Category Archives: Writing Awards

Nomination

Imagine my surprise to be contacted by a member of the Tallaght Community Council to tell me that I am one of the shortlisted nominees, under Arts & Culture, for this year’s Tallaght Person of the Year!

I even received a certificate in the post – just to be sure I hadn’t imagined it all . . .

Tallaght Nominee 2013 Certificate

The 30th annual Tallaght Person of the Year awards takes place tonight, Friday, 29 November at the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght and among the list of nominees are non-other than Louise Phillips who, just days ago, won the The Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards for Crime Fiction Book of the Year with The Doll’s House.  

There are eight categories and I was delighted to find, under the Business category, Noel Gavin, InTallaght Magazine and Emu Ink.

It promises to be an enjoyable and eventful night which I am looking forward to immensely.

I’ll keep you posted!

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Poem: Homeless

Awarded 1st Prize – SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition, 2012.

Oblivious, I shop in this busy city.
Warmly lit windows show their wares;
amidst the hustle and bustle of busy lives.

I watch you sit on ice cold concrete.

A young man, scrunched forward,
a woollen hat low on your head,
your shivering palm held upwards.

My heart reaches out to you.

Thin jumper pulled over knees.
Skinny, bare legs folded tight;
long feet flat on the ground.

Sockless, shoeless, homeless.

Focus Ireland https://www.facebook.com/focusirelandcharity
a non-profit organisation you may like to follow.
It’s about the people who help and it’s about helping people. And it’s about connecting the two.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151483774661731&set=pb.328781076730.-2207520000.1378152039.&type=3&theater

Short Story: Cinderella’s Smile

A humorous love story about active retirement

Listen or download on www.podcasts.ie, July 2013
Published in Senior Times, April/May 2011
Awarded 1st Prize – Bealtaine Short Story SDCC Competition, 2010

The movement of a large, black, hairy spider caught Betty’s eye as she pulled a hairbrush through her auburn tinted hair.  Looking at her watch she muttered under her breath as she made her way downstairs and into the kitchen.  She returned to her bedroom with a glass in her hand, opened her window, grabbed a magazine from her locker then expertly placed the glass over the spider while manoeuvring it onto the magazine where she had laid it flat against the wall.  Balancing all three she crossed to the open window and flicked the spider out onto the extended roof of her kitchen.  He can make his own way back to the garden she thought, as she hurriedly locked the window and remembered to bring the glass down to the kitchen where she gave it an extra vigorous wash.Ballroom Dancers

Moments later she locked the front porch and with her large handbag hoisted on her left shoulder she strode up the road.

“Hi Betty, are you off to school?” shouted her next door neighbour as she flicked her pigtails back from her face.

“Yes Amy, but hopefully I won’t get loads of homework,” chuckled Betty as she smiled at Amy’s mother Joan waiting at the door to welcome her six year old home.

“I’ll knock in for you on Monday for the Ladies Club,” said Joan

“Great, I’m looking forward to it this week.  They’ve a landscape gardener coming in to give us all a few tips.  Sure I’ll see you then for a chat,” said Betty calling back over her shoulder.

Entering the front door of St Jude’s Secondary School she arrived, breathless, at the classroom door just as everyone was going in.  She headed for her usual computer terminal beside her friend Mary, took out her notebook and pen and changed her glasses.

“Well, we have a new member joining us today,” announced Sarah, their tutor, from the top of the class.

Betty looked up and felt a slow heat rising to her face as she slid further into her chair.

“This is Paddy and he’s hoping to learn a little more about computers so that he can keep in touch with his kids in New York and eh . . .”

“And Cavan,” smiled Paddy with a twinkle in his eyes.

As the laughter subsided Sarah pointed out the members of the Active Retirement Computer Group; John, Eoin, Jim, Angela, Mary and finally Betty.

“Paddy, I’ll put you sitting beside Betty today, Tom is at his daughters wedding so he won’t be here and Betty can give you a hand if you’re stuck – sure she’s nearly in the advanced class.  We’ll have you up on Skye and Facebook before you know it!” she said as she pulled the chair out for him.

“Hi,” mumbled Betty barely looking up.  Paddy sat down and turned toward her, then did a double-take.

“Not Betty the best ballroom dancer in Dublin – also known as Cinderella” he laughed.

Betty looked up as Paddy settled his long legs beneath the desk.  He was even more handsome than she’d remembered with his snow white hair cut short and combed neatly to the side.  But it was still those piercing blue eyes, so clear and bright, that made her heart miss a beat.  At my age, I can’t afford to miss a beat, it’s only  the medication I’m on that’s keeping it beating at all.

“I hope I’m not making you uncomfortable, if I am I’ll leave after today, you were here first and I wouldn’t like to . . .”

“No, it’s absolutely fine” she cut across him as she inhaled the fresh scent of Old Spice emanating from him.

“Okay class, let’s continue on from last week where we were attaching photos to your email,” said Sarah while Betty, who normally listened intently while jotting notes for later, thought back to the last time she’d seen Paddy.

It must have been close to two years ago, she thought, when her friend Mary had begged her to go to The Ierne Ballroom for the Valentine’s Day Dance.  Betty, a widow for over twelve years by then, was used to being on her own but Mary was still coming to terms with it all and needed to get out and about.  Reluctantly Betty agreed to go.  Much as she loved the ballroom dancing she attended each Friday afternoon with some of her friends, she didn’t feel the same about going into dances in town where she didn’t really know anyone.

It was on that night that Paddy, who she’d noticed watching her earlier in the night, had asked her to dance.  He reminded her of her husband Tommy the way he swirled her around the dance floor, her feet barely touched the ground all night.  He told her that he was a retired Painter and Decorator – just like her Tommy had been – and he too was widowed, but only the year before when Lily’s weak heart had finally given in.  They had spent most of the night dancing and laughing, enjoying each others company, but then fate had intervened.

Betty had taken a break and was sitting chatting with Mary.  The night had been a great one – neither of them having laughed so much in ages.  Mary recounted her adventure here last time when a guy called Jack had taken her up for every waltz, only to stand on her toes so often that she’d had to bathe her feet for a week to get rid of the blisters.  Taking a sip of her vodka and red Betty, with tears of laughter streaming down her face had started to cough, Mary had patted her on the back and when she’d looked up Mary had started to choke with laughter – Betty’s beautiful white teeth were gone!  Realising what had happened Betty hurriedly buried her head beneath the table in search of them.  Finding the bottom set of dentures she pushed them into her mouth – who cares what’s on the floor, this is an emergency – but she couldn’t find the top set.  In between bursts of laughter they’d searched everywhere to no avail.

“We have to go.  NOW!” mumbled Betty, grabbing Mary’s arm as they grabbed their coats and bags.  They headed out the door and down the steps just as the lights came on behind them.

Hailing a taxi they slumped in laughter into the back seat, tears streaming down their faces.

“Just gone midnight and we’re already on our way home,” said Mary.

“I couldn’t stay there, if anyone saw me I’d die,” mumbled Betty as Mary looked at her friend and tried to stop the laughter erupting again.  “I knew I shouldn’t have worn those new teeth out until I was used to them.”

As the taxi turned onto their road and they both rummaged in their bags for their keys and purses Mary could hold the laughter no longer as she pulled out Betty’s top teeth where they’d landed in the open compartment of her bag!  They’d paid the taxi driver and spent another hour in Betty’s kitchen with a cup of tea while they replayed their evening.

“Well they always say laughter is the best tonic,” said Mary touching her teacup to Betty’s, “better than a gin and tonic any day.”

Betty was drawn back to the present as Paddy stood up and bent across her desk.

“Let me get that for you, Lily used to hate spiders, not that they do any harm, mind you.”

Cupping the spider in his large hands he walked across the classroom and dropped the spider out through the open window.  Sitting down again he swivelled his chair around towards Betty.

“You know, I went back to The Ierne a couple of times after that night hoping I might see you.  I really enjoyed the dancing and the laugh, you miss that most I suppose,” he said wistfully. “Lily wasn’t much of a dancer but we’d go to meet up with everyone.”

“Well you can always come to the ballroom dancing on a Friday in the school hall.  Jim and Angela and Mary all go too,” she smiled.

“You know Betty, I just might do that, anything to see that beautiful smile of yours again,” he grinned.

“Ah, that’d be the Colgate,” whispered Mary while Betty felt a gurgle of laughter, like the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, begin to erupt!

Poem: Darkness

Awarded 3rd Prize – SCC City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010.

Jostled from slumber,
Eyes look deep into shadows
Of an unfamiliar hotel room.

Darkness

Darkness (Photo credit: Roberto F.)

From the darkness,
Fear slowly manifests;
Shallow breath, hammering heart,
crescendo deafened ears.

Intently I strain to hear,
Cocooned beneath the duvet,
Foetal position, eyes open wide,
Until I sense fingers caress my cheek.

The darkness stirs,
A shimmering entity emerges,
Just outside my line of vision.
Intruder, ghost, spirit?
Evil or benign or . . .
I scream in terror.

Reality Blog Award: Susan Condon

Reality Blog Award

I was delighted to be nominated by Michael J Whelan for the Reality Blog Award!

What a nice surprise and a much-needed boost for my writing ego – something, I’m sure most writers will agree, that is essential to keep us going.

And now to delve into the unknown and come up with answers to the following questions:

Q:  If you could change one thing in your life what would it be?

That’s easy – I’d love to have my debut novel published and sitting on the bookshelves of all good bookstores – or better still in the arms of a welcoming reader.

Q:  If you could repeat any age which would it be?

Every age brings different joys but I have to admit that I’m glad I was around for the music of the ’80’s – who could beat such great music; David Bowie, Gary Numan, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, The Smiths, U2 – the list goes on and on . . .

Q:  What really scares you?

Nothing scares me more than a really great horror book or movie. Reading or watching one can keep me awake for hours – but can also be inspiration for a poem or a short story about fear. The Others was one of my favourite horror movies and The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert had me terrified while reading it, even in the middle of the afternoon – tap, tap, tap . . .

Q:  If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?

Emily Dickinson

Now that’s a hard question – but maybe for a day I could live in the 1800’s as Emily Dickinson – I love her dark poetry and her fascination with death.

Thanks again to Michael who nominated me for the award. You can find some of his award-winning poems and stories at www.michaeljwhelan.wordpress.com

Finally, I would like to nominate my fellow writers/bloggers for this award and I hope they will take up the gauntlet. Their blogs are inspiring, so enjoy your visit:

Doreen Duffy  

Cormac O’Keeffe  

Margot Kinberg              

 

Jonathan Swift Awards

Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards, 2012

Susan Condon, Michael Whelan
and Doreen Duffy

What a wonderful night, at the Saggart Arts Centre, for the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards Ceremony.

Jam-packed with so many fellow writers the night got off to a lively start with music from Tony Bardon.

Maria Wallace, Hennessy Award winning poet, was the judge who offered her congratulations to all of the entrants who had their poems and prose short listed.

It was an especially enjoyable night for me when two great writer friends were awarded, in the Poetry category:

Third place: Michael J Whelan
First place: Doreen Duffy

To be awarded First place in the Prose category made the night even more memorable.

The evening finished with a customary Irish cuppa, courtesy of Mervyn Ennis and his lovely wife, giving everyone a chance to have a chat.

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