It's hard sometimes to separate rejection of one particular story from rejection of your own person. It was the stories that weren't good enough.

Zadie Smith, the headline judge, issued a statement that was badly worded and condescending in my opinion. They were looking for 'great' writing, such a difficult thing to judge.

...does not mean that I or the other judges want to read hundreds of jolly stories of multicultural life on the streets of North London. Nor are we exclusively interested in cutesy American comedies, or self-referential post-modern vignettes, or college satires.

Is she trying to do a Simon Cowell?

If I said to most of the people who auditioned, 'Good job, awesome, well done,' it would have made me actually look and feel ridiculous. It's quite obvious most of the people who turned up for this audition were hopeless.

The Guardian has an interesting discussion here.
(Disclaimer - I didn't enter! but this blogger did.)

Friday, 8 February 2008

This is so cool - let's do this in Dublin

Let's do this in Cork (would anyone notice?) Taken from George Szirtes blog.

Two Free Workshops and a Talk

If you're not going to the readers festival in Ennis, why not go along to this poetry workshop in Dundrum library? Run by DLR Writer in Residence, Katie Donovan as part of Library Ireland week. Saturday 1st March 10:30 am.

Book at Dundrum library.

Writing for Children
Dublin City Libraries has a workshop to support writers of Children's Literature.
in Dublin City Library & Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 on Saturday 23rd February from 2.00pm - 4.00pm.

Admission Free but booking ESSENTIAL
Tel: 6744873
or Email:

They don't say who's teaching it, which can make a lot of difference.
I'm going to be away for both of them. Off to visit my sister and a few hundred terracotta warriors.

Also South Dublin Libraries are organising events in a festival called Private Faces, Public Places. This includes:
Monday 10th March 8pm Lucan Library
Everything you wanted to know about Agents and Editors but were too afraid to ask. In conversation with Dermot Bolger - writer, Faith O'Grady - agent, Ciara Considine - editor.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Stinging Fly Submissions

The Stinging Fly is accepting submissions until 31st March. They say:

We are looking for writers who have something to say, and who have taken the time to say it well. We've a particular interest in promoting the short story form.

Send to: The Stinging Fly, PO Box 6016, Dublin 8. Include an SAE or they can respond by email if an email is given.
No multiple submissions.
Max 2 short stories and/or 4 poems.
Max for a short story is around 3,000 words, give or take. They welcome longer poems.

Editor: Declan Meade
Poetry Editor: Eabhan Ní Shúileabháin

This time around, they are also looking for submissions to a special issue of the magazine that will celebrate and explore erotic writing.
Submissions for this special issue should be marked for the attention of Sean O'Reilly and posted to PO Box 6016, Dublin 8 to arrive on or before Friday, 14 March 2008.

I feel interest rising already. I wonder how sales will be affected by the subject matter?

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Director's masterclass with Mike Leigh

I love Mike Leigh's stuff. I'd like to be able to write stories and characters like his scripts. Anyway, he's coming to do a masterclass for established film professionals so if that's you, I'd go.

Date: 22/2/2008
Duration: half day
Venue: Meeting Room, Irish Film Institute
Cost: ?50.00
Deadline for applications: 15th February 2008
The Masterclass will be open to all industry professionals who have been established within the sector for 3 years and produced at least 1-2 film projects.

Please apply online .

Course Profile:
The masterclass will provide a key element of the Irish filmmaking sector with the opportunity to interrogate and evaluate the work of one of the world's most acclaimed and renowned theatre and film directors of recent years. Leigh's work is both challenging and controversial, and will provide examples and advice for emerging filmmakers, as well as support and encouragement for more established directors. The masterclass is an ideal opportunity for filmmakers to witness at first-hand the workings and methods of this master of the artform.

The Masterclass will start with a screening of NAKED (1993) on Friday 22nd February at 10.30am.

The second part of the event will focus on this film from preproduction to distribution, while also making reference to his career as a whole. Using clips from many of his films for illustration, the workshop will start with a Q+A session.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Grant Applications

Here a list of links for the 26 counties where I could find arts grants information. Lots of dates are coming up soon. Some are past already. But remember, it's your money paid in tax. Why shouldn't you get some back? Why should they squander the whole budget on visual arts anyway (!) What have you got to lose? And writing it down may also help you visualise where you are going, creatively speaking.

Carlow County Council arts grants deadline is 15th February.

Cavan County Council Arts Grants aren't out yet but last year they were in March and August.

Clare County Council Arts Grants aren't out yet but last year it was in April.

Cork City Council Arts grants due date was last November and Cork County Council was last December so you're a bit late.

Can't find anything on arts grants in Donegal County Council so give them a call.

Dublin City Council Arts Grants due date was last October.

Fingal County Council
definitely have arts grants but I think they are year around. Check first.

Galway County Council arts grants deadlines are 14th February and 29th June.

Can't find anything on Kerry County Council Arts Grants. I expect they have some to get in touch.

Kildare County Council arts grants deadline is mid March.

Kilkenny County Council Arts Grants aren't out yet but last year it was in April.

Laois County Council arts grants deadline is 28th February.

Can't find anything on arts grants in Longford or Leitrim. Give them a call.

Limerick County Council Arts Grants only shows the Artist in the community grant at the moment.

Louth County Council arts grants deadline is 28th March and again in September.

Mayo County Council Arts Grants are advertised in April.

Meath County Council Arts Grants for individuals have just passed last week but Annual Arts Grants for projects comes up in April.

Monaghan County Council Arts Grants deadline is 6th March.

Offaly County Council arts grants deadline is 29th February - the leap day.

Sligo County Council Arts Grants deadlines
are 15th February with round 2 in June.

North Tipperary County Council deadlines are mid March.

Roscommon County Council arts grants deadline is 29th February - the leap day.

South Dublin County Council Arts Grants aren't out yet but last year it was in April.

South Tipperary County Council Arts Grants aren't out yet but last year it was in May.

Waterford County Council Arts Grants deadline was last week and for projects is mid February.

Westmeath County Council arts grants deadline is 7th March.

County Council
arts grants deadline is 28th February.

Wicklow County Council arts grants deadline is 28th March.

Here's a good basic article on how to write grant applications.

Next I'll look at Northern Ireland Counties.

Monday, 4 February 2008


Have you seen the film Once? Find it. Watch it.

Glen Hansard is up for an Oscar for his song "Falling Slowly," which they've now decided WAS written for the movie. Anyway, the point was the protagonist was just faffing around with his busking and song writing and waiting for his girlfriend to come back, until he got a good kick up the bum and got on and did what he was just talking about.

It reminds me of the ad where a group of Middle Englanders are talking about a couple who chucked it in to go traveling.

"I'd go tomorrow," says one man.
"You said that yesterday," say a woman. (I'm guessing it was his wife.)

(But it's easier for people without dependents, children, mortgages or other commitments. Should you have to starve to be a real writer? No. So give me a grant. Pretty please.)

Once I rear my children, I'll start writing my poetry.
Once I make enough money, I'll jack in my boring job and make music.
Once I've read every book under my bed, I'll finish that play.
Once I've cleaned the kitchen, I'll send out that short story.
Once I've written up my blog, I'll edit my novel.
Once I've made my mark in this job, I'll move home to Belfast.

So stop faffing around, as Nike say, just do it. Intelligent Risk Taking.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Irish Blogs Awards (and Belfast)

I've just found out this blog has been nominated for the Best Arts & Culture blog for the 2008 Irish Blog Awards. How cool is that?! Someone, actually a couple of people mentioned it at the reading in Belfast. Yes, I was outed as the emerging writer. Thanks for reading and commenting but keep my identity quiet please. Someone might want to hire me one day.

I'm up against the rather delicious and eminant Sigla blog, and Poetry from the Margins amongst others. many of which I have yet to stumble over. Also nominated for the best blog
along with only 136 others...

My, Belfast, what a city. I'm dying to go back again. A great night, diverse, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, lots of food and drink and music. Only little niggle was the B&B owner who said his place was just up the road from the Chultuurlann. Well it was only up the road, like about 6 miles, uphill and through the snow and fallen trees. It was picturesque and welcoming (even when my beloved left the front door key in the car and we got a lift back without the key and had to ring the bell at an ungodly hour. LOL) But next visit I'll stay in the centre or maybe near Queens.

Met some lovely people, and how they can talk. Hi to you all: Aine, Alan, Fionnula, Heather, James, John, Noel, Pat and Wendy, not forgetting the poetical but highly stocious, plums man. And we were recorded by Raidio Failte for broadcast in the next couple of weeks. Do yourself a favour and tune in.

Crown Liquor Saloon is a fabulous place for a drink, protected by the National Trust but a real pub with spilled beer, fights, drunks and everything. And an educational, passionate tour from Joe, the West Belfast Black Taxi man along the Falls Road.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Chinese New Year in the Writers Centre

The Chinese New Year this year falls on Thursday 7th February. This heralds the start of the Year of the Rat.

Apparently the Rat is the first sign of the Chinese zodiac and signifies new beginnings.

This year is thus a great time to start new ventures, including new ideas, directions, and ways of doing things. It is a time to experiment and put plans into action, as there will be plenty of opportunities to achieve success. Something to consider is that which is begun now is likely to have long term consequences, so choose wisely to enrich your life.

So now would be a good year to get that novel written, that collection collected, that story actually sent out for a change. Bite the bullet. Feel the pain. And all sorts of other cliches.

Meanwhile, the Irish Writers' Centre is trying to diversify. It already hosts a group for non-nationals but now it is celebrating the Chinese community.

As part of its commitment to initiatives for Ireland’s new communities, the Irish Writers’ Centre plays host to events next week to mark Chinese New Year. On Wednesday 6th February (New Year’s Eve) the Irish Writers’ Centre and Dublin City Council present an evening of Chinese and Irish literature and music at 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Special guest is author Dermot Bolger, who will be reading poetry and prose on the subject of new years and new beginnings.

Tickets are limited and must be applied for in advance. For further details, contact the Irish writers’ Centre on: (+353 1) 872 1302 or at:

There is also an exhibition of Chinese music and literature.