Thursday, January 31, 2013

William Trevor / Elizabeth Bowen Short Story Competition

Mitchelstown Literary Society is pleased to announce the launch of the third William Trevor / Elizabeth Bowen International, Short Story Competition.

The Society was founded to celebrate the lives and works of two of Ireland's literary greats with Mitchelstown connections. The short story competition evolved as a natural adjunct to our annual literary festival and aims to provide a competitive outlet for new and emerging writers in the short story genre. The continued support of William Trevor includes his sponsorship of the very generous First Prize.

Our preliminary 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.

Drumshanbo born, Dublin resident, Ita Daly, will again be our main adjudicator. Ita was married to writer and editor, the late David Marcus.  Educated at UCD, Ita holds a Master’s Degree in English.  She has published five novels, a collection of short stories and two children's books.  Two times winner of the Hennessy Literary Awards and an Irish Times Short Story Award winner, Ita’s latest novel 'Unholy Ghosts' was long listed for the Impact Award.

First prize is 3,000 Euro, 2nd prize: 500 Euro and five runners up prizes of 200 Euro each.

There is entry fee of 20.00 Euro per entry and the closing date for receipt of entries is last post on Friday, 5th April 2013.

The winner and runners up will be notified personally as well as results being posted to the competition website as they become available.

More details and entry form on the website.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Skylight 47 - Poetry Paper

SKYLIGHT 47, the new bi-annual poetry paper from Skylight Poets was launched at the 10th Anniversary Over the Edge Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday last 24 January, 2013.

Well done to the three editors, Susan Lindsay, Kevin O'Shea and Nicola Griffin, on producing what is a very interesting tabloid poetry newspaper. I'm delighted to have a poem in it with some well-known poets. Two fellow LitLab members included, Mairéad Donnellan and Andy Jones, as well as a poem by the late Tommy Murray. I was asked to read Tommy's poem on the night and was honoured to do.

Skylight also features an interview with Harry Clifton, Ireland Professor of Poetry, who took part in the Over the Edge Reading and a poetry masterclass with Paul Maddern. Very interesting this, he is given the draft of an anonymous poem and asked for his comments. He suggests changes and a revised draft is suggested.

Kevin Higgins contributes a piece on workshops entitled "The destructive critic and the idiot who thinks you are a genius" and there are reviews of collections by Afric McGlinchey, Jessie Lendennie and Moya Cannon.

Picture: Susan Millar DuMars of Over the Edge who was MC for the event.

The editors are currently accepting submissions for the next issue to be launched in July. Closing date 1 March. Poems no longer than 40 lines, to be sent in an attachment and in the body of the email, max 4 poems, to Include a short bio.

You can buy a copy of Skylight 47 via PayPal here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

HeadSpace - New Writing and Art Zine

HeadSpace is a writing and art zine based around the theme of mental health. The idea was born from the experiences of a group of young people who were dealing with mental health difficulties.

It was clear for those who had spent time in psychiatric wards that there was a lack of appropriate reading material available there, and few places to express the artwork they had made in the ward following discharge.

The name HeadSpace was motivated by the idea that in culture and society, we are not given the time or capacity to express, create and think as time is money, but all of us feel the need to buy some 'headspace' - you need to be able to afford reflection, and reflection and time are essentials to maintaining positive mental health.

The zine, which will be launched in April and distributed in psychiatric wards, support groups and University welfare offices as well as being available for general purchase, it will act as a forum for expression and creativity based around the theme of mental health as well as showing solidarity and support for people not in the whole of their mental health.

The zine will express and explore all aspects of mental health, positive and negative, in an effort to engage the public with an issue which is often taboo and shied away from. How do you define mental health? How does it relate to society, to family, to history? How is it perceived? What's its relationship to personal responsibility? HeadSpace doesn’t presume it will answer these questions. But it will help us all to think about them.

The HeadSpace team are using the crowdsourcing website FundIt to finance their project. Funders can donate anonymously or publically and receive a range of “rewards” as thank yous for their donations, which can be as little as €5. For more info, see

HeadSpace is still welcoming submissions of art, creative writing, poetry, articles, and personal experience stories. “We want to focus on ALL aspects of Mental Health, the positive and the negative, don't just think illness, think recovery too!” Please send your submissions to by the end of February, and like HeadSpace on Facebook to keep up with this fantastic project as it develops.

HeadSpace Facebook page.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Temple Bar Tradfest Poetry Photos

It may have been cold and there may have been some rain but it is Ireland and it is January. The poetry reading by the Swift Satire Festival, Trim, members at the Temple Bar Tradfest was very enjoyable. We set up camp in the Square beside the second hand book stalls and had three sessions, at 12, at 2 and at 4.

All the old favourites and a few more unusual ones as well. A moving audience as people stopped, listened to a poem or two and moved on. We have a number who looked through our collection of books and chose one to read themselves. and one poet who recited three poem of her own composition, by heart!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Temple Bar TradFest - Poetry in Motion

Swift Satire Festival, Trim brings Poetry in Motion to Temple Bar TradFest 2013

Poetry in Motion? It’s poetry. And it’s on the move from street to street. You stand on the soapbox and you proclaim verse to the passers-by. Some stop to listen, others hasten onwards.

Poetry in Motion is open to all visitors, who are invited to dip into our bag of poetry books and read aloud a poem of their choice. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! And it doesn’t cost anything.

This simple recipe has been a big hit in our annual Swift Satire Festival, Trim. Some people come along in period costume, stand in the queue and wait their turn to read outside the local supermarket or the Credit Union or the video store. Others take a few minutes from their shopping to stand and listen; some of these eventually pluck up the courage to step forward and read or recite their favourite poem — and 20 minutes later they’re still there, listening or declaiming! Take our word for it: it’s addictive!

Every half-hour or so, the soapbox is picked up and the group moves to a different location or a different street.

When? This Saturday 26 January at the Temple Bar TradFest, 12 noon, 2.30pm, 4pm
Where? Fownes St. Lower/Temple Bar Square, and its environs

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Skylight 47 - Over The Edge

Galway's Over The Edge celebrates its tenth birthday with featured readers Harry Clifton, Jennifer Matthews; James Martyn Joyce at Galway City Library on this Thursday, 24 January, 6.30-8.00pm.

A most important part of the evening will be the launch of the first issue of Skylight 47, the new bi-annual poetry paper from the Skylight Poets, which will be on sale on the evening. The first issue includes new poems by established and emerging poets, an interview with Harry Clifton, a poetry masterclass with Paul Maddern and reviews.

I'm delighted to have a poem included. Looking forward to the launch.

James Martyn Joyce is from Galway and he is a member of The Talking Stick Workshop. His first collection of poetry, Shedding Skin, was published by Arlen House in 2010. His collection of short stories, What’s Not Said, was published by Arlen House in 2012.

Jennifer Matthews writes poetry and book reviews, and is editor of the Long Story Short literary journal. In 2012 she read at Electric Picnic with Poetry Ireland, and had a poem shortlisted by Gwyneth Lewis in the Bridport poetry competition. She is currently working on a collaboration with poet Anamaría Crowe Serrano.

Harry Clifton was born in Dublin in 1952. He has published seven books of poems and two books of prose. Le Canto d’Ulysse, his Selected Poems in French, was published in 1996. His book Secular Eden won the Poetry Now/ Irish Times award in 2008. He teaches at University College Dublin and is Ireland Professor of Poetry. His most recent poetry collection is the highly acclaimed The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass, which was published by Bloodaxe in May 2012.Guardian review here.

As usual there will be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always most welcome. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars. For further details phone 087-6431748.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Richard Blanco's Inaugural Poem

It must be difficult having to write a poem for a presidential inauguration but if you're asked then you can hardly refuse. And to have to read it in public too to all those people who probably haven't read or listened to a poem for ages. And you can't have it too short because it might seem that you are not giving value for money and if it's long people will start to get restless.

So what the heck! It's not going to be the best poem you ever wrote but it's the one most people will hear. Richard Blanco did a reasonably good job I thought. Not much online reaction which probably means he played safe, made a few good references - Martin Luther King, recent school killings - and avoided anything controversial.

The poem was called One Sun and attempts to describe one day of the American dream, the vitality and variety of the country and its people:

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows

begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper -
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives-
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,

Full text of the poem and a video of the reading here.

All this reminds me I was asked to write a poem for the anniversary of Navan Education Centre. Now there's a difficult task. Hmmm I could call it One Centre.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Richard Blanco is the US Presidental Inauguration Poet

The award-winning Cuban-American gay poet Richard Blanco has been chosen to recite a poem of his own at President Obama's inauguration tomorrow, 21 January.

Blanco, 44, will also become the youngest ever inaugural poet. President Obama said he was "honoured" that the author would be joining him and his vice president Joe Biden at their second swearing-in ceremony.

“Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain, and imported to the United States,” Blanco writes on his website. A son of Cuban immigrants, born in Spain, he grew up in Miami, Blanco became a civil engineer. Later, he earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at night at Florida International University (where he earned his engineering degree). Recently, Blanco, the author of three poetry collections, began writing full-time.

More here on the Guardian website. Recent interview here. Blanco on here with a small selection of his poems.

Poet Elizabeth Alexander wrote and recited her Praise Song for the Day for Barach Obama inauguration in 2009. It received a mixed reception.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition Results

And the results of the 2012 Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition have been announced and are available here. Americans in first and third places with fellow-Doghouse poet Gerry Boland in second place. Well done!

Nice to see the lists of commended and highly commended entries as well. The winner, Judith Barrington from Oregon, USA has poems included in both lists as well.

Not many familiar names in those lists but they do include Seamus Harrington from Cork, who I met in Galway a couple of years ago, Eleanor Hooker recently published by Daedalus Press, Noel Monahan who wrote a great blurb for my Doghouse collection, Valerie Sirr from Dublin and Cliff Wedgbury from Cork.

Well done all!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

North West Words Poetry Competition Shortlist

The shortlist for the Donegal Creameries/North West Words Poetry Competition has been published here. Some well-known names included. Connie Roberts, Patrick Kavanagh competition winner in 2010 has two poems included in the shortlist of twenty.

Evan Costigan of Boyne Writers, recent winner of the Ledwidge Poetry Contest is also included as is Noel King, Doghouse editor. Monica Corish, another Doghouse poet, has a poem there as has Afric McGlinchey.

Well done to all!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Waterford County Council’s Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting entries for the national Molly Keane Creative Writing Award, now in its 16th year.

The 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 2013.

The closing date for receipt of entries is 4pm on Thursday 21 March 2013.

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wenlock Poetry Competition 2013

The 2013 Wenlock Poetry Competition is now open for entries to anyone age 17 and over. Up to 5 original poems, maximum 40 lines, on any subject, can be submitted. Entry fee is £5.00 per poem.

1st Prize £500, 2nd Prize £200, 3rd Prize £100.

Deadline: Midnight on Wednesday 6 February 2013.

Shortlisted entries will be judged by Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate. Winners will be invited to read at an awards ceremony on Saturday 6 April in Much Wenlock as part of Wenlock Poetry Festival 2013.

More information and details on how to enter can be found on the Wenlock Poetry Festival website

Wenlock Poetry Festival 2013 will take place from Friday 5 – Sunday 7 April in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Four Courts Press Top Ten

Four Courts Press have reported that 2012 was very successful for the Press. This is a list of their Top 10 selling books for the year.

(1) The Case of the Craughwell Prisoners during the Land War in Co. Galway, 1879-85, Pat Finnegan.

(2) Francoise Henry in Co. Mayo: The Inishkeas Journals, Janet T. Marquardt, editor.

(3) The Otherworld: Music and Song from Irish Tradition, Ríonach uí Ógáin & Tom Sherlock, editors.

(4) The Friars in Ireland, 1224–1540, Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB.

(5) Sligo, The Irish Revolution, 1912-23, Michael Farry.

(6) The Boyne Currach: from beneath the shadow of Newgrange, Claidhbh Ó Gibne.

(7) Benedict XVI and beauty in Sacred Music, Janet E. Rutherford, editor.

(8) Dunluce Castle: History and Archaeology, Colin Breen.

(9) The Path of Mercy: The life of Catherine McAuley, Mary C. Sullivan.

(10) Colonial Ireland, 1169-1369, Robin Frame.

All of these titles are available to order via

I'm delighted my Sligo volume has sold relatively well, especially since it was published only at the end of November. It must have appeared in lots of Christmas stockings!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creative Writing Courses this Spring

From the Irish Writers' Centre:


What was your New Year's resolution?   

Will you finally write that best-selling novel, a thrilling crime saga, a collection of short stories, a play, TV drama, a novel for children, or a collection of poetry? Perhaps you wish to tighten up something you've already written. Whatever your motivations, the new year is a great time to start new projects or revisit old ones and finally putting them to bed.

Whether you wish to write a best-seller, take up a new hobby or write because you can't imagine not writing, we have a course for you!

All the courses are taught by published authors and stretch across several genres. We have courses for people who are picking up a pen for the first time and writers who are going through the hard slog of finishing and editing their work.

If you have questions call us at  01-8721302  or email

And they certainly have a comprehensive list of courses with some very well-known writers and tutors:

Writing the Novella with Eoin McNamee
Poetry Workshop with Alan Jude Moore
Writing the Short Story Mike McCormack
Novel Writing with Chris Binchy
Beginners' Creative WritingJohn Maher
Characterisation with Mia Gallagher
Writing for Children and Teenagers with Sarah Webb
 Finish Your Novel with Conor Kostick
Crime Writing with Declan Burke
Writing for TV Drama and Feature Films with Ferdia MacAnna
Writing the Memoir with Ivy Bannister
Freelance Journalism with Anna Carey
Beginners' Creative Writing with Nessa O'Mahony
Getting Your Writing Noticed Using Social Media with Laurence O'Bryan
Telling a Story Through Character with Gerry Stembridge
Scríobh agus Saothrú an Ghearrscéil with Ré Ó Laighléis
Memoir and Creative Non-Fiction with Henry McDonald
Starting a Novel with Keith Ridgway
Fiction Writing with Ian Sansom
Playwriting with Jimmy Murphy

To find out more click here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Guide to Theatre Writing and Production

Meath County Council Arts Office is delighted to present a new professional development clinic – A Guide to Theatre Writing and Production.

This arts clinic will be held in Ashbourne Cultural Centre, Killegland Street, Ashbourne on Tuesday 29 January from 6pm – 9pm and will be facilitated by sriptwriter Deirdre Kinehan and actor/director Karl Shiels.

The informative clinic is a must for writers, directors, theatre technicians and producers both professional and semi- professional. Topics for discussion are:
Writing for Theatre 
General Theatre Production
How to get your script produced

This clinic is open to artists living and working in Meath. Places are free but limited and booking is essential.
Please book you place by contacting the Arts Office on 046 9097414 or

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Poem for 6 January, the Epiphany

For a Grandchild

What did you expect, child,
three saddle-sore greybeards
pushing past the sheep, shepherds
deferring as the exotic trio
shuffled in silk through straw?

Sorry! I am alone and hardly wise
but my only gift, western wit,
may help your innocence
when I have returned home
by a different route.

from: Michael Farry, Asking for Directions (Doghouse, 2012)

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Galway Review Online and Print Magazine

I have three poems here on The Galway Review online magazine website, Six Things I Miss about Teaching, Limerick Cafe and Studies.

It also includes many other poems including some by fellow LitLab members, Mairead Donnellan, Honor Duff, Andy Jones and Pat Devaney.

Boyne Writer Group member, Evan Costigan, recent winner of the Ledwidge poetry competition, also is represented on the website.

The Galway Review intend to publish a print anthology soon, possibly in January. Submissions are closed but I'm not sure if contributors have been informed yet.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hannah Greally Literary Awards 2013

Hannah Greally Literary Awards 2013 with SiarScéal Festival, Roscommon would like to invite submissions for this prestigious event, taking place in Roscommon Library on 9 March 2013. 

In this year of the Gathering, a full programme of events is planned around the annual SiarScéal Festival, from the launch of the 'Painting Words' exhibition on the 7th March, to the 'Gathering Gala Concert' on 9th March in Gleeson's Town House. 

You can enjoy bilingual recitals and readings from award winners. Among the guests will be the Canadian Ambassador and Eleanor McGrath, the Canadian author and producer will attend a Q&A session, as well as a special screening of her Irish/Canadian film 'Kanta, an Irish Story'.  Full weekend details can be found on the downloadable Programme of Events.

The theme for this year's Award is "The Gathering" and the closing date for entries is Friday 15 February 2013, and the Literary Award is open in a number of different categories including poems no longer than 60 lines and short stories/prose no longer than 500 words.  Full details can be found HERE.