Category Archives: Writer Profiles
All of us live with hope in our hearts and each hope, at different stages in our life, can, I’m sure you’ll agree, be all-consuming and extremely personal. But not too many of our hopes and dreams can save lives. The New Big Book of Hope is the exception!
It was introduced to me, by my good friend Orla Coffey, who has a non-fiction piece included, entitled, Flashflight, describing her first encounter with a Malaysian man in a Thai prison.
Orla is currently the face of MS Ireland’s World MS Day campaign for 2013, which this year focus’s on young people with MS. Her photo is currently plastered across buses and billboards and it is hoped that it will show sufferers and their families that many people with MS go on to live full and happy lives. Orla, a qualified solicitor, is a walking statement of how true this is. Karma ensures that her many good deeds are rewarded, which means her friends also get to share her good fortune – an evening with Joseph O’Connor, author of Ghostlight, which she won in ‘A Novel Break’ competition with the ‘Dublin: One City, One Book’ festival – was, most definitely, a prize treasured by us all.
As winner of the Curry’s and PC World writing competition, she was famous on YouTube in a fake, electric wedding, to Batman – since realised in true life – and definitely worth checking out.
But back to The New Big Book of Hope – also worth checking out – in the literal sense!
Compiled by Vanessa O’Loughlin, from writing.ie and Hazel Larkin and with its astonishing range of bestselling authors, political figures, business people and media celebrities, The New Big Book of Hope eBook has something for everyone. Claudia Carroll, Don Conroy, Brian Crowley, Brian Keenan, Sinead Moriarty, Kate Kerrigan and over forty other unlikely bedfellows rub shoulders – the only common denominator being their considerable talent. And in this special eBook edition, four new writers – Alison Wells, David Fairclough, Fr. David Keating and Orla Coffey – have been selected for their contributions in making this book a truly unique collection.
This book will save lives.
To live without hope is the ultimate deprivation. The Hope Foundation reaches out to the street children of Kolkata, India, on a daily basis: rescuing sick and abandoned children; delivering food and clean water to the slums; providing crèches where destitute and slum-dwelling mothers can safely leave their children while they do what they can to earn money; running its health-care programme, including its new hospital; fighting child labour and child-trafficking; breaking the cycle of poverty through education in its many coaching centres.
This extraordinary collection celebrates The Hope Foundation and – hopefully – will play a significant role in publicizing and supporting its courageous work. A potent blend of fiction, poetry, memoir and non-fiction, the contributions explore the theme of ‘hope’ and its vital presence in all our lives.
The New Big Book of Hope is now available to purchase in digital form online at Amazon and all digital outlets.
Eveyone involved in the project would greatly appreciate your support – even clicking the LIKE button on the Amazon page will make a difference to the collections sales and the work The Hope Foundation can do.
A treat – for readers and writers alike: I’m sure you’ll enjoy the writing tips that Catherine Brophy, writer, story-teller and broadcaster has kindly shared with us. After a recent conversation with Catherine, about editing my first novel, these pointers couldn’t have come at a better time!
Catherine writes film, T.V. and radio scripts and she also writes short stories. Her previous novels are The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe and Dark Paradise. Her latest novel, Burning Bright, is a comedy about money, fame and the Celtic Tiger.
According to Catherine, she lives a blameless life in Ireland but escapes whenever she can. She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain.
Now over to Catherine!
WHO WROTE THIS HIDEOUS RUBBISH?
And who stole my beautiful prose?
Ah yes, I know the feeling well. You’ve got a great idea. You’ve found the time to write. You’ve gone at it full tilt. Your head is ablaze with ideas. It’s going great. You write and write and write till you come to a natural halt. You rise from your desk with a feeling of virtue and genius and general fabulousness. This must be how Shakespeare felt when he’d put the final full stop to Hamlet.
All you have to do now is run the spell check, tidy up the punctuation, maybe change a word or a phrase here and there, and you’ll do that to-morrow. You go to bed that night and sleep the sleep of the just.
Morning arrives and you rush to your desk with a song on your lips certain you’ll get this finished to-day. You read what you wrote and OMG! That blaze of ideas… that eloquence… where is it? It’s all disappeared! All that’s left is lumpen paragraphs and hobbled sentences. You want to howl to the heavens and collapse in despair. But, before you tie a millstone round your neck and jump into the river – read on.
Lodged somewhere in the back of our brains is the notion that a REAL writer sits down and writes. That inspiration flows from the angels, through her mind and her quill and directly on to the page. If only! REAL writers write and re-write and re-write and re-write again. So save yourself trouble and heartache.
- Within all that cack-handed prose there are jewels. They need polishing and proper settings but they’re still jewels and when you calm down you will recognise them.
- All writing is about clarification. You want to communicate your ideas as vividly as possible to your reader. You can only do that when you have clarified them to yourself.
- Think of the first draft as detailed notes, the place for that clarification. Nobody expects notes to be perfect.
- Don’t bother editing, correcting or polishing just keep going –you can waste a lot of time editing only to discover later that you need to cut that bit out!
- Use all the clichés, slip shod grammar, poor punctuation, inaccurate phrases and colloquial expressions that comes to mind – they’re just shorthand. You know what you mean and you can find the accurate word, the dazzling phrase on the next draft, or the one after that.
- Don’t do too much research – you’ll waste hours on fascinating information which you don’t need. Only check facts that you know are essential.
- Make notes as you write, put them in colour or bold. “Research this” “This needs to be in earlier.” “Insert more info about x” etc.
- Keep writing on till the end.
Whew… the first draft is finished. It’s not undying prose but you’ve got what you need. More clarity. A better understanding of your characters, more information about your plot, some idea of themes and a firm foundation to build on. Step 1 of the process of writing is complete. Now for Step 2.
Burning Bright by Catherine Brophy
The Celtic Tiger is in his prime and the Kerrigans are splashing the cash. They have made it big time, so eat your heart out you small town snobs! But Daddy’s-girl Kirsty wants Celebrity and International Fame and devotes herself to pursuing this dream. Crashing Madonna’s Christmas party doesn’t help, neither does causing a stir on Big Brother but when a video clip of Kirsty goes viral on You Tube, fame arrives with a bang. But Tracey O’Hagan, a blast from a shady patch in the Kerrigan past, has appeared on the scene. She’s mad. She’s bad. And she’s definitely dangerous to know.
Set in the years of the Celtic Tiger, Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends. It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.
AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON
Poets and writers from writing groups, including; Platform One in Rua Red, Lucan Writers, St Muirin’s Writing Group and Virginia House Writers, who read their work in Tallaght Library and were profiled in The Poet’s Corner in The Echo.
Find out more about them and read some of their work:
Michael J Whelan:
The Echo, 26 April 2012 – Michael J Whelan
The Echo, 5 April 2012 – James Hyde
The Echo, 8 March 2012 – Joan Power
The Echo, 1 March 2012 – Eileen Casey
The Echo, 23 February 2012 – Brigid Flynn
The Echo, 16 February 2012 – Tony Bardon
The Echo, 9 February 2012 – Jim Archer
The Echo, 2 February 2012 – Colm Keegan
The Echo, 26 January 2012 – Ray Mullen
The Echo, 12 January 2012 – Brian Kirk
The Echo, 5 January 2012 – Áine Lyons
The Echo, 29 December 2011 – Mae Newman
As an added bonus this week, The Echo have also published a short story called ‘The Rapping Penguin’ by Emily Whelan
(Michael J Whelan’s daughter, aged 9¾):
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Emily Whelan – p1
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Emily Whelan – p2
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Trish Nugent
Ann Marie Mullen:
The Echo, 15 December 2011 – Ann Marie Mullen
The Echo, 8 December 2011 – Kate Dempsey
The Echo, 1 December 2011 – Trish Best
The Echo, 24 November 2011 – Gavan Duffy
The Echo, 17 November 2011 – Maria Wallace
The Echo, 10 November 2011 – Marie Gahan
The Echo, 3 November 2011 – Doreen Duffy
The Echo, 27 October 2011 – Susan Condon
The Echo, 20 October 2011 – Louise Phillips
Michael J Whelan:
The Echo, 13 October 2011 – Michael J Whelan
The Echo, 6 October 2011 – Eileen Casey
I was delighted when my short piece, Secret Librarian, was chosen by Sue Hassett to be included in the Red Line Writing as part of South Dublin Libraries Red Line Book Festival last year, along with fellow writers and poets.
This is a reading of new work by writers from South Dublin, presented in diverse voices by actors from Inchicore College, Carousel Theatre School and Clondalkin Youth Theatre. To have your work read by a professional actor, while you sit in the audience of The Civic Theatre, is, I can assure you, quite a thrill.
Curious Broadcast is a radio station and production company who work with people to exchange knowledge through audio and video productions.
Head over to Curious Broadcast and take a moment to listen to the diverse work delivered on the night. Secret Librarian can be found at 00:22:18 but if you have time, I’d encourage you to listen to them all – you won’t be disappointed.
|Artist’s Statement||Molly O’Dwyer||Rachael Dowling|
|Lily Shepherd||Jen Donohoe||Hayley Roche|
|Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori||Michael J. Whelan||Asa Cuthbert|
|Irish Batt||Michael J. Whelan||Vladic Gurdis|
|Covenant Denied||Michael J. Whelan||Kenneth Hudson|
|Secret Librarian||Susan Condon||Nicola Kirwan|
|Sun God||Gavan Duffy||Kenny Stapleton|
|Classmate||Gavan Duffy||Conor Kelly|
|Border Shop||Mae Newman||Rachael Dowling|
|The Mind Fisher||Doreen Duffy||Hayley Roche|
|Tallaght Tardis||Áine Lyons||Nicola Kirwan|
|2 extracts from Acquittances 123||Sue Hassett||Rachael Dowling|