Monday, 23 September 2013

Mary Morrissy is the Irish Hilary Mantel. The Rising of Bella Casey.O’Brien Press launched on September 16,2013:

The Irish Hilary Mantel?

Advance praise for  The Rising of Bella Casey, due from the Brandon imprint of O’Brien Press on September 16,2013:
“One of the most intelligent, well-written and well-researched historical novels I have read.  Mary Morrissy is the Irish Hilary Mantel” – Eilis Ni Dhuibhne
“Compelling and beautiful, no mere tale of historical restoration but a story full of strange resonances for our time” - Joseph O’Connor
“. . . elegant and unadorned at the same time. . . an intimate portrait of a woman and a depiction of Irish history at its most extreme. . . a wonderful book from one of our finest writers” – Colum McCann
“Mary Morrissy has a genius for lifting characters out of the dim backgrounds of history and brilliantly illuminating them.  In The Rising of Bella Casey  she evokes the rich Dublin world of the plays of Sean O’Casey and creates a moving drama that O’Casey himself would have acknowledged.” - John Banville
As is Morrissy’s trademarks, she offers us not just a glimpse of a person, but full, vivid lives set against a richly imagined time and place in history.” - Julianna Baggott

Aura Estrada Short Story Contest

Aura Estrada Short Story Contest
Deadline: October 1, 2013
Judge: Kiran Desai
Prize: $1,500
Complete guidelines:
The winning author will receive $1,500 and have his or her work published in Boston Review, the summer of 2014. First runner-up will be published in a following issue, and second runner-up will be published at the Boston Review Web site. Stories should not exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. Mailed manuscripts should be double-spaced and submitted with a cover note listing the author’s name, address, and phone number. No cover note is necessary for online submission. Names should not appear on the stories themselves. Any author writing in English is eligible, unless he or she is a current student, former student, relative, or close friend of the judge. Simultaneous submissions are not permitted, submissions will not be returned, and submissions may not be modified after entry. A non-refundable $20 entry fee, payable to Boston Review in the form of a check or money order or by credit card, must accompany each story entered. All submitters receive a complementary half-year subscription (3 issues) to Boston Review. Submissions must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2013. The winner will be notified in the spring of 2014 and publicly announced by July on the Boston Review Web site.
Please enter online using our contest entry manager. This requires payment using a credit card.
Or mail submissions to:
Short Story Contest, Boston Review
PO Box 425786
Cambridge, MA 02142
Read winning stories from past years:

Friday, 20 September 2013


Friday, September 20, 2013


which was announced this evening at 
the Over The Edge Culture Night event @ Kenny's 
is as follows:
Sheila Armstrong, Dublin
for her story 'To Come Home'
Bernie Ashe, Galway 
for 'Crow' & other poems
Eileen Bennett, Co, Galway
for her story 'John Byrne Rides Again'
Marie Cadden, Co. Galway 
for 'Up To Scratch' & other poems
Alvy Carragher, Galway
for 'Broken Symmetry' other poems
Brian Colgan, Galway 
for 'From Babi Yar to Bethlehem'
Teresa Coleman, Mayo
for her story 'Elizabeth'
Denis Collins, Wexford 
for 'Pete' & other poems
Maurice Devitt, Dublin 
for 'A Stranger in the House' & other poems
Cal Doyle 
for 'The Heist' & other poems
Kevin Doyle, Cork
for his story 'Whatever It Was About Men'
Erin Fornoff, Dublin
for 'On Planes' & other poems
Sean Glynn, Co. Galway
for his story 'Hackett's Hole'
Sandra Harris, Dublin
for her story 'A Death'
Mary Healy, Kilkenny 
for her story 'What's Worth Keeping'
Aidan Hynes, Dublin
for his story 'Hair'
Anne Irwin, Galway
for 'The Stations of the Crossbar' & other poems
Katherine Janeczeck, Galway 
for 'Genesis' & other poems
Rupert Jenkins, Scotland
for his story 'Tender To The Shore'
Susan Kelly, Mayo
for 'Mother Superior' & other poems
Brian Kirk, Dublin 
for his story 'The Creaseless Society'
Jennifer Matthews, Cork
for 'Planning Permission' & other poems
Anna McCarthy, New York
for her story 'An Inventory of Slights'
Pat McDonnell, Galway
for his story 'Three Sisters in the Sky'
Christopher Meehan, Co. Galway 
for 'The Ever Changing Definition of Youth in Revolt'
Brendan Murphy, Co. Galway
for his story'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Sinner'
Catherine Myddleton-Evans, London, UK
for 'under the sea' & other poems
Gerard O’Brien, Co. Galway
for his story 'Nissen Hut'
Clare O’Reilly, Kildare 
for her story 'Hey Presto!
 Eleanor O’Reilly, Wicklow
for her story 'Classifieds, Fags And Coconut Creams'
Micheál Ó’Síocháin, Cork
for his story 'The Last Days of The Pavilion'
Maeve O’Sullivan, Dublin 
for 'Agent of Confusion' & other poems
Christine Paynter, Galway 
for 'Remember' & other poems
Valerie Ryan, Kildare
for her story 'The Postman'
Breda Wall Ryan, Wicklow
for 'Inheritors' & other poems
Rejini Samuel, Galway
for her story 'The Alleyway'
Ashlie Schweitzer, Galway
for her story 'Prairie Lights'
Fiona Scoble, Galway
for her story 'What have you brought for us?'
Breda Spaight, Limerick
for 'Final Cut' & other poems
Ekaterina Tikhoniouk, Laois
for her story 'Katie'
Alison Wells, Wicklow
for her story'The Memory-Jar'
Dimitra Xidous, Dublin
for 'The science of hands' & other poems

Flash 500 announce Flash Fiction, Humour Verse, Novel Synopsis compettitions

the deadline for two of our categories is fast approaching. The Flash Fiction and Humour Verse competitions both close at the end of this month. 
Novel Competition
Although the deadline for the Novel Opening and Synopsis Competition is only at the end of October, we have already received a healthy number of entries.
The judges for this competition are the senior editors at Crooked Cat Publishing, who are the publishers for my own crime novels, Bad Moon Rising and Someday Never Comes (both written as Frances di Plino). I was delighted to discover Bad Moon Rising has been nominated for The People’s Book Prize, where is it up against the latest offering from the prolific and hugely successful Frederick Forsyth. I doubt very much that my fan club can compete with his, but it’s nice to know Bad Moon Rising is in there fighting.
Crooked Cat Publishing cover a wide range of genres, from chick lit to crime, which is why they are the ideal judges for the competition.  
Full details of all three categories can be found on the Flash 500 Home Page.

Fish Short Story Prize €3,000

Fish Short Story Prize €3,000
Ten Best Stories Published

Claire Kilroy is the judge.
We are honoured that she will select the best ten stories for publication in the 2014 Fish Anthology.
Clare Kilroy is the acclaimed author of 4 novels including All Summer, (recipient of the 2004 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was short-listed for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award), Tenderwire (shortlisted for the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel Award), All Names Have Been Changed and The Devil I Know
In 2002 she received an Arts Council Literature Award.
Closing Date: 30 November 2013.
Word limit is 5,000. There is no restriction on theme or style, and the prize is open to writers from all countries who are writing in English.
First Prize: €3,000, of which €1,000 is for travel to the launch of the Fish Anthology in July 2014 at the West Cork Literary Festival.
Second Prize: a week at the Anam Cara Writers Retreat in West Cork, plus €300.
Third prize: €300.
Entry fee: €20 (€10 subsequent entries). Online Entry. Once you register and enter online, you can login and check your entry(ies) at any time.
Results will be announced on 17 March on the Fish website, and sent out in the newsletter.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

William Van Dyke Short Story Prize

Please Note: While we accept entries for the Short Story Prize year-round, the contest deadline is not until fall 2013, and we will announce the winners in January 2014.
Please read the following submission guidelines carefully, and let us know if you have any questions. The finalist judge will be announced in the coming months.
As with all our submissions, we highly recommend reading a copy of the magazine to better understand what we are looking for. The 2013 Short Story Prize winning story “Saturdays He Drove the Ford Pickup” by David Brendan Hopes appears in Issue 27: Glimpses. The 2012 Short Story Prize winning story “Stories My Mother Told Me” by Nahal Suzanne Jamir appears in Ruminate’s Issue 23: The Stories We Tell.
  • The submission deadline for the short story contest  is October 15th, 2013.
  • The entry fee is $15 (includes a free copy of the Spring 2013 Issue).
  • You may submit one story per contest entry fee and it must be 5500 words or less. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.
  • $1000 will be awarded to the winner and publication in the Spring 2013 Issue will be awarded to the winning story and runner-up story.
  • A blind reading of all entries will be conducted by a panel of RUMINATE readers, who will select 10 short stories as finalists.
  • Close friends and students (current & former) of the finalist judge are not eligible to compete. Nor are close friends or family of the Ruminate staff.
  • All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form. We will not accept mail or email submissions. We do not accept previously published entries.
  • Winners will be announced in the Spring Issue, March 2014.
  • We will be notifying all entrants of submission status in mid-January, 2014.

Rex Ingram -Dr Ruth Barton

Next Saturday, September 21st at 12pm - Rex Ingram: a talk by Dr. Ruth Barton will be held in the GB Shaw Room at Carlow Central Library.
Rex Ingram:
"In 1920s Hollywood, just to see the name Rex Ingram on film was enough to set the heart racing. For his studio, Metro, it was a guarantee of profit and prestige; for cinema goers the allure of Latin lovers and swooning ingénues set against vast backdrops crafted out of light and shadow. He was not just one of Hollywood's most celebrated silent era directors, but one of the greatest Irish directors ever. This talk will trace the career of Rex Ingram and ask why he was forgotten by history, particularly in Ireland, the country of his birth and upbringing."
Ruth Barton is Head of Film Studies at Trinity College Dublin. She is author of Jim Sheridan: Framing the Nation (The Liffey Press, 2002), Irish National Cinema (Routledge, 2004), Acting Irish in Hollywood (Irish Academic Press, 2006), Hedy Lamarr: the most beautiful woman in film (University Press of Kentucky, 2010); co-editor (with Harvey O’Brien) of Keeping it Real: Irish Film and Television (Wallflower Press, 2004) and editor of Screening Irish-America (Irish Academic Press, 2009)
Booking please to John at or 059 9129713 - Free Admission

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Resources for poets and poetry online Audio
Beginning with John Berryman’s historic first reading of The Dream Songs on Halloween night, 1963, the Academy of American Poets has presented and recorded over 700 poetry readings, lectures, and symposia, making the Poetry Audio Archive one the world's richest aural records of poetry.

American Poetry Review Photo Records
"For readers looking for the visage behind the verse, the American Poetry Review photo records offers a perfect, and possibly voyeuristic, solution."

"A gallery, archive and radio show featuring a wealth of recordings culled from poetry readings over the past several decades."

Poem Present
"The University of Chicago's contemporary poetry series with archived readings and lectures, as well as the discussions they inspire."

From the Fishouse
"An audio archive showcasing emerging poets reading their own poems, as well as answering questions about poetry and the writing process."

"Visitors to the site are as likely to download a Renaissance visual poem as they would listen to the MP3 of Louis Farrakhan singing."

Poetry Archive
A free collection of new recordings by contemporary poets and historic recordings—primarily from the United Kingdom.

Wired for Books
"Home to scores of poetry audio clips, ranging from a reading of Homer’s The Iliad in ancient Greek to poems by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and John Keats."

BBC Books
Many of the recordings were made during BBC radio interviews, and include exciting discussions with Dylan Thomas, E. E. Cummings, and others.

Gemini Magazine poetry competition

We are pleased to announce the fourth annual Gemini Magazine Poetry Open competition.
The grand prize is $1,000. Second place wins $100 and four honorable mentions will each receive $25. All six finalists will be published online in the March 2014 issue of Gemini. The entry fee is $5 for each batch of three poems. Deadline: January 2, 2014.
We are open to any type of poetry, any subject matter, any length. Scroll down the Poetry Open page to see the broad range of work from previous winners and finalists.
Coming late October (possibly early November): results of our fifth annual Flash Fiction Contest.
In the meantime, enjoy the August issue of Gemini featuring the winners of our Short Story Contest and more. Plenty of great reading with back issues a click away.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Be brave, now is the time! Dig it out from the back of the wardrobe.... under the bed...the cats basket...

One Month to the Deadline:
the Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair
16th October 2013
The deadline for the 3rd annual Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair Competition is fast approaching. Entries will be accepted until October 16th.  

Twelve Winners will receive a place at the Irish Writers' Centre Novel Fair in February 2014. The Fair provides one-on-one meetings between up-and-coming writers and top publishers and literary agents. It gives first-time novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their sample chapters directly into the hands of the publishers. 

This year, a brand new judging panel will be asked to select twelve winners, presented to them anonymously. There is no limitation on style or genre. The only requirement is that the authors must not have published a novel before. The winners will each have a stand at the Fair where they will pitch the finished novel. Top publishers and agents will be invited to the Irish Writers' Centre to meet the writers in person. To fully prepare them for the day, the finalists also win a place on a seminar on 'How to Pitch Your Novel'. 

Last year's Fair was attended by 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.  

Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold

“Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently around the penguin. The penguin was alone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, "Don't worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world.”
“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.”
“Murderers are not monsters, they're men. And that's the most frightening thing about them.”
“Each time I told my story, I lost a bit, the smallest drop of pain. It was that day that I knew I wanted to tell the story of my family. Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.”

“This is just a temporary hell, not a permanent one”
“Sometimes you cry, Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time.”
“I live in a world where two truths coexist: where both hell and hope lie in the palm of my hand”
“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.”

“You look invincible,' my mother said one night.
I loved these times, when we seemed to feel the same thing. I turned to her, wrapped in my thin gown, and said:
I am.”

“You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out. Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room.
Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure.
If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it....
It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me.
I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun.
We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took.
And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things.
They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums.
Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me.
If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe.
Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.”
Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

Monday, 16 September 2013

Amazon Studios inviting script submission -submit your novel.

Amazon Studios has a program inviting script submissions for a chance to earn either $10 000 or $200 000 with a script. Turn your book into a script and earn $200k #writing #writer #author

Here is how it works. By submitting a script to the program, the writer grants Amazon Studios a free 45 days option on the script (down from 18 months, a steep reduction). If the script is deemed interesting by Amazon, they might then buy an 18 months option for $10 000. If they then decide to turn it into a movie, they buy the rights to a movie for $200 000. All money resulting from prizes won by the movie goes to the writer and if the movie makes over $60 million in US box office, the writer gets an additional $400 000.
Submissions can be private or public, and public submissions are opened to script revisions by script doctors. If a revised script is selected, the writer keeps the initial $10 000 or $200 000 fee for his script and shares any prize money with the reviser on a 50-50 basis.
For scripts passing the first hurdle, Amazon Studios will run tests with the public to find out it the script generates interest. Based on the feedback from the public, Amazon Studios will decide whether or not to turn it into a movie. The rational behind their system is to create a crowd base selection system for script as opposed to the current selection system through agents and production companies.
For a book writer, this means that they retain all rights on the book and are only selling the rights to the script. When looking for a publisher, being in a position to say that the script based on the book has been shortlisted by Amazon Studios is a sure way to move a manuscript to the top of the slush pile.
If the book is part of a series and the script is selected to be turned into a movie, the rights to subsequent scripts remain with the writer.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Anais Nin

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Aeon Award is a prestigious fiction writing competition for short stories

The Aeon Award is a prestigious fiction writing competition for short stories in any speculative fiction genre, i.e. fantasy, science fiction, horror or anything in-between or unclassifiable. The Aeon Award short fiction contest has been running since 2004 and has a Grand Prize of €1000 and publication in Albedo One! Second and third place contest prizes are €200 and €100 as well as guaranteed publication in Albedo One, the leading Irish magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror. This year the contest ends on November 30th.
 See website for details

Global Short Story Competition

Global Short Story Competition

And who are we looking for?
Well, we are not looking for the big names of the literary world, rather the talented authors who remain to be discovered, the voices which are as yet unheard, the stories as yet untold, the writers ignored by the publishing industry.
The prize for the monthly competition is £100 to the winner, £25 to the highly commended and £250 for the end of year one.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Writers on Line Short Story Competition

Writing Competitions

Win cash prizes in our short story and poetry creative writing competitionsEnter Short Story and Poetry competitions for your chance to see your winning entry in print and win a cash prize!

Our competitions have prizes of £200 and £50 for short stories, and £100 and £50 for poetry. They are open to all writers, requiring a £4 entry fee, or £3 if you are a Writing Magazine subscriber.

With prizes of £100 and £25, the Writers' News monthly competitions are free to enter, but open only to subscribers.

We also run annual competitions for the Self-Published Book of the Year, with £750 and £250 prizes, and the Writers' Circle Anthology Award. Click the relevant title to download entry forms.

Enjoy subscriber-only competitions and reduced competition entry fees: subscribe today

Writers Digest short Story Competition

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

WOW Short Story Competition


The annual WOW Award admins have appointed the judges for the 2013 award. Elizabeth Reapy is the judge for fiction and Knute Skinner is the judge for poetry.

Elizabeth (EM) Reapy is an Irish writer. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Queen’s University, Belfast, edits and is the director of Shore Writers’ Festival in Enniscrone. She compiled and edited 30 under 30: A Selection of Short Fiction by Thirty Young Irish Writers. In 2013 she was selected as the Irish representative for PEN International’s New Voices Award, where she made the long-list of 6 writers.

Knute Skinner was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but now lives in Co. Clare, Ireland. His collection, Fifty Years: Poems 1957-2007, from Salmon, contained new work along with work taken from thirteen previous books. The Other Shoe won the 2004-2005 Pavement Saw Chapbook Award. A memoir, Help Me to a Getaway, was published by Salmon in March 2010. A new book of poems, Concerned Attentions, was published by Salmon in September 2013.

The WOW! Award has €2100 in prize money plus publication. Stories up to 3000 words. Poems up to 100 lines. Closing date: Thursday October 31st 2013. Full details here



The London Magazine has announced its second short story competition. Entries accepted from now to the 31st of October.

Winner receives £500 and will also be printed in the magazine and online. Second and third place prizes are £300 and £200 and will be featured on their website.
Word count: up to 4,000 (but no flash). Entry fee: £10 per short story. Postal and email entries accepted.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Over the Edge Short List

Over The Edge is holding a special Culture Night open-mic, with prizes for the best readers, at Kenny’s Bookshop & Gallery, Liosbán Retail Park, Tuam Road, Galway on Friday, September 20th, starting 6pm.

The event is open to both poets and prose writers and all are welcome to participate.

The evening will be MCed by Dani Gill of Cúirt and will also see the much awaited announcement of the Short List for 2013 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year, for which Kenny’s is one of the generous sponsors.

Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing 2014

The Jeremy Mogford Prize for Food and Drink Writing 2014 is a major short story competition run by the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in association with Oxford Gastronomica. The winning story will receive £7500.


  • Open to all writers new and established
  • Stories up to 2500 words
  • A food and drink theme must be at the heart of the story

Closing Date

  • October 1, 2013


  • A single writer will win £7500

Entry Fee

  • Free

Full Details

Margaret Atwood

"Writing is like wrestling a greased pig in the dark." - Margaret Atwood

Monday, 9 September 2013

Davy Byrnes Short Story Competition 2014

Davy Byrnes Short Story Award 2014

It's back! We are delighted to announce the return of Ireland's biggest short story competition. €15,000 for the best short story plus five runner-up prizes of €1,000.
And we are thrilled to announce the Competition Judges: Anne Enright, Yiyun Li and Jon McGregor.

—The competition is open to Irish citizens and to residents of the thirty-two counties. Entries must consist of a previously unpublished short story written in English. The maximum word count is 15,000 words, no minimum. Only one story per entrant.

—A full set of rules and entry forms will be made available in advance of the competition being open for entries in December.

—The deadline for receipt of entries is Monday Feb 3rd 2014. There will be a €10 entry fee.

—The six short-listed writers will be announced in late May/early June 2014 and the overall winner announced in June 2014.
This award is sponsored by Davy Byrnes and organised by The Stinging Fly in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Clearances Seamus Heaney


In Memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984

She taught me what her uncle once taught her:
How easily the biggest coal block split
If you got the grain and the hammer angled right.

The sound of that relaxed alluring blow
Its co-opted and obliterated echo,
Taught me to hit, taught me to loosen,

Taught me between the hammer and the block
To face the music. Teach me now to listen,
To strike it rich behind the linear black.

A cobble thrown a hundred years ago
Keeps coming at me, the first stone
Aimed at a great-grandmother's turncoat brow.
The pony jerks and the riot's on.
She's couched low in the trap
Running the gauntlet that first Sunday
Down the brae to Mass at a panicked gallop.
He whips on through the town to cries of 'Lundy!'

Call her 'The Convert.' 'The Exogamous Bride.'
Anyhow, it is a genre piece
Inherited on my mother's side
And mine to dispose with now she's gone.
Instead of silver and Victorian lace
the exonerating, exonerated stone.

Polished linoleum shone there. Brass taps shone.
The china cups were very white and big --
An unchipped set with sugar bowl and jug.
The kettle whistled. Sandwich and tea scone
Were present and correct. In case it run,
The butter must be kept out of the sun.
And don't be dropping crumbs. Don't tilt your chair.
Don't reach. Don't point. Don't make noise when you stir.

It is Number 5, New Row, Land of the Dead,
Where grandfather is rising from his place
With spectacles pushed back on a clean bald head
To welcome a bewildered homing daughter
Before she even knocks. 'What's this? What's this?'
And they sit down in the shining room together.

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives --
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

Fear of affectation made her affect
Inadequacy whenever it came to
Pronouncing words 'beyond her'. Bertold Brek.
She'd manage something hampered and askew
Every time, as if she might betray
The hampered and inadequate by too
Well-adjusted a vocabulary.
With more challenge than pride, she'd tell me, 'You
Know all them things.' So I governed my tongue
In front of her, a genuinely well-
Adjusted adequate betrayal
Of what I knew better. I'd naw and aye
And decently relapse into the wrong
Grammar which kept us allied and at bay.

The cool that came off sheets just off the line
Made me think the damp must still be in them
But when I took my corners of the linen
And pulled against her, first straight down the hem
And then diagonally, then flapped and shook
The fabric like a sail in a cross-wind,
They'd make a dried-out undulating thwack.
So we'd stretch and fold and end up hand to hand
For a split second as if nothing had happened
For nothing had that had not always happened
Beforehand, day by day, just touch and go,
Coming close again by holding back
In moves where I was x and she was o
Inscribed in sheets she'd sewn from ripped-out flour sacks.

In the first flush of the Easter holidays
The ceremonies during Holy Week
Were highpoints of our Sons and Lovers phase.
The midnight fire. The paschal candlestick.
Elbow to elbow, glad to be kneeling next
To each other up there near the front
Of the packed church, we would follow the text
And rubrics for the blessing of the font.
As the hind longs for the streams, so my soul . . .
Dippings. Towellings. The water breathed on.
The water mixed with chrism and oil.
Cruet tinkle. Formal incensation
And the psalmist's outcry taken up with pride:
Day and night my tears have been my bread.

In the last minutes he said more to her
Almost than in their whole life together.
'You'll be in New Row on Monday night
And I'll come up for you and you'll be glad
When I walk in the door . . . Isn't that right?'
His head was bent down to her propped-up head.
She could not hear but we were overjoyed.
He called her good and girl. Then she was dead,
The searching for a pulsebeat was abandoned
And we all knew one thing by being there.
The space we stood around had been emptied
Into us to keep, it penetrated
Clearances that suddenly stood open.
High cries were felled and a pure change happened.

I thought of walking round and round a space
Utterly empty, utterly a source
Where the decked chestnut tree had lost its place
In our front hedge above the wallflowers.
The white chips jumped and jumped and skited high.
I heard the hatchet's differentiated
Accurate cut, the crack, the sigh
And collapse of what luxuriated
Through the shocked tips and wreckage of it all.
Deep-planted and long gone, my coeval
Chestnut from a jam jar in a hole,
Its heft and hush became a bright nowhere,
A soul ramifying and forever
Silent, beyond silence listened for.

2013 Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition winners

Announcing the results of the 2013 Seán Ó Faoláin
International Short Story Competition.
1st & 2nd prize winning stories, and the four runners-up, will be publishedin the December 2013 issue of Southword Journal.

1st Prize
Molia Dumbleton--Illinois, USA
'The Way We Carried Ourselves'

2nd Prize
Danielle McLaughlin--Co Cork, Ireland
'The Others'

Ariel Berry--Indiana, USA
'To the Stranger in the Corner Drawing Wings on a Napkin with a Felt-tip Pen'
Kevin Doyle--Cork, Ireland
'We Should Be Beyond This'
Aoife Fitzpatrick--Dublin, Ireland
'The Observable Universe'
Gaynell Gavin--South Carolina, USA
'Blue Hour'

Highly Commended
Joanna Campbell--Gloucestershire, UK
'When Saturday Stopped'
Tracey Iceton--Stockton-on-Tees, UK
'Butterfly Wings'
P.A. Gallagher--Belfast, Northern Ireland
'The Winner'
Ruth Joffre--Iowa, USA
'Three Sides Surrounded by Mountains, One Side by Water'
Aviya Kushner--Illinois, USA
Sheila Mulhern--Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
'The Thaw'
Siobhan Murtagh--Co Kildare, Ireland
'Praying to Rubens'
Joseph Neal--New York, USA
'The Heavy Man'
Jill Widner--Washington, USA
'When Stars Fell Like Salt Before the Revolution'

Death Of A Naturalist

Death Of A Naturalist

All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the townland; green and heavy headed
Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods.
Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun.
Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles
Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell.
There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring
I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied
Specks to range on window-sills at home,
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
The fattening dots burst into nimble-
Swimming tadpoles. Miss Walls would tell us how
The daddy frog was called a bullfrog
And how he croaked and how the mammy frog
Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was
Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown
In rain.
Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs
Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges
To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus.
Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked
On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped:
The slap and plop were obscene threats. Some sat
Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting.
I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings
Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew
That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

Oxford University Press Story Competition

Oxford University Press Story Writing Competition

What is the competition?

The title of this year’s short story competition is Between Hello and Goodbye. This title was chosen by the author Geraldine McCaughrean when she visited the 2013 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The competition is held in Arabic and English. The closing date is 23 November 2013.
You can find some useful tips on writing a good story here.

What is the prize?

Winners will be honoured at the 2014 Festival, and all the winning entries will appear in a published book. As well as a trophy, each winner will receive five copies of the book and an opportunity to participate in a creative writing workshop.

Who can enter?

There are four age categories with different word limits which relate to your age on 23 November 2013.
Ages 11 and under
up to a maximum of 500 words
Ages 12 – 14
up to a maximum of 1000 words
Ages 15 – 18
up to a maximum of 1500 words
Age 18+ for undergraduates in full-time education
up to a maximum of 1500 words

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

maryhealybooks: Over The Edge Writers Gathering

maryhealybooks: Over The Edge Writers Gathering: September Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering at Galway Arts Centre’s Nuns’ Island Theatre presents Orla McGovern & Australian po...

Digging by Seamus Heaney


Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

Over The Edge Writers Gathering

September Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering
at Galway Arts Centre’s
Nuns’ Island Theatre
Orla McGovern & Australian poets Robyn Rowland, Andy Jackson & Rachael Guy
Máire T. Robinson’s short story chapbook
 Your Mixtape Unravels my Heart
(Doire Press)
Nicki Griffin’s The Skipper & Her Mate
(New Island Books)

The September Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering presents readings by Orla McGovern and visiting Australians Robyn Rowland, Andy Jackson & Rachael Guy plus the Galway launch of Between Time by Máire T. Robinson & The Skipper & Her Mate by Nicki Griffin. The event will take place at Galway Arts Centre’s NUNS’ ISLAND THEATRE, Nuns’ Island, Galway on Friday, September 13th, 8pm. All are welcome. There is no cover charge.

Órla Mc Govern is a Writer and Performer living in Galway.  Her work has been commissioned for theatre, film, print and radio projects; including outdoor mythological sagas, political art, radio drama for The Guinness Hopstore, and a floating panto on The Liffey.  She was awarded first place in the Eamonn Kelly Storytelling Competition, in Listowel Writers’ Week, and is the founding member of ‘Moth & Butterfly’, a night of Story and Improvisation. She is a contributor to Liam Duffy’s recently published Artistic Atlas of Galway.

Nicki Griffin has been writing a very popular column for the Inland Waterways Newsmagazine since 2002. The Skipper & Her Mate is her first book. Nicki also writes poetry and is an editor of the acclaimed poetry newspaper Skylight 47. She was the poetry winner in the 2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition. Nicki’s debut poetry collection, Unbelonging, will be published later this year by Salmon Poetry.

Máire T. Robinson lives in Dublin City. She graduated from NUI, Galway in 2008 with a Masters in Writing. Since then, her short stories have been published in the Irish IndependentHorizon ReviewCrannógCuadrivio (in Spanish Translation), Boyne BerriesWordlegsWOW! Anthology, Writing4all Anthology, the Chattahoochee Review and Telmetale Bloomnibus (a Ulysses-inspired e-book produced by The Irish Writers’ Centre). She was nominated for a Hennessy Literary Award in Emerging Fiction in 2012. Her debut chapbook collection of short stories, Your Mixtape Unravels my Heart, is the prize awarded Máire for winning the 2013 Doire Press International Fiction Chapbook Competition. 

Andy Jackson has performed at dozens of events and festivals (including The Age Melbourne Writers Festival, Prakriti Poetry Festival [in Chennai, India], Goa Literary & Arts Festival, Australian Poetry Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival, Newcastle Young Writers Festival and Overload Poetry Festival), had poems published in a variety of print and on-line journals, been awarded grants from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria, been the recipient of an Australian Society of Authors mentorship, and self-published two collections of poetry. His most recent collection of poems, Among the Regulars,was published by papertiger media in 2010 – this book was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Prize for Poetry (the Kenneth Slessor Prize) and Highly Commended in the Anne Elder Award.  Andy has the genetic condition Marfan Syndrome.  He is currently based in Melbourne.

Rachael Guy is a multi-disciplinary artist who makes visual theatre with puppetry. She has also worked as theatre professional for the past decade as a performer/singer and writer in the field of contemporary, experimental music theatre. Most recently she has worked as an arts worker with Arts Project Australia, assisting and facilitating art making with artists with intellectual disability. In 2009 Rachael collaborated with Andy Jackson on a poetry/puppetry work Ambiguous Mirrors which featured at Overload Festival 2009. In 2012 the first iteration of Rachael’s full-length solo work Hutch premiered at TheTarrengower Puppetfest in Central Victoria. This piece was staged underground in a disused gold mine and combined live music, puppetry and physical theatre.

Robyn Rowland has regularly visited Ireland since 1983 and lived there over extended periods of time in Connemara. She has read her poetry and given workshops at among others: Cúirt International Festival of Literature(2004), Éigse Michael Hartnett;  Listowel Writers Week; Boyle Arts Festival; Yeats Society, Sligo;  Scriobh, Sligo;  Clifden Community Arts Week; October Arts in Ennis, Co Clare; Kings House Boyle, Roscommon; The Australian Arts and Culture Festival 1999, Dublin (where her third book Fiery Waters  was launched by the Australian Ambassador). In 2009 she was guest in Istanbul at SiirIstanbul’09, and in Belgrade at the International Writers Meeting 2009; in 2010 at Sarajevo Poetry Days and Austrian Universities in Vienna, Graz and Klagenfurt. In 1996 Robyn was made an Officer in the Order of Australia by the Australian Government for her contribution to higher education and women’s health.

There is no entrance fee.
For further information contact 087-6431748.