Saturday, 14 October 2017

Poetry Jukebox - Changing the Message

The Poetry Jukebox
I was honoured to be selected as one of the twenty poets for Ireland's first ever Poetry Jukebox with my poem This Place Meant, which I wrote as a response the unfolding horrors of the global refugee crisis. What is the Poetry Jukebox you ask? It's a public installation, shaped rather like the smokestack of a ship that plays recordings of poets reading their work at the push of a button and is part of the Qoutidian – Word on the Street project which seeks to put poetry into public space.The dynamic duo behind the project are poets and writing mentors Deirdre Cartmill and Maria McManus, who were interviewed by the Irish Times about it and do a way better job than I do of explaining what it is.
Before the launch the participating poets were invited to do a video recording of their reading. I was asked to go to the HQ of poetry Ireland, a beautiful Georgian building on Parnell Square, Dublin (see front door and fireplace below) You can see my video here.

The launch was held at Belfast's Crescent Arts Centre, a bustling creative hub with a great cafe housed in a stunning four storey listed building. Each poet read their piece and there was a reception afterwards. I really enjoyed being back in Belfast and reacquainting myself with the warmth of its people.
Crescent Arts Centre
Me, reading at the launch
Here is the full list of the poets on the Poetry Jukebox

Joan Newman
Michael Longley
Eavan Boland
Celia de Fréine
Stephen Sexton
Mark Granier
Paula Meehan
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Katie Donovan
Padraic Flacc
Mary Montague
Adam Trodd
Adrian Fox read by Matthew Price
Nessa O'Mahony
David Brazíel
Seanín Hughes
Olive Broderick
Eamon McGuinness
Afric McGlinchey
Glen Wilson

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Banshee - Open for Submissions in October

Banshee is a relatively new but increasingly well regarded Irish literary magazine that publishes poetry, short stories, flash fiction and essays. The editors are Laura Jane Cassidy, Claire Hennessy and Eimear Ryan. Open for submissions during the month of October. Full details here.

A flash fiction of mine, Ophelia, was published in Issue 3.

I also interviewed the editors for Bath Flash Fiction, read it here.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Bray Literary Festival - Prose: Ones to Watch!

Me, reading at Bray Literary Festival
I had the wonderful experience of reading my short story, Eden is Burning at Bray Literary Festival over the weekend. My fellow readers were Niall McArdle and Doreen Duffy and we were taking part in the "Prose:Ones to Watch!" event.

Questions and Answers. L to R: Tanya Farrelly, Niall McArdle, Doreen Duffy, Me.
The festival was organised by writers Tanya Farrelly and David Butler and was a great success, with something for all tastes in poetry, fiction and children's literature.

Tanya's debut short story collection When Black Dogs Sing, was published by Arlen House in September 2016. Her novel The Girl Behind the Lens is out  now with Harper Collins.

David is a novelist, short story writer, playwright, and poet. He has won several literary prizes, such as the Ted McNulty Award from Poetry Ireland, the Féile Filíochta International Award and the Fish Short Story Award. His novel City of Dis was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.

Check out the full Bray Literary Festival programme here.

My fellow ones to watch:

Doreen Duffy
Doreen Duffy read her short story, Tattoo, in a quiet captivating style that really exhibited the power of her work.
Doreen studied creative writing at Oxford University online, at UCD and at NUI Maynooth. Her work has been published internationally. She won The Jonathan Swift Award and was delighted to be presented with The Deirdre Purcell Cup by the Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival.

Niall McArdle
Niall McArdle read his brilliant short story The Joker's Smile Cannot Stop the World from Turning energetically and really grabbed the attention of the audience. He also read a sensuous excerpt from a novel for which he is currently seeking a publisher.
Niall is a Dublin writer, blogger and critic. In 2016 he was nominated for the Hennessy Literary Awards and the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition, and in 2017 he was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize and the Colm Tóibín Short Story Award. His work has appeared in Phoenix Irish Short Stories, the Irish Times, Banshee, Spontaneity, and Honest Ulsterman, and has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio. He writes about culture for and tweets at @ragingfluff

The winners and runners up for the Flash Fiction and Poetry Competitions were also announced:

Flash Fiction Competition:
1st Prize – Ronan Keenan
Runner-Up – Niamh MacCabe

Poetry Competition:
1st Prize – A.M. Cousins
Runner-up – Simon Lewis

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Hook by Danielle McLaughlin

Read "Hook", the superb new flash fiction from Irish writer Danielle McLaughlin published by the New Yorker. Danielle's debut short story collection, Dinosaurs On Other Planets was published to widespread acclaim by Stinging Fly Press in 2015.

Friday, 15 September 2017

John O’Connor Short Story Competition 2017

Cover Art of John O'Connor's Book 'Come Day - Go Day' by Armagh Artist JB Vallely
Entries are invited from aspiring writers for the second John O’Connor Short Story Competition.  The prize-winner will be awarded a bursary to attend the John O’Connor Writing School and Literary Arts Festival which will be held in Armagh from 2nd to 5th November, 2017.

The festival, sponsored and supported by internationally renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Paul Muldoon, has a two-fold purpose. It aims to celebrate and commemorate the life and works of John O’Connor as well as offering practical guidance and assistance to aspiring writers through its workshops and Master classes in the various literary genres and writing for commercial purposes.

The competition will close at 12.00 noon on 1st October 2017. Entries received after this date and time will not be considered. A four-person panel will adjudicate, including writers Martina Devlin and Stuart Neville.

Entry fee of £10 per story. Details here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Open for entry 1 September – 1 November 2017

Awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English. Regional winners receive £2,500 and the overall winner receives £5,000. Translated entries are also eligible, as are stories written in the original Bengali, Chinese, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan and Tamil.

The competition is free to enter.

All information here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Jackie Morris - Artist and Writer

For those of you not familiar with Pembrokeshire artist and writer, Jackie Morris, I urge you to seek out her work. She has recently created a beautiful book called The Lost Words with Robert MacFarlane and has just launched Mrs Noah's Pockets with artist James Mayhew. I'm not an artist myself so I lack the requisite verbal toolkit to adequately describe her art. I see it as a fantastical representation of nature's blending with humanity, rich in unique colours and fired in the imagination of a seriously talented creator. Every illustration is imbued with joy and also the quiet dignity that comes from Jackie's enjoyment of and respect for the natural environment.

As well as being a book creator in her own right, Jackie has also provided art for others, notably Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm. Jackie's blog too is a veritable treasure trove of beautiful imagery, words and meditations on life, nature and the making of art. A complete set of Jackie's books can be found at Solva Woolen Mill as well as other independent bookshops and larger retailers.

A short interview with Jackie and a glimpse inside her studio:

A: What led you to art?

J: My dad was doing a drawing one day, when I was young, about 6 I think. That's what I wanted to do. Use a pencil to make a bird land on a page. I didn't know about art, artists, galleries etc. I just wanted to make that magic happen.

A: How important is nature as an influence in your work?

J: Nature isn't an influence. It's the air we breathe, the food we eat, the ground on which we walk. It's life. It is us. We are it.

A: In your most recently published book, Mrs Noah's Pockets, you provided the words and James Mayhew the art. Are there times when you can see another's work bringing your words to life as you write them?

J: I wrote Mrs Noah for James. In my head there was not a single picture of what it looked like. It was always James's vision that I wanted. I loved watching him move from a way he had of working into a new way that fits so utterly delightfully with the words I gave him. His pictures were, are, the most wonderful gift returned. He put flesh on the bones of my words, breathed life into a character I hope we will develop.
A felt eagle heads for the skylight
Thistles taking shape, awaiting goldfinches
Tools, vessels, prompts, distractions
Hound and hare frozen in time
Lists, lists, lists

See below for a selection of Jackie's beautiful art, reproduced with her kind permission.

Jackie also has a gallery online called The House of Golden Dreams where you can inquire about purchasing individual pieces of artwork.

The Snow Leopard

One Cheetah, One Cherry
The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow
The Names of the Hare, or Only The Wind and the Hare

Sailing in a Strange Boat

Monday, 4 September 2017

The London Magazine Story Competition 2017

Entry fee: £10 per short story (there is no limit to the number of entries you can submit)

Opening date: 1st September 2017
Closing Date: 31st October 2017

First Prize: £500
Second Prize: £300
Third Prize: £200

Judges: Jason Cowley, Robert Peet and Richard Skinner

Further information here

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Caterpillar - My Grandad's Not a Viking!

I have a poem in the Autumn issue of The Caterpillar called My Grandad's Not a Viking. Cover art above by Laura Frame.

The Caterpillar is for kids between the ages of 7 and 11(ish). It appears four times a year ‒ in March, June, September and December.

The magazine is edited by Rebecca O'Connor.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Deborah Rogers Foundation - Writers Award 2018

An award of £10,000 will be presented to a first-time writer whose submission demonstrates outstanding literary talent and who needs financial support to complete their work.

Submissions for the 2018 Writers Award will open on 1st October 2017 and close on 15th December 2017. The winner will be announced in May 2018.

Further details here.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Mslexia - Women’s Novel Competition 2017

This competition has a first prize of £5,000 and the winner and four finalists will receive manuscript feedback as well as introductions to agents and editors.

Judges: Philippa Gregory (novelist), Sarah Such (literary agent), Alex Clark (journalist)
Fee: £25 per novel extract
Closing date: 18 September 2017

All details here

Monday, 28 August 2017

In Flash: The International Short Story Magazine - Seeking Submissions

This well regarded magazine has a very specific set of submission criteria so read them carefully and abide by them or you won't get past the in-tray. No closing date, they stop accepting submissions when they have what they need.

Full details here.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Reading for Commuters

An interesting and informative article here from the BBC's Pádraig Belton about the possibilities of reading during your daily commute. I get a little mention, as does this year's ever popular National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, "Sleep is a Beautiful Colour", available in e-book and print here.