Monday, 12 February 2018

Winning Poem of the Book of Kells Creative Competition - Visitator Noctem

I was delighted to receive first prize in the Adult Writing Category of the inaugural Trinity Book of Kells Creative Competition with my poem, Visitator Noctem. The competition is open to artists and writers in primary school, secondary school and adult categories with awards for first, second and merit given.

Award Certificate
The awards ceremony was held in the grand surroundings of Trinity College Dublin's Regent's House and PJ Lynch, Ireland's current Laureate na n'Óg (Children's Literature Laureate) was in attendance. PJ is a renowned illustrator and artist and lent his eyes to the judging panel for the art pieces from all categories. Check out PJ's work here.

LtoR: Breffni Jones (Commercial Marketing Manager, TCD, Adam Trodd,  Darryl Jones (Dean of the Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences)

The various categories of art and writing attracted submissions from entrants who ranged in age from three to eighty three and both genders were very well represented, testament to the popularity of the contest. It's not surprising that the call for 2018 entries is already up.

LtoR: Adam Trodd, PJ Lynch (Laureate Na n'Óg)

Full list of winners:

Adult Writing Category
1st Prize - Adam Trodd
2nd Prize - Emma Ennis
Merit- Colm O'Shea

Adult Art Category
1st Prize - Claire Horgan
2nd Prize - Niamh Ní Iceadha
Merit- Ann McBride
Merit - Holly Early
Merit - Noel McCloskey

Secondary School Writing Category
1st Prize - Saoirse Chu
2nd Prize - Freyja Hellebust
Merit- Grace Keane
Merit -Jake Hannaffy
Merit - Katie Farrell

Secondary School Art Category

1st Prize - Cara Pilbeam
2nd Prize - Anya Clarke-Carr
Merit - Allanah Quayle
Merit- Lara O'Sullivan

Primary School Writing Category

1st Prize -Niamh Ryan
2nd Prize - Saoirse Edmund
Merit- Abby Byrne
Merit -Mabel Jennings
Merit - Martha Bray
Merit - Nettie Parish
Merit - Shauna Murphy

Primary School Art Category
1st Prize -Tommy Pearl
2nd Prize - Alice Walsh
Merit- Noah Farrell
Merit -Shijin Li
Merit - Senha Signh

Friday, 5 January 2018

Poetry Jukebox - Open for Submissions in 2018

Call for Submissions

Curation 2. ‘What else…’
Poetry Jukebox – a Quotidian –Word on the Street Ltd Project

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from National Lottery Funds
This second edition of curated content on Ireland’s first Poetry Jukebox will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement –an historic peace agreement.  Public discourse matters, and putting something new into public discourse really matters.

The legacy of violence and peace has far-reaching impacts, we welcome poems from anywhere in the world for this curation.

Images: Simon Hutchinson courtesy of Belfast International Arts Festival 2017

In a letter from Tolstoy to Ghandi, he wrote, “Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.” This curation of Poetry JukeBox is about the ‘What else…’. Your poems can take us anywhere – to joy, to solitude, to happiness, to grief, to unfinished business, the legacy, stuck-ness, progress, loss, gain…….. anywhere.

Submission criteria – Please read carefully!

-          Each poet can send a maximum of one poem.
-          Please submit good quality sounds files in MP3 or WAV format. (Smart phone voice files or good quality dictaphones such as Zoom H1 are ideal recording devices.) See the guidance notes (below) about how to make a good enough recording.
-          Please note submissions in other formats such as You Tube Videos/ Vimeo etc will be instantly disregarded.
-          Prior to publication the poet must give Quotidian – Word on the Street Ltd the audio and recording rights to use the poem on the Poetry Jukebox, on the internet, at launches etc.
-          The poet should also grant the print rights, for use on the internet or at launches for example.
-          A signed permission form will be required 4 weeks prior to publication on the Poetry Jukebox. Selected poets will be required to provide this promptly on notification of their selection otherwise we cannot include your poem.

To submit, please:

-          Follow the recording guidance (see below).
-          Use the following in the subject line of your email:
‘What else…’ Submission – YOUR Name
-          Include your contact details and address in your email.
-          Submit to
-          The deadline for submissions is midnight GMT on 31st January 2018.
-          Successful poets will be notified of the outcome by 28th February 2018.
-          The launch of ‘What else…’ will be in April 2018 TBC

Publication Rights

-          Poems previously published elsewhere are accepted, provided the author can assign the rights for the purposes of Poetry Jukebox to Quotidian - Word on the Street Ltd.
-          Quotidian - Word on the Street Ltd will not be held liable if a poem assigning the rights of use by the poet, later emerges to have infringed on other publishers' rights.
-          Where poems are submitted in a language other than English, please also include a translation of the poem recorded in English – back to back in the same voice file.
-          Please include a short 50 word biog as an attachment with your email.
-          This is a tiny not-for-profit organisation – we do not have the resources to give individual feedback, nor enter into correspondence.
-          Quotidian -Word on the Street Ltd reserves the right to make decisions which support the project and the spirit of the project.

Payment: It is aspired to pay a small stipend for each poem accepted, but at the moment this is dependent on funding and cannot be guaranteed.

Some guidance for making a good recording:

  • Please be aware the jukebox is in a public space and children may be listening so profanity will rule out a poem’s use.
  • Each poem should be no longer than 2 minutes max when read aloud, but 1 minute to minute 30 seconds works best in this format.
  • Find a quiet space to do your recording. Listen for, and become aware of any background noise, such as traffic, clicks, pets, children etc, and do something to minimise the background noises –  such as closing doors, closing the curtains, go to a different room etc
  • Use a Smart phone such as an iPhone, Experia or similar
  • Go to the Voice Memo app
  • It is helpful to place your phone on top of a pile of books, 8-12 inches from your mouth. Putting it on top of a pile of books will keep the phone steady
  • Read in a natural voice, but pay attention to your diction.
  • Read the TITLE (wait 2 beats), read the POEM – there’s no need to give your name – it will be on the jukebox if your poem is selected.

About Poetry Jukebox & Quotidian –Word on the Street Limited

  • Poetry Jukebox, is a Quotidian –Word on the Street Ltd Project. Quotidian is a not-for-profit literary arts production company limited by guarantee, the remit of which is to enhance civic spaces by animating them in innovative ways, with literature. The Poetry Jukebox is an on-street sound installation that provides an innovative new platform for poetry. It is located in the grounds of The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. The project is led by Artistic Director and poet Maria McManus. This curation will be jointly curated with guest poet and curator Deirdre Cartmill.

  • Poetry Jukebox, which is the first of its kind in Ireland and it was launched as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in October 2017. Poetry Jukebox was brought to Belfast by collaboration between Quotidian – Word on the Street Limited and Piana na uLici, Czech Republic. There is a maximum of twenty recordings per curation. Curated content is selected by a combination of open call and invitation.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Interview with Jude Higgins

What led you to flash fiction?

My route to Flash Fiction began in the 1980s when I read Sudden Fiction, the collection edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas. A story by Mark Strand called ‘Dog Life’ appealed to me as did ‘Mother’ the wonderful Story by Grace Paley, which is the first story in that anthology. Then in 2005 the Observer weekend supplement published very short stories each week by Dave Eggers which I found intriguing. After reading those, I wrote a piece for the Fish Flash Fiction Prize which began around that time, but Flash Fiction was all a bit mysterious to me then. I wrote much more after I arranged for Tania Hershman to come and lead a short workshop on Flash Fiction for Writing Events Bath in 2013. She really got me going. I didn’t look back.

The flashes in your new collection, The Chemist's House, paint an intimate coming of age portrait. Was that your intention for the collection or did it evolve organically?

It was an organic process. I wrote fictional stories based on memory fragments about the house where I grew up because I’d dreamed about it for years and years. Then when I saw the submission window for V Press, I had a look at the pieces I had written and they all fitted together quite well. It seemed to make sense to arrange them in a linear timeline.

The Bath Flash Fiction Award attracts international attention and the long and shortlists combined are producing great anthologies. When you founded it did you ever envisage flash fiction gaining such popularity?

I think when we founded the competition the interest in Flash Fiction was already growing fast and we caught the wave at Bath Flash Fiction. I enjoy thinking of more and more ways to support flash fiction writers. I like the way the form seems to appeal to all ages. And brings in writers from so many different cultures.

If you have one flash rule, what is it?

Probably don’t stick to any rules. Keep experimenting.

What is it about the form that particularly moves you?

It’s the way writers use language. The rhythm of sentences. How so much can be implied in so few words. I often feel a physical thrill when I read fictions where all these elements are in play. It’s like being in love over and over.

Who is your favourite flash fiction author and why?

I don’t really have a favourite writer. I read so much great flash from different worldwide writers. There are many stunning pieces In the Lobsters Run Free, Bath Flash Fiction Vol 2. I also love the strange and witty dis-junctions Meg Pokrass uses, the way Kathy Fish experiments and packs a punch. I find many stories by David Swann deeply moving. He is able to pinpoint certain things about British culture very exactly. Recently, I was awestruck by a flash fiction written by Christopher Allen for Jellyfish Review. I am amazed by the way Christopher builds the back story and how involved I became with the character during such a short read.

Do you experiment with longer forms, novels, short stories etc.?

I have been successful in several short story competitions in the past and was writing a novel during the MA in Creative writing I did at Bath Spa University. I didn’t finish it. Sometimes I wonder if I could turn it into a novella in flash, or even a novel in flash. It could probably work much better in a compressed form. The novella-in-Flash form does intrigue me which is why I set up that Award for Bath Flash Fiction. It’s fascinating to see how others work with it and create such a variety of structures.

What's next for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and Ad Hoc Fiction?

Bath Flash Fiction is funding the second flash fiction festival UK on 21-23 July in Bristol this year. We’ve already got some great presenters lined up and the new venue in Bristol is a wonderful place for the Flash Fiction community to meet up with their friends, write, read and listen to Flash. It was so much fun last year and we think it will be even better this year as there is more opportunity for socialising. We’ll also continue with the three times a year Awards and the Novella Award.

I’m very excited that Ad Hoc Fiction has just opened an online bookshop and as well as publishing the Bath Flash and festival anthologies, will also be publishing flash fiction collections from individual writers. More about that last venture soon!

Jude Higgins is published in Flash Frontier, the New Flash Fiction Review, Great Jones Street, the Nottingham Review, The Blue Fifth Review, the Fish Prize Anthology and National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies among other places and she has won or been placed in several Flash Fiction competitions. Her debut pamphlet, The Chemist’s House was published by V.Press in 2017. She is the founder of the Bath Flash Fiction Award and is Director of Flash Fiction Festivals UK @judehwriter,

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

BBC National Short Story Award 2018 - open for submissions

How to enter

The BBC National Short Story Award 2018 with Cambridge University

  • Award of £15,000 for the winner
  • £600 for four (4) further shortlisted stories

Entry Dates

  • Submissions for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018 with Cambridge University will be accepted from 9am (GMT) Monday 11 December 2017.
  • The deadline for receipt of entries is 9am (GMT) Monday 12 March 2018.

How to Enter

Applicants are encouraged to make their submission using the online Entry Form as early as possible before the deadline. If applicants are unable to access the online Entry Form, entries can be submitted by post.

Instructions for Entering Online (Preferable Method)

1. Read the Entry Terms and Conditions thoroughly to check the author whose work is due to be submitted and their short story are eligible for the Award. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of all the Terms and Conditions.
2. Format the short story as per the following instructions:
  • One entry per author
  • Written in English
  • A maximum of 8,000 words
  • Typed
  • Font: any font, 12pt, black
  • Double spaced
  • No page numbers
  • Include a front page which details the Title of Story and the Word Count
  • No author’s name included anywhere on the story (unless you are submitting a typeset file and it is unavoidable)
3. Save the short story as an Adobe PDF or a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) with the Title of Story in the file name. (N.B. if the short story has already been published you can submit a typeset PDF file, but you must remove the author name or title from any headers or footers).
4. Complete the Entry Form online at including uploading your short story document.

Instructions for Entering by Post

1. Read the Entry Terms and Conditions thoroughly to check the author whose work is due to be submitted and their short story are eligible for the Award. Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of all the Terms and Conditions.
2. Type and format the short story as per the following instructions:
  • One entry per author
  • Written in English
  • A maximum of 8,000 words
  • Typed
  • Font: any font, 12pt, black
  • Double spaced
  • No page numbers
  • Include a front page which details the Title of Story and the Word Count
  • No author’s name included anywhere on the story (unless you are submitting a typeset file and it is unavoidable).
3. Print eight (8) copies of the typed short story (single or double-sided on white A4 paper).
4. Request a Postal Entry Form by sending a Stamp Addressed Envelope to Entry Form Request, The BBC National Short Story Award 2018 with Cambridge University, The London Readings Unit, Room 8015 Radio Drama, BBC Broadcasting House, W1A 1AA We will endeavour to send you a form within two working days of receipt of your SAE.
5. Complete the Entry Form in and send it with eight (8) copies of the short story in the post to:
The BBC National Short Story Award 2018 with Cambridge University, The London Readings Unit, Room 8015 Radio Drama, BBC Broadcasting House, W1A 1AA.

Please note

  • Entries not submitted in accordance with the Entry Instructions and Entry Terms and Conditions will not be eligible for consideration.
  • No entries can be returned.
  • Due to the volume of entries for the Award, there will be no acknowledgement of receipt for entries submitted by post. Entries submitted online will receive an automated acknowledgement.
  • Any queries about entering the Award should be emailed to The Award administrators will respond as soon as possible.

    More info here

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Poetry Jukebox - This Place Meant...

The text from my Poetry JukeBox poem, This Place Meant... is below. I wrote it as a response to the unfolding horrors of the global refugee crisis.

This Place Meant…
We are described as a natural disaster:
A swarm.
A flood.
A river.
A tide.
We, who have inhaled our homes as dust,
And passed our babies with trembling hands,
Through razor wire in winter rain,
Because that is safer than what follows us.
We, who are borne bobbing like apples on uncaring swells,
Sometimes flailing,
Sometimes still.
Because what is behind us
Is unfathomable.
We, who wake with dew-pearls on our hair and eye lashes,
Beside train tracks that we follow on foot, ill-shod,
Slow as snails;
Our shells, the cold and ragged children on our backs.

There is no howl
That conveys what we have endured,
No utterance, in any tongue,
That explains what we have done.
Like wild water, have we chosen the path of least resistance?
Do we erode and tear and change what you are,
Where you live?
Are we a voracious insectoid mass that eats your crops,
And stings your skin?
Or, like you, are we people of the world,
With lives,
And dreams,
And jobs,
And kin?

Adam Trodd.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Retreat West Books - now open for submissions

Retreat West Books is open to submissions for novels, short story collections and memoirs.

Before submitting to Retreat West Books there are some things you should know and consider to make sure it is the right publisher for you.

It is tiny, independent press and only able to publish a handful of books a year. But each author will get a personal and focused publishing experience that includes a tailored marketing plan and ongoing marketing support.

It is environmentally conscious and all books will be printed on demand so that none end up being pulped – but you will get 15 free author copies and discounts on more. Your book will be available through major online retailers and distributed in hard copy by Ingram Spark and Create Space.

All submissions will be read by Amanda Saint (author, editor, creative writing teacher, journalist) and the novels she chooses to publish will be adult fiction only that are character-led with a compelling narrative and plot. Read this blog to find out what sort of writing she enjoys.

Please do not submit fantasy or detective series crime novels.

If you are unsure whether your work is a good fit then please send a query email before submitting to:
Submission requirements

If all of the above sounds good to you then please send your work through Submittable using the button below. Amanda will get back to you as soon as she can.

For novels and memoirs, in the first instance please send the first 10K words and a synopsis.

For short story collections submit three stories and an outline detailing the rest of the collection.

All submissions should also include a covering letter with info on you and your writing experience.

 Submit here

Sunday, 3 December 2017

GRANTA - Now open for submissions

Please submit only one complete story or essay, or up to three poems at a time. Multiple submissions will not be read. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art will be considered for both our print and online editions, unless you specifically state otherwise in your cover letter. We remain open to submissions of photography and art year-round.

We only publish original material, i.e. first-ever publication. We cannot run a piece that has already appeared on the web or elsewhere in print. We can, however, publish an original translation if the work has previously appeared in another language. We have no set maximum length or minimum length, though most of our submissions are between 3,000-6,000 words.

Please include a cover letter stating where your work has been published before, if relevant. Please do not submit book manuscripts, academic essays or reviews. Please only submit work written in English. Please use

Please note that we are not in a position to comment on your work. We receive a significant number of submissions every day, many of which may be unsuitable for Granta, however well written.

We encourage to all who submit that they read recent issues of Granta to familiarise themselves with material the magazine has published.

Find out more here.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Doolin Writers Festival - Poetry, Fiction and Flash Fiction

Entries are now being accepted for Short Stories, Poetry and Flash Fiction and the closing date is December 01st 2017. This year Doireann Ní Ghríofa will judge the poetry competition, Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen from Tramp Press will judge the Short Story and the Flash Fiction Category.
Meanwhile Hotel Doolin has confirmed the weekend of the 2nd-4th February for the 6th Annual Doolin Writers’ Weekend. County The 2018 programme will feature some of the best of Irish Writers such as Patrick DeWitt, Sean O’Reilly, Sally Rooney, Ann-Marie Ní Chuireann, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, John Cummins, Sinead Gleeson, Rob Doyle, EM Reapy, June Caldwell, Doire Press, Kimberley Campanello, Abby Olivera, Raven, James Martyn Joyce, Tramp Press and many more to be announced. Weekend tickets from €99.

Full details here.

Cúirt New Writing Prize - Open for entries in short fiction and poetry

The Cúirt New Writing Prize, in memory of Lena McGuire, is now open for submissions. The categories are poetry and short stories.

There is a €500 cash prize for the winner of each category and the opportunity to read at the Cúirt/Over the Edge Showcase event next April at Cúirt 2018.

This year, poet Jane Clarke will judge poetry and one of the founders of Tramp Press, Lisa Coen will judge short stories.

The youth strand of the prize ‘Young Cúirt’ is for ages 12‐17. The winner will receive €100 cash prize and will read at the Cúirt Labs next April.

The Cúirt New Writing Prize is kindly sponsored by Tigh Neachtain in memory of Lena McGuire.

Submission Guidelines (all categories)

Poetry entries must consist of 3 poems under 50 lines each, and short stories may be up to 2000 words. Entries in both English and Irish are welcome.

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

Submissions should be sent via email to

An entry fee of €10 is applicable for each separate entry. Payment can be made via the Paypal button.

In addition to your work we ask that you include the following contact details: Name, email address, phone number, and the name of the Paypal account holder.

The closing date for submissions is Thursday 25 January 2018 at 5pm.

See here to enter

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Matador Review - open for submissions

The Matador Review is accepting submissions until 30th November.

We publish four issues annually: the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter issues. We invite all unpublished literature written in the English language (and translations accompanied by the original text) as well as many forms of visual art. All work must be electronically submitted to with "Submission: Name, Title" in the subject line (for example, "Submission: Jane Smith, 5 Poems").

Read the submission guidelines here

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Reflex Fiction - Flash Fiction Competition

Prizes: £1,000 first, £500 second, £250 third (approx. $1,290, $645, $325)

Deadline: November 30, 2017

Entry fee: £7 / $9 / €9

Judge: Shasta Grant

Enter here

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Benedict Kiely Short Story Competition at Omagh Literary Festival

I attended the 16th Omagh Literary Festival over the weekend to read my winning story, Eden is Burning, at the inaugural Benedict Kiely Short Story Competition event at the Strule Arts Centre (Strule Hoose o' Airts). Omagh is the county town Tyrone and it sits on the Strule River which was heavy and brown autumn with rain when I visited. Benedict Kiely, after whom the competition is named was born near Dromore in 1919, not far from Omagh and would go on to become one of Ireland's most prolific writers and broadcasters. I was honoured to come first in the competition and very grateful to head judge Carlo Gébler for deeming my story worthy of the win.

The great Ben Kiely
It was a privilege to meet people who knew Benedict Kiely personally, especially his wife Frances, who presented me with a copy of his selected stories. It was also my pleasure to meet current and previous organisers of the festival, all of whom made me feel very welcome. My time at the festival left me with a desire to read more of Kiely's work and to further explore Northern Ireland's history and relationship with the south.

LtoR: Carlo Gébler, Frances Kiely, Adam Trodd
The festival also hosted its first ever poetry slam event which was run by poetry (and life) partners Colin Dardis and Geraldine O'Kane. Colin also runs Lagan Online which is a great resource for all things writing. The overall winner was Nathan Armstrong whose poetry packed a punch and gave us a giggle at the same time.