Lit News: Poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin to host Where One Starts From: An Introduction to Writing Poetry workshop in Dublin during National Heritage Week

Poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin hosts a workshop as part of National Heritage Week in Dublin on 23rd August.

Poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin hosts a workshop as part of National Heritage Week in Dublin on 23rd August.

STUTTGART– based Donegal poet Annemarie Ní Chuirreáin, due to take up an Autumn residency at the Kerouac House in Orlando, Florida, will host a poetry workshop as part of National Heritage Week from 1pm – 3pm on Saturday 23rd August at Dublin’s Inspire Galerie. Currently, Ní Churreáin is Literature Fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgard, Germany.

I interviewed Ní Churreáin prior to her reading as part of the 2013 Poetry Ireland Introductions series; read here.

Strange Times, Strange Tellers: An Experimental Fiction Showcase

Experimental fiction workshop leader and poet Dave Lordan will MC a showcase of experimental fiction from his workshop at the Irish Writers Centre.

‘EXPERIMENTAL FICTION’: it’s a curious and a somewhat problematic term. How, one thinks, would Joyce or Calvino react to the term ‘experimental fiction’?

Then again, it’s hard to think of another term to describe a sub genre that allows for both a single workshop and a single reading environment for drama, audio and dance, short fiction and flash fiction, interactive fictions and fictions of chance.

Well, that’s what will happen on Thursday, 3rd of April at Toner’s Pub, Baggot Street, when experimental fiction workshop leader Dave Lordan leads Charlene Putney, Ray Treacy, Roisin O’Donnell, Morgan McKnight, Nadia Gativa, Tracy Hanna, Paul McGee, Jane Murray, Roisin Kennedy Foley, Andrew Devine-Rattigan and Sydney Weinberg through a night of readings.

A Q&A session will conclude the showcase of experimental fiction.

Irish Writers’ Centre Announces winners of Novel Fair 2014

The Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair will take place at the Irish Writers’ Centre, Parnell Sq.

THE IRISH WRITERS’ CENTRE has announced its shortlist of 12 winners for this year’s Novel Fair, which will take place on February 22nd at the Irish Writers’ Centre. Now in its third year, the Novel Fair aims to introduce up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of publishers and agents.

Kept under wraps during the selection process, the judging panel can now revealed as Rachel Pierce, owner/editor owner of Verba Editing House; Anthony Glavin, editor and writer; and Sarah Davis-Goff, publisher and founder of Tramp Press. Since the October 16th deadline, the judges have read through every page of the 306 synopses and opening chapters received and have had the unenviable task of whittling it down to a winning twelve.

Judge Anthony Glavin described their final selection as “A rich cornucopia of hugely promising premises, plots, characters, insights and outcomes for a dozen novels across all genres, all underpinned by original, engaging, well-executed writing.  Not to be missed!”

This year’s winners are Evan Cody, Simon Fay, Alan Gorevan, Geraldine Hogan, Rachael Kelly, Caitriona Lally, Bláthnaid Nolan, David O’Brien, Nathan O’Donnell, Lisa Parker, Grey Phelan and Áine Tierney. The work chosen includes literary fiction, children’s fiction, historical fiction, SciFi, thriller and crime. One of the winners will travel home to Kilkenny all the way from New Zealand to take part. For another, it’s her first win after making the long list in two previous years, with a different novel submitted each time!

The Novel Fair presents a unique opportunity to gain face time with some of the most influential people in Irish publishing, and could truly kick-start a literary career for this year’s winners. Attendees of last year’s Fair included representatives from Penguin Ireland, Hachette Ireland, Transworld Ireland, Picador, New Island, O’Brien Press, Lilliput Press, Liberties Press, Curtis Brown, The Book Bureau, Marianne Gunne O’Connor Literary Agency, Jonathan Williams Literary Agency and Lisa Richards Agency.

Launched in 2011, the Novel Fair has seen an ever-growing number of novels originally submitted to the competition hit the shelves of retailers. Last year, alone, saw previous Novel Fair winners enter in publication: Niamh Boyce (The Herbalist), Janet E. Cameron (Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World), Ian Flitcroft (The Reluctant Cannibals), Kevin Curran (Beatsploitation) and A.W. Timmons (Here In No Place). Daniel Seery’s A Model Partner is due to hit bookshelves in March.

Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair competition winners:

Colm by Evan Cody
Wolf by Simon Fay
Botox For Dancers by David Flitton
Out of Nowhere by Alan Gorevan
Stolen Sister by Geraldine Hogan
The Edge of Heaven
 by Rachael Kelly
by Caitriona Lally
The Shadow of Darcy Anne 
by Blathnaid Nolan
Letters to Lucy 
by Nathan O’Donnell
Dawn in Temper 
by Lisa Parker
North to Midnight 
by Grey Phelan
The Silver Girl 
by Aine Tierney

Highly Commended:

Summer of Stan by Anthony Brophy
Railway Park by Erica Coughlan
Child of the Slums by Aisling Cronin
Rising by Brian Kirk
Essex Road by Guy Le Jeune
Jesus of the Lavatory by Donall Mac Lochlainn
Loyalties by Niall McCann
Happy-Cry with my Brilliant Life by Paul McCarrick
Tider by Sinead O’Hart
Statistical Anomalies in the Probability of Love by Tara Sparling

Stephen Fry Pledges Support For First Fortnight: Ireland’s Only Mental Health- Based Arts Festival

Stephen Fry Pledges Support For First Fortnight: Ireland’s Only Mental Health- Based Arts Festival

STEPHEN FRY is many things. The ultimate Renaissance Man, Fry is best known to the public as an actor, comedian, broadcaster, director and an author of far too many books to mention.

Fry, however, is also an  activist; for many years, he has been vocal about mental health awareness. Diagnosed with bi- polar disorder, Fry is one of a few high- profile figures  who have been instrumental in raising awareness of mental health issues. In 2006, Fry made ‘Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’, a documentary that chronicled his struggles with bi- polar disorder.

Unsurprisingly, then, Fry was unequivocal in his support for First Fortnight, Ireland’s only mental health- based arts festival. The yearly festival, which started on January 2nd and runs until January 11th, aims to challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding mental health through the arts. Fry sent this tweet to his 6.5million followers:

Just last year, Fry gave an insight into his condition: “I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don’t get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide.”, adding that he “attempted it [suicide] last year.”

The story of Fry’s endorsement of First Fortnight has since been picked up by RTÉ, the Irish Independent and the Herlad.

All this week, First Fortnight, currently talking place in multiple venues around Dublin, will host a series of arts and panel discussions. If you have any vague interest in the arts or mental health issues, I sincerely recommend that you check their program of events at #FFfest14

News: Carcanet poets Caoilinn Hughes & Tara Bergin to launch début poetry collections at the Irish Writers Centre onThursday 6th February

Caoilinn Hughes will launch Gathering Evidence, her début collections of poems, published by Carcanet Press, on Thursday 6th February.

LAUNCHING their début collections back on home turf, New Zealand- based poet Caoilinn Hughes and North Yorkshire- based poet Tara Bergin will read in the Irish Writers Centre on Thursday 6th February at 6:30pm.

Caoilinn Hughes- who yours truly interviewed as part of last year’s Poetry Ireland Introductions series– will read from Gathering Evidence, which netted her the 2012 Patrick Kavanagh Award. According to her publisher, Gathering Evidence “traces the parallels between scientific exploration and poetic venturing: ‘Gathering the data and deciphering / inference is how I stay alive’.”

Dublin native Tara Bergin will read from This Is Yarrow, which poet and critic John McAuliffe described as “…primarily a book of monologues, establishing voices whose skewed attitudes invite an engaged critical response from the reader. The monologues are sometimes reminiscent of Paul Durcan and at other times Sylvia Plath and they can be very cutting and funny at the expense of their speakers.”

Caoilinn Hughes was born in Galway, Ireland. With BA and MA degrees from the Queen’s University of Belfast, she moved to New Zealand and enrolled in a Ph.D. at Victoria University of Wellington. A selection of poems from her first book, Gathering Evidence (Carcanet) won the 2012 Patrick Kavanagh Award, the 2013 Cúirt New Writing Prize, the 2012 STA Travel Writing Prize and the 2013 Trócaire / Poetry Ireland Competition.

Tara Bergin was born and grew up in Dublin. She moved to England in 2002. In 2012 she completed her PhD research at Newcastle University on Ted Hughes’s translations of János Pilinszky. Her poems have appeared in New Poetries V and her début collection This is Yarrow was published by Carcanet Press.