OMG, OMG, OMG!

What can I say? Thrilled doesn’t even come close! I have an ear-to-ear grin and I haven’t stopped shaking with excitement yet. I don’t quite know how I managed to drive all the way home from Dublin last night and arrive in one piece. Or how I manage to be at my desk, business as usual, this morning (and my lovely colleagues were leaning out of the upstairs office window giving me a round of applause as I arrived for work). In case you don’t know what I’m on about, let me explain: I WON A HENNESSY LITERARY AWARD FOR … Continue reading OMG, OMG, OMG!

And the Winner Is…

When I first dipped my toe into the Irish writing market, I admit I didn’t have a clue as to where I should start sending my creative endeavours. What to do with all those words? The shoebox under the bed was stuffed to overflowing. Perhaps a writing group would help? But I soon discovered the people around me were equally clueless, or worse, secretive. I guess they thought sharing information about publishing opportunities was likely to do them out of success. A few years down the line and I have now garnered a good bit of useful information about where … Continue reading And the Winner Is…

Once Upon A Time

For the weekend that’s in it – a Bank Holiday here in Ireland – here are some short stories for you to enjoy. I’ve been reading short stories since I was a teenager when I came across EM Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’, which I think might have been on the O level English Literature curriculum, alongside ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ by DH Lawrence. I haven’t stopped reading stories since, and these days I have a go at writing them, too. I’ve had ten published so far – but I’m keen to learn more about what makes them work, which is why … Continue reading Once Upon A Time

May Day, May Day? Can’t Remember…

I nearly forgot to boast about my recent win at Strokestown Poetry Festival – I took first prize in the Roscommon Poets’ Prize, a competition in which I came third the previous two years. That was certainly a good start to May! Of course I’m delighted. The poem is about memory, a theme that keeps coming up to bite me on the bum, to remind me what to write about when I’m stuck for ideas. You can read it here. The competition was judged by a friend of mine, Sligo poet Jessamine O’Connor, who would know my style and usual … Continue reading May Day, May Day? Can’t Remember…

The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck

Last year I was lamenting the potential demise of Strokestown Poetry Festival – Ireland’s longest running poetry event.  Thankfully, enough people rattled the right cages for the funding to get re-instated, and the festival goes ahead as planned this year, starting on April 28th. Once again I am short listed in the Roscommon Poet’s Prize, and I’ll get to read my entry at the prizegiving ceremony in the lovely Strokestown House. It’s on at 10.30am on a (Bank Holiday) Monday, so if you can’t get there in person (I might struggle a bit myself), you can read the poem at … Continue reading The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck

Spitting Nails and other Pointless Activities

I’ve been helping to get a new Creative Writing Group up and running in Charlestown Arts Centre, here in County Mayo. It is proving to be an interesting exercise in perseverance and determination – and of course, creativity. We’ve a core group of hardened scribes with significant publication credits to their names, alongside biro-wielding retired ladies looking for something interesting to pass the time on a Monday morning. Plus a few others who drop in and out, who aren’t quite sure if creative writing is their thing. Over the years, I’ve belonged to a number of different writing groups, some … Continue reading Spitting Nails and other Pointless Activities

Howya and other Gems

Listening to author Dermot Bolger talking-the-talk at a hundred miles an hour and in Dublin-speak – what’s there not to like about that for an otherwise dull and rainy Saturday? I attended Dermot Bolger’s ‘Finding a Voice’ writing workshop at the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar yesterday (July 23rd 2016).  Eleven of us (all female) spent the morning listening to tips and anecdotes from an entertaining man who certainly knows his stuff. He started with stories of his first mentor Sheila Fitzgerald from back in the 1970s,  and continued with plenty of snippets about stars of the current Irish … Continue reading Howya and other Gems

Sex is good but have you ever been shortlisted in a writing competition?

I have been spending a lot of time recently wondering why on earth I write. Of course, it’s rejections that bring on that ‘what’s it all for?’ mood. I seem to have had a good few negatives explode in my in-box recently, like badly placed mines ready to tear off my writing limbs. They are somehow counterbalanced by an unequal number of positives of course, which is what keeps me going. I carry on because, as I’ve said before, ‘Sex is good but have you ever been shortlisted in a writing competition?’ (I need to get a fridge magnet made). … Continue reading Sex is good but have you ever been shortlisted in a writing competition?

Writers on Other Planets

Here’s a nice story: Once upon a time there was this wannabe short story writer who was wandering around Waterstones in Cork when she found herself introduced to the lovely author of the book of short stories she was about to buy… Yes, that was me in Cork. I know, it’s a long (very long) way from County Roscommon, but I have to say, I LOVE Cork and wasn’t going to miss the chance of a visit when I was invited to the launch of the anthology of stories from the From the Well Short Story Competition. So, up with … Continue reading Writers on Other Planets