A Date – With An Agent?

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 Dreaming of writing a bestseller?
Five leading agents are looking for you!

The International Literature Festival Dublin, In association with The Inkwell Group and Writing.ie, is running Date With An Agent 2015 – Ireland’s largest ever talent-spotting event.

They are looking for 75 top quality authors to pitch their work to 5 leading literary agents keen to sign new talent on 16th May 2015.

Submissions to the event will be assessed by Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and a team of consultants from The Inkwell Group.  Experienced literary scouts Inkwell have assisted award winning and bestselling authors to publication and will be reading every application, matching the selected authors to agents including:

  • Simon Trewin, Partner and Head of Literary at WME
  • Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates
  • Clare Wallace, Darley Anderson Literary, TV and Film agency
  • Julia Churchill, AM Heath
  • Paul Feldstein, Feldstein Literary Agency

Don’t forget the closing date for submissions is midnight, Friday, 27th March.

Full details available here – and don’t forget to drop back
and share your news . . .logo-ilfdublin-black

Good luck!

Portrait of the Author:

Ger Holland Photography Exhibition

Ger_Holland_Photos

Now there’s an exhibition not to be missed!

Ger Holland – a young freelance photographer based in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown – has her very first Photography Exhibition in dlr LexIcon running 4 March until 30 April.

I’ve been friends with Ger since we met some years ago in the Irish Writers Centre and although she’s a great writer, she’s an absolutely brilliant photographer with an eye for detail that transforms each shot into a unique and priceless piece of work. Ger has managed to capture shots of celebrity chefs, actors, musicians and writers and most recently has specialised in event photography where she has covered numerous literary gatherings including book launches, signings and festivals.

Ger has been photographing authors who have participated in the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival and also the dlr Library Voices series since 2012.

This exhibition provides an opportunity to highlight the vitality, energy and perception of her portraits.

Date:  Wednesday, 4 March – Thursday, 30 April
Venue:  dlr LexIcon, Haigh Terrace, Moran Park, Dún Laoghaire
Admission: Free

You can catch a flavour of Ger’s work from her website http://www.gerhollandphotography.com and check out what others have to say:

” A joy to work with, Ger exceeds expectations at every shoot, blending seamlessly with guests, unobtrusively getting the shots required. I have used her on countless occasions to supply shots of everything from big busy events with high profile guests, to individual portraits. I cannot recommend her highly enough!
Vanessa O’ Loughlin, Writing.ie

It’s always a pleasure to see Ger Holland at my book events because I know that she’ll produce lovely work, and do it unobtrusively and sensitively. She’s a star.”
John Connolly, Writer

In a relatively short space of time Ger Holland has become synonymous with event photography in the country’s capital. I absolutely look forward to witnessing the many exciting endeavors of this shooting star into the future.
Louise Phillips, Writer

Writing Competitions

Check out the latest short story and poetry competition listings below, no excuses – get writing!

Scottish Arts Club Short Story Competition
Deadline: 31 March 2015
Written Word: Short stories up to 1,500 words
Entry:  £10 per story

the Bridport Prize – Short Story
Deadline: 31 May 2015
Written Word: Short stories up to 5,000 words
Entry:  £9 per story

Artyfacts on KFM – Interned

I was delighted to have Interned featured on KFM Artyfacts, hosted by Brenda Drumm, on 6 August 2014. You can listen to the Podcast here.

Interned was also chosen for inclusion in Original Writing from Ireland’s Own, Anthology, 2012. You can read it below:Ballykinlar, 1921

Eighty year old, Jim, received a call from his older sister Monica, asking if he could repair the old piano in the parlour of their family home. It was there, hidden inside, that he discovered the bundle of letters. He opened twined knots to release a dozen, off-white faded and torn envelopes. Each with a two pence stamp pasted in the top right corner, the address beautifully penned in fading black ink.

Each was written by his father, John and sent to his mother during the war for Irish Independence, dating from 1921 to 1923, while he was interned in Ballykinler Prison Camp, in County Down. Their formal air spoke of different times, each signed off with “best of love to all at home, from your loving son, John,” with references to Father and addressed to Dear Mother.

“Rounded up and taken” along with many others to Wellington Barracks on 1 December 1920, John had scribbled notes, on scraps of paper, telling his mother that he was okay. He expected to be released soon, as he had “never mixed up in any party” and asked if she could bring a collar and handkerchief for his release. Mother had spoken to a Lieutenant at the Barracks who promised to see what could be done. A meeting with O’Neill & Collins Solicitors in North Brunswick Street had been arranged for 11 December 1920. In October 1921 letters from John were arriving – now from Ballykinlar Prison Camp.

Ballykinlar Camp Orchestra

Ballykinlar Camp Orchestra (circa 1921). 

The men pictured were detainees in Ballykinlar Prison Camp in Co Down during the war for Irish independence where Martin Walton (far right) formed and taught the camp orchestra. 

They rose at 7.30am, eventually retiring at 9.00pm when they would make Bovril, then rosary and bed at 9.45pm. Papers delivered to the camp could be bought for two bob. Camp rules allowed prisoners to post no more than two letters per week, of no more than two pages in length and both to be sent in the same envelope. Most letters were written on Sunday and were four pages long.
Parcels from home would be shared around. No eggs, but supplies of butter, tealeaves, fruit cake, cigarettes and strings – apparently one of his fellow interns was Martin Walton who formed and taught the camp orchestra to play the violin. He was yet to found the famous Walton’s Music Shop and the Walton’s music programme which always finished with the words: “If you feel like singing, do sing an Irish song”. Other internees included Peadar Kearney, co-author of the National Anthem and Sean Lemass who, in 1959, would succeed Eamonn De Valera as Taoiseach.

John requested a kit-bag from home so, that like the four chaps he shared with, he could use it to store his clothes neatly. He frequently requested pencils and colours. Among the letters were sketches he had made from Hut 29. Barbed wire covered the windows outside. Blankets and sheets piled neatly on low wooden cots. Small shelves set high on walls – milk and Liptons tea sitting atop one; a small selection of papers and books lay flat on another, beneath a chess set. Pegs were set into the wall and held coats and hats. Other sketches showed a row of rust coloured huts running down the camp, a dark mountain looming in the background, echoing the atmosphere. Another showed “The Altar, Ballykinlar”. Music notes for “Show a leg” appeared on another page along with a pattern for a suit jacket on the back. The last showed a hut with two crosses, one on either side of the door. The words “Where Sloan and Tormey Died,” written beneath, dated Jan. 17th 1921.

Sports Day arranged for March, 17th, 1921 – St Patrick’s Day – had not been a success due to the weather. “I hope the weather is better in old Dublin, it is wild here, but dry and the sand would cut the eyes out of your head. Talk about the sands of the desert,” he’d written. They had, however, enjoyed a concert that night.

On August, 7th, 1921 he mentions rumours that they may soon be returning home but that he will never forget 1st December 1920. “I think this will be a different Winter. I’ll not forget the 1st of Dec. 1920 in all my life. I don’t suppose any of you will at home. I have a good laugh at it by times, when I think of Father with the blanket round him. I don’t expect he will forget it in a hurry. Does he laugh over it? I don’t think so, but I will make him laugh over my times since, even though they are not all laughable ones I may tell you.”

In the final letter, John was looking forward to returning home and back to his job as a tailor/cutter with Messrs. Scotts.

He asked his mother to be sure that his blue suit would be ready for him to go “clicking.”

Interview: John MacKenna – Joseph

Joseph-John-MacKenna

Have you ever read a book which moved you so profoundly that you felt, because of it, your own writing would never be the same again?

In the last year, I’ve been lucky enough to read two such books, yet both author and genre-wise they couldn’t have been further apart. The most recent was, Joseph, by John MacKenna, which has just been launched by RTE Radio’s Joe Duffy. MacKenna felt it was about time that Joseph of Nazareth had a voice, and so in this contemporary novel, Joseph – a small-time builder in a small-time town – is for once, the central character.

Beginning the novel, I was unsure of exactly what to expect; but what MacKenna delivered, as a writer at the top of his game, was life to such fully-formed and interesting characters that you felt as if you knew them intimately. When the pages drew to an end, I felt myself slowing down, in the hope of somehow holding onto them – even for just a little longer.

It appears, if the reviews are to be believed, that I’m not the only one who feels this way:

‘A consummately skilled author’ – The Guardian

‘MacKenna is one of our most accomplished writers’ – RTÉ Guide

‘A writer whose emotional success rarely falters’ – The Irish Times

And even Jeffrey Archer had something to say . . .

You can read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here.

About Joseph

‘It’s been forty years, and memory is the most unreliable of companions, so I can only offer these recollections with the proviso that you take them as the only truth I can call to mind. They’re my truth…’

When his ‘young fellow’ becomes involved in political agitation, and his own marriage begins to fall apart, Joseph of Nazareth must find a way to nurture hope.

The tale of a small-time builder in a small-time town, and his relationship with the charismatic figure he had treated as a son, Joseph humanises an often-overlooked Biblical character, and renders his story one for all time.

Joseph is available in bookshops now, or pick up your copy online here.

Interview: Alex Barclay – Harm’s Reach

harms_reach-140x210

I’ve heard it said that you should never meet your heroes as more often than not you’re likely to be disappointed. Thankfully, with Alex Barclay, that was most definitely not the case!

We first met some years back at an event in Easons, O’Connell Street, and our paths have crossed at numerous writing events since. In The Civic Theatre last year, as part of the Red Line Book Festival, I chaired ‘Ladykillers’ which gave me the unique opportunity to delve into the minds of Alex Barclay, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips and former Boulder Coroner (and good friend of Barclay’s), Joanne Richardson. What I found most disconcerting was how angelic they all appear on the outside, while managing to conjure up the darkest of villains and crimes within the pages of their novels.

Barclay is the author of several bestselling thrillers. Her first novel, Darkhouse, was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller while third novel, Blood Runs Cold (the beginning of the Special Agent Ren Bryce series) won the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award at the Irish Book Awards. Harm’s Reach is her sixth adult novel and the fourth in the FBI Agent Ren Bryce series.

Interest in plots and characters (especially villains!) or Homeland or tips for new writers?

Then read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here.

About Harm’s Reach

FBI Agent Ren Bryce finds herself entangled in two seemingly unrelated mysteries. But the past has a way of echoing down the years and finding its way into the present.

When Special Agent Ren Bryce discovers the body of a young woman in an abandoned car, solving the case becomes personal. But the more she uncovers about the victim’s last movements, the more questions are raised.

Why was Laura Flynn driving towards a ranch for troubled teens in the middle of Colorado when her employers thought she was hundreds of miles away? And what did she know about a case from fifty years ago, which her death dramatically reopens?

As Ren and cold case investigator Janine Hooks slowly weave the threads together, a picture emerges of a privileged family determined to hide some very dark secrets – whatever the cost.

Writing Ego

What type of writer are you? Playing With Space New Writing Space ...

I’m sure every writer would agree that the writing ego, of all professions, has to be one of the most delicate. They’re far too easily deflated, and let’s be honest, with the amount of rejections most of us receive when entering competitions or submitting to publications it’s a wonder that many of us are able to pick ourselves up and carry on. And although as a writer, the more you write the better you become – it appears that self-doubt never fully disappears!

I was shocked to hear so many great authors, with lists of acclaimed books to their credit, admit that there comes a stage in every novel (usually mid-way) where they feel like throwing in the towel. They doubt the current book will ever see the light of day and that even if it is published that it will be torn apart by the critics. But that’s the difference between professional and amateur writers – the professional perseveres regardless, pushing through the pain until they reach that elusive final page. Then, at least, they have the bones to work with – a manuscript they can edit and edit and edit – until it finally becomes the polished work which arrives in our local book shop.

While working on my debut novel the last few years, I’ve entered a number of competitions and submitted to a couple of publications. Sure, they may have taken me away from the novel, but in times of self-doubt, in among the rejections, there have been the highs of being long-listed or short-listed or winning or of having a poem or flash fiction or short story published. They’ve had me dancing around the kitchen, forcing my family to read whatever piece has brought success (that’s if they haven’t already been forced to read it before submission!?!). But more importantly, as two good friends and mentors are fond of saying, ‘success breeds success‘ (Eileen Casey) which helps to ‘keep your bum on the seat‘ (Valerie Sirr). And that’s what keeps you writing.

This week, having just returned from a wonderful trip to San Francisco and Vegas, I was jet-lagged like never before and began a week feeling drained and tired instead of rested and refreshed. But I couldn’t have pictured a better week. On the professional front, the contract in my new job was extended into next year, and on the writing front; my poem, Lavender Scented Memories, was aired by the lovely Brenda Drumm on KFM Radio. Then I received a beautiful, hand-written letter from Rosaleen Thomas (wife of Eamon MacThomais and mother of Shane MacThomais – the wonderful historians and writers) telling me how much she enjoyed one of my short stories which was recently published in My Weekly and wishing me well with my novel. The following day a letter arrived from the Jonathan Swift Awards to advise me that my short story has been short-listed, with the award ceremony taking place next Saturday.

Such an exceptional week really can keep you focused and driven and stuck to your seat, so that you can get words on the page! I’m currently attending the NUI Certificate in Creative Writing for Publication – part short story writing and part novel writing – so right after I upload this blog post I’m signing up to NaNoWriMo. I’ll then be committed, from 1 – 30 November, to writing 2,000 words per day to get my second novel well and truly on the way.

Wish me luck!

Book Launch: A Fascination With Fabric

Arlen House warmly invites you to celebrate the launch of three new books:

Órfhlaith Foyle
Clemency Browne Dreams of Gin
Second short fiction collection

Deirdre Brennan
Staying Thin For Daddy
Debut English-language short fiction collection

A Fascination With Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eileen Casey

A Fascination With Fabric
Collection of literary essays

Date:  Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Time:  6.00pm
Venue:  Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
Admission:  Free

Interview: Stuart Neville – The Final Silence

The Final Silence

“‘An exceptional talent, crime fiction doesn’t get much better,” Lee Child

I first had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Neville at the Killer Books Crime Festival in Derry last November and vowed to catch up on his books as soon as I returned to Dublin. I’m glad I eventually fulfilled that promise – I enjoyed The Final Silence so much that Neville has been added to my ever-growing list of favourite writers.

I found Neville’s writing style reminiscent of Ian Rankin who is quoted as saying, “fast, furious, bloody and good.” While James Elroy commented on The Twelve, ‘the best first novel I’ve read in years. It crackles. It grips you by the throat. It’s a flat-out terror trip. This is some guy to watch out for in a dark alley.”

I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

You can read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here.

The Final Silence twists and turns like a rollercoaster with a powerful plot at its core. To whet your appetite, here’s the blurb:

Rea Carlisle has inherited a house from an uncle she never knew. It doesn’t take her long to clear out the dead man’s remaining possessions, but one room remains stubbornly locked. When Rea finally forces it open she discovers inside a chair, a table – and a leather-bound book. Inside its pages are locks of hair, fingernails: a catalogue of victims.

Horrified, Rea wants to go straight to the police but when her family intervene, fearing the damage it could cause to her father’s political career, Rea turns to the only person she can think of: DI Jack Lennon. But Lennon is facing his own problems. Suspended from the force and hounded by DCI Serena Flanagan, the toughest cop he’s ever faced, Lennon must unlock the secrets of a dead man’s terrifying journal.

Book Launch: Last Kiss by Louise Phillips

Hachette Books Ireland

are pleased to invite you to the launch of

LAST KISS

by award-winning crime writer

Louise Phillips

As fast-paced and thrilling as a rollercoaster.” Jane Casey

Date:  Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Time:  6.30pm
Venue:  Easons, St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2
Admission:  Free

Book Launch: A Fascination With Fabric by Eileen Casey

Birr Library
in association with
Arlen House and
Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival

Invite you to celebrate the launch of:

A Fascination With Fabric

A Fascination With Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

prose and memoir by Hennessy Award winning writer Eileen Casey.

Eileen Casey has a rich and evocative style which she delivers with great subtlety.
Hugo Hamilton

A reliable witness, Eileen Casey’s work is marked by such a deliberate grace and reverence for the senses.
Thomas Lynch

Date:  7 August 2014
Time:  4.45pm
Venue:  Birr Library, Wilmer Road, Birr, Co Offaly
Admission:  Free but please RSVP Birr Library (057-91 24950)

Publication: My Weekly

My Weekly

I’m absolutely delighted to have my short story, Photograph Of A Stranger, published in the latest edition of My Weekly magazine.

As a child, I remember flicking though copies of this magazine as I tried to imitate my mother and grandmother who would spend their free time devouring each article while enjoying a cup of tea. Back then I had no idea that I would eventually have a short story appear between its heartwarming pages and on the very weekend of my silver wedding anniversary too – what timing! My mother rang me first thing this morning from Easons in O’Connell Street to tell me that it had hit the stands and she had already purchased two copies.

Here’s a snippet about My Weekly and I hope that when you pick up your copy you’ll enjoy reading Photograph Of A Stranger as much as I enjoyed writing it.

“My Weekly is a warm and welcoming women’s magazine. Our dedicated team aims to bring you a great mix of engrossing reads plus short snippets every week.

The first issue was published in April 1910 so the magazine celebrated its centenary two years ago. Over the years, the magazine has moved with the times as women’s lives have changed – but we never lose our dedication to bringing the best of life to our readers every week. Come to My Weekly for fun, inspiration and love – not nasty gossip and misery!”

 

Flash Fiction: Snared

Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of Flash Fiction – a short, sharp story to get your imagination into a spin. For the writer it offers a challenge to whittle words down to the minimum while still delivering a story worthy of a read.

I’m delighted to have Snared included in the current on-line edition of Brilliant Flash Fiction along with talented writer and friend, Doreen Duffy.

Check out a taster below:

Johnny’s eyes skim the room, finally settling in the corner. It appears darker there; black as ink. Yet he is unable to decipher a shape as his hands feel for the tangled sheet, pulling it over their naked bodies. It is cold and his chest feels as if icy fingers are squeezing his heart. He shudders.

Jennifer? Jemima? Shit! He can’t even remember her name.

If you’d like to read more click here and scroll down to Snared.

And don’t forget to check out Sweet Justice by Doreen Duffy – it just might make you re-think your confectionery choice . . .

Your feedback and comments, as always, much appreciated.

Enjoy!

 

Flash Fiction: Alone Again

I turn my head skyward at the screech of a lone black bird. A crow, if I’m not mistaken, although from this distance it’s hard to tell. The summer evening holds a winter chill. The sky is dark and overcast, like my thoughts. I watch as wings flap and the bird circles round and round in the bleak sky emitting a baleful cry.

I tear my eyes away, resisting the urge to cover my ears.

I remove the gloves, overalls and shoe covers. Naked, as the day I was born, I stuff them into a black refuse sack and push it deep inside the empty plant pot buried at the back of the shed. Replacing the padlock, I take a final look down the garden, before entering the house and taking the first step into my new life without her . . .

 

Compelled to read more? It’s one of the many Flash Fiction pieces to make the cut (excuse the pun!) and published on Flash Flood as part of National Flash Fiction Day.

Click here to read on – if you dare!

And if the compulsion takes hold, give in to it and leave a comment.

Check out Alone Again published today over on Flash Flood.

 

Interview: Joel Dicker – The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair

The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair

“The cleverest, creepiest book you’ll read all year. Twin Peaks meets Atonement meets In Cold Blood,” Gaby Wood, Daily Telegraph.

Having finished The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair only days before the interview, I was intrigued to meet Geneva born Joel Dicker, a writer with a novel which belies his mere 28 years. He is hailed as Switzerland’s coolest export since Roger Federer, with rights sold to 45 countries in 32 languages and over 2 million copies sold in less than a year.

For me, minus the supernatural element, it was reminiscent of a great Stephen King novel.

Will you agree?

You can read the full interview on writing.ie by clicking here.

 

The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair:

In the summer of 1975, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that secured his lasting fame. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman – Quebert’s most gifted protégé – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of “The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America.”

But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.

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