One City One Book , Dundrum Library, Listowel Writers’ Week

 In Events, News

Easter has come and gone and it seems as though the winter is determined to hang on until it’s worn us all down to shreds. It’s just as well that this is Dublin’s One City One Book month – it means there are lots of indoor activities to dispel the gloom of grey skies and relentless rain.
The celebrations for The Long Gaze Back got going in fine style in the beautiful surroundings of Regent House, Trinity College Dublin.

That was last Thursday, the 5th April, and Eilís Ní Dhuibhne read from her wonderful story ‘The Coast of Wales’.

A poignant story about loss and grief and moving on, it is nonetheless a clear-eyed and often very funny narrative about a woman visiting her ex-husband’s grave as she reflects on their long life together.

Trinity’s Mornington Singers provided several musical interludes, much to the enjoyment of the audience.

There were also discussions about the work of Mary Lavin, Elizabeth Bowen and Maria Edgeworth – just some of the delights to be read, and reread, in this featured anthology of short stories by women, edited by Sinéad Gleeson.

On Saturday 7th, I had the real pleasure of taking part in an event in the New Theatre in Temple Bar.

This is such a lovely space, and Anthony Fox and Jane McCarthy made us all most welcome.

‘Us’ being four of the writers whose work is part of The Long Gaze Back: Anne Devlin, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Eilís Ní Dhuibhne and Lia Mills – and myself, as chair.

Thanks, too, to Jackie Lynam from the One City One Book team for making sure that everything ran smoothly.

Four talented actors read the stories to a rapt and attentive audience: Rose Henderson, Susie Lambe, Katie O’Kelly and Geraldine Plunkett. Two of the readings were directed by Caroline Fitzgerald and two by Anthony Fox.

The discussion afterwards was lively and inclusive and nobody seemed to mind that we ran over by about an hour. Always the sign of a good event.

There are so many interesting events to choose from in April. Make sure to follow the link to the One City One Book site, and remember that most of the events are free.

Writing workshops at Dundrum Library

Last Thursday, I began a series of writing workshops at Dundrum Library.

The workshops will run for four weeks, with each session lasting two hours.

We had a most enjoyable time on Thursday 5th and I’m looking forward to seeing what the participants have written when we meet again on the 12th.


Workshops on Character and Dialogue at Irish Writers’ Centre

Spring is definitely the time of year when teaching creative writing courses seems to have its moment.

I’ve become aware over the years, though, that although people are keen to enrol in a course that will help them focus on their writing, not everybody is in a position to sign up for a ten-week, or even a six-week commitment.

So, the Irish Writers’ Centre and I have put our heads together and come up with a different approach.

On the 28th and 29th of May, I will be giving two intensive workshops on Character and Dialogue. On each evening, the workshop will last for three hours, and we will focus on how to develop a fictional character, layer by layer, and how to construct authentic dialogue.

The idea is to have two intensive sessions, back to back, so that participants can kickstart their projects and give their personal creativity a shot in the arm.

The commitment is minimal – just two evenings – and the days are bound to be longer and brighter then…


Listowel Writers’ Week

I’m very happy to be a guest at Listowel Writers’ Week again, from 30th May until 3rd June.

This year, I’ll be giving an Advanced Creative Writing workshop over three days, during which I’ll focus on the challenges that every writer has to grapple with at some stage: how to develop a distinctive authorial voice; how to create living, breathing characters; how to structure a plot; how to work through ‘blocks’ and the importance of developing an objective, critical eye when editing one’s own work.


Listowel is a terrific place to be during Writers’ Week. Plenty of stimulating events, plenty of good conversation and inspiration to be found on every street corner. There are still some places left for Advanced Creative Writing – but it’s booking up fast.

Sign up today and see you there!


And finally: it was a real thrill to have ‘The Years That Followed’ nominated for the International Dublin Literary Prize.

The short list was announced last Thursday 5th – what a busy day it was! – and I’m delighted to see Eimear McBride and Mike McCormack have both been shortlisted for their novels ‘The Lesser Bohemians’ and ‘Solar Bones’.

Congratulations to both.

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