Tuesday, 24 November 2015

North West Words is this Thursday 26th November in Cafe Blend

It's that time of the month again - the last Thursday and North West Words.

The deadline for the NWW two poetry competitions are also this week on Friday 27th November 2015. One competition is for English poetry and the other for Irish language poetry. See details and entry requirements on the NWW website 


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Along these Lines - two poems

Me and mum at Ardara Show last summer
After a weekend of organising workshops for North West Words and talking to many people about how they write I was thinking of the value of workshops, of stimulating writing out of exercises. I’m not very good at writing ‘live’ like that, I suppose few people are; but when I read back over my work from the session and allow the theme time to settle with me I often find there is a poem.  So, two workshop inspired poems.

Monday, 22 June 2015

NWW Arts Night June 2015

So, this Thursday is NWW Arts Night, and there's a great line up of writing talent as usual. Two Belfast based poets, Colin Dardis and Geraldine O'Kane, are reading on the NWW stage for the first time. Colin and Geraldine also run and co-host the Purely Poetry event in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. 

NWW starts at 8pm in Cafe Blend, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Thursday 25th June.

Colin Dardis is a poet, editor, creative writer tutor and arts facilitator, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His work has been published in numerous anthologies, journals and zines throughout Ireland, the UK and the USA. Colin runs Poetry NI, in which he is the editor of FourXFour, an online journal focusing on poetry from Northern Ireland. Pen Points Press, a poetry micro-press founded by Colin, launched at the Belfast Book Festival 2014. He also runs Purely Poetry, an open mic poetry night in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Colin is also the online editor for Lagan Press. Colin’s Poetry chapbook, ‘Döji: A Blunder’, is out now from Lapwing Publications.

Geraldine O’Kane is originally from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. She has been writing poetry since her teens, and has had numerous poems published in magazines, anthologies and online e-zines such as BareBack Lit, FourXFour Poetry Journal, Illuminated Poetry Ireland, Allo Trope, Short, Fast and Deadly, Poetry Super Highway, The Lake and more. Her first pamphlet “Quick Succession is available to purchase via Pen PointsPress. She is co-host and regular reader at the Purely Poetry open mic nights in Belfast. She is editor of Panning for Poems

Also featured is crime writer Charlie Garratt. He was born in Manchester and worked for many years as an engineer in England. Married to author and Donegal woman Ann, the couple moved to Mountcharles in 2006. Charlie joined a writers group in Donegal and began to write fiction.In 2015 his first murder mystery novel A Shadowed Livery was published by Grey Cells Press and is nominated for The Crime Writers Silver Dagger Award.

And, of course, there's the Open Mic. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

NWW Writing Weekend 24th-26th July 2015

This year, in July, is the 3rd North West Words Writing Weekend in Co. Donegal. I've attended every one and enjoyed it immensely each time. The weekend opens on Friday 24th July with readings  in Cafe Blend, Letterkenny and continues with workshops on Saturday and Sunday 25th and 26th.

This year the workshops are in the particularly lovely setting of Carn Lodge, Ramelton. I'm looking forward to an extra special weekend of writing and meeting writers. This event has always been distinctive for its relaxed and congenial atmosphere.

As in previous years, there is a great line up and variety of writing workshops covering a range of genres: fiction (including crime writing), poetry, memoir, and there is also a drawing workshop. Facilitators are Niamh Boyce, Moya Cannon, John MacKenna, Brian McGilloway and Winifred McNulty. For more details see NWW website news  and  workshop details  Niamh Boyce also has a workshop post on her blog at A Writer's Blog

For bookings email Maureen Curran at maureenwcurran@yahoo.ie or by post to North West Words, 54, Thornberry, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

North West Words Arts Night May 2015

Next Thursday 28th May is North West Words Arts Night in Cafe Blend, Letterkenny at 8pm. The guest writers this month are poet Mairéad Donnellan, and memoir writer Ann Garrat. I'm looking forward to it.

Mairéad Donnellan lives is Bailieborough Co. Cavan.  Her poetry has appeared in Boyne Berries, The Moth, Windows Anthology, Crannóg, Revival, The Galway Review, Skylight 47 and The Stony Thursday Book. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the Doire Press poetry chapbook competition and was winner of the Francis Ledwidge poetry award. She was shortlisted for the Cúirt new writing prize in 2014 and recently for the Donegal Creameries North West Words poetry prize. Read some of her poems here

Ann Garrat‘s memoir The Road Taken recalls her happy life as a child in Falcarragh in north Donegal and the shock of being transplanted into war-scarred, inner-city Coventry.

See NWW website for details of this and other events. Issue 3 of NWW magazine is also now available online  and it's filled with poetry, short story, interview and memoir.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

North West Words April 2015 Arts Night

Next Thursday 30th April is North West Words Arts Night - Cafe Blend, Letterkenny at 8pm. I'm particularly looking forward to it as I wasn't able to go last month.

This month's featured writer is Marie Hannigan. I've heard Marie read her work a few times on Sunday Miscellany live recordings at the Donegal Bay and Bluestacks Festival. She's a pleasure to listen to. Here's a recent example from October 2014 - Miracles by Marie Hannigan  (you'll find it at about 00: 15:15 on the podcast). A very talented writer, she has also facilitated workshops; I attended one about writing stories at Carn Lodge organised by Denise Blake a few years ago, and would highly recommend the experience if you ever get the chance.    

See North West Words Website: Marie Hannigan was born in London and grew up in the fishing port of Killybegs. Her first stories were published in New Irish Writing. A Hennessy nominee, she was twice winner of Listowel Writers’ Week Short Story Award and the Annaghamakerrig Award. She has written drama for radio, television and theatre. Her novel, “Tide Riders” was one of the winners of the inaugural Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair. Marie’s current novel, “Into the Fire,” is set in the very near future.

On the same night there is the launch of an exhibition of Eamonn Bonner's photographs. Eamonn is the MC of North West Words, and if you've ever attended the Arts Night, you'll know what a great job he does. He is also a photographer and poet and combines the two in Donegal Poetry Cards. For further details see North West Words Website

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Submission call for Issue 4 of North West Words magazine

This time last year Eamonn, Nick  and the rest of us on the North West Words team were planning our second NWW Writing Weekend and to coincide the launch of our website. We planned to host a magazine of writing and art on that website. We invited Denise Blake to join us on an editorial team and put a call out for submissions.

Writers who had read at our events, writers who were winners in the Donegal Creameries NWW Poetry Prize, writers who were to facilitate at our July weekend gave us their work, Lisa Bond gave us her art. Editing was a matter of selecting the strongest from a very strong submission.

We are a year on and we have had three issues, each featuring a local artist and writers from far and near. The second and third issues had to stand on their own two feet so to speak. Again strong writing arrived in the inbox, and Rik Walton's beautiful photography and Renata Visser's art set off the written work.

The magazine is widely shared, the website viewing figures are steady and rising. The magazine is the most time consuming NWW project  I'm involved with, the most far reaching and the one that is most out of our control.

We rely on readers liking and sharing the magazine link, we rely on writers choosing to send us their precious work. It's the call out now for the fourth issue, volume two if we want to get picky about it, and my heart is in my mouth again. Send your  best poems, stories and memoir to editornww@yahoo.com. For full submission details see our submission page

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Happy Easter, and the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition 2015

From: Freeimages http://www.freeimages.com/home

Happy holidays to all those on an Easter break. 

For anyone wanting to use some free time to write, why not look into the RTE Radio 1 Francis MacManus Short Story Competition 2015. It has a later deadline than previous years (01st May 2015), but thankfully it's still up and running.  The winning and shortlisted stories are broadcast on RTE Radio 1, and so it's a great opportunity for short story writers to showcase their work.  Rules for submission are available here (to enter you need to be born or resident in Ireland).  It seeks hardcopy postal submissions only with a strict word limit of 1,800 - 2,000 words.

Be mindful of audience in writing this type of story. A story for audio broadcast, needs to follow some conventions to help the listener. Here are some online resources that give advice on writing short stories for radio:

Radio New Zealand Writing for Audio Drama

Sue Moorcroft writes Writing....stories for radio 

Good luck if you are entering.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Theme me up (and Ciaron and Karen's poem a year on)

I've been idling on the theme of ‘Take Me Home’, the Abridged call out that just closed today, for the most of the month of March. I don’t write to a theme very often, although I have written in response to images and to other poems now and again. Now that I think about it I have written poems ‘to order’ for births, birthdays, for my brother’s wedding and to commemorate a dear friend and that’s similar I suppose. Still for those ‘public’ poems there are responsibilities and parameters inside of which I need to find a hook, an image or other access point to the theme. It’s a real challenge then to say something true to myself at the same time.
It shouldn't be that hard to write to a theme; I expect my students to do it and they do. My husband John's working to a brief all the time, managing to satisfy not just the client and planner but his own creative impulse too. Carol Ann Duffy never ceases to impress me, not least by her ability to write to themes as diverse as the Hillsborough tragedy and Richard III. If you haven’t read her poem Richard written for the re-interment of his remains at Leicester Cathedral last week and read by Benedict Cumberbatch, then do so here.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Creative Writing Competition 2015 - from Read DL, ETB and Wonder - deadline Friday 13th March

Entry is free 
Criteria for the Creative Writing competition :

·         It must tell a complete story—with a beginning, middle, and end
·         It must have a setting
·         It must have at least one identifiable character
·         It must contain a situation/conflict and a resolution
·         It cannot be a descriptive passage, a literary reflection, an essay or a poem

Please do not put name or personal contact details on the same page as the creative writing entry itself.

Cover letter accompanying entries should include:

          Name, address, email address and phone number of author.
          Title(s) of each entry submitted.

No alterations can be made to the entry once it has been submitted, and no entries can be returned (so please remember to keep your own copy).

The committee will select the three winning entries from a shortlist submitted to them by the Judging Panel.   All decisions of the Judging Panel are final and no correspondence or discussion can be entered into regarding those decisions.  Any attempt to contact the judges in regard to the competition will result in immediate disqualification.

Copyright will remain with the author, but the READ DL committee reserves the right to arrange first publication or broadcast of selected entries as it sees fit.

The 1st Prize winning author will be invited to read their selection at the READ DL Closing Ceremony

The three winning entries will be published in North West Words Magazine.   Authors of the three winning entries will be invited to read their selections at a North West Words event.

Submission of an entry implies the author’s acceptance of the conditions set out above.


                             1st Prize                  €50 in book vouchers
                             2nd Prize                €30 in book vouchers
3rd Prize               €20 in book vouchers

Closing Date

All entries must be received by 5pm, Friday, 13th March 2015.

All entries should be sent or delivered to:

Bríd McIntyre
Adult Education Centre
Ard O Donnell

or sent by email to: