Sunday, 23 March 2014

Glimmer Train Short Story Competition

Glimmer Train's Family Matters Contest
Deadline: March 31, 2014
Follow glimmertrain on Twitter
1st place wins $1,500 and, of course, publication in Glimmer Train Stories.
2nd place wins $500, or, if published, $700.
3rd place wins $300, or, if published, $700.
Make a Submission
It's our job as writers to find the moment of crisis in a story—that moment when a character's normal life has been jolted in some profound way. We need to let the reader share in this moment.—Patrick Hicks

Other considerations:
Stories about families of all configurations are welcome! (Writing Guidelines)
Most submissions run 1,500 to 6,000 words, but up to 12,000-word stories are fine.
Reading fee is $15 per story. Please, no more than 3 submissions per category.
Winners and finalists will be officially announced in the June 1 bulletin, and contacted directly by the previous week.
As always, simultaneous submissions are okay. Please notify immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere.
Stories accepted for publication are presented in a highly regarded print publication where literary short fiction persists in the real world and beyond the next post.

Over The Edge Poetry Readings

Breda Spaight, Maureen Curran & Afric McGlinchey for March Over The Edge: Open Reading

The March ‘Over The Edge: Open Reading’ takes place in Galway City Library on Thursday, March 27th, 6.30-8.00pm. The Featured Readers are Afric McGlinchey, Breda Spaight & Maureen Curran. There will as usual be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are especially welcome.

Breda Spaight is a poet and novelist from Co Limerick. Her poems have appeared in The Stony Thursday Book, Revival, and Skylight 47. Two of her poems are forthcoming in The SHOp (2014), and one in ROPES (2014). Competition shortlists include, Listowel single poem (2007), Dead Good Poetry Prize (2013), Red Line Poetry Competition (2013) and Over The Edge New Writer of the Year (2013). She has an M.Phil. in creative writing, Trinity College. Her debut novel God on the Wall received wide critical acclaim. She was a guest reader at the Paris Book Fair (2005).

Maureen Curran lives in Donegal where she is a teacher. She is one of the organisers of the North West Words readings in Letterkenny. She writes with The Garden Room Writers and her poems have appeared in Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Envoi, Poetry Bus, Revival, the Stony Thursday Book, Skylight 47, Southword and Word Bohemia. Her flash fiction has been published online by She blogs with her group at

Afric McGlinchey’s debut poetry collection, The lucky star of hidden things, based partly on her upbringing in Zimbabwe,was published in 2012 by Salmon. Published translations of her work have appeared in Irish, Spanish and Italian. She has been invited to read and give talks at festivals in South Africa, Northern Ireland, France, Zimbabwe and Italy as well as Ireland. A Pushcart nominee, Afric received the Hennessy Poetry Award for 2010 and the Northern Liberties Poetry Award for 2012. Her website is

As usual there will be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always most welcome at the open-mic. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars. For further details phone 087-6431748.

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of Galway City Council & The Arts Council. 

STARTING VERY SOON Spring Beginners & Intermediate Creative Writing Classes at Galway Technical Institute BOOK NOW

The South Circular now seeking short story submissions

THE SOUTH CIRCULAR Issue 9 March 2014 cover © Dave Comiskey

Issue 9 is now on sale

Issue 9 is published today and features the graphic design of Dave Comiskey on the cover and stories by Gila Green, Mary McGill, Mary O'Donoghue and Warwick Sprawson. These stories address the universal concern of belonging and the consequences of dropping out of a scene, a family or a social tide.

Of his cover design, Dave says: I started this cover by drawing objects that I thought might potentially play an important part in an imagined story, things that a plot could hinge on. By coincidence, some of these drawings looked like some of the letters that make up the words SOUTH CIRCULAR, which admittedly made things a whole lot more interesting, and it all fell together from there.
Buy Issue 9

2nd Birthday Promo Code


Remember you can avail of our 2nd birthday discount of 20% when you purchase two or more issues of our ejournal by entering TERRIBLE2S at the checkout.

This discount applies to any combination of two or more issues you purchase and is valid between 20 March & 25 June

Submit to Issue 10

Issue 10 will be published in June (from Toronto!) and we are now taking story submissions until Monday, 7 April. Remember, we've upped our word limit to 2,500 words. Read our submission guidelines before sending us your work. We are waiting! 

Stinging Fly short story submissions closing date

Submissions — closing March 31st 
Our submission period for poetry and prose closes on Monday, March 31st. All work received or post-marked on this date will be considered for our issue in October 2014. Work submitted outside of this period will likely be lost or mislaid, so please do submit before March 31st!

* No more than one story and/or four poems should be submitted during any one submission period.
* Short stories and poems should always be just as long (or as short) as they need to be. (In our Winter 2012-13 issue the longest story is over 5,000 words; the shortest has less than 600.)

* The postal address for submissions is: The Stinging Fly, PO Box 6016, Dublin 1, Ireland. At present, we do not accept e-mail submissions.

Only 10 days until it closes, so do get polishing and submitting!

Bad Advice: 10 writers on the tips they chose to ignore

Over on our blog, we asked ten writers to talk about the worst advice they've ever received. And the outcome is a very frank and head nod-inducing account of the importance of going your own way...

Featuring: Colin Barrett, Niamh Boyce, Gavin Corbett, Rob Doyle, Sarah Maria Griffin, Eimear McBride, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Billy Ramsell, Daniel Seery, Dimitra Xidous


Don’t Be Selfish!

‘Don't be selfish’—that's one you hear a lot, especially growing up from parents, guardians, teachers and so on. It's terrible advice for writers though. Writing practically demands that one exhibit a high degree of selfishness. Not I hasten to add with regard to money, prizes and acclaim but when it comes to time, that most definitively finite of commodities. Can you taste it in the back of your mouth? The almost tangibly metallic tang of wasted time as you sit there reading this blog? Writing, especially for those of us not in the position to go at it full-time, requires a maniacal degree of possessiveness about your every spare quarter hour. It means letting down and fobbing off lovers and dependents, cousins and confidants. You have to master the gentle art of inflicting disappointment.
—Billy Ramsell

Anam Cara Writing Reteat

One of Ireland's finest young poets, Leanne O'Sullivan, will now be guiding a poetry workshop for beginning and working poets in July; see details below.
Also included here are the other incredible workshop retreats scheduled for 2014.  Places in these workshops are on a first-deposit-in basis.  For more information and to book a place in one of these or your own retreat to work on your own project, get in touch with Sue at


David Hazard
Writing with Fire:  Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers
Led by David Hazard
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 10 May 2014
Departure:  Saturday, 17 May 2014

"The week will help you find or further explore your voice as a writer. Voice is the edge every acquisition editor and contest judge looks for, beneath the writer's technical skill.  Your voice - your fire, if you will -- is what gives your writing, from first to last, its true and lasting brilliance."

         There are only two places left in this workshop retreat.

* * * * *

Evelyn Dunphy 2013
Painting the Wild Coast of Ireland Workshop Retreat

Led by:  Evelyn Dunply (

One-week residential workshop retreat
Arrival:  31 May 2014
Departure:  7 June 2014

This workshop retreat is fully booked.
  "Plein Air View of Beara" by Evelyn Dunphy  

Transforming Your Memories into Life Stories
 Led by Solveig Eggerz

A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 7 June 2014
Departure:  Saturday, 13 June 2014

"Your story is only as strong as your characters. Unleash your imagination in this class and generate credible characters who face internal and external conflict. Learn how conflict relates to plot and moves the story forward. Each day we'll build into your writing different aspects of story, including scene, point of view, dialogue, narrator, and time. This class will give you the tools for generating writing and, thus, overcoming writer's block. We will draw on other art forms, including the age-old, oral storytelling tradition."


Leanne O'Sullivan  
Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Writing Workshop 

Led by:  Leanne O'Sullivan

A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 19 July 2014
Departure:  Saturday, 26 July 2014

"This workshop is for those who would like to begin to write poetry or those who would like to develop poems they have already started.  The main aim of my workshops is to encourage writers through discussion, exercise based and free writing, while also allowing them to take risks in a supportive environment.  Each session will focus on a different topic, such as imagery, perspective, storytelling, rhythm and form.  Everything a writer needs is inside of themselves, and it's my goal to help them refine the effectiveness of how they communicate their subject matter." 

Kim Richardson   
Loosening the Bonds - A Silent, Guided, Elements Retreat

Retreat Leader:  Kim Richardson 

A Week-long Residential Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 16 August 2014
Departure:  Saturday, 23 August 2014

"This retreat is designed to help loosen the bonds of our attachment to the "false self," going beyond and inward to awaken to the freedom and beauty of our real Self, and the wellspring of our creativity. To help in this process of Self-awakening, we work with silence (we keep silence, as a group, during the five days and nights of the main retreat), with the ancient concept of the Elements, and with guided and silent meditations and practices (visualizations, mantra recitation, and walking practices)." 

This silent retreat is limited to 7 participants.


Traditional Irish Lace Making
Led by Fiona Harrington

A Week-long Residential Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 6 September 2014
Departure:  Saturday, 13 September 2014

"This workshop is designed for those who have an interest in learning about the Traditional Art of Lace Making in Ireland. No previous Lace Making knowledge is necessary but knowing how to thread a needle is definitely an advantage. The aim of this workshop is to provide each participant with the knowledge and direction needed to engage with Traditional Lace techniques and create a unique and personal piece of Lace.  Many Lace Makers believe that there is a meditative quality to Lace Making that allows the Maker to connect with each and every moment as you focus your concentration entirely on the tip of a needle."


Master Class in Poetry
Led by Bernard O'Donoghue

A Week-long Residential Retreat
Arrival:  Saturday, 11 October 2014
Departure: Saturday, 18 October 2014

"I grew up in rural North Cork, in a place famous for traditional music and for poetry in Irish from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These things led to deep-rooted interests in linguistic things, and especially literature, both written and oral. I went to school in Manchester (my mother's place of origin) when I was 16, and my obsessions from then on were Latin, English literature and music (including classical music at the Halle). I have lived in Oxford since 1965, and my main inspirations have been medieval literature: Chaucer and Dante and above all, the shorter poems in Old and Middle English. The Anglo-Saxon elegies are my model for the perfectly formed lyric poem." 
       For many years, Bernard has spent time on and been inspired by the Beara Peninsula.  His Master Class will focus on using such places and time as subject matter and/or inspiration as he guides participating poets in enhancing their poetic gifts.                           

Scotland Writing Residency - Fiction

The deadline for the Brora residency is July 31, 2014.
The Scotland Writing Residency is located in Brora, a coastal village in the east of Sutherland in the Highland area of Scotland. The writer resides, for one week during summer or fall, in a furnished and recently renovated, traditional croft cottage, containing three-bedrooms. It enjoys uninterrupted views southwards over the Moray Firth and providing open access to the beaches, hills, burns, lochs and the beautiful unspoiled sandy beaches. It is a perfect base for hill and coastal walks, scenic drives and touring the Northern Highlands.

A short drive will take you to Loch Brora with its superb Pictic sites or up the more rugged Glen Loth to the lookout point on the shoulder of Beinn Dhorain. The area abounds with an interesting array of wildlife including Arctic Terns, Herons, Cormorants, and Otters on the River Brora. Deer abound on the surrounding hills and can be seen near Loch Brora.

Towels and linen included; off-street parking available; open fire. Washing machine, dryer, stove/cooker, and fridge. It is suggested that the writer bring a car with them on the residency.

The Scotland Writing Residency awards a free one-week stay in the Brora cottage based on a completed application. The residency does not come with a cash prize. Applications for the SWR are chosen by a peer-review committee. To apply, candidates are required to submit all of the following as ONE PDF or Word document by
July 31st, and the winner will be notified between August and September:

For the Scotland Writing Residency all of the below should be included in a Single WORD or PDF document submitted through (creating an account is free and quick):
* 25 pages of fiction.
* A CV, including a publication list, and your full contact information.
* Contact Information for two references.

Do not include any additional material (cover letter, reference letters, books, etc.). Again, applications must be received by
July 31st. You can email with any questions you might have.

Writing for stage screen and radio opportunity

The Nick Darke Award
celebrates the best writing for stage, screen and radio, awarding the winner £6000 to allow them to complete their script. It is open to all writers aged over 16. The first submission stage involves outlining an idea in the form of a 25 word or less pitch, followed by an outline for the story idea in 750 words, suggesting character, plot and structure. Applicants are asked to also submit 20 pages that represent their writing, either in the form of a new or existing piece. Entries close 14 April.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Mslexia-short story -how to win a competition


From the Mslexia Workshops Collection

How to Win a Short Story Competition

by Debbie Taylor

Mslexia’s Women’s Short Story Competition 2014 is now open for entries, with a first prize of £2,000. To help you craft a winning story, here’s some guidance from some of our previous judges.

1 - Choose intriguing subject matter

One of the easiest way to make your story unique is to set it somewhere exotic, or write about a topic (ornithology, millinery, billiards) that has its own wonderful language.
I longed to read about something extraordinary.’ Tracy Chevalier
Consider writing about science, history, philosophy, politics, travel… Subject matter that will set your story apart.’ Sara Maitland

2 - Make something happen

A short story should chronicle a transformation or change; so steer clear of static scenarios and internal monologues. And make the change concrete if possible.
I like a story with movement rather than a snapshot in time.’ Val McDermid
I prefer a tale driven by events, by conflict between characters.’ Kate Mosse

3 - Don’t use an extract from your novel

Novel extracts make unsatisfying short stories. The pace of a novel is different; because the characters are on a longer journey. The novel walks, where the story needs to run.
A short story must go somewhere, and actually arrive in the span of its short life.’ Maggie Gee
Some stories ruled themselves out by dint of their sheer formlessless.’ Helen Simpson

4 - Purge those clichés

Raise your description to another level by spending some quality time with every adjective and adverb. Could you find better ones? Could you leave any out? Could you replace that simile with a metaphor?
I think metaphor is far stronger than simile.’ Stella Duffy
I always prefer writing that is brilliant but flawed to something less ambitious that’s almost perfect.’ Patience Agbabi

5 - Focus on an unusual character

If you decide to write about something you have experienced, try transposing it into the life of someone wilder, uglier, madder, badder than you are – and see what happens.
You don’t need to have great thoughts, just great characters.’ Deborah Moggach
Step away from yourself and look out into the world. You’re not as interesting as you think!' Tracy Chevalier

6 - Write in first person

A surefire way to hook a reader and get them involved is to slip inside your main character’s skin and look at the world through their eyes.
It’s no coincidence that the top prizewinning stories were all written in the first person.’ Jill Dawson
Try rewriting your story in first person; it will come alive.’ Deborah Moggach

This feature has been devised especially for the Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition, judged by Jackie Kay.

Words with Jam First Page competition now open

Our popular first page competition is back. We're looking for the most captivating first page (up to 400 words) of a story. Entries can be from a novel published, unpublished, a part written novel, or simply a first page written purely for the competition. Entries will be judged anonymously. Prizes 1st Prize - £500 2nd Prize - £100 3rd Prize - £50 Closing Date 31st May 2014 Results All three winning entries will be published in August 2014 on the Words with JAM website. All entrants will be notified via email with the results. Judge: Orna Ross In 2011, in what she describes as the best move of her writing life, Orna took her rights back from her publisher, Penguin, to republish her books herself, with the titles and treatment she had originally envisaged for them. The experience led her to launch The Alliance of Independent Authors the following year at London Book Fair. Having enjoyed a 20-year career in media publishing and creative teaching, mentoring and facilitation, she is greatly excited by how author-publishing is now democratising the business of books. Orna writes novels and poems and the Go Creative! series, which teaches the application of creative principles and practices to everyday life. “What I love most about author-publishing is the creative freedom,” she says. “You become the creative director of the book from inspiration to publication — and beyond. What I love most about ALLi is being in daily connection with such an engaged, talented, forward-thinking group of authors who are changing not only the status of writers in the industry but also, and more importantly, what we read — and how.” Orna blogs regularly on her Author Blog, on ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice blog and for many other websites and publications.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Stinging Fly open for poetry and prose

Submissions — open March 1st 

We are open for poetry and prose submissions from March 1st to March 31st.

Work submitted to us in this period will be considered for our issue in October 2014. Work submitted outside of this period will likely be lost or mislaid, so please do submit before March 31st.

* No more than one story and/or four poems should be submitted during any one submission period.
* Short stories and poems should always be just as long (or as short) as they need to be. (In our Winter 2012-13 issue the longest story is over 5,000 words; the shortest has less than 600.)

* The postal address for submissions is: The Stinging Fly, PO Box 6016, Dublin 1, Ireland. At present, we do not accept e-mail submissions.

Glimmer Train seeks short story submissions

Frank Mitchell & Helga Burmeister Mitchell, c 1940.
    Upcoming deadline:
  • Family Matters. 1st: $1,500, and publication. Deadline: March 31.
  • A bit of 2013 data as we report the results of the December Fiction Open: 7 of 12 of our 2013 1st-place winners were women—please don't feel bad, guys, it all goes in waves—and 8 of 12 winning stories were those authors' 1st fiction publications.
  • Most submissions come in at 1,500-6,500 words, but any lengths up to 12,000 words are welcome.
  • Winners and finalists will be announced in the June bulletin, and contacted directly by May 27th.

Fish Publishing open for submissions

Poetry Prize: €1,000
The ten best poems will be published in the 2014 Fish Anthology.
This year's judge, Ruth Padel, is a British poet and writer with close connections to conservation, wildlife, Greece and music. She has published a novel, eight works of non-fiction and eight poetry collections, most recently The Mara Crossing, which mixes poems and prose.

Closing Date: 31 March 2014
Results: 15 May
Anthology Published: July 2014
Max. Length: 300 Words
Submission Fee: €14
First Prize: €1,000
Second Prize: A week in residence at Anam Cara Writers and Artists Retreat in West Cork.

Over The Edge Writers gathering.Cuirt festival news

Over The Edge March Writers’ Gathering at The Kitchen @ The Museum

The Over The Edge March Writers’ Gathering presents readings by visiting and Galway poets. Christopher Locke, Enda Coyle Greene, Alan Jude Moore, Bernie Crawford, Kevin O’Shea & Marie Cadden will read their work at The Kitchen @ The Museum, Spanish Arch, Galway on Friday, March 14th, 8pm.

Christopher Locke was born in Laconia, New Hampshire in 1968. He is the author of the poetry collections How To Burn (Adastra Press, 1995), Slipping Under Diamond Light (Clamp Down Press, 2002), Possessed (Editor’s Choice Award, Main Street Rag Press, 2005), The Temple of Many Hands (Dead Drunk Dublin Press, 2010), End of American Magic (Salmon Poetry, 2010), Waiting For Grace & Other Poems (Turning Point, 2013) and the memoir Can I Say (Kattywompus Press, 2013). Billy Collins says Locke’s poetry will have you “helplessly engaged.”

Enda Coyle-Greene was born in Dublin where she still lives.  She has published widely in journals and anthologies in Ireland and elsewhere and is also a frequent contributor on RTE radio.  The manuscript of her first collection poems, Snow Negatives, won the Patrick Kavanagh award in 2006 and was published by the Dedalus Press the following year.  Her second collection, Map of the Last, also from Dedalus, was published in 2013.

Alan Jude Moore is the author of four collections of poetry: Black State Cars (Salmon Publishing, 2004), Lost Republics (Salmon Poetry, 2008), Strasbourg (Salmon Poetry, 2010) and Zinger (Salmon Poetry, 2013). Widely published in Ireland and abroad, he has read at venues around the world including The Troubadour Club (London), Riflessidiversi (Umbria, Italy), The Nabokov Museum (St. Petersburg), The Henry Miller Memorial Library (California) and the Istanbul International Poetry Festival (Turkey). He is co-editor of the online literary magazine The Burning Bush 2. He lives in Dublin. 

Bernie Crawford won the 2013 Galway Rape Crisis Centre Poetry competition, judged by Clare Daly TD and Kevin Higgins. Bernie is one of the editors of the Skylight 47 poetry paper, probably Ireland’s most interesting poetry publication.

Kevin O’Shea won the 2012 Cúirt New Writing Prize for Poetry. His first collection of poetry, The Art of Non-Fishing, was published by Doire Press in 2012. Kevin is one of the editors of Skylight 47.

Marie Cadden won the 2011 Cúirt New Writing Prize for Poetry. Her satirical poem, ‘Mammogram’, is a contemporary classic. She is an editor of Skylight 47.

There is no entrance fee.  All welcome. For further information contact 087-6431748.
Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of the Arts Council and Galway City Council.
Tuesday, March 4th, 6pm @ The House Hotel 
- the 2014 Cúirt Festival programme
will be launched by Patrick Lonergan

The 2014 Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open for entries

The 2014 Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open for entries

The Wasafiri New Writing Prize is open to anyone worldwide who has not published a complete book. We are looking for creative submissions in one of three categories: Poetry, Fiction and Life Writing. To enter, simply fill in the entry form and send it to us with your entry and fee of UK Sterling £6 if entering one category, £10 for two and £15 for three categories. The closing date is 5pm GMT on 25 July 2014.
A maximum of 5 poems can be entered and the word limit for Fiction and Life Writing is 3000. Other terms and conditions apply.
£300 will be awarded to the winner in each category and their work will be published in Wasafiri.
To obtain an entry form please email