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.

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.