Deirdre McClay

I am originally from Lurgan, County Armagh, and I live and work in County Donegal. In my day job, I’m a full time lecturer in Letterkenny I.T. teaching a variety of subjects in the areas of education, law, accounting and academic writing skills. I’ve just completed a doctorate in education at QUB, and my dissertation focused on six higher education academic writing centres in Ireland. This has further increased my interest in both writing process and the teaching of writing. 

I write short stories, flash fiction and poetry - although recently, academic writing has sapped a lot of my time. I'm looking forward to getting back to creative writing.

Since late 2016, I've been a member of the North West Words organising team, helping to secure Arts Council funding for two reading series in Letterkenny: North West Reading Series 2017, and Voices from the Edge of the Island 2018.  

I've been a member of the Garden Room Writers since its formation, and the support and regular meetings of the group have greatly enhanced my writing life. In more than ten years since I started writing fiction, I've sent work to a variety of publications and I've published short stories and flash in both the UK and Ireland, including in The Sunday Tribune, The Irish Times, Crannog, Ulla’s Nib, Boyne Berries, Wordlegs, the Ranfurly Review, The Linnet’s Wings, The Weary Blues, The Derry Review and Friction Magazine. In June 2011, I was a winner in The Lonely Voice Short Story Competition, also the Allingham Arts Festival Short Story Competition, and I was shortlisted in From The Well Short Story Competition. In 2012, I was Highly Commended in the Doire Press International Fiction & Poetry Chapbook Competition. In 2005,  I was nominated for the Hennessy First Fiction Award. I am also a regular reader at North West Words and a member of their organising team.

My full writing bio is listed below: 

Short Stories and Flash Fiction

“Best Friends” Whispers and Shouts, December 2003.

“Night Call” The Sunday Tribune  6th June 2004.   Nominated for First Fiction Award 2005: The Hennessy Literary Awards /Sunday Tribune New Irish Writing.

“Nostalgia” Ulla’s Nib, Issue 5, September 2008: Creative Writers Network, N.I.

“The Piano Teacher” Crannog 25, Autumn 2010.

“These Days” Ranfurly Review, Issue 16 September 2011 

“Empty” Shortlisted in the From the Well Short Story Competition 2011, and published in an anthology The Blue Suitcase and Other Stories, May 2011.

“The Good Mother” winner June 2011 The Lonely Voice Short Story Competition. Also published at Friction Magazine and Journal Issue 4, Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, Newcastle University 

“Regret” Boyne Berries 10, Autumn 2011.

“Building Castles on Crags” Crannog 28, Autumn 2011.

“Cuddle Therapy” Wordlegs, Issue 8 Winter 2011

“Waiting” Irish Times, Flash Fiction, 19th December 2011  

“The Picture of his Mother” Shortlisted and Highly Commended in Doire Press International Fiction & Poetry Chapbook Competition 2012. Published The Linnet’s Wings Autumn 2012 

“Crossing the Border” Boyne Berries 12, Autumn 2012

"Traps" Longlisted in Over The Edge, New Writer of the Year Competition, 2013 

"Helpless" Crannog 34 Autumn 2013 

"Fallout" Number Eleven, Issue 3, Winter 2013. 

“With Matchsticks Not Money” Winner of Best Short Story, Allingham Arts Festival 2011. Published in The Linnet's Wings, Winter 2013.  

"Myself Alone" The Derry Literary Review, posted on website December 2013. 

"Cooking for the Dead" The Weary Blues, Issue 5, Winter 2013. 

"The Visitor" Boyne Berries 15, Spring 2014.

"Backstage Carpentry" North West Words magazine, Issue 1 Summer 2014.

"Only Words" The Incubator Journal,  Issue 2, 2014.

"Leavings" Boyne Berries, Spring 2015 


"Watching Fire on TV" Honest Ulsterman, June 2017

"Sparring" Lagan Online: Poems about poetry, August 2017

"I, Paparazzo" Honest Ulsterman, February 2017

"Rooms - Victoria Street, Lurgan, Co. Armagh (1970s)" Boyne Berries, Issue 24 ~(forthcomming) Winter 2018


Crannog, Vol. 25 launch,  Autumn 2010, The Crane Bar, Galway.

Irish Writers' Centre, reading June 2011, Lonely Voice Introductions, Dublin.
A regular reader at North West Words Open Mic Cafe Blend, Letterkenny, and featured reader at NWW January 2013.

Reading for Rescue, Donegal Town, September 2012.

Earagail Arts Festival, North West Words, Reading at An tSean Bhearaic, Falcarragh, July 2012. 

Culture Night, NWW, Cafe Blend, Letterkenny, 20th September 2013.  

Flash Fury, the Big Smoke Writing Factory National Flash Fiction reading event, 21st June 2014, Arthur's Pub, Dublin.  

Over The Edge, November 2014 Reading, Joseph Horan, Deirdre McClay and Teresa Sweeney, Galway City Library.

North West Words and Garden Room Writers at the Rathmulan Community Festival, Maurren Curran, Deirdre McClay and Nick Griffiths in An Bonnan Bui, Rathmullan, 04th August 2017.

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