Saturday, 25 January 2014

TwitterFiction Festival 2014 - can you write a story in 140 characters?

We'll have to get our own Ann Hull working on this one. She's been doing well at twitter stories recently, and winning prizes even. 

If you think you can write a good one within Twitter constraints, here's a story challenge for you -  TwitterFiction Festival 2014. Submit your story before 5th February, and the chosen entries will be be Featured Storytellers on Twitter along with other invited authors of the festival. Or, submit your stories to #twitterfiction where all can participate. See full details here  The festival runs 12-16th March 2014.

Friday, 24 January 2014

North West Words January Readings and Poetry Prize Presentations

Next week is the last week of the month, so Thursday 30th January is NWW Arts Night at Cafe Blend, Letterkenny.  It starts at 8pm and is mainly devoted to readings from the winners and shortlisted poets of the Donegal Creameries and NWW 2013 Poetry Prize. I'm looking forward to hearing all those prize winning poems.

The very talented guitarist Simon McCafferty will also be playing at the event.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Launch of Skylight 47 and Happy Eleventh Anniversary to Over The Edge

This week in Galway is the launch of the latest Skylight 47 poetry magazine at the Over The Edge open reading event.

I'm delighted to say that the new issue of Skylight 47 contains a feature article on the Garden Room Writers, and poetry from Garden Roomers Ann Hull and Nick Griffiths - plus many more, of course. Thanks for including us Skylight 47. I'm looking forward to reading the new issue. Some of the Garden Room Writers will be down for the launch, I'm so sorry that I can't be there.

Skylight 47 Issue 3

Congratulations to Susan and Kevin on the anniversary of Over The Edge - that's some acheivement. See interviews here  Galway Advertiser  and Emerging Writer

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Short Fiction 2014 International Short Story Prize

This is a good deal from Short Fiction at The University of Plymouth Press. You can enter one short story in their competition for £5, or, enter 2 short stories for £10 plus receive a free copy of the next issue of the excellent Short Fiction. The deadline for entries is 31st March 2014, and the judge is the acclaimed Irish born writer, and lecturer in the University of Plymouth, Gerard Donovan here  Stories must be previously unpublished, and 5,000 words or under - for further details see here

Friday, 17 January 2014

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2014

Waterford County Council Arts Office are running the 17th Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2014. It is open now with a deadline of 14th March 2014. The competition is for submissions of short stories of 2,000 words and under. There is a first prize of €500 and no entry fee  - hard to beat that deal! More details and the entry form are available here

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cork County Library and Arts Service Short Story Competition 2014

Are you a registered public library member, and a short story writer? Cork County Library are running their annual short story competition with the deadline 14th February 2014 and maximum word count of 2,000.

The judges panel for the 20 shortlisted entries are Dave Lordan, Vincent McDonnell and Billy O'Callaghan. Entry is free which is quite unusual, and it is a very good opportunity. First prize is attendance and accommodation on a week long writing workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival 2014 in Bantry plus accommodation- nice one! 

Entries can be posted, handed into Cork County libraries, or emailed. For entry form and more details see Cork County Council website here

Monday, 13 January 2014

North West Words: Poetry for Spaces

Poetry for Spaces is promoting the work of local poets by displaying it in public places.  Participating sites around Donegal vary, but the following have all taken part at some stage:
Café Blend
Public Services Building
Central Library
Courtyard Shopping Centre
Letterkenny General Hospital
St. Joseph's Hospital
Athletics Centre
Medical Centre
Community Centre
Town Hall
Public Services Building
Ionad Teampeall Chroine
Trinity Court

Poets who have participated so far are: Mary Barr, Eamonn Bonner, Olive Borland, Maureen Curran, Colin Dardis, Kathryn Daily, Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons, Sine Friel, Nick Griffiths, Gréagóir Ó Dúill

If you are from the North West of Ireland and have written a poem, or poems, you would like more people to read, contact us through our facebook page or email:
Poems should be no longer than 22 lines including spaces between verses.  They should also be appropriate for viewing within a public area.
The same contact details apply if you have a suitable "site" and would like to use it to promote poetry in the North West.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Some submission opportunities in early 2014

Gee it's 2014 already, and where to send all those lovely poems and stories? Here are some ideas.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Is it my fault?

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast is a small miracle. Every month, a writer who has been published in the magazine picks a story from the archive, and reads it out loud. A short discussion between the fiction editor and the writer about themes arising from the story wraps it up.
I love to hear a story read aloud, and good short fiction is available to listen to from more varied sources, but it is the New Yorker version I return to repeatedly. You learn so much about an author from their choice. The New Yorker archive is venerable and extensive, so you won't hear a dud. Then, there is the discussion, which is lucid and intelligent without veering into arid intellectual posturing.
I listened to the latest podcast: Jonathan Safran Foer reading Amos Oz's story, "The King of Norway". You can listen for yourself here. As the story unfolded, I formed opinions about the characters. In the discussion, Jonathan Safran Foer blew them away, making me go through a paradigm shift about what I had just heard, challenging my casual judgements, giving me new insights and shedding richness upon my narrow interpretation.
That's not bad for 30 minutes listening. It made me think about the dangers of throwaway reading (or listening), of not paying sufficient attention. It made me think of a chilling Twitter exchange I saw yesterday, where a reader reeled off some master short story practitioners of whom he was "a bit bored". Perhaps we need to be aware of our limitations as readers; how the quest for novelty and sensation can mask the potential richness of the pages we read. Sometimes, we need to read reflexively and thoughtfully, open to the possibility of being challenged. Sometimes, if we are bored, it is our fault.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year Reading

In between the shopping and wrapping and visits and visitors and cooking and hoovering for the next round of visitors and cooking and eating I've managed to find time to finish reading Sarah Waters' "The Little Stranger" which I started about two months ago. It's no reflection on the book that it took so long for me to finish it. In fact as I got into it I wanted to wait til there were no distractions to interfere with the gorgeous moody writing. It has so much of what I love in a novel: a terrific setting in the mouldering Hundreds Hall, evocative imagery and characters, a slow boiling plot that utterly pulls you in.