Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shore Writers Festival

I'm attending the second Shore Free Writers' Festival for young and emerging writers - 1 -3 November 2013 in the Ocean Sands Hotel, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. I qualify as emerging but not as young!

I'm involved in the opening night readings at 8pm along some very talented writers including Máire T. Robinson, Rob Doyle,Patrick O’ Flaherty, Laura Jane Cassidy, Elaine Cosgrove and Stephen Murray.

Open mic slots are available, register on the night. Event hosted by Karen Maloney.

Some interesting workshops on Saturday morning:  Pre-registration to

9.30am – 10.30 am :
Life Writing with Orla McAlinden
Poetry Masterclass with Stephen Murray

10.45am – 12pm
Short Story with Lizann Gorman
The Little Poem That Might Just Yet with Katie Sheehan
Writing Sitcoms for Fun and Profit with Gareth Stack

More information on Facebook and the full programme is online here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Doghouse Launch and Wake!

I attended the third and final launch of the Doghouse anthology Ten Years in the Doghouse yesterday in Stoker's Lodge, Tralee.

The afternoon started with a Poets' Corner celebrating the 21 years in existence of this group which holds a reading and open mic in Tralee every Bank Holiday. A large number attended and the event was expertly managed by M.C. Tommy Frank O'Connor, himself a Doghouse author.

Then the Doghouse launch. The celebration of ten very productive years turned into a wake when the chairman, Peter Keane, announced that Doghouse were ceasing publishing. This took the audience, many of whom have been published by Doghouse, by surprise but like an Irish wake, it turned into a celebration.

Doghouse have done a wonderful job, have published some beautiful books and have been an important publishing outlet for many Irish poets. Noel King has been a most diligent editor, a pleasure to work with. Doghouse will still be selling their books for some time so go to their website, look at their wares and make a purchase.

The anthology is especially good, containing a short selection from almost every poet published in the ten years of operation. I think eleven of those poets attended on Monday and read their poems. Well done Doghouse, you will be missed!

Pictures: Top: Noel King, Doghouse editor, displaying their range of titles. Below: Doghouse author, Áine Moynihan, reading at the launch with Noel King in pensive mood.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Doghouse Anthology Launch

On Bank Holiday Monday, 28th October 2013, Doghouse Books presents the third and final launch of TEN YEARS IN THE DOGHOUSE, an anthology of poems by DOGHOUSE poets. 
Many of the Doghouse poets featured in the anthology will attend and there will be special offer on all Doghouse books on the day.
Venue: Stoker’s Lodge, Oakpark Road, Tralee, Co. Kerry (adjacent to train/bus station)
Time: 5pm. Admission free. Refreshments will be provided. All welcome.
Earlier on the same day and in the same venue the Bank Holiday Monday Poets' Corner, Tralee celebrate their 21st Birthday, 3pm to 5pm (drop in at any point) Stoker’s Lodge, Oakpark Road, Tralee.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cuisle International Poetry Festival

This year the Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival will feature evening performances by Anthony Cronin, Biddy Jenkinson, Macdara Woods, Hugh Maxton, David Wheatley, Adam Wyeth, and Jo Slade.

The Festival also welcomes poets from its partner festivals, which this year is extended to Italy. Veronika Dintinjana (Slovenia), John Davies (UK), and Marco Viscomi (Italy) will be bringing their talents to Limerick.

The lunchtime readings at the Hunt Museum feature Ron Carey (Thursday) and Kerrie O'Brien (Friday). Other events include screenings of poetry films, an open mic session, a varied programme for schools, and the Young Poet of the Year Award.

In addition, the yearly poetry anthology The Stony Thursday Book, edited this year by Paddy Bushe, will be launched at the festival.

"The Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival is dedicated to poetry in all its forms and varieties, featuring the best of local, national, and international poets," explained Sheila Deegan, City Arts Officer.

The Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival will be formally launched, today, Wednesday 23 October and will run from Thursday 24 to Saturday 26 October.

Full details on the website.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Templar Poetry i-SHOT 2014 short poetry pamphlet submission details:

Poets are invited to submit between twelve and sixteen pages of poetry, with no more than forty lines per page, excluding title and stanza breaks.

The submission must be the original work of the author. It must not have been previously published as a whole, but may contain individual poems published in other publications such as magazines or anthologies.

Postal and online submissions welcomed from anywhere in the world.

Postal Submission Fee is £14.50 for each submission and £15.50 for each Online Submission. Postal submissions may include payment by cheque. Postal and Online Submission payments may be made online:

The winning writers will be notified in February 2014 and iOTA shots will be published in early summer 2014. There will be two or three pamphlets published.

Templar Poetry will collaborate with individual writers to promote their pamphlets at live events where this is possible.

The winning pamphlets will be advertised and sold on the Iota website, the Templar Poetry Bookshop website, in our retail stockists and at live events and book fairs.

Submissions are invited from both new and previously published poets.

Full details on website.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cork Spring Poetry Festival

Full details of this festival, which takes place 12 - 15 February 2014, will be available on the website by early January. Details of two associated events are available.

A poetry masterclass with Jo Shapcott will run for four mornings during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival, 12 - 15 February 2014. Pre-requisite of recent publication in a professional literary journal. Price €200. More info on the website.

The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition is now open for entries! First prize: €1000, a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, publication in Southword Journal, and the chance to read your work at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. Two more cash prizes will be awarded, plus publications for 10 runners up in Southword Journal.

The entry fee is €5 per poem or €20 per batch of five.  Judge: Patrick Cotter. Deadline: 15 December. Full details here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Francis Ledwidge Poetry Award

This is a great annual competition run by those dedicated members of the Inchicore Ledwidge Society who have done so much to keep the memory and works of the Meath poet to the fore.

There is also a wonderful presentation and reading night in Inchicore. I've been lucky enough to be short listed a few times and always attend if at all possible. Last year's winner was Boyne Writer Evan Costigan, pictured above with Liam O'Meara of the society.

This year’s closing date is 5 November.

1st Prize is the Ledwidge plaque (a keepsake) inscribed with the winner’s name & cash prize.  Cash prizes and books for second and third and merit certificates for finalists. The first 3 poems will be entered in the Forward Prize UK

In addition, the winner will be invited to read at the annual Francis Ledwidge Commemoration at the National War Memorial Gardens in July 2014.

Poems must be the competitor’s own work, not previously published or broadcast.
Poems should not exceed 40 lines of type. € 4 per poem, 3 for €10.
Maximum 6 poems (€20) payable to the Inchicore Ledwidge Society

Name and address and telephone number on a separate sheet.
S.A.E. or Email address for winners list. Poems will not be returned.

Entries must be submitted before 5th. November 2013 to The Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2013, c/o 20, Emmet Crescent, Inchicore, Dublin 8

Winners will be notified and results will be announced at the annual awards night. Enquiries 0858497531: check out the Inchicore Ledwidge Society Facebook page.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Troubadour International Poetry Prize

Five great reasons for entering the 7th annual Troubadour International Poetry Prize:

Shortest turnaround, —just 5 weeks from deadline (21 Oct) to contacting winners (25 Nov), tying up those valuable poems for the shortest time possible….
Every poem is read —by both distinguished judges—, Deryn Rees-Jones and George Szirtes, (pictured above) no sifters, no shortlisters….

Prizes: —Not just the £2,500 top prize but twenty-two more prizes plus Troubadour season tickets.

Prize reading: —The chance to read your prize-winning poem at the Troubadour alongside George, Deryn and fellow prize-winners at our December prize-celebration.

Enter by e-mail or post, full details on website….

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Paying Attention - Creative Writing Workshop

Paying Attention - A one-day workshop of creative writing

The poem is not a discussion, not a lecture, but an instance- an instance of attention, of noticing something in the world - Mary Oliver

Paying Attention invites you to slow down and connect with your own creativity. The workshop introduces examples from short stories and poetry as well as simple mindfulness techniques to lead you into writing.

When? Sunday 3rd November 2013 from 10.00 - 17.00

Where? Oscailt, 8 Pembroke Rd, Dublin 4. for map.
Free parking. Close to city centre.

Cost : €65 (unwaged €50)

Bookings via 086-603 4481 or

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quilt A Poem Competition - Bailieborough

I judged the Quilt A Poem Competition, sponsored by Cara Pharmacy and Beauty which was part of Bailieborough Poetry Festival. We were delighted with the response to this competition and the number and quality of the entries.

It was a difficult task to pick a shortlist and a winner but I enjoyed the challenge. The standard was very high, I can now see why I fail in some many poetry competitions.

I was impressed by the number of poets who started from scratch and came up with a great poem based on a quilt in the relatively short time involved. It was clear also that some found a poem already written which chimed with something in a quilt and entered it. No problem with that either.

The variety of approach was also impressive. Some wrote of the process of quilting, created a story behind the quilting or made quilting a metaphor for something else, including for writing a poem.

I created a longlist of about seventeen fairly easily but cutting that down to ten was difficult with various poems entering and leaving on each new reading. One poem did stand out at this stage and it became the winner.

And the winner was Annette Skade from west Cork for her poem Wedding Quilt. Pictured above with Paddy Halligan, chair LitLab, and myself.

The results are here on the website and the winning and highly commended poems are on this page. Paddy Smith, LitLab member, videoed the prizegiving and has uploaded the proceedings onto YouTube. Search for Bailieborough Poetry Festival in YouTube to find them.

The one thing I haven't had the courage to do yet is look at the full list of those who entered. I'm there are many well-known poets and friends among those. Maybe better not to know!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sligo 1913 - Yeats Society, Sligo

I'm giving a talk on Sligo 1913 for the Yeats Society at the Yeats Memorial Building Hyde Bridge, Sligo at 8pm on Thursday 10 October. All welcome.

I'll be talking about the excitement and apprehension at the approach of Home Rule, about the successful Sligo Strike and the importance of labour in Sligo town politics but also about the All Red Route, the SS Liverpool, the Rink Picture Palace and 'Before the Dawn in Erin'.

Speaking in the Yeats Building I can't ignore the Yeats brothers of course. In 1913 Jack exhibited in the famous Armory Show in New York and W B published September 1913 in the Irish Times - For men were born to pray and save.

But less than an hour to speak so a little bit of everything I think.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2013

The first Bailieborough Poetry Festival on Friday and Saturday was a great success. Friday night's launch of the anthology by Nessa O'Mahony with readings by the LitLab members, Nessa and anthology editor, Barbara Smith was a most enjoyable, well attended event.

The venue, Bia Restaurant, Bailieborough, was perfect, the food was very good, the MC Paddy Smith had some wonderfully bad puns in his introductions and the audience responded very well to the various tones of the readings. The anthology is called Under a Thrupenny Moon and should be available for purchase online at the festival website soon.

Nessa's workshop on Saturday morning, which focused on imagery, had twelve participants all of whom responded enthusiastically to Nessa's thoughtful and challenging exercises. She conducted the workshop with her customary enthusiasm, friendliness and professionalism. The scones and jam were also much appreciated!

In the afternoon we announced the winner of the Cara "Quilt A Poem" Competition in Bailieborough Library where the quilts involved, the work of Mary Halligan were hanging. Having only previously seen the quilts on the internet everyone was impressed by their physical presence.

Four of the short listed poets attended, from Dublin, Fermanagh, Cork and London. They read their poems and LitLab members read the other shortlisted poems. I spoke of the experience of judging, what I was entranced by in the poems and made a short comment on each poem.

The competition winner was Annette Skade from West Cork for her poem Wedding Quilt. Well done Annette! She won the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition in 2012 and her winning collection, Thimblerig, has been published by Bradshaw Books. Above: Annette with LitLab chair, Paddy Halligan and the competition judge.

The final event was the Poetry by Candlelight readings in the Wesleyan Chapel. Another wonderful atmospheric venue with a great audience of local and a group who has traveled from Kells and some fine musicians who entertained the gathering crowd.

The three readers, Heather Brett, Rebecca O'Connor and Noel Monahan, pictured above, were polished performer who delivered their well-crafted work with great assurance and the audience enjoyed the event greatly.

So that's it! Thanks to all who helped, to Poetry Ireland who funded readings, to the sponsors especially Cara Pharmacy and Beauty who sponsored the competition prize and well done LitLab. Some members are even talking about next year's festival already!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bailieborough Poetry Festival

And next it's Bailieborough Poetry Festival which starts tonight.

The LitLab group of writers are hosting a weekend of readings, workshops, a poetry competition and launch of a new anthology of the group’s work.

This evening sees the official opening of the Festival in Bia Restaurant, Bailieborough, poetry readings by Nessa O’Mahony and Barbara Smith.

Nessa will also official launch the anthology of LitLab members work, edited by Barbara. The anthology is entitled Under a Thrupenny Moon and contains a selection of prose and poetry by ten LitLab members.

Saturday sees a poetry workshop in the Library at 10am facilitated by Nessa O'Mahony - still some places left on this.

At 3pm the prize giving for the Cara Poetry Competition will take place with readings of the ten shortlisted poems and the announcement of the winner. In conjunction with the poetry festival there is a quilt exhibition hanging in the arts space of the library.

The Festival concludes on Saturday evening in the Wesleyan Church with Poetry by Candlelight. Poets, Rebecca O'Connor, Heather Brett and Noel Monahan will read and there will also be music. Should be a good weekend.