Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

They're doing it again. The way they run this competition is a bit haphazard but i you've a book ready, why not give it a lash? It seems to be free.

Writers from around the world will be able to submit their unpublished English-language novel manuscripts between the 2nd and 8th of February 2009 at www.amazon.com/abna. Up to 10,000 initial entries will be accepted, from which Amazon editors will select 2,000.

Those will be whittled down by a team of Amazon reviewers and industry experts to a longlist of 100 entries, with Penguin editors then choosing three finalists.
A panel of publishing professionals, including authors Sue Grafton and Sue Monk Kidd, literary agent Barney Karpfinger and Penguin Press US editor-in-chief Eamon Dolan, will post their critiques of the top three manuscripts on Amazon.com, inviting customers to vote for the winner, who receives a contract with Penguin, including a $25,000 advance. The winner will be announced on the 22nd of May 2009.

Last year's inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award was won by Bill Loehfelm, his novel Fresh Kills was published by Penguin division G P Putnam's Sons. Read the Where Are They Now section for other news of shortlisted authors.

Monday, 29 December 2008

people and wild places

Deadline: 31 March 2009
Go wild this christmas and get some inspiration.

In November 2009 Two Ravens Press will publish an anthology of literary non-fiction that focuses on the relationship between people and the wild places of the British Isles . They are looking for high quality writing which animates a connection between humanity and the natural world where it is not obviously dominated by the human presence. It might articulate a discovery; a new way of seeing; an emotional response; a meditation on a place or who we are as people in a wild world.

The anthology will be edited by Linda Cracknell who is a writer of short fiction (collections: Life Drawing, The Searching Glance) and who received a Creative Scotland Award in 2007 to write a collection of non-fiction essays about walks which follow human stories in 'wild' places (see ).

There are no restrictions on the nationality / residency of contributors to the anthology.
Non-fiction prose only; no fiction or poetry will be considered.
Upper word limit: 8000 words.
Contributions will be accepted by email only, and should be sent as a Microsoft Word attachment to info@tworavenspress.com for forwarding to the editor, whose decision on contributions will be final.
Submissions should include a short biographical paragraph.
Royalties from the book will be split equally between all contributors.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

People's College Writing Competition

The People's College is delighted to announce its third annual writing competition. The short story competition - for a story on any subject up to 2,500 words - is open to all. There is a second category restricted to current members of the People's College for a personal reminiscence of up to 1000 words.

Deadline: 28 February 2009
Prizes: First prize in the short story competition will be ?500, second prize ?300 and third prize of ?200.

fee €10 for the first story and €5 for any number thereafter.

Runners-up in both categories will receive book tokens.

Judge of the short story competition: novelist and short story writer Jack Harte.
of the personal reminiscence category: lecturer and writer Marie O'Meara.

Winners will be announced in late Spring and will be published in the in-house 2009 People's College Creative Writing Group Anthology and on the People's College website.

Competition Administrator: Susan Knight

Saturday, 27 December 2008


What search terms have my lovely readers typed in and landed on my blog:

- House price drop bridport - a confused property seller/buyer
- ways to spend a day - someone a little bored?
- Easons - does it stock author Sharon Owens - I'm thinking yes.
- most overused phrases in fiction - um?
- email contact of gold buyer +company +agent +manager +2008 - there's gold in them there words
- best paying poetry magazines - almost a contradiction in terms there
- phrases annoying overused- a writers day
- No Milk Nanotales
- words of wisdom - many here
- "damian smyth" electrician bbc - huh?
- Recommended blogs for students
- tickle your fancy book
- Republic of Loose

Lots and lots of ego surfers or perhaps people digging up information/dirt on people named as winning prizes.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Winners of the TLS poetry competition

The winners are announced here and once again I am bewildered. What am I missing here?

The winner and runners-up were chosen by a ballot of readers (always open to manipulation), from a shortlist of twelve poems drawn up by Mick Imlah, the Poetry editor of the TLS, and Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America and formerly Poetry editor of the New Yorker, and printed anonymously on October 24.

The 2008 TLS Poetry Competition has been won by Susan Rich, of Seattle, WA, for her poem “Different Places To Pray”. She receives $4,000.

Rich has worked on the staff of Amnesty International, as an electoral supervisor in Bosnia, and as a human rights trainer in Gaza. She has lived in Niger, West Africa, where she worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer, later moving to South Africa to teach at the University of Cape Town on a Fulbright Fellowship. She has won both the PEN USA Poetry Award and the Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award for The Cartographer’s Tongue: Poems of the world (White Pine Press, 2000).

In second place came Peter Saunders, of Chatham, MA, with “Cape Cottage in Winter”. Saunders’s books include Ask Any Frog (Stepping Stone Press, 2000), and Heartbeat of New England (Tiger Moon Press, 2000). He receives $1,500.

In third place, winning £500, came Paul Groves, of Osbaston, Monmouth, Wales, with “The Hug”. Groves, who won the competition last year, has published three full collections of poems, the most recent of them Eros and Thanatos (Seren, 1999). Fourth prize, worth $500, went to Joseph Fasano, of Goshen, NY, for “Chester”. Fasano also recently won the Rattle Poetry Prize.

See the link to read the poems.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Gender Writing

Do you write like a man? Do you write like a woman? Is your writing genderless?
(Does it matter? If you write really girly, will men stop reading and vice versa?)
Apparently I write this blog 68% woman. See GenderAnalyze here if you're curious.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Anyone ever submitted to chicken soup? They're little American books of inspiration. They post future themes e.g.

- What I learned from the cat
- Thanks Dad
- Extraordinary Teens
- Endurance Sports

and invite submissions a year or two ahead of time. They sell very, very well, pay $200 and 10 copies. They have guidelines and you can submit online. 300-1200 words.

To get an idea of the type of thing they go for, sign up for a daily story for a while. They apparently also take poems, don't know what sort though.

I signed up or a while but the pieces were so saccharine, I went into sugar overdrive. It may not be or everyone but if you can churn them out in the right style, they pay OK.

Saturday, 20 December 2008


I've never got into this Cork city based magazine (yet) but here are the submission guidelines.

1 All manuscripts must be typed, one side of page on A4 paper.

2. Sign every piece of paper (why?). Print name and contact details on each poem and on the last page of the story.

3. Submissions are not accepted by email. Always include a self-addressed envelope with adequate return postage. Again why? Can't they respond by email?

4. If submitting poems and prose simultaneously they will be considered by different editors at different times so to be sure of a response include separate envelopes with adequate return postage for each.

5. Both Poetry and Fiction are considered between January and March 15th each year in time for our summer issue. Poetry alone is considered between July and September 15th in time for our winter issue. Submissions received outside these periods will remain unopened until the aforementioned consideration periods come round.

6. Include an up-to-date biographical note with a cover letter.

Friday, 19 December 2008

International Magazines

Here's a tip for finding new markets. Read poets bios, especially relatively up and coming poets.

Wise words from Baroque in Hackney
- look at poets first (or second) collections particularly
- look at poets whose poetry chimes with your own.

Here are some examples.

Phillip Crymble’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various national and international literary journals including
Passages North, (see here for more information)
The Michigan Quarterly Review,
papertiger: new world writing (Australia),
The Fiddlehead (Canada),
The Stinging Fly (Ireland)
and The North (UK)

Miriam Gamble was born in 1980 and is a final year postgraduate student and teaching assistant at Queen’s University, Belfast. She has published poems in
The Rialto,
The Ulster Tatler
and on Tower Poetry’s website.

Davide’s poems started appearing in magazines in 1999. He considers his greatest achievements so far having been published in Orbis ,
Dream Catcher (Also here)
and recently in Event (Canada), (Paying)
In the Red
and New Contrasts (South Africa).

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Writing Prompt

rom an inspiring article about an inspiring English teacher.
You know the poem by William Carlos Williams apologising not very believably or eatin all the plums? Try writing your own apology or something you are not really very apologetic about.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

In this CEC

A new acronym, possums. Current Economic Climate. You read it here first.

According to The Bookseller, literary agents are struggling to sell début and literary fiction as a result of the ongoing ‘credit crunch’, with novels taking longer to sell to publishers and more failing to find a buyer at all. Tough times were ‘undoubtedly affecting confidence about acquisitions’ warned one agent who wished to remain anonymous. An anonymous publishing director added that ‘nobody wants to buy anything’. Peter Straus of Rogers, Coleridge & White said: ‘Everybody will be tightening their belts - the big books will still be bought, but publishers are having to be realistic about sales potential.’ Simon Trewin of United Agents has predicted that brand names with the feel-good factor or ‘comfort zone’ will flourish in coming months as credit-crunched book-buyers turn to trusted names. He said everyone in the trade is now actively hunting for these brands. Straus agrees and has suggested Bill Bryson, P G Wodehouse and Ian Fleming as examples of ‘recession-proof’ books. Major series’, such as Mills & Boon novels and the like, should also remain fairly strong throughout the recession.

Firings at HMH. Layoffs at Simon & Schuster yesterday, layoffs at Scholastic a month or so ago, huge structural changes at Random House announced yesterday, HarperCollins delaying pay raises until next summer, and Macmillan CEO outlining that not everyone might have a job going forward.

So if you're aiming at the market, try comfort reads and escapism.

The general message is that now is not the best time to be a struggling author.

But you knew that, didn't you?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Links to sooth the soul

Amanda Earl is an early Canadian blogger, that's an early blogger, not an early Canadian.

Arts Management blog here from the Arts Management MA in University College Dublin.

Bernardine Evaristo's blog about her lovely life as a working poet.

Fearghus is a choreographer using a blog Bodies and Buildings to share his work.

Dilbert blog. Office Life. Nuff said.

Freelance Writing Tips has tips and more.

G*L*O is the Graduate Literary Organization blogging about fairly academic creative writing in the US.

Hell or High Water is Beth blogging about freelancing opportunities.

Joanna Waugh has Body Language Cues to Emotion

Misplaced Musings is Melissa Shcupe blogging about her Self of Steam.

Omaniblogger blogs about arts and mental health from Cork.

The Good Mood Food Blog has lovely recipes and mouth watering pictures from a very cheerful looking Donal.

Two Wheels on my Wagon - Catherine blogs about writing, cycling and not passing her driving test.

When Venn met Music here

Wired for books has lots of mp3 recordings of writers.

Monday, 15 December 2008


Poetry Ireland are starting an archive of poetry readings from all over the country. Worth a dip.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

How long an apprenticeship should a writer serve?

The answer seems to be 10,000 hours. See this really interesting article taken from Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers: The Story Of Success. He uses lots of examples including The Beatles, Bill Gates, Bobby Fisher, all extreme almost obsessive about their area of talent. So it pays off. I also listened toa radio interview with him, I think it was Radio 4 Front Row, saying it applied to creative people like musicians too so it's certain to apply to writers too, poets, novelist, playwrights, whatever.

So how many hours a week do you write? Not blogging. I don't think that counts. Creative writing or editing.

Do you go back and read your earlier work and cringe? Was it published? Is your writing getting better? Still? Or have you plateaued? Would this be a good point to get a boost to the next level? I mean a course/workshop or meeting with a mentor.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Writing for Theatre

I found http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/opportunity/theatre_trail_writers.shtmlon the BBC Writers' Room page. I haven't dropped by in a while and it's been revamped.

Theatre Trail Writers Competition

The Arundel Festival Theatre Trail, conceived and presented by Drip Action Theatre Company, is now in its ninth year. It performs at the end of August, on each of the Festival’s eight days, eight short plays at eight different venues all over Arundel – last year, for example, in a living room, a kitchen, an art gallery, and a pub.

Writers are invited to submit plays for next year's Trail.

Plays should be 30 - 40 minutes long, suitable for day-time performance with practicable cast and props.

Submit your entries to:

Drip Action Theatre Trail 2009
1 Norfolk House
28 High Street
West Sussex
BN18 9AB

Deadline: 31 January 2009

One play only per entrant, in hard copy (not email). Please enclose an SAE if you'd like your play returned.

The Drip Theatre committee will select the plays that will be performed, with the best submitted play receiving the Joy Goun award of £200 at the Theatre Trail launch in May 2009.

Each successful playwright will receive a £150 writer's fee.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Immigrant Poetry

Being technically a first generation immigrant, I may submit to this one from over the edge:

As the editors of an anthology of immigrant poetry in Ireland we are asking poets from other countries who live here and who write in English to send us poems for possible inclusion in the anthology. The term "immigrant" includes people who were born outside Ireland and came to live here (first generation), and those who were born here but have parents, or one parent born elsewhere (second generation).

This anthology is intended to reflect the increasing diversity of cultural life in Ireland and to give first and second generation immigrants an opportunity to showcase their distinctive contribution to contemporary Irish literature, as well as to celebrate their difference at the same time.

We aim to have the anthology completed for publication by summer of next year and ask contributors to have their submissions sent in by the end of February 2009. All submissions of two copies of maximum 12-15 poems should be typed and be supplied with the poet's name, address, and email address printed at the bottom of each page. Also, please, enclose a short covering letter (max. 500 words) and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for editors' replies and the return of manuscripts.

Deadline: end February 2009

Please submit two copies each of your poems and letter to:
Borbála Faragó and Eva Bourke
School of English, Drama and Film
University College Dublin
Dublin 4

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Launch in aid of AWARE

The Seven Towers Agency like you to the launch of Census The First Seven Towers Anthology at 3pm on Sunday 14th December, in Cassidy's Bar, Westmoreland St, Dublin 2.

This Anthology is a collaboration between the spoken work and the written word – all contributors are committed to performing and reading their work in public places and all have read at events organised by or participated in by Seven Towers

Christmas Charity - AWARE - €1 from every book sold goes to AWARE

Contributors to Census are:

Kildare poet Liam Aungier, Meath musician, broadcaster, journalist and poet Eamon Carr, Cork based poet and screenwriter Paul Casey, Cavan poet and educator Tom Conaty, Dublin writer and Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway, Dublin poet, broadcaster and teacher Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin writer, journalist, broadcaster and musician Conor Farrell, Wicklow writer Shane Harrison, New Zealand born, Dublin based poet Ross Hattaway, Galway poet and journalist Kevin Higgins, New York poet and novelist R Nemo Hill, Kildare writer Eileen Keane, Kerry actor and poet Noel King, Oklahoma born, New York based poet Quincy R Lehr, Dublin born, Kerry based writer Colm Lundberg, Dublin poet Éamonn Lynskey, Waterford born, Dublin based Donal Moloney, Dublin artist, sculptor and poet Joe Moran, Dublin poet Anne Morgan, Tralee born, Wexford based actor, director, producer, playwright and poet Noel Ó Briain, Kerry writer Tommy Frank O'Connor, Cork based artist and poet Mel O'Dea, Limerick poet Eddie O'Dwyer, Dublin based poet and playwright Fintan O'Higgins, Dublin based poet Maeve O'Sullivan, Dublin based poet Jessica Peart, New York poet Ray Pospisil, Dublin based, San Francisco poet Raven, Dublin writer Oran Ryan, Kerry based writer John W Sexton, Kerry poet Eileen Sheehan, Armagh born, Dundalk based Barbara Smith, Cork poet Patricia Walsh and North Carolina poet Doog Wood.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Homepages - Tales from the Irish blogosphere

Homepages is a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent.

And what makes it special is that it is all voluntary, organised by the angelically good and hard working Catherine Brodigan. All proceeds go to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.

The book is now on sale online for €14 via Lulu.com on a print-on-demand basis. Click here to order your copy. Do it now. It's good. €4.61 goes to us Ireland which is a very good percentage compared to some other charity books I've seen. You can pay with paypal or a credit card. Beware. The postage is quite steep though.

Contributers are a great bunch, many I've heard of and read but a good bunch that were new to me.

Pauline McLynn - mandatory celeb blogger
One For The Road
Red Mum
Yvonne Reilly
Darragh Doyle
Twenty Major

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


I use a babyname book for my characters. Some characters' names stay the same from the start, some change over time, some more than once. I confuse myself sometimes. I try not to use names of people close to me.

Barry, John and Mike are different characters to Justin, Quentin and Ralph so make sure the name fits.

Emma, Daisy and Hannah are different to Charlene, Kylie and Kelly.

Apple, Pixiebell, Chelsea and River have a different upbringing to John, Reginald, Thelma and Valerie.

Gladys, Gloria, Daphne and Sylvia are older than Tara, Shannon and Megan. Apparently Ruby has come back into fashion though. (Kaiser Chiefs influence perhaps?)

Hint: If you are writing children's books, using a very popular name for the main character will actually sell more books!

Check the most popular Irish names here and in the UK here. The US do it by year, which is a glimpse into social history.

I get surnames from the phone book or castlists at the end of films/ TV programmes or old censuses.

Or you could try this. What would you be called if your mother was Sarah Palin? I am Dust.
Hers in reality are Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.

Monday, 8 December 2008

What not to write about

I love this post at Strange Horizon. It's what they get a lot of. Some are quite imaginative.

15. Scientist uses himself or herself as test subject. (Jekyll/Hyde)

26. Someone takes revenge for the wrongs done to them.
Protagonist is put through heavy-handed humiliation after humiliation, and takes it meekly, until the end when he or she murders someone.
(sounds familiar - wimpy hero/heroine)

27. The narrator and/or male characters in the story are bewildered about women, believing them to conform to any of the standard stereotypes about women: that they're mysterious, wacky, confusing, unpredictable, changeable, temptresses, etc.
(lots of lad lit)

29. Hell and Heaven are run like businesses.
34. Teen's family doesn't understand them. - Catcher in the Rye

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tales Of Mere Existence - Getting Ready

Stop reading my blog and get yourself ready!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Caomhnú Literary Festival

Caomhnú Literary Festival Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th Feb 2009, Cavan
Caomhnú Literary Festival brings together the very best literary talent in the country for an interesting mixture of readings, workshops, performances and surprises. The event opens with the intriguing ‘Darkness Visible’ exhibition at the multi award winning Johnston Central Library, Farnham St, Cavan. This exhibition features artists: Ailbhe Ni Bhriain, George Bolster, Andy Harper, Angela Huntbach, Breda Lynch, Alice Maher, Eoin Mc Hugh, Ann Mulrooney and Kate Street and the opening with be complimented with a dramatic selection of poetry by Anne Le Marquand Hartigan.

Much of the weekend activities take place at the Farnham Radisson SAS Hotel, beautifully set in the rolling Cavan countryside. A weekend in this often overlooked but enchanting landscape will lead all aspiring writers to their Muse. Multi award winning novelist Joseph O Connor will read from his work on Friday evening. The Nyah will compliment the evening’s proceedings. On Saturday award winning poet and playwright Noel Monahan will guide writers through a poetry masterclass. The short story genre will feature on the workshop classes as will writing for children and songwriting with Iain Archer, Snow Patrol and Peter Baxter, Songschool. Renowned children’s illustrator PJ Lynch will give a series of Illustrated Talks on his craft and in particular his Gullivers Travels at Johnston Central Library. Séamus Ó hUltachain Irish language poet will be among the contributors at the festival.

Members of the Lit Lab who hail from counties Meath and Cavan will launch new work at the weekend and will feature along with Kieran Furey and Martin Kelly, recent authors from Windows Publications. Heather Brett, poet, artist and editor will Chair this event.

On Saturday evening guests will be treated to lively readings and performances from Michael Harding and Billy Roche and on Sunday writers can enjoy the authors in conversation about the creative process and other pressing matters.

Johnston Central Library will host the Greer Lecture in the afternoon. This year’s speaker will be announced shortly. On Sunday the Caomhnú National Short Story and Poetry Competition Award Winners will be announced.

From the lovely Barbara's Bleeuugh blog.

The Caomhnú Crannóg Bookshop National Short Story Competition
Judge: novelist Shane Connaughton
Stories shouldn’t exceed 2,000 words, in Irish or English.

Caomhnú National Poetry Competition
Judge: Noel Monahan;
Poetry is not more than 40 lines

Fee: €3.
Deadline: January 16th,
1st Prize €200
2nd Prize €100
3rd Prize €70

The work must not have been previously published, self published, published on a website or broadcast, or received a prize in another competition.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Brian Moore Short Story Award 2009

from the lovely Woman Rule Writer blog.

The Brian Moore Short Story Award 2009, judged by Richard Bausch, is now open!
Deadline 1st March 2009

1st Prize £750
2nd Prize £300
3rd Prize £200

Word count limit: 2000

Open to Irish writers and to writers of Irish descent living anywhere in the world.
(How do they know? Do they check passports?)

This year’s judge, the renowned American short-story writer, Richard Bausch will be in Belfast in May 2009 to announce the contest winners.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Patrick Kavanagh Award Winner announced

They're announced. 4 prize winners this year.

1st Prize
The overall winner was Geraldine Mitchell from Co. Mayo with her manuscript WORLD WITHOUT MAPS.

It is only fair to say that the distance between the first and second prize-winners this year was unprecedentedly close, but this entry shaded it by virtue of poems that are lucid, technically accomplished, at times daring, at times salvific. These are the poems of a considered and considering intelligence, surefooted, meditative and clear. One is in the presence of a clear-eyed sensibility that considers, but does not judge, human fallibility.

The poems draw strength from understatement, and the poet has the courage to leave gaps in the narrative. In poetry, as in conversation, the unsaid is often more eloquent than what is said. It is across the carefully constructed gaps that the imagination of the reader takes flight, that the intelligence of the reader is engaged. The language of these poems is succinct, the imagery crisp and, again, the poet has the confidence to allow the images and rhythms to work their chemistry upon us without too much commentary. In the best of these poems we are left with an image which resonates and opens out into mystery - something which is at the core of the poetic.

Congratulations Geraldine.

2nd Prize
2nd Prize went to David McLoghlin with his collection, entitled WAITING FOR SAINT BRENDAN. These are big, ambitious, sometimes sprawling poems, rich in narrative and in detail, an autobiography of sorts, where the voyaging soul is concerned to find home and meaning in a dialogue between self and other. Like Saint Brendan, the author seems to understand that if home is where you set out from, home is also where you hope to find journey’s end.

Yet, if the title poem draws on the mythological, these poems are surely rooted in our century of migration and displacement, where identities are negotiated as much as given. It is the candid engagement with the difficult choices and trade-offs made in a search for some omphalos, some centre, in an ever more shifting world, which energizes this collection.

3rd Prize
This year we have decided to break with tradition, and award the third prize jointly to two collections: Jim Maguire, Wexford Town with his manuscript entitled PIANO LESSONS,

and Cormac O’Leary, Co. Leitrim with his manuscript entitled SIGNS ON A WHITEFIELD.

PIANO LESSONS is a tightly-controlled and disciplined set of meditations, the first section revolving around and drawing light from music as fact and as metaphor. It is ambitious in taking as a central theme “the language where language ends” - this is a brave and successful opening out of music through poetry. Here, we are drawn in by the precise detail we are given of the musician’s world. A number of poems relating to seafaring open the second section - a very different imagery but no less precisely rendered.

SIGNS ON A WHITEFIELD is a loving evocation of times and people past, rich in anecdote, shot through with illuminating insights and images. The poems of place successfully resist the tug of nostalgia and, as with the poems in ‘Waiting for St. Brendan’, a number of them reflect for us the unsettled decade in which we are now living, where mobility is a given and a small street in an Irish city can play host to many nationalities. In the compassionate and tender poems of loss at the end of the collection it is again, perhaps, the writer’s detachment and ability to trust the images which allow the poems to impact on the reader’s sensibility.

Mslexia Short Story Competition

I keep meaning to write a post about how great a magazine Mslexia is and how everyone should subscribe. This isn't it. You can buy a copy in Borders if you want to read an issue. Boys are allowed to read it too but not allowed to submit. They have a very high standard poetry competition each year and are now expanding to run a short story competition too here.

Judge: Helen Simpson
1st Prize £2,000 plus a one-week writing retreat* at Chawton House Library (accommodation only) and a day with a Virago editor**
2nd prize £500
3rd prize £250
3 other finalists will win £100 each

All winning stories will be published in Mslexia magazine and they will also be read by Carole Blake from Blake Friedmann Literary Agency.

Closing date: 23 January 2009
UK writers must post their stories, overseas may send by email.
Entry fee: £8 per story
Maximum: 2,200 words

Stories that have won or are under consideration in other short story competitions are not eligible.
We will accept stories from women of any nationality from any country.
You do not have to subscribe to Mslexia to be eligible, but you do have to be a woman.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The SHOp

The Shop is a lovely poetry magazine published John and Hilary Wakeman in Skeagh, Schull, Co. Cork.

Each issue of THE SHOp contains work by established poets, both Irish and foreign, and also poems by talented newcomers, some of them never previously published. The magazine will consider poems in any form, on any subject, though not if they reflect racial or gender bias. THE SHOp has pioneered the practice of grouping together poems on similar themes. A group of half a dozen poems on the subject of love, say, or death, demonstrates the variety of human response to universal experiences, and also the variety of formal methods available to poets.

Regretably they lost out on significant funding this year and the Arts Council has warned them that 2009 will see 'a significant reduction' in their grant. We really shouldn't let this quality magazine flounder.

They have a lovely website but unfortunately, they do not have a way of subscribing (or donating) online. You have to print off a form and post it. How bizarre. I'm personally much more likely to donate or subscribe to something if I can do it in a click or two. See Stingy Fly for how it's done. It's really easy to add a paypal account to a website.

Anyway, if you have time, a printer, a chequebook and a stamp, if you've ever submitted to them , been published (or rejected) by them, I recommend a subscription. It's also on sale in lots of good shops.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Writers' Rooms

(link 'borrowed' from Scott Pack)

I adore the Saturday Guardian and devour the review section. In particular, I enjoy the writers' rooms. Click here for a slideshow and talk over by the photographer, Eamonn McCabe on some of them. fascinating.

One was used as a visual prompt in last year's English paper (leaving cert I think)

Eamonn McCabe: Writers' Rooms runs 3 December - 17 January at Madison Contemporary Art, London.

One criticism is that the rooms belong to writers who have already made it. Very middle class. What do rooms look like or struggling/emerging writers?
Why not upload your own room photo somewhere flikr? and I'll feature them here.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Visual Writing Prompts.

I had a great response to my recent Writing Prompts post, including lots of comments on the lovely photo. I would love to take credit for it but I just found it on google images. It's a street in Stari, Croatia taken from the Croatian Language School in London's website photo gallery.

The image above is of the Jewish Quarter in Girona, one guess for where the photo from the original post was from. They both look beautiful and inspiring, slightly mysterious too. What dramas have been acted out here?

Images can be a great way of sparking ideas, not only for writing but for other creative endeavors - painting, photography, dance, music, sculpture, whatever. It's cross pollination. That why I recommend going to performances or galleries from other arts disciplines and talking to other types of artists. It's a two way process and you may end up collaborating - one of the powers of the internet, I believe.