Friday, 27 December 2013

Dublin Genius - A Day of Ideas

The fabulous, glittery Poetry Divas will be taking some time out from their festivities in the bosom of their friends and families to take part in Dublin Genius on Monday 30th December.

Dublin Genius, A Day of Ideas, will celebrate some of Dubliners’ best known talents: literature, comedy, and non-stop talking!

There's loads going on so if you need to shake the cobwebs out, come into Dublin. And what's more, it's free!

The Little Museum will be hosting a History Ireland Hedge School, which will cover the breadth of Ireland’s literary history. Taking in Joyce, Stoker and Roddy Doyle, some very special guests will be on hand to underline why Dublin has historically been such a city of words. Writers carrying that torch into the 21st century, such as Dermot Bolger, will be reading their works and starting conversations in Smock Alley Theatre (the city’s oldest theatre).

Nearby in Dublin’s Twisted Pepper, the irreverent political cabaret that is Leviathan will be examining the role Ireland’s great writers have played in the political life of the country in its usual enlightening manner, while the Irish poetic tradition gets the slam poetry treatment in a swathe of pubs across the town.

A packed programme of cultural events, from poetry slams and literary readings to science exhibitions and comedy, kicking off at 2pm and running til late. Dublin Genius is an opportunity to experience the “cultural capital” of our capital. It organised by the lovely lads that bring us Mindfield at Electric Picnic, Leviathan.

We are on sometime between 6 and 6.30pm in The Church, Mary St.

Check out the programme here

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Hi All, I'm going to take a break from online stuff for January to kick start some writing. I'll repost some interviews for January starting with a brand new one on 1st January!

And watch out for details of a Poetry Divas gig after Christmas.

Meanwhile I bring you details of an online mag Wordlegs that I will be editing for poetry.

Note the following:
  • Writers should be from or living in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
  •  There is a strict submission limit of 500 words in flash fiction or 2500 words in short stories or other category.
  • Up to 2 short stories or pieces in other category, or 3 poems per writer per issue
More details here

Deadline 31st December

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Today Show RTE's "Publish your Novel" competition in conjunction with New Island

We are looking for works of fiction, any genre including Literary Fiction, Crime Fiction, Short Stories, children’s and YA. Please do NOT submit non-fiction, Drama or Poetry.

We ONLY accept submissions if they adhere to the following guidelines:

1) Submissions are sent by email to: editor[AT] with “competition submission” in the subject line

2) Attach the first 50 pages of your novel, PLUS a synopsis of the novel (no longer than 500 words) as two separate Word documents (.doc or .docx)

3) Printed manuscripts will not be accepted, nor will manuscripts contained on CDs or other storage devices sent by post

4) Entries will only be accepted between 16:00hrs on Friday 10th January and Midnight Sunday 25th January 2014

5) Shortlisted authors will be contacted before Friday 21st February 2014.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Listowel Writers’ Week Competitions

Listowel Writers’ Week goes from strength to strength

The Closing Date for receipt of novels for The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award is: 1st February, 2014.

The Closing Date for receipt of all other competition entries is: 1st March 2014.
  • Entries cannot have been previously published.
  • Please submit your name and contact details on a separate sheet. The entrant’s identity must not appear on the competition entry (with the exception of The Creative Writing for Youth Competitions).
  • Entries may be in Irish or in English / Is féidir iontrálacha a bheith i mBéarla nó i nGaeilge.
  • Please identify the specific competition for which you are entering on the front of the envelope, for example ‘The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award’.
  • Awards may not be presented where an appropriate standard is not achieved.
  • Listowel Writers’ Week reserves the right to withhold or to publish winning entries in the publication Winners’ Anthology 2014.The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2014 (More Details..)
The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Competition (More Details..)
Duais Foras na Gaeilge (More Details..)
The Éamon Keane Full Length Play (More Details..)

The Single Poem (More Details..)

The Poetry Collection (More Details..)
The Nilsson Local Heritage Competition (More Details..)
Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Competitions (More Details..)
Con Houlihan Young Sports Journalist Competition (More Details..)
Kerry County Council Creative Writing Competitions for Youth (More Details..)
Creative Writing for Special Education Category (More Details…)

The Irish Post New Writing Competition (More Details..)
Writing in Prisons Competition (More Details..)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

This is a Story Flash Competition

This is a Story invites entries of all original unpublished work of up to 500 words and the cost is €5 per entry (3 entries for €10). There is no theme or subject limitations and entries will  be judged anonymously by author Mike Mc Cormack. You can enter by post, by e-mail or by Facebook and the deadline is January 14th 2014. Prize: €300.

Send entries to GRCC, "The Lodge" Forster Court, Galway with cheques/postal orders made out to Galway Rape Crisis Centre.
Overseas entries:
a)    enter via website using a credit card
b)    enter by sending a paypal payment to
c)    enter by post 

Competition winners are informed around late Febuary but the official announcement is made at the time of the prizegiving – this year it will mid March 2014.  Check the website after this date or send an SAE for the list of winners and judges’ reports.
More info: Aoife Ní Laoi -

Friday, 20 December 2013

Festive Reading at Accents Cafe on Sunday 22nd December

Hope to see loads of you in festive mood on Sunday 22nd December in Accents Cafe, Stephen's St Lower in Dublin. 7pm.
I'll be wearing my Christmas jumper and waxing lyrical. With the energetic and inimitable David Hynes

Show starts promptly at 7pm as we have an amazing array of talent on display.
Come see our lyrical diva Kate Dempsey
Our bantering bard Philip Lynch
Leinster king John Moynes who will not only be charming you with his poetry but also his comedy.
And coming from any bar or room which will have him the musical wit genius that is Mark Cox.
We have Eoin O Murchu with funny words
And fresh from her world tour of England where the crowds of littlehampton north gloustershire and worchesterpark were left screaming for more we have the comic genius Aideen McQueen.
As usual there's me David Hynes and also a late addition if there's time of Eddie izzard .

For Christmas cheer without the beer.
Accents cafe bar
Sun 22nd Dec 7 o clock
And it's free

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Lumen/Camden Poetry Competition 2013-14

Here's one to win a chapbook publication and all proceeds to two London Homeless Cold Weather Shelters
Closing date 14 February 2014.        
  • Judge: Andrew Motion.
  • Poems up to 40 lines.
  • Single poems £2.50, 6 poems £10.
  • Poetry must not be previously published.
  • 50 free copies plus a reading.
How to submit
Enter by Post and by Cheque:
  • Make your cheque out to 'Caris Camden', and send it with the poem to Ruth O’Callaghan at: 49 Ripley Gardens, Mortlake London, SW14 8HF.
  • Include a separate sheet with your name, contact details, and the titles of your poems.
  • DO NOT put your personal details on the poems themselves.
Enter Online with PayPal:
  • Pay by clicking buttons below
  • Then either post your poems to Ruth (see address above) and include the PayPal transaction code and your PayPal account email address on a separate page along with the titles of your poems
  • or send the poems in the body of an email with your contact details and the Pay Pal transaction code at the top of the email to Adele at:
Link here

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Arts Council: Travel and Training Award 2014

The window for 2014 Travel and Training Award applications opened on 27 November 2013. There are no formal deadlines for the Travel and Training Award. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Applicants seeking support for formal courses (postgraduate or equivalent) and for other eligible opportunities must submit their application at least six weeks before their course or work programme begins. You are advised that the Arts Council cannot guarantee to assess applications received less than six weeks before a course or work programme begins.

Funding will be available in the following art forms: Architecture, Arts Participation, Circus, Dance, Literature, Music, Opera, Street Arts and Spectacle, Venues, Visual Arts, and Young People, Children and Education.

As I understand it, there isn't a deadline but when theannual money runs out, it's gone.

Do if anyone outside of Ireland is interested in a reading from me alone or with the Poetry Divas, let me know.

Please visit the Arts Council website here for further information: here.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition

The Prole Laureate Competition

Winner: £140, Publication in Prole 13 in April 2014
Publication on the Prole website
2 x runner up prizes of £30, possible publication in Prole 13
Publication on the Prole website

Kate Noakes
Kate Noakes is an elected member of the Welsh Academi. She has taught creative writing for Oxford University. Her most recent collection is Cape Town from Eyewear Publishing (2012). I-spy and Shanty is forthcoming in 2014 from corrupt press. Her poem ‘Snow light’ was selected by Carol Ann Duffy for her Poetry Corner in The Daily Mirror in January 2010. She won the Owen Barfield Poetry Prize in 2009.
Entries will be anonymised before being sent to judge.

Deadline: Feb 1st 2014
Winners will be announced in issue 13 of Prole in April and on our website by April 20th.

We are, as ever, completely open: free verse, blank verse, highly formed verse. We want poems that epitomise the editorial values of Prole: to make writing engaging, accessible, entertaining and challenging. Quality is all.
All work must be the original work of the writer and be unpublished.

£3.00 for first entry, £2.00 for any subsequent entries.

How to enter
Via our website and email – preferred.
Make the correct payment using PayPal.
Email your entry, including the text and PayPal transaction number within the body of the email, to:
By post
Make a cheque (GBP only, please) payable to
P Robertson for the correct amount and mail along with entry to:
Brett Evans
15 Maes-y-Dre
LL22 7HW

Friday, 13 December 2013

Francis Macmanus Short Story Award

Gradually later and later until it missed 2013 all together. The next deadline is Friday 31st January 2014. This is a short story for the radio so the ear is everything.

Submissions for the 2014 RTÉ Francis Mac Manus Radio Short Story Competition are now being accepted. 
The competition is free to enter. 
Applications forms and guidelines can be found Here  
Apply by post to-
The Francis Mac Manus Short Story Competition,
RTÉ Radio 1,
Dublin 4.

The three judges for 2014 are Christine Dwyer Hickey, novelist and short story writer, Julie Parsons, and author and former radio producer, Eoin Purcell, Editorial Director, New Island Books.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cavan County Council ARTS AWARDS

Deadline: 21st February 2013 

The Arts Awards are intended to stimulate and support the ongoing development of the arts in County Cavan. This award scheme is intended to assist organisations and individuals in the development of new and innovative Art projects and events in County Cavan and support professional artists to develop. Cavan County Council strives to work with individuals and communities to promote access and participation in all art activities.

Applicants must be from or residing in County Cavan at the date of application or planning work that is relevant to the County.

Details of the various awards as well as the application form are available here.

Perhaps some Cavan based festivals will have the readies to pay me to read now!

Monday, 9 December 2013


Apparently I have an inner Fratboy because I love most of this broetry. The Irish equivalent could be Ladetry (you heard it here first) I wonder what the girl equivalent would be? Suggestions?

Brian McGackin's (aka the "Broet Laureate's") takes a frat boy look at classic poems such as

William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say" --

I heard him on a podcast from NPR here. Poetry for dudes.

His book (Available on Amazon ) includes his own originals "Ode to That Girl I Dated for, Like, A Month Sophomore Year," "Why Do Buses Smell?" and "Final Final Fantasy"

Link here and here and a review which discusses the gender bias here

My version
This is Just to Say
I have finished
the chocolate
that was in
the cupboard
and which
you were probably
for Borgen
Forgive me
I was hormonal
so cranky
and so hot

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Magma Poetry Competition

Magma is a super poetry magazine based in the UK. Well worth picking up a copy.

Deadline: 12 December 2013

The competition has two contests:

Magma Judge’s Prize 
For a poem of 13 to 80 lines.  All poem entries of 13 to 80 lines will be entered for the Judge’s Prize which this year will be judged by award-winning poet Philip Gross.  Philip Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan.  He won the 2009 T S Eliot Prize with The Water Table (Bloodaxe) and the 2010 Wales Book of the Year award with I Spy Pinhole Eye (Cinnamon).
First Prize £1,000
Second Prize £300
Third Prize £150

Magma Editors’ Prize
This celebrates the short poem and is open to poems of up to 12 lines. The Magma Editors’ Prize reflects the magazine’s unique rotating editorship and poems of up to 12 lines will be judged by a panel of Magma Editors comprising Julia Bird, Rob Mackenzie, Ian McEwen, Laurie Smith and Karen McCarthy Woolf.  The panel will select a range of poems for ‘special mentions’ as well as choosing first and second prize winners.
First prize £1,000
Second Prize £300
Plus 10 Special Mentions £15 each

As part of the prize, all 15 winners will have their poems published in our Spring Issue 2014 and be invited to read alongside Philip Gross at Magma’s prize-giving event early next year.

Link here

Competition Entry Fees: £5 for the first poem, £4 for the second and £3 for the third and each subsequent poem.  Magma magazine subscribers benefit from reduced fees, £4 for the first poem, £3 for the second, and £2 for the third and each subsequent poem.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Report on a workshop run by Neil Astley

Neil Astley is the editor of the brilliant and highly regarded published Bloodaxe Books. My lovely Dad, John Prior (as seen in Poetry Bus 3, Rialto and others) went to a workshop he gave recently in Norwich and wrote up a report which he has kindly agreed to share with you here.

NOVEMBER 11th 2013

The twelve attendees at this meeting had all been published: all with magazines, one had been mentored through the Writers' Centre and one had been through the UEA poetry course.
Neil's talk was mainly concerned with getting your first collection published but on the way he gave excellent advice for poets right through the writing process. I shall follow this route in my report, beginning with the poem itself through to full publication.
Before doing this it is worth pointing out the there are large numbers of people writing poems. For example, the recent National Poetry competition received 40,000 entries. Some were from overseas of course, but generally it 's fair to say that huge numbers of people are poets.
He went on to say that a survey showed that books are bought by only 63% of the population. Only 1% of these purchasers buy poetry and of this 1% only 5% of books are by living writers. Of these living writers 67% of the books were by Seamus Heaney. It must be said though that the figures not absolutely recent.  This was in the year of Beowulf. Nevertheless it is obvious that the market is small and the competition intense.

The advice Neil gave applies to all stages i.e. .

95% of poems written and entered for competitions are unsuitable.
1. They are not crafted i.e. it's prose chopped into lines, and there's no metre or             rhythmical sense.
2. It's obvious the writer never reads other poets and that their experience of       poetry comes from poorly remembered school lessons.
3. There are awkward rhymes with the inversion of words.

And less serious but still failings (though the judges might read the fault):

4. In the middle of a good poem theres a 'wrong note': a line or word that jars or is             syntactically wrong or grammatically wrong.
5. It's boring. It might be OK but it's anodyne. This particularly applies to writers out       of writing schools.
6. The poem sounds too much like an existing writer.

He gave advice as to how to improve and rid yourself of the above errors.

a. Read your stuff aloud
b. Workshop your poems with other poets the more skilled the better.
c. Go to groups and on courses e.g. Arvon, Ty Newydd (Wales) and there are      some University courses.
d. Above all: read, think, and write.

Luckily, at the talk in Norwich, all twelve people were already doing these things and many of the readers of this report will have heard it all before.

Neil has been a judge many times. He admitted that after a long list has been drawn up the process is a bit of a lottery. The judges don't always agree so that sometimes the winner is the poem least disliked by all the judges.
In the smaller competitions the poems may be filtered through less reliable readers.
The numbers of entries can be too tiring for the judges. He suggested that more than one poem should be entered because, although no names are on the pages, the numbers are in sequence so that not all the poems by the same poet are likely slip through unnoticed. Also two good ones carry more weight.

If it's a big competition you are up against the best so you have to be the best.

The big competitions can result in the next stage being offered e.g. pamphlet publication or full publication. Big competitions include: The Arvon, The National, The Cardiff, the Cheltenham, the Plough and Basil Bunting. You will need to check the Poetry Library website for the current list. ( )
It was reassuring to learn that the major competitions are truly open.

These are sometimes called Chapbooks (an American term). These are small booklets sometimes sold at readings. They contain a small number of poems. The number and the rules for your submission vary but once again look at the relevant website for details. A number of publishers take on Chapbooks including Mariscat, Doughnut, Hearing Eye, Flipped Eye, Rack Press, Templar, Rialto, Cinnamon Press, Nine Arches, Flarestack, Smiths/Doorstop, Lighthouse an IOTA. Some of these run competitions for pamphlets. Check before sending.
The sort of poems that will attract publication are:
1. Faultless poems.
2. Coherent poems e.g. in the same voice and possibly with a unifying theme.   Bloodaxe is proud to publish and to have published many women poets and people    from mixed and ethnic minorities.

Faber, Picador, Carcanet (the c's are hard), Bloodaxe. Not all of these take unsolicited MS.
Also note that submissions to Carcanet are through Oxford Poets.
Chatto might be starting a poetry list.
The etiquette is to send full submissions to only one publisher at a time, of 64 pages or roughly 50 poems.

OR you can send samples of 6 to 10 poems to some or all of the publishers. e.g. simultaneous submissions.

There should be a strong covering letter, not rambling, of course, but mentioning you existing publications and including your email address and a stamped addressed envelope. If you're older (and one or two of the participants were older) Neil suggested you shouldn't mention your age because each publisher is looking for a long term investment.

Neil gets 5,000 MS in his slush pile in a year. He reads them all but may take months to respond.

If you are taken on, the time from acceptance to publication could be 14 months and your advance could be £500.

Here the situation is constantly changing.
You can publish an e-book for an e-reader. The best poems for an e-reader have short lines so that they look good on the page. An iPad can make poems look more attractive and add sound. The internet itself can act as self promotion e.g. through blogs or u-tube readings.
Some magazines publish on the internet only and these are read by poets other than those who submit.

This has a bad name for itself but self publication can work, provided that you don't pay a commercial firm to publish and promote you.

Neil recommended Lulu which is an internet business supplying print on demand. They give the publication an ISBN number, and print exactly the numbers you ask for. You design the cover, arrange the internal layout etc. and transmit this as a file to Lulu. The costs are transparent on the website and when you receive your copies you are on your own, though more copies can easily be printed. Established poets self-publish and distribute and sell books like these at public readings.

Apologies if you are familiar with much of this report but I'm certain that not one of the listeners on November 11th knew it all. I certainly didn't.

 One or two among the twelve, may have been discouraged by the general gist of Neil's talk but personally I felt he gave us a useful guide as to how, with time and dedication, one might become better.

John Prior 14.11.13

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Reading in Maynooth Library

Maynooth Library opened first in 1983 and is having its 30th birthday this week. We are celebrating with a reading of some poems by me and also some stories and chat by the well known local writer, Martina Reilly.

Please come and join us for the evening this Thursday 5th December starting at 8pm, main street, Maynooth.

Refreshments promised too.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Ó Bhéal Events

Upcoming Events for December 2013 and January 2014
in association with Foras na Gaeilge   Dareina Ní Chinnéide – 2nd December
Joseph Horgan  and musician Adrian Boyle – 9th December
Annual Break – No Readings on 16th, 23rd, 30th December or 7th January

Mae Leonard – 13th January
Michael Gallagher – 20th January
Annette Skade – 27th January
Entrance is free. Readings will last between 30-45 minutes after which there will be the usual open-mic session. Be sure to come early to get good seats. Full bar available.
The night begins with a Poetry Challenge starting at around 9.30pm. Guest poets begin after10.00pm

Details here

Sunday, 1 December 2013

New Writing Commission Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Deadline : 12 noon on Friday 6th December

To celebrate the opening of the Central Library and Cultural Centre in Dún Laoghaire in Autumn 2014 Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council invites applications from writers to create a new piece of work that references Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and/or its inhabitants. This may take the form of any genre including literature, popular fiction, short stories, poetry, screen or script writing, children’s literature, young adult literature, factual writing and journalism. To apply writers must live in, work in, be originally from or have studied in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

It is envisaged that a selection of writers will be commissioned to develop a piece of new work from the entries received while other writers will be invited by direct commission. All the commissioned work will be published in a pamphlet or broadsheet available from the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Library Service and online via the County Council website. The writers will also be required to give a brief reading of their work (together with some of the other selected writers) in the Central Library and Cultural Centre.

For more information please contact Carolyn Brown at or (01) 271 9532.

Link here