Essentials of Writing Fiction workshop with Claire Keegan & Viv McDade

This workshop will run in The Millrace Hotel, Bunclody
On July 14 & 15, 2012.

It will incorporate lectures and discussions, audio clips and movie scenes, group and individual writing exercises. Participants will read sample texts which illustrate specific characteristics of well and poorly written fiction. Short examples, handouts and reading recommendations will be provided.

Participants will be asked to write an opening page before they come to the workshop. This page will not be reviewed: its purpose is to give you an understanding of some of the difficulties in getting started and to provide a piece of ‘raw material’ to which you can apply (both during and after the workshop) some of what you have learned.

The workshop will begin at 10h00 and conclude at approximately 16h00 on both days. A booking can be made by sending an e-mail (with Essentials of Fiction Workshop in the subject field) and your telephone number to The €250.00 workshop fee covers tuition & tea/coffee only.

Your tutors:

Claire Keegan grew up in Wicklow and studied English and Politics at Loyola University, New Orleans. Her debut collection of stories, Antarctica, was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and won The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. The second collection, Walk the Blue Fields, was published to huge critical acclaim and was chosen by Richard Ford as his book of the year in 2007. Foster won the Davy Byrnes Award, was published in The New Yorker and shortlisted for the Kerry Fiction Prize for Irish Fiction, 2011. Claire has also earned an outstanding reputation as a teacher of creative writing. She lives in rural Ireland.

Viv McDade was born in Ireland, grew up in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa and The Netherlands before returning to Ireland. An English and Psychology Honours graduate, she was Head of English Department at Hillside Teacher Training College in Zimbabwe, before moving into management and consultant roles in South African and European organisations. After her return to Ireland she completed an M.Phil in Creative Writing at Trinity College. Her stories have been read on radio and published in literary journals and anthologies, including the 2011 Faber Book of New Irish Short Stories, edited by Joseph O’Connor. In April 2012 she received the Hennessey Emerging Fiction award for 2011. She lives in Dublin and is working on a collection of short stories.

An attempt to read my stories!

Come hear me read a couple of stories and my first attempt at poetry!
Our group, the Carlow Cooperative Writers’ Group have been working hard! In association and supported by the Carlow Library and Eigse Carlow Festival, we have nearly completed a series of workshops with Ken Bourke.
On Tuesday, 12th June at 6:30 in Carlow Library, we will read 2 of our pieces to an audience(we hope!)
Afterwards, we take the literary chat to the very literary Carlovian pub, Teach Dolmen. There will be a great range of genres, content, style amongst the flash fiction, short stories and poetry.
Oh, and the very lovely Mr. Lewis will be reading his stuff too!

Irish short stories writers

New things to read!
I asked the nice book lady in Hodges Figgis bookshop where I might find the Irish Short Story section. I shouldn’t have as I became overwhelmed by all the books I can buy! I narrowed it down to 2. Eilis ni Dhuibhne’s “The shelter of neighbours” and Mary Costello “The China Factory”
I had consumed Kevin Barry’s 2 short story collections and needed some new Irish fiction to keep me going.
“the shelter of neighbours” is Eilis Ni Dhuibhne’s 6th short story collection, I am a complete-ish newbie to all of this. Having finished an English and classics degree in UCD and having typical student priorities, I know I have missed out on some brilliant stuff so…I’m taking my time now!
Eilis’ first story is called “The man who has no story” the title being a reference to an old Irish folk tale of a man who…didn’t have a story! Anyway, this short story is about a teacher, Finn of creative writing who doesn’t have a a story, doesn’t have a marriage, happy life but deserves it. Well, I think he does. He wants to write but can’t. His life is a blur of dreams, a narky wife with a back problem, an adult son who sleeps all day and…rats invade his house. The ending is crafted well, Finn drives by a sign on the road and it just leaves us with a bit of hope…

My buddy, the poet!

My buddy is a real poet!
It had to happen.
I’m an obsessive member of the Carlow Writers Co-operative group and the leading member is a guy called Derek Coyle. Derek has been writing, reading and generally studying the poetic craft for years and years now. Last Tuesday, he was selected by Poetry Ireland to read a selection of his poetry in the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin.
He did brilliantly, keeping the crowd entertained with background information and amusing observations…and he read a couple of his poems. I think he is completely unique and I think his writing is very important. We are proud of Derek!
Keep an eye out for Mr Coyle!