Saturday, 31 August 2013

A New Ulster - a new magazine

This new magazine called A New Ulster had its first issue in October 2012, and is now in its eleventh issue. It is available on the website here, and can also be purchased in pdf or hardcopy. It takes submissions of poetry, artwork and prose, for details see here 

Friday, 30 August 2013

A very sad day with news of the passing of Seamus Heaney

We were very saddened to hear this morning of the death of Seamus Heaney. He was a truly great Derry man and Irish man, and we are privileged as a nation for the magnificent legacy he has left us in his poetry. May he rest in peace, and sincere condolences to his family and many friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dhílis. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013

A Donegal winner of the RTE Guide Penguin Short Story Competition 2013

Congratulations to Trisha McKinney (from Donegal living in Dublin), who has won the 2013 competition for her story Soft Rain. The story is published in the RTE Guide, and available to read online here  Congratulations also to those shortlisted.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Writing competition deadlines

There are a few competition deadlines for the end of this week as it's also the end of the month. These are a mixture of poetry, short story and flash competitions. Entry fees and submission details vary, and many take email submission. So, read the entry requirements carefully at the links below. They vary considerably in requirements and in entry price (from free upwards). For even later deadlines see our competition page.  Apologies for the text size below - I could not get the font button to behave!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

North West Words

North West Words is a monthly reading series that takes place in Café Blend on the last Thursday of every month. Burtonport poet, Eamonn Bonner set the series in motion in the spring of 2010. There was already a tradition of Café Blend being used as a venue for poetry readings, book launches and music events so it was the obvious home for the series.
A typical NWW event will have a published author, maybe with a book launch, an emerging local writer, a local musician. There have been poets, fiction writers, dramatists, memoirists, local historians, travel writers. We have had poetry in English, Irish, Spanish, Russian. On occasion a particular writing group will present a group reading. Audiences are warm and appreciative. Pauline and her staff at Café Blend serve teas, coffees, wine and food all evening.As well as the support we get from Café Blend, NWW is also supported by Eason and Click Computers in Letterkenny. The County Arts Office and DLDC have also supported NWW at various times but largely the operation runs on donations for a raffle from the audiences each event.
North West Words publishes a quarterly free magazine which is distributed across Donegal. There has been a schools poetry competition each year and last year the first Donegal Creameries North West Words Poetry Prize for adults was launched. Since its second year NWW has gone on the road around the county presenting events in Falcarragh, Buncrana, Burtonport as part of the Earagail Arts Festival and local festivals.
In July this year NWW ran a weekend of readings workshops and discussions and we plan to do something similar next year.
Why do I say we? A team of people work to bring NWW events and two Garden Room Writers are on that team, me and Nick Griffiths. So there is an overlap. I look after extra events like the competitions and the writing weekend and Nick is the man behind Poetry for Spaces, more about that soon.
This Thursday local Historian Helen Meehan launches her book about Ethna Carbery/ Anna Johnston Mc Manus; poet and wife of folklorist Seamus Mc Manus. Donegal Town poet Anna Colhoun joins Helen in the reading and there will be music from Mary Ann Mc Donnell. There will also be an Open Mic.

Monday, 26 August 2013

New magazines of writing for children

Magazines for children's literature and illustrations seem to be very rare unfortunately. So, it is a pleasure to see two new Irish magazines devoted to writing for children. So, whether you want to find readings for your children, or submit your own writings, have a look. 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Reading winning competition entries

It's not often that winning entries to writing competitions are published online. There are, I know, advantages and disadvantages to this for writers. Though, I find it is very useful as a writer to read winning entries. Below are two recent examples of competitions where the winning entries are now available to read on the website. Congratulations to all the winning writers.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Some upcoming deadlines

I can't quite believe that the school holidays are almost over. This means for me that writing time is seriously reduced. I've been writing away over the summer and sending off stories to a range of journals and ezines.  I'm due to get word back soon on submissions - fingers crossed. 

Here are some ideas for upcoming deadlines:

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Outside Lidl- how I wrote the poem

Outside Lidl

My hand is crushed by a proud Leaving Cert mother,
we congratulate ourselves on her daughter’s success.
Parting, she tells me her heart is breaking after her.

I drive from the car-park
back to the day of my own results.
I duck below an up-and-over door,
clamber over boxes
and box shaped plastic,
to where you are checking off items on a delivery docket.

You set the clip board down, breathe deeply,
put two steady hands in front of you on the shelf.

How you had wanted me to get away,
how life had made you fierce,
my ninja mother fighting on all fronts.

Women haunt their daughters’ rooms this evening
folding clothes, arranging their things on the table.
I love you for all the grief you never allowed yourself.

The time of year made me think of sharing the story of this poem as my first post on the GRW blog. I have the fortune to teach near where I live so I often meet students and parents as I go about my business. Three years ago this week I met a lady in the Lidl car park and we had a chat about her daughter’s results and plans. I remembered my own results day and how my mum reacted when I told her. I put my thoughts in my notebook that evening and the poem isn't substantially different from the first prose draft.
I wanted to make the poem sound like I was sharing the story of it with my mum over a cuppa so it is very direct and addressed to mum. I tried to suggest the flashback, the physical motion of ducking under the up and over door to the store at the back of our shop and the introduction of the real subject of the poem by the different line layout in the second part of the poem.
The poem sat for a while in a work in progress folder. It was a hard poem to share, especially with mum because I didn’t want to diminish her reaction in comparison with the other mum in the poem’s reaction. Once I found the ninja mother image I was happy. My mum is a fighter, a disciplined, resourceful, canny woman.
The last line may be sentimental but I suppose when I finally did let her read it that was what I wanted her to understand.
Outside Lidl was published this Summer in Skylight47.

Heritage Days and CultureTECH

This week is Heritage week and there are lots of events running currently around the country including in  Donegal. Information is available here 

Hello and welcome

Having spent a year blogging privately, we have decided to go public. We are so pleased that on this same day our friend and mentor Denise Blake is celebrating her inclusion in the new Sunday Miscellany book September Sundays. See New Island here  for details of the book, and Denise's website is here