Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Alliance Francaise Franco-Irish Festival

The Franco-Irish Literary Festival is ready for its thirteenth edition.

The event will take place in in the Coach House situated in Dublin Castle and in the Alliance Française on 20th, 21st, and 22nd of April 2012.

This year, we will host Irish and French writers and also one each from Canada (Quebec) and Germany.

Authors include Salim Bachi (France), Kevin Barry (Ireland), Marie-Claire Blais (Québec), Pat Boran (Ireland), René de Ceccatty (France), Colette Fellous (France), Cécile Guilbert (France), Seamus Heaney (Ireland), Jennifer Johnston (Ireland), Claire Keegan (Ireland), Michael Kleeberg (Germany), Mathieu Lindon (France), Siobhán Mannion (Ireland), Thomas McCarthy (Ireland), Belinda McKeon (Ireland), Darach Ó Scolaí (Ireland), Chantal Thomas (France), Sabine Wespieser (France).

The theme of the thirteenth edition of the Franco-Irish Literary Festival, Pleasure, Plaisir, Pléisiúr, will be discussed through four round-table discussions:

● Autour du plaisir - What is Pleasure? - Céard is pléisiúr ann
● Ecrire, lire et plaisir - Writing, Reading and Pleasure - Scríobh, léamh agus pléisiúr
● Plaisirs interdits - Forbidden Pleasures - Pléisiúr faoi thoirmeasc
● Plaisirs des sens - Pleasure of the Senses - Pléisiúr na gcéadfaí

Blog here

Treat of an animation

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Online Poetry Mags

I have never been a huge fan of online Poetry Mags as some seem to have no editorial filtering whatsoever but recently there has been a spate of new mags or old mags going online with some poems worth reading.

Of course, the business model with little or no advertising possible and no subscription income, means no payment for the poets so bear that in mind.

And some embrace the multimedia posssibilities more enthusiastically and imaginatively than others. Why so few mp3s or videos?

Southword used to be a real, paper mag but now it's been online for a while (they never take my stuff so editorial filtering is questionable!) but I'm magnanimously including it as some of the poets and poems are worth a read.

Bare Hands Poetry, now on Issue 3, has poems from, among others, Peter Goulding here. Showcasing contemporary poetry and photography from around the world.

Burning Bush, a revival of a mag that used to be based in Galway, revived by Alan Jude Moore.  Patrick Chapman, Kevin Higgins, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Dave Lordan, Sarah Maria Griffin etc. Hardly any women, I notice. Maybe they'll address that for the next issue. Maybe more women need to submit.

Horizon Review from Salt Publishing is very good, a mix of poetry and fiction and reviews.

Wordlegs  has poetry and flash fiction. This magazine emphasizes its relevance and youth whilst maintaining the literary tradition of Irish writers, please keep your submissions in line with this

Monday, 27 February 2012

Interview with poet Eleanor Hooker

Eleanor Hooker lives in NorthTipperary. She has a BA (Hons 1st) from the Open University, an MA (Hons.) in Cultural History from the University of Northumbria, and an MPhil in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin. She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2011. Her poetry has been published in journals in Ireland and the UK. She is a founding member, Vice-Chairperson and PRO for the Dromineer Literary Festival. She is a helm and Press Officer for the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. She began her career as a nurse and midwife. The Shadow Owner’s Companion is her debut collection of poem.

I met Eleanor Hooker at the Harbourmaster pub in the IFSC over a lovely chowder and dark brown bread.

Hello Eleanor and welcome to emergingwriter. How did you first get into poetry?

y discovering that poetry was an even better, safer depository for tender things, that it could even restrain shadows.
I’ve always told stories. I grew up in South Tipperary, a landlocked county. When I was a child we used to drive to the sea at Spanish Point. It took forever. Dad got me to tell stories to keep my brothers and sisters entertained on the car journey, but by the time we got there, no one would get in to swim! My Mother says that when I was small, if I didn’t have a word for something, I made one up.
I used to send stories out, but got so many rejections. Some were encouraging and kind, but many more were careless and disinterested. I abandoned writing stories when one rejection letter was addressed to a ridiculous version of my name. You think, well if they couldn’t be bothered to get my name right… That was when I began writing poems in earnest. In the last two years I have returned to prose.

Do you use made up words in your poems?

Made up words are powerful when you get them right. The only thing is, they make Spellchecker go mad! I like magical thinking. I like my poems to veer off and sometimes you need made up words for that.

Tell us about the Creative Writing MPhil you did at Trinity College Dublin. What did you learn?

For me, acceptance on the course was a sort of validation and was a huge source of confidence. We had fantastic lecturers, Gerald Dawe, Deirdre Madden Carlo Gebler, Molly McCloskey, Jonathan Williams and Richard Ford, and a whole host of visiting writers. On the MPhil in Creative Writing a certain proficiency in your writing is assumed at the outset, and they use the workshop environment to help improve your writing through critical examination of new pieces every week. It was incredibly enjoyable, but required hard work and total commitment. I stayed in a hotel in Dublin one night a week and travelled up and down from Tipperary on the other days, it was worth it.

How do you start a poem?

I keep a notebook in which I write down all sorts of things. I sometimes record dreams and use surreal elements from them in my work. Typically, poems begin as an idea, rarely with a word or phrase and never with a preformed line. Some ideas become poems and others become short stories. On occasion I will take it on a long walk and allow an idea to season. Of course, there is a danger than the idea will go off the boil. Some poems have an urgency and need to be put down immediately, while others mature with time like a fine wine.
When I’ve written a poem, I read it aloud. If there’s no musicality or if it stutters along, it’s not working. I’ve thrown a lot of stuff away, though that’s rarely a good idea. It’s better to put it in a folder and you can go back to it later.

Where do you write?

In the kitchen mostly. Something creative has to go on there as I certainly can’t cook! The picture on the cover of my book The Shadow Owner's Companion hangs on the wall behind me. It’s by Clare Hartigan, a good friend and fabulous artist with whose work I feel I can really connect.
‘Nightmare’ was written in the hairdressers. It needed to be written straight away. I asked for a pen and some paper and the poem has remained largely untouched since then.

Your first collection,The Shadow Owner's Companion, is coming out soon with Dedalus Press. The launch is on 1st February at 7pm in The Irish Writers Centre. (Available to purchases here) Tell us about that.

I met Pat Doran of Dedalus Press at a workshop about five years ago. He talked about our work at the end of the workshop and asked if I would like to send some more. My poetry at that stage simply wasn’t ready. Nevertheless, Pat was incredibly supportive from the start. After I completed the MPhil at Trinity I sent him a lot of poems. He is an attentive, meticulous and thoughtful editor. To my surprise, some of the poems I had the most doubts about were ones he felt worked well. The oldest poem in my collection is ‘Granddad’, written after he died. I was fourteen.
The ‘Shadow Owner’s Companion’ is made entirely from the workings inside my head. With a book, you issue an open invitation to take a look out at the world from the inside of your head, and while they’re in there, you hope the reader has enough room the to interpret or understand each poem from his or her own perspective.

Does your family read your poems?

My sons have been known to say - Another freaky number, Mum! My husband sometimes gets concerned over some of the darker poems. He is a kind man and my best friend in the world.
It’s pointless to self-censor, so I stopped doing that a long time ago. There’s no advantage to a poem to change it so that it’s palatable to people who are close to you. The best solution is not to show something I’m working on, because a negative reaction will seep into my head and affect my own view and I could lose confidence in it.

Which poets do you admire?

I subscribe to poetry journals and I love to read new writing as it comes out. I regularly read the poetry of Paula Meehan, Mary Oliver, Kerry Hardie, Sylvia Plath, Sinead Morrissey, Colette Bryce and Kay Ryan. I enjoy the works of Charles Simic, Pat Boran, Derek Mahon, Billy Collins, Paul Celan, Tony Curtis and Michael Harnett. Hartnett in particular has such honesty in his poetry; his books are always kept within easy reach.

What advice do you have for a new poet?

I’m no oracle, but for what it’s worth, this is what I’ve learned.

Don’t get dejected by rejections.
Find your own voice; you shouldn’t try to mimic or be dictated to by other people’s sounds.
Allow the reader or the listener room to infer, it does not have to writ large.
Passion and truth (even if it is a lie) is essential. A poem that is beautifully constructed and pings like cut crystal when you touch it, but is hollow at its core, adds nothing, it is beautiful cold thing.
If you spend a lot of your time monitoring what other people are doing, you’re not writing yourself. Turn off the social network sites!

Thanks very much Eleanor

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Poets to Check Out - Mark Grist

Mark Grist on Girls Who Read.
Very taken with this. I'd like to see it on paper.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Galway Film Centre / RTÉ Short Film Awards

Galway Film Centre, in association with RTÉ, is delighted to announce that they will be granting two awards of €9,500 each as part of their 2012 Short Film Awards

Applicants are invited to request an application form from and to submit their short script by 12 noon on Friday, March 30th. The best scripts will be short-listed for interview and two winners will be awarded the prize money as well as the use of equipment and facilities from Galway Film Centre, and a commitment from RTÉ to screen the finished film.

The submitted script should be as close to a final draft as possible. The winning script-writer will work with the assistance of a professional script editor to finalise and polish the script before shooting. €9,000.00 will be awarded towards the production costs and €500 will be used to hire the services of a script editor to work with the writer.

Check out the Galway Film Centre website for full details at

Friday, 24 February 2012

2012 Pint-sized Plays Writing Competition

Deadline: Thu 31 May 2012 
Now in its fifth year, Pint-sized Plays has grown to become a premier international competition for short plays
So how much drama or comedy can be packed into a five or ten minute play? Pint-sized Plays is your opportunity to show just how imaginative and original you can be. It can be funny, it can be poignant... if it can be performed in a pub, with two or three characters, you could be one of the six winners (or four runners up) of Pint-sized Plays 2012.

We're now able to accept all scripts as uploaded files with payment by PayPal.
The winning plays will be announced by early August and will be performed in pubs throughout Pembrokeshire, starting 24th and 25th September during Tenby Festival week.  All ten plays will then be performed at the Script Slam in 4U, Fishguard on October 6th, where the audience get to vote for their favourite script - and the winner gets to walk away with the coveted 'Pint-Pot' award - with a 'Half-Pint' award for the runner up!
On top of which, selected plays will be recorded and broadcast as radio plays on an internet radio station: To find out more, go to

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Old Triangle

There are a few Poetry Ireland events coming up and I'm just flagging that there are an awful lot of men and few women. It's a good cause and all but why? Are there no Poetry Divas? Are the organisers all men?

Sunday 26 February @ 8pm

The Irish Penal Reform Trust, in association with Poetry Ireland, presents a benefit event with Shaz Oye, Tony Curtis, GREENSHINE (Noel Shine, Mary Greene, Ellie Shine) Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Eddie Cahill, Brian Maguire, Karan Casey, Niall Vallely, Peter Sheridan, Leanne O'Sullivan, Christy Moore, Jimmy Kelly, Tom Crean, Brian McCarthy, Theo Dorgan and Paula Meehan.
The Abbey Theatre, Abbey Street, D1
T 01 8787222 W

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Leipziger Hörspielsommer: International Audio Drama Competition

Here's something interesting from our friends, the Germans

Acoustic narration or sound thriller, noise poetry or spoken drama  – the 10th International Audio Drama Competition of Germany's biggest audio drama festival Leipziger Hörspielsommer is looking forward to your production!

The competition offers a platform to young directors, writers and producers of audio dramas to present their works, therefore advocating diversity and liveliness in the world of the audio drama. The three winners will be broadcast by German Radio Station MDR Figaro and receive royalties of 600 € each.

Preconditions are that applicants do not work as professionals and that the productions are either in German or English. (Other languages may be approved as long as they are not essential for the understanding of the plot.)

Deadline: 1 April 2012.

For further information, terms, conditions and the application form please visit the Leipziger Hörspielsommer festival website.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

dlr Library Voices

The Spring series of dlr Library Voices, curated by Bert Wright features a stellar line-up of international names.

Best-selling author Jodi Picoult will read from her recent novel Lone Wolf on 30th March.

The series continues in April with a packed schedule which includes Peter Carey in conversation with Joseph O’Connor on 4th April. Carey, the double Booker prize-winner will be discussing his new novel The Chemistry of Tears.

Renowned poet Paul Durcan appears on 22nd April with his eagerly awaited collection of poetry entitled Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have my Being.

Finally, Irvine Welsh will be a giving a reading from his new novel Skagboy on 24th April, a prequel to his cult novel Trainspotting.

Tickets for all these events can be obtained from the Pavilion Theatre.

Call (01) 231 2929. Readings take place in Pavilion Theatre apart from Jodi Picoult’s event which is on in County Hall Dún Laoghaire. Further details available on

Monday, 20 February 2012

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award.

Now in its 15th year, Waterford County Council’s Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting entries for the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award. 

Molly KeaneThe late writer lived, until her death in 1996, in Ardmore, Co. Waterford. Her first ten novels and four plays were published under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. In 1981 ‘Good Behaviour’ became a publishing sensation for which she was short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize. To celebrate this rich literary life, the County Waterford Arts Office, by kind permission of the Keane family, is inviting entries for a previously unpublished short story to a maximum of 2000 words. There is no entry fee, no age limit and no restriction on the subject matter.

A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner at a special ceremony during the IMMRAMA Literary Festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in June 2012.

The closing date for receipt of entries is 5pm on Monday 26th March 2012.

Full details and an entry form can be downloaded from or by contacting the Arts Office on 058-41416.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Interview with Poet, Grace Wells

Hello Grace and welcome to emergingwriter. How did I first get into poetry?

I don't exactly remember. I think I have probably been secretly writing poems all my life. It began to crystalize into something serious in my early twenties when I accidently discovered the work of Canadian poet Annie Cameron. She produced these very witchy, outspoken, Lesbian, feminist poems—and I was entranced. I didn't know such honesty was allowed. She gave me permission to write. Around the same time, a friend gave me Raymond Carver to read. He was equally honest, and wrote quite shocking scenes of domestic dysfunction, but with an aching beauty that really paved my road into poetry. 

That was a long time ago now and my work has moved quite far from its original impulses but both those writers gave me strong, unshakeable foundations in what I do.

What have you been doing as Kilkenny writer in residence so far and what plans do 
you have?

I've been working with Kilkenny County Council since 2009, so by this point, we've done a bit of everything. I began by holding one-to-one mentoring sessions with anyone who was interested. I met with about 70 writers. I was also teaching creative writing, prose and poetry, in several county libraries. The scheme mutated in 2010 so that other facilitators were leading the workshops, and the mentoring morphed into my working intensely with 16 people. The following year that was reduced to 8 mentees. I've seen huge progress in a lot of writers in that time. I've also seen the whole writing community come together and create their own opportunities as a result of the scheme. 

Kilkenny has a regular open-mic night now, and most literary events are very well attended because there's a huge feeling of connectivity and support between writers, it's been great to have been part of that. I'm not sure what will happen in the future with Kilkenny, but County Waterford Arts Office were impressed by the scheme and took on aspects of it themselves, so now I'm mentoring writers in Dungarvan Arts Centre.

What is your opinion on the debate about whether writing can be taught at all?

To be honest I haven't followed the debate very closely. I'm a little dismissive of the any hot air on the subject because I've been taught & I teach. At workshops I've learned tools and disciplines that are invaluable to me. 
I come down heavily on the Yes side of things. But I'm more of the opinion that writing is facilitated. As teachers we're here to draw out other writers' Voices. The more confidence I can give an emerging writer, the better their work flourishes. 
Can I teach writers to edit their own manuscripts? Possibly not, I don't know that many tricks that cut down the years required to hone our own skills. Can I teach writers to show instead of tell? Probably not without everything becoming very formulaic. Can I help writers develop their own natural powers and write manuscripts that best reveal their individual strengths—yes. For me teaching, or facilitation, is all about my listening for Voice. Get a writer's Voice out, get it flowing well, and you cut down on the amount of teaching/crafting that needs to be done later. 
Does that sound glib? It isn't meant to. All I know is that yes, writing can be taught, but however it is taught or facilitated, we're talking about a very long process of learning. One I'm very much involved with both as a teacher and as a student.

What poets would you recommend new writers read (and why?)

I think new writers need to find the poets they love. We need inspirational poets to pull us further along the road. Poetry is a very subjective matter, one person's meat really is another's poison. I love Paula Meehan and Raymond Carver but people need to read around to find what they love for themselves. 

What I really think is that new poets should read poetry journals. Read them and SUBSCRIBE to them. Poetry journals constantly feed us with outstanding, memorable pieces. In them you can find the names of poets worth following up. 

It's essential we read and subscribe to the journals because they are our lifeblood. Journals publish our work and over time give us a publishing record that we can take to the larger publishing houses when our collections are ready. It always saddens me when student writers don't read or subscribe to periodicals. Especially here in Ireland where there are so few journals keeping our industry afloat. All of them are run by very passionate individuals who constantly give of their time and energy. As poets I feel we have a moral duty to return some of that energy by supporting the periodicals with subscriptions. I subscribe to The Shop, The Stinging Fly, The Moth and The North, which an English publication that I really like. I think The Shop most reflects my own editorial taste, and it's always a good day when the latest edition comes in the post.

We need to know our contemporary industry, know who is writing what, and who is publishing what. In an American journal, I came across some fantastic poems by Shaindel Beers. In the back, her bio said she was poetry editor of Contrary magazine, so I sent her some of my work, and it was accepted. As a result, I've been reviewing Irish poetry for Contrary for some years. 

It can be hard to get your hands on examples of poetry journals and decide which ones reflect your own editorial taste, but libraries are often willing to get periodicals in if you ask. Anyone going to London should call in at the Poetry Library in the South Bank Centre. They have shelves full of the latest magazines, you can just sit there and read for hours. I'm always hoping Poetry Ireland will be in a position to open a place like that here, it's the kind of resource poets need.

How did you first collection come about - When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things (available to purchase here)?

I think all emerging poets are working on a first collection. I was no different to that. Over the years the poems collected up and gradually the wheat got separated from the chaff, the weaker poems fell away. 
When God Has Been Called Away to Greater Things has a largely auto-biographical narrative. The poems weren't written in any sequential way (quite the opposite), but as they collected up, they asked to be placed in a narrative order. And as time moved on, the narrative story also developed.
It took a long time for the manuscript to find a publisher. Early on I had a number of very sensible rejections which allowed me the time to do more winnowing. One English publishing house sat on the manuscript for 18 months. More winnowing! Before they got back to me with a yes or a no, Pat Boran heard me give a reading in Bantry, and asked me if I'd like to submit my manuscript to Dedalus Press. After many grim years of gritted teeth, everything happened very fast.

What are you working on now and any plans?

I always have an amount of poetry on the go, pieces that I haven't finished that I go back to and tweak. For me poetry is a slow process and my output is actually very small. I don't mind that fact, I feel poets only ever produce 3 or 4 really good poems a year, the rest is usually second rate and can be confined to a drawer. Dermot Bolger once told a friend of mine, 'Advice to a poet: write one good poem a year', so I try and bear that in mind, I definitely think that where poetry is concerned, less is more.

In between my mentoring commitments, I've been working on short stories. I'm building something of a collection, but the work feels very raw. Besides which I write these incredibly long short stories, some up to 18 thousand words, and that makes them slightly redundant in a market place which increasingly calls for flash fiction and stories of less than 2000 words. The fact is I'm exploring my fiction voice, and seeing where it wants to take me, and sometimes that process is quite daunting. 

 Thanks very much Grace and good luck with all your plans.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Meath Arts Grants

Closing date for all grants in 2012 is 5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Festival Grant Scheme   
    5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Professional Artists Development Fund5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Tyrone Guthrie Centre Award5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Annual Arts Grant Scheme 5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Community Arts Award5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Schools Musical Instrument Purchase Scheme5pm Friday 23rd March 2012
  • Going Solo5pm Friday 23rd March 2012 
  • Bi - Annual Arts Grant Scheme Phase II 
    5pm Friday 23rd March 2012 
  • Tony Finnegan Memorial Award - 2 awards annually 
Details here
If you have questions, the arts office are lovely and welcoming.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Westmeath Co Arts Grants

Deadline 1 March 2012

Westmeath County Council operate 3 arts grants schemes annually as detailed below.

Individual Artists Bursaries. This fund provides funding to individual professional artists based in Westmeath who earn a proportion of their annual income through their artistic endeavours. Westmeath County Council will offer bursaries, each year, in respect of the professional development of individual professional artists practicing in any of the artistic disciplines outlined in the County Arts plan.

Arts in Community Scheme.
The Arts in Context Residency scheme provides specific project funding to artists to enable them to work with any school or community group for arts projects across disciplines. Funding issued by Westmeath County Council will go directly to pay the artists fees and the school or group must supply and materials required for the project. This scheme is to encourage meaningful collaboration between a selected group of individuals and an artist working on a particular project over a particular duration of time and to allow the group an opportunity to engage with an artist directly on a specific project. This scheme gives employment to an artist working with a group over a given period and it allows the group to gain specific skills and expertise in the area of the arts.

Arts Act Grants. 
 Westmeath County Council offers grant aid to community, voluntary or amateur arts groups or organisations, which will stimulate public interest in the arts, promote the knowledge, appreciation and practice of the arts or assist in improving the standards of the arts. In this Act the arts are defined as painting, sculpture, architecture, music, film, drama, dance, literature, design in industry and the fine arts and applied arts generally.

Link here

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Story Campus Day 18th February

Tutors: David Keating

Date: 18 February 2012
Duration: 1 day
Venue: The Lighthouse
Cost: €25.00

Participant Profile:
The day is aimed at emerging writers and directors.

A one-day event on the nature and future of storytelling for the screen, this workshop is aimed at both experienced and entry level screenwriters interested in advancing key storytelling techniques for project pitches, story outlines and screenplays.

The day will include: KEYNOTE INTERVIEW WITH JOHN BANVILLE Co-writer of Albert Nobbs along with Glenn Close, and Man Booker prize-winner, John Banville will be with us to discuss screenwriting and the challenges of adaptations.

Panel to include: Margaret Corkery (Eamon) Marian Quinn (32A) Carmel Winters (Snap) Reduced production budgets and the expanding opportunities in terms of filmmakers producing and distributing their projects mean screenplays that can be shot on lower end budgets are very much in demand.

Panel to include: Sarah Dillon – Irish Film Board, David Collins – Samson Films (Once, Snap, Asylum), Brendan McCarthy – Fantastic Films (Wake Wood, Outcast, Stitches) An insight into how producers and development executives work with screenwriters to bring out the best in their work. Topics for discussion will include: Thinking about audiences. Working with writer / directors. Best practice for writers looking for producers.

CONTEXT AND CONCEPT – LET’S TALK ABOUT PITCHING Open discussion led by David Pope and David Keating exploring techniques to help present yourself and your project to the industry. Topics for discussion will include: Describing the essence so others can too. Controlling the conversation with confidence and respect. Who are you? Who are they? Who is the audience?

STORY CAMPUS is presented by JDIFF in partnership with Screen Training Ireland and the support of Media Desk.

Please book directly with through the JDIFF website.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Kenneth Lonergan Masterclass

Date: 22  February 2012
Duration: 11am-1pm
Venue: Light House Cinema
Cost: €25.00

Application Procedure:Please apply online attaching a current CV by Friday the 17th of February.

Participant Profile:This masterclass is aimed at writers and directors.

Course Profile:During this masterclass Kenneth Lonergan will outline his career to date. He will discuss three of his films, Gangs of New York to give the view of being a hired writer and how that works, Margaret and You Can Count On Me, which he wrote and directed.

During the masterclass he will select a scene from each film and outline the difficulties encountered, conveying something without dialogue, a problematic/difficult scene and how that was resolved and thirdly an accident that makes it into the movie.

The masterclass will include tickets to the screening of Margaret on Tuesday the 21st of February at 8pm in Cineworld.


You are invited to join poet Deryn Rees-Jones at the Irish launch of COLLECTED POEMS
By Michael Murphy
At The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, Dublin 8
on Friday, February 17 from 6.30pm.

Before his untimely death in 2009, Michael Murphy had gained an enviable reputation in Irish and UK poetry circles for his “lucid, intelligent work”.
Many of the poems published in the Liverpudlian’s three collections — After Attila (1998), Elsewhere (2003) and Allotments (2008) — drew on the rediscovery of his Irish roots, and in 2004 a selection of his work appeared in The New Irish Poets.
Collected Poems, introduced by the poet George Szirtes and a prefaced by his widow, poet Deryn Rees-Jones, brings together highlights from earlier volumes alongside new poems written in the last two years of his life, after the diagnosis of a brain tumour.
The poems celebrate a life both rediscovered and remembered as Murphy negotiates exile, return, fatherhood, love and death.
The collection, already the recipient of a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, will be launched at the Gutter Bookshop on February 17th, from 6.30pm.
For further information contact Aisling Breen (086 8031312)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Kildare County Council Arts Grants

Kildare County Council Arts Service invites applications from individual artists and arts collectives and community groups for the following grant and award opportunities
·    Arts Act Grant scheme
·   Artist in Schools Residency Bursary Award
·    Cecil Day Lewis Literary Bursary Award
·    Drama League of Ireland Summer School Bursary Award
·    Film Bursary Award
·    Recording Bursary @ Platform4 Recording Studio
·    Tyrone Guthrie Centre Residency Bursary Award
·    Youth Arts Residency Bursary
·    Emerging Visual Artist Solo Exhibition Bursary Award
·    Local Publishing award

Additional awards for 2012 are
  • Tyrone Guthrie Printmaking Residency Bursary Award
  • Irish Youth Choir bursary (as auditions are in Feb/March, please register your interest immediately by contacting the arts service)
  • NYCI Certificate in Youth Arts bursary. Course dates will be announced in summer 2012. Register your interest by contacting the arts service)
Application forms and further information are available from
Kildare County Arts Service, Riverbank, Main Street, Newbridge, Co Kildare

Tel: 045-448328; Email:  or  

Closing date is strictly 12 noon TUESDAY 20th March 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012

Trevor-Bowen Prize

From Nuala's blog here. Pricey though. Big prize. Have they priced themselves out of the recessionary market? Or are they aiming at dollars I wonder?


2nd prize: 500 Euro
5 runners up prizes of 200 Euro each.

Our adjudicators are both well-known short story writers and book reviewers. They will select a short list of approximately 25 stories to be passed on for final adjudication. Main adjudicator is Ita Daly.

Maximum 3,000 words
Fee:  €20 per entry
Deadline: Friday, 30th March 2012
You can pay by paypal but only send the stories by post???
Entries, by post only, to:

Trevor/Bowen International Short StoryCompetition,         
37 Upper Cork Street,
Co. Cork, 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Laois CoCo Arts Service: Awards, Grants and Opportunities

Laois County Council Arts Service invites applications for the following awards and opportunities to individuals/groups and organisations from County Laois.

Arts Act Grants 2012: Provision has been made by Laois County Council for the payment of grants to arts organisations and individuals who meet the artistic and financial criteria set down by Laois County Council and who provide adequate information on their proposed activities.
Maximum amount payable will not exceed €1000.

Tyrone Guthrie Residency Bursary Awards 2012: A Bursary is available to enable a Laois artist to spend one week working at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan. The bursary is open to artists in all fields and is selected on previous achievements and project/s in hand.
In 2012 a special Bursary for Printmakers is available and will enable two print artists to spend a week sharing and working in the new Print Studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. One of the artists must be an experienced printmaker and preferably a member of a recognised print studio.

Artists in Schools Scheme 2012: Grants are available for artists’ residencies in schools, to include all art forms. This scheme gives primary and post primary schools the opportunity to select and work with professional artists and explore new arts media.

Details and application forms regarding the above schemes are available on request from: The Arts Office, Laois County Council, Áras an Chontae, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Or can be downloaded from the website:

Deadline for completed applications is Thursday 23rd February 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bare Hands Postcard Competition


Promoting your work is not an easy feat. You can do things online but it’s nice to have something in print, something you can put on your wall, like a postcard…

So the idea is the winning poems and photographs of the competition will be turned into a beautiful postcard (we pride ourselves on our design) AND we will distribute these postcards to leading independent bookshops in Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Toronto & Vancouver. We’re not kidding. And they'll be free so people can just pick them up - we won't be selling them.

There will be two winners in each category - two poems and two photographs - so two different postcards will be created. We will make 2000 of each. Your work will be sent all around the world. The winning entries will also be published on our website too.

Pretty good eh?

The theme is BARE HANDS



Entries are €4 for one entry. Multiple entries are accepted.

To pay simply click the BUY NOW button on our site

All competition entries should be emailed to

Poetry entries

Poems must be unpublished and not be entered into any other competition. Poems should be no longer than 20 lines long (has to fit on the postcard!) 

Send your poem within the body of an email (no attachments please). 
Put your name at the end of the poem. 
Mark the subject field COMPETITION ENTRY POETRY

Photography entries

Photographs must not have appeared in any online or print journal. 

Put your name in the body of an email. 
Attach your entry as a jpeg and mark the subject field COMPETITION ENTRY PHOTOGRAPHY.

The winners will be announced at the end of March.

Postcards will be created and distributed in May!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Cúirt New Writing Prize 2012

I sometimes wonder if this sort of competition makes money for the festival or not.

Cúirt International Festival of Literature is delighted to announce the call for submissions for the Cúirt New Writing Prize 2012. There are two categories this year: Fiction and Poetry. 

There will be a cash prize of €500 awarded to the winner of each category. The two winners will also be given the opportunity to read during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature 2012 on Wednesday 25th April at the Cúirt/Over the Edge Showcase event. 

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 5th of March 2012.

Judges for this year are:
Fiction: Declan Meade
Poetry: Joseph Woods

Prose: up to 2000 words.
Poetry: 3 poems, each under 50 lines.

Entries in both Irish and English language are welcome.
You must submit 3 copies of your work. Entries must be typed with the following contact details on a separate sheet: Name, email address, phone number. Please do not type your name on any of your prose or poetry pages as entries will be judged anonymously.

An entry fee of €10 is applicable for each entry. This must be a postal order or bank draft made payable to: Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

Entries, together with the entry fee, must be sent in hardcopy only to:
Cúirt New Writing Prize

Galway Arts Centre,

47 Dominick Street,


Writers submitting work should not have had a collection published under the category in which they are entering. This does not include the publication of single poems, stories, or chapbooks.

You may include a short biography of yourself if you wish. Please do not staple or attach it to your work; place it in the envelope separate to your fiction or poetry submission.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Times Stephen Spender Prize for poetry in translation

I have tried to translate a poem from Dutch to English. It's really hard even though my Dutch is pretty good, though rusty. ansl
ate a poem from any language, classical or modern
Entrants are invited to submit a translation of a published poem from any language, modern or classical, into English, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words (see below for guidelines) and the original poem. The submitted translation should be no more than 60 lines long, so entrants may submit an extract if their chosen poem is longer. Self-translation is not accepted.
The commentary of no more than 300 words should briefly cover such matters as:

  • Your reason for translating this particular poem.
  • Problems encountered in translating between the language of the original and English.
  • Problems encountered in translating the poem you have chosen.
  • Your approach to the poem. For example, if the original is in a particular form — rhyme or a regular metre — have you or have you not attempted to preserve that form in English?

Entrants must be British residents or British citizens. (The Stephen Spender Trust encourages submissions from children and adults who are British residents but have roots in other countries.) into Engli 

There will be three prizes in the Open and 18-and-under categories. The winners of the Open prizes will receive £1000 (first), £750 (second) and £500 (third); the winners of the under-18 prizes will win £250 (first), £150 (second) and £100 (third). There will be one prize (£100) awarded in the 14-and-under category.

Entries may be posted or emailed and must arrive no later than Friday 1 June 2012.
Postal entries, which should be in black type on A4 paper, should be sent to the Stephen Spender Trust, 3 Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4JX..

Entry fee of £5.00 (pounds sterling). Anyone eighteen or under on 1 June 2012 is exempt from this charge

More details here 


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

TCD Writer Fellow

Each year the School of English at Trinity College Dublin and the Arts Council of Ireland offer a free writing workshop with the current TCD Writer Fellow.

I did one with Eilis Ni Dhuibhne a few years ago.

This year’s Fellow is novelist and playwright, Philip Davison, author of among other works, McKenzie’s Friend and The Long Suit.
Davison will be leading a workshop from 6.00-9.00 on Friday 23 March, and Saturday 24 March 10.00 – 1.00

The workshop continues on Friday 30 March and concludes on Saturday 31 March.

so obviously  you would be wasting everyone's time if you weren't available for all these dates.

Applicants should submit a single piece of prose not exceeding 1,000 words by post to the Oscar Wilde Centre no later than Friday, 9th March.

Irish Writer Fellow Workshop
Oscar Wilde Centre
School of English
Trinity College Dublin
21 Westland Row, Dublin 2

For further information contact

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Golden Pen Competition

Enter your poems and stories in the 14th Annual Golden Pen Competition
First Prize: €100 for adults, €50 forstudents
Prizes for 2nd & 3rd placed writersplus publication in the Festival Magazine

Entry fee: ADULTS €5: (£4 or $5, UK/USA)
STUDENTS:  €3 or £2

Open Theme
Stories up to 2000 words
Poems 70 lines

Send your poems and stories to:
The Golden Pen, Gurteen, Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland

Deadline: April 1st 2012
Winners will be notified before June 9th

Monday, 6 February 2012

Cavan Arts Grants

Arts Grants season is amongst us, less money, less publicity but there's still some there for the right artists and projects. Just make sure you tick their boxes.

Are you based in Cavan? Arts Awards deadline approaches fast:

Deadline for submission for Arts Awards for 2011 will close on Friday, 17th February 2012. Info here

Arts Awards and Tyrone Guthrie Award

They also have an interesting sounding project for

A series of vacancies have arisen for arts facilitators in creative writing, spectacle arts and music.
This project in its entirety will foster peace and reconciliation in the border community that has suffered greatly over 30 years economically, socially and culturally. An opportunity will be provided for community groups, bands, youth organisations to partake in a series of initiatives which are designed to promote awareness and understanding on a cross border, cross community level.

The successful candidates will consider the peace building theme of this project in their approach to the individual arts strand and ensure that the work embarked upon reflects this.

More here

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Laois Art Grants

The co council arts grants seem to be a bit lower key than usual. Here's Laois.

The Arts Department have a number of awards and opportunites currently available to Arts Organisations, schools and Individuals. Including Arts Act Grants, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre Bursary and the Artists in Schools Scheme.

Persons born or living in the county will be eligible to apply for the Laois County Council Residential Bursary.

Deadline: Thursday 23rd February 2012 before 5pm.

Link here

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Peregrine Reading Series

The Irish Writers Centre get grants to run these readings which tour around the country.

21 February 7:30pm
Opening Night 
Ulick O' Connor, Geraldine Mills, Ferdia MacAnna will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre, kicking off our series of prose readings, Peregrine Readings. The readings will commence in the Centre and be taken afterwards to the County Library and Boyle Library in Roscommon.

28th February 7:30pm
Christine Dwyer Hickey, Chris Binchy, Ed O' Loughlin will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre, as part of a series of prose readings, Peregrine Readings. The readings will commence in the Centre and be taken afterwards to Sligo Yeats Memorial Building and Ballymahon Library, Co. Longford 

6th March
Tom MacIntyre, Eoin McNamee, Orflaith Foyle will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre, as part of a series of prose readings, Peregrine Readings. The readings will commence in the Centre and be taken afterwards to the George Bernard Shaw Theatre, Carlow and the Church of Ireland, Portumna , Galway.

13th March
This week's Peregrine offering will see readings from Catherine Foley, Gabriel Rosenstock and Ré Ó' Laighléis. All three will be at the Irish Writers' Centre on Tuesday, March 13th, and the peregrination will continue to in Mayo on Wednesday March 14thLeabharlann, and then to na Ceathrú Rua in Co. na Gaillimhe on March 15th. The IWC reading will commence at 7.30 p.m. and the readings at Ionad Deirbhile and Leabharlann na Ceathrú Rua at 6.30 p.m.
20th March
Ita Daly, Frank Ronan, Peter Cunningham will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre, as part of a series of prose readings, Peregrine Readings. The readings will commence in the Centre and be taken afterwards to Anam Cara Retreat and Triskel Christchurch 

27th March

Glenn Patterson, Lucille Redmond, James Ryan will read at the Irish Writers’ Centre, as part of a series of prose readings, Peregrine Readings. The readings will commence in the Centre and be taken afterwards to doesn't say. Somewhere else.

To be honest, the only ones that really appeal to me are Geraldine Mills (I've heard her before, super writer) and Glenn Patterson (again, heard him before, a vivacious reader)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Interview with poet, Iggy McGovern

I met Iggy McGovern at the café in the Science Gallery - nice food, nice staff but a bit noisy. Good mushroom soup and the stew has been recommended.

Welcome to, Iggy. First, how did you start getting into poetry?

It’s a while ago so the story has become more of a myth. I had become very boring and my wife sent me out to become more interesting. I did a night class in creative writing in Newtown Park Avenue School, Blackrock. It was run by John Kelly, who is still teaching. We covered everything, poetry, stories, scripts. I had the idea that I would write short stories. At the end he gave everyone report cards. On mine he wrote that I would never be a short story writer and to try poetry. I do still try short stories, but I’m no use at it. Some of my poems are like short stories, though, very short stories.

Do you find going to workshops useful?

I have been to other workshops since. A particularly good one was with the poet, Michael Longley. Every year the writer in residence in Trinity offers a series of workshops for which you can apply. I particularly liked the way he ran it. He didn’t let us fall upon each other’s work like mad dogs. He would make comments but we were not invited to do so. There were no amateur critics looking at amateur writers. Until last day, that is and I’m not sure if he contrived it. He asked one person if she liked another person’s work. She said No. He looked at his watch and said we’d run out of time and should we go to the pub.
I also enjoyed a workshop from the wonderful Australian poet, Les Murray. He just sat there and we talked about poetry. He did most of the talking. And at the end, he looked down and saw the folder of poems that we had all submitted. He said he’d take them back with him and send us his comments. We all assumed that would be the last we saw of them but he was as good as his word. And he kept one of my poems for an anthology he was editing.

Do you recommend writers take classes?

Yes, find a good, general creative writing course. Be aware, though, that you can become addicted to going to course after course, which is unhealthy.

What was your first publication?

I think it was Poetry Ireland Review. I had a mentor who fed me information on what to do in my writing career. The next step was to send poems in. It wasn’t a great poem but I felt great! Another piece of advice worth passing on is that once a poem is published, it’s out of the running for submitting to competitions. So if you have a poem you think has the potential to win a prize, hold it back. And don’t send to two places at once. It may be accepted by both and then you have to extricate yourself.

How was your first collection The King of Suburbia picked up by the Dedalus Press?

Dedalus Press was changing its editorship from John F Deane to Pat Boran and Pat was aware of my work, having published some of my poems when he was editor of Poetry Ireland Review. It was his first collection as editor so there was double celebration when it won the inaugural Glen Dimplex Award in 2006.

The Science Gallery is where the Science and Arts talks of Ignite Dublin take place. I told Iggy about my talk there in December which mentioned guerrilla poetry, International Put Your Poem In A Shop Month (IPYPIASM) and other poetry in public spaces.

I had a poem on the Dart once. I wasn’t using the Dart at all at the time and didn’t want to buy a ticket to go and see it. Someone told me it was on display in Tara Street station. I told the guard at the barrier that a friend of mine had a poem I wanted to see. I’m sure he knew it was mine! It was called Joggers, from my first collection.

Did you stand around and watch for people reading it?

No. But someone had noticed it. There was a big wodge of gum stuck in the middle. It was an honest response. Many responses are dishonest – “I love your work,” “I’ve read all your books.”

I have read all your books, Iggy.

And I’ve read yours!
I don’t know if Poems on the Dart is still going. It was organised by Jonathan Williams, the literary agent. I did wonder if I got an agent whether I’d get more bookings but mostly I find festivals and events are word of mouth. For Electric Picnic, I was asked by Poetry Ireland. I regret that I didn’t make more use of the ticket.

I think the joy of Electric Picnic is that you never see all that you hoped to see but you always see things that you never planned or expected.

I did see one comedian that I really enjoyed, I didn’t plan that.
One of my favourite events recently was in Aghamore Co Mayo near Knock, a festival called The Kenny-Naughton Autumn School. The location was an old pub that closed down in the 1960’s. It had been inherited by a teetotaller and he’d just shut the door and left it, sold on the license. It was just as it was back in the 1960s. The bottles and bar are all still there. Again, it was word of mouth that they asked me from an Irish musician I met in Oxford

There’s a good description of the festival here
What was your biggest crowd?

In New Zealand. There were maybe 200 people though I couldn’t see them for the lights; this was at the Auckland Writers and Readers festival. I did a reading and they interviewed me. Again the connections came from the residency I did in Australia in the Blue Mountains. That was a 4 week residency as part of my sabbatical in La Trobe University in Melbourne. It was an unusual combination of physics and poetry. Science and arts is on the rise.

You write a lot in form. Why is that?

I find it quite difficult not to write in form. And people will tell you that freeform is much more difficult. But I like the constraint. How do you know when a poem is over? When you’ve filled up 14 lines.

How do you say what you want to say but still stay in the form?

I supposed lots of the things I want to say are not that portentous, not the biggest thing in town, so my thoughts can be easily shaped. I may be guilty that the form is more interesting than the words. But the idea does come first when I’m starting a new poem.
I don’t go in for big ideas. I’m not sure what good it does. It can easily turn into polemic and I don’t think polemic and poetry belong together. Why would you do that? You’re not raising consciousness, if you’re ranting. I also don’t like the idea of using someone else’s pain. Writing in form is maybe a way of keeping all that at bay.

I have a couple of ranting poems. They probably work better as performance pieces than on the page. What advice do you have for writers who are starting out?

Remember that the fun is in the writing. Once you have a poem, you’ve had your fun already. Anything else is extra, a bonus, the sending out and all that.

What are you working on at the moment?

A sequence of sonnets. I wanted my next effort to be more coherent. My first two books were more loose. There was one section in my second book made up of letters to my grandfather; that was more coherent and people seemed to like that.

I know what you mean. I’m trying to write more poems that are not just about me.

Poems that are not about yourself are always about yourself, ultimately.
This sonnet sequence is based on the life of William Rowan Hamilton. He was an Irish scientist, mathematician and poet in the 19th Century Dublin. He was a friend of Wordsworth.
Each sonnet is from the point of view of a person who interacted with him, real people, like a talking head. There are four sections - Geometry, Algebra, Metaphysics and Poetry. Each section has 16 sonnets, 14 talking heads, headed by a sonnet written as a personification of Geometry, Poetry etc. And the last sonnet in each section is written as Death. That’s my favourite character.

That sounds fascinating and intricate. I’m looking forward to reading those. Thanks very much Iggy.

His Website: has lots of information and some poems.
Here's him reading on Youtube

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Over the Edge Showcase

I'm reading in Galway. All you lovely galwegians please come and say Hi. And if you buy loads of books too, all the better. Looking forward muchly to hearing the other readers.

It mainly for Galway based poets who have released books recently but Kevin and Susan were kind enough to invite me too.

When: Friday, February 10th, 8pm (I might be late. I have to drive there after work)

Where: The Kitchen @ The Museum, Spanish Arch, Galway

Who: Moya Cannon, Lorna Shaughnessy, Stephen Murray, Sarah Griffin, Pete Mullineaux, Susan Lindsay, Kate Dempsey, Sean Kavanagh, Jack McCann, Mae Leonard, Ndrek Gjini, Pete Mullineaux, Susan Lindsay and Pauline Fayne.

All Welcome. It's free so I'd suggest it would be good protocol and good karma to buy books!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

From The Well

Are you a member of an Irish Library?

The Cork County Library and Arts Service has just launched their 2012 “From The Well” Short Story competition. The competition is open to people aged 18 or over who are registered library members. The stories must be fiction and must not be more than 2,000 words.

All entries must be accompanied by an entry form. The name of the entrant must not appear on the story itself.

20 stories will be shortlisted by a panel of judges. Winning entries to be announced in March/April
The Judges’ decision is final

The winning prize will be a place on a week long writing workshop at the West Cork Literary festival 2012 in Bantry.

the closing date for receipt of applications at your local library or the Arts Office is Friday 17th February 2012

More details and the form here