Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

Details of the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize have been announced.

The Moth magazine teams up with Ballymaloe Cookery School for the third year to offer one of the biggest prizes in the world for a single poem. Prizes: 1st €10,000, 2nd €2,000, 3rd €1,000

The prize is open to everyone, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. The entry fee is €9 per poem, and you can enter as many poems as you like. Closing date: 31 December 2013 so you have plenty of time to write your ten thousand euro poem!

This year's judge is New York State Poet Laureate Marie Howe.

Full details on the website here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Francis Ledwidge Poetry Awards Results

Now in its 15th year, the FRANCIS LEDWIDGE International Poetry Awards 2013 attracted entries from Canada, U.S.A., U.K. and Ireland.

The results have just been announced and we in LitLab are delighted that Mairéad Donnellan, one of our members, has won the award. Well done Mairéad! Another member, Pat Devaney, has been commended. Mairéad's poem was recently critiqued at a LitLab meeting. I'm trying desperately to remember what I wrote about it!

The Francis Ledwidge Award: Mairead Donnellan, Bailieborough, Co. Cavan.
Poem:  Castlewellan Pillar Box

Second Place: Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin 12.
Poem: The Shoe-Box Coffin
Third Place: Mary Guckian, Dublin 4                                        
Poem:  Corsets

Highly Commended
Neville Keery,Co, Dublin; Mary Turley Mc Grath, Co Donegal; Adrienne Leavy,  Phoenix, Arizona; Elizabeth O’Carroll, Dublin 5; Louise Scott,  Navan; Claire O Reilly, Maynooth, Kildare; Liam Ryan, Portlaoise, Co Laoise; Susan Flynn, Co Dublin; Kevin Murtagh, Celbridge, Co Kildare; Davnet Heery, Co. na Gaillimhe

Ray Mullen, Tallaght, Dublin; Patrick Conniff, Dublin 14; James Conway, Dublin 6; Anne Mc Crudden,  Co Dublin; Aine Lyons, Tallaght, Dublin 24; Patrick Devaney, Virginia Co. Cavan; Willie Joe Meally, Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny; Patrick Waters,  Dublin 16; Gearoid De Briotan,  Teach Mealog; Ian Harman, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

The Awards Ceremony will take place at Donoghues The Glen of Aherlow, 29 Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin, on Tuesday, 10th  December, 2013  at 8.00 pm.  All are welcome. Enquiries to Liam at

Monday, November 25, 2013

Marie MacSweeney: Letters From A Recalcitrant Woman

Marie MacSweeney will launch her new book, Letters From A Recalcitrant Woman (Letters to Editors and Talk Show Hosts, 1974 to 2013), at the High Lanes Gallery, Laurence Street, Drogheda on Thursday, 28 November at 8pm.

Michael Reade of LMFM will officially launch the book and refreshments served.

Marie MacSweeney is a Drogheda-based writer, a ‘Kerrywoman born in Dublin and living in County Louth’, as she describes herself.

She has, over a period of forty years, engaged in public debate by means of Letters to the Editor and Emails to current affairs programmes. This book contains a selection of these letters on topics as diverse as blasphemy, capital punishment, the Paisleys, peanuts, Bertie’s make-up, the Irish language, divorce, cruelty to animals, Adam and Eve, St. Patrick, Marilyn Monroe and much more.

Best known for her short stories and poems, Marie wrote her first letter to the press over four decades ago and in reading these letters today it becomes obvious that she always had something specific to say and said it frankly and sincerely.  Hers is a unique voice which both challenges and subverts. It is unlikely that the reader will agree with everything in this book, but hopefully will conclude that she argues well, and entertains.

Marie MacSweeney has published Our Ordinary World and Other Stories in 2004. She also published two collections of poems, Mother Cecily’s Music Room (2005) and Flying During the Hours of Darkness (2009). Her stories and plays have been transmitted by RTE Radio One, where she also broadcasts occasional talks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tom Dredge Chapbook Launched

Chapbook 4 in our series of Boyne Chapbooks, The Path of Progress by Tom Dredge was launched in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim on Thursday 21 November. We were delighted with the numbers who turned out for this, thanks especially to those who travelled long distances.

Thanks also to the members of Meath Writers Circle who attended and it was also nice to see some former (lapsed?) members of Boyne Writers Group present.

Paddy Smith did his usual lively, amusing introduction and Tom introduced and read six of the poems from the chapbook.

This was followed by an Open Mic in which over twelve participated. Good prose and poetry, well delivered to an appreciative audience.

The evening ended with tea, coffee and biscuits and the important chats about the nature and future of poetry, the future of publishing, the state of the country and importance of groups like Boyne Writers.

The photograph is by Paddy Smith of Tom Dredge reading at the event. More photos on Facebook.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Boyne Chapbook Launch

On next Thursday, 21 November, Boyne Writers Group will launch Chapbook 4, The Path of Progress, by Tom Dredge, in its series of Boyne Chapbooks.

Tom Dredge is a  member of Boyne Writers Group since 2008. His poetry has been featured in Boyne Berries, Revival and in the WOW! Anthology.

In 2012 he was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Competition and in 2013 he came third in the English section of the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition.

Tom is also a member of Bealtaine writers group based in the Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin and is pictured reading with that group in the Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin as part of the Bealtaine Festival 2013.

He is a native of Dublin but has lived in Leixlip, Co. Kildare since 1982.

The launch takes place in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim at 8pm on Thursday 21 November and Tom will read from his chapbook. This will be followed by an Open Mic open to all.

All welcome, no entry charge.

Irish writer, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, writes about chapbooks in the Irish Times recently.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tales from Bellinter - Mary Lavin

As part of the Mary Lavin Season, Tales from Bellinter returns to Bellinter House Hotel with a new adaptation of Lavin's In the Middle of the Fields. Wed 20 - Fri 22 Nov, 8pm & Sun 24 Nov, 3pm & 8pm.

Deirdre Kinahan (Bogboy, These Halcyon Days) has adapted this story and Happiness for the stage. The plays are directed by Padraic McIntyre (The Night Joe Dolan's Car Broke Down) and star Clare Barrett, Mike Sheehan and Steve Blount.

Last year's Tales from Bellinter booked out quickly so early booking is strongly advised.

"Mary Lavin is a powerful, adept and beautiful story-teller. Deeply psychological, she excavates the trials, tribulations, petty-jealousies, superstitions and joys of ordinary Irish people with an extraordinary perception. Her stories are intrinsically dramatic so adapting them to the stage is a joy." Deirdre Kinahan

Tickets: €15 / €12. Bellinter House offer Pre-Theatre Dinner, Afternoon Tea and B&B packages. For more information on packages contact 046 9030900 directly

Book through Solstice Arts Centre: 046 9092300

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Poetry Collection Launch in Westport

Geraldine Mitchell's new poetry collection, Of Birds And Bones, will be launched on Saturday 16 November in Westport, Co. Mayo as part of the Rolling Sun Book Festival.

Geraldine Mitchell lives near Louisburgh. Her first collection of poems, World Without Maps, was published by Arlen House in 2011.

As well as writing poetry, Geraldine has worked as a journalist and is the author of two novels for children and of Deeds Not Words, the biography of ICA stalwart, Muriel Gahan.

Geraldine won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2008 and has been widely published in journals here as well as in the UK and N.America.

The collection is published by Arlen House and it will be launched by American writer and poet Justin Hopper.

Justin writes poetry and nonfiction that explores the intersection of landscape, memory and myth. Originally from Pittsburgh, USA, he currently lives in London.

Lukas Szczerbak will provide atmospheric café music on the accordion at the launch which takes place in The Cobbler's Bar, Wyatt Hotel, Westport at 5pm on Saturday 16 November.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Book to Honour Peter Fallon

A new book from Irish Academic Press will be launched on Friday 15 November, 6pm to 8pm, in Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin.

The guest speaker will be Maureen Kennelly, the Director of Poetry Ireland. All are welcome. Email

Peter Fallon: Poet, Publisher, Editor and Translator, edited by Richard Rankin Russell, contains contributions from Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, Ciaran Carson, Dennis O’Driscoll, Conor O’Callaghan and the late Seamus Heaney, amongst many others.

A stunning array of esteemed writers honour a man who has had an immense influence on Ireland’s artistic life since 1970 with a history of more than forty years of literary output in Ireland and USA.

We at Boyne Writers were delighted to have had Peter Fallon launch two issues of our Boyne Berries magazine including our special tenth issue.

For those who can't attend the launch the book is available at a special price on the website.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Now in its 4th year, this competition is for original, previously unpublished poems in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 60 lines long. Poets of all nationalities, age or gender, living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Judge: Roger Elkin - author of Marking Time.
Prizes: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third), £25 x 5 (High Commendation)
Fees: £5 per poem (1st 2 poems), £3.50 per poem thereafter (£5/1, £10/2, £13.50/3, £17/4, £20.50/5, £24/6, £27.50/7, £31/8, £34.5/9, £38/10 poems.)
Enter and pay online at: on the website.

Now in its 2nd year, this competition is for original, previously unpublished short stories in English Language, on any subject, in any style, up to 2000 words long. Authors of all nationalities, age or gender, living in any part of the world are eligible to enter.

Judge: David Caddy - Editor of Tears in the Fence.
Prizes: £500 (First), £250 (Second), £125 (Third), £25 x 5 (High Commendation)
Fees: £5 per story (1st 2 stories), £3.50 per story thereafter (£5/1, £10/2, £13.50/3, £17/4, £20.50/5, £24/6, £27.50/7, £31/8, £34.5/9, £38/10 stories.)
Enter and pay online at the website.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

This is a Story.... Flash Fiction Competition

This is a Story competition invites entries of original unpublished work of  to 500 words.  Titles, epigraphs and dedications are not counted as part of the word count.

The entry fee is €5 per entry (3 entries for €10). Entrants may enter any number of  flash fictions.

There are no theme or subject limitations and entries will be judged anonymously by celebrated Galway author Mike McCormack.

Send your details on a separate sheet.

You can enter by by post, by e-mail or by Facebook and the deadline is February 14, 2014.

Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity. There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category.

If you want confirmation of a postal entry please include an SAE with your submissions and entry form, which is then posted back to you. Email  entries will be confirmed by email shortly after you submit entry and payment.

Please send postal entries to GRCC, "The Lodge" Forster Court, Galway with cheques/postal orders made out to Galway Rape Crisis Centre.

You can also enter and pay the entry fee via the website using a credit card or by sending a paypal payment to

Competition winner will be informed around late February but the official announcement is made at the time of the prize giving – 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.

For further informatiob please email Aoife Ní Laoi at

Friday, November 8, 2013

Allingham Arts Festival, Ballyshannon: Writing at the Museum

As part of the Allingham Arts Festival in Ballyshannon: Writing at the Museum, with Tom Sigafoos and Monica Corish. Saturday, November 9, 10:30 to 12:30, fee €10.

The Ballyshannon and District Museum is a treasure trove of inspiration. At this workshop the Museum's artefacts and exhibits will be used to evoke new stories and old memories of Ballyshannon.

The workshop will be led by Tom Sigafoos, novelist and Ballytour scriptwriter; and by Monica Corish, poet and AWA trained writing group leader.

For more festival details go to the website or Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

North West Words Poetry Prize

The Donegal Creameries North West Words Poetry Prize 2013 closes on 15 November. The prize consists of €250 and a perpetual cup.

The competition in open to anyone over the age of 18. Up to three poems are allowed per entrant. Poems must be the original work of the person submitting it and cannot have previously won a competition. Entries must not have been previously published, broadcast or self-published in any media.

Entries are accepted by post only. Poems should be posted to North West Words Poetry Prize 2013, 54 Thornberry, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, with a cover letter that includes entrant’s name, address, phone number, email address and title(s) of poem(s). Names and other personal details are not to appear on the same page as the poems.

There is no entry fee for the competition. However as North West Words is a non-profit organisation run on voluntary effort a small contribution towards administrative costs would be gratefully accepted.

The competition will be judged by Kate Newmann of Summer Palace Press. All decisions of the Judge are final and no correspondence or discussion can be entered into regarding those decisions.

A shortlist will be published on North West Words’ Facebook page and at North West Words’ Christmas event in Café Blend mid-December. The winner of the competition will be announced and prize awarded at North West Words in Café Blend, Letterkenny on Thursday January 30, 2014. The winning poet will be notified on Thursday January 16, 2014. The winner will be invited to read their poem at this North West Words event.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Taking the Scissors to Society

Filmstars as sad butterflies or reclusive bats, women as fighter bombers, inoffensive husbands as secret lions – these are a few of the poem-like visual metaphors that feature in Roger Hudson’s colourful and complex photomontages.

The work will be displayed in the exhibition “Taking the Scissors to Society” to be opened by Sean Hillen on Thursday 7 November, 6pm - 9pm at the Centre for Creative Practices, 15 Pembroke Street Lower, Dublin 2.

Introduced to the fascinations of photomontage in the early 1970s, Roger Hudson set out to explore its possibilities. The result is a visually dazzling and thematically complex collection of what can be seen as visual poems or even motionless movies, comments and analyses - sometimes piercing, sometimes cynical, sometimes lyrical and surreal – on the foibles and nightmares of humanity.

Roger is also a poet as well with three published collections. Poems will feature in the exhibition and especially in the Opening with music by Breifne Holohan, part of his recent experimentation.

The exhibition will run Mon-Fri from 12-7pm until the 15 November.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shore Writers Festival

I'm back home from the Shore Writers Festival having attended Friday evening and Saturday morning.

The Festival continues in the Ocean Sands Hotel, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo until Sunday. The weather is wet and wild but the hotel is warm and cosy and those attending at festival are friendly.

The readings and open mic on Friday evening were great. Such a range of material, styles of composition and delivery! The poetry, stories, novel extracts were punctuated by some lively music and the audience was happy and friendly. It went on until around 12.30 with over seventeen people performing.

I was somewhere in the middle. I began with a set list of seven poems but as the evening went on I whittled it down to three, a wise decision I think. Leave them asking for more!!

This Saturday morning I attended the two poetry workshops. Two completely different workshops but both very enjoyable and productive.

Stephen Murray threw a number of quick fire challenges at us which each involved writing a number of sentences. Then we had to look back at what we had written and choose lines, phrases, to construct a poem of nine or so lines. We were encouraged to pare it back and rearrange the lines. Amazing what people came up with.

For Katie Sheehan's workshop we each read a poem in progress and discussed the process of editing a poem. Many great suggestions and Katie herself added a few. A lot of agreement on the difficult of getting rid of great lines and phrases that don't belong and the difficulty of knowing when to stop.

At lunch time there was a stall where people could sell books and magazines. I sold a number of Asking for Directions. Delighted!

Well done to those people at Wordlegs who organised the Festival. Well done!

I would have liked to stay longer but there is an important soccer match on in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin tomorrow. come on the bit o' red!!