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Portrait of the Author

Ger Holland Photography Exhibition


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 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,

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 Events

There’s plenty of events to keep all avid readers and aspiring writers busy and plenty more to come.
I thought you’d be interested in these two for starters!

Something  Wicked presents:
Crime Writing Workshop with Louise Phillips

Something Wicked

Louise Phillips is the bestselling author of Red Ribbons and 2013 winner of Crime Novel of the Year for The Doll’s House.

This free workshop will cover all aspects of crime writing including: plot, character, tension, effective dialogue and so much more.

Click the poster for more information, including registration details.

Date:  Thursday, 13 March 2014
Time:  7.00pm – 8.30pm
Venue:  Manor Books, 3 Church Road, Malahide
Admission:  Free event but registration essential.

Writers at Smock Alley:
John Connolly

A celebration to launch The Wolf in Winter
with music from John Kearney & Lucy Farrell

John Connolly

Smock Alley are delighted to announce another event in their ongoing series of author talks with neighbours, the Gutter Bookshop.

Join them to celebrate the launch of the twelfth Charlie Parker thriller, The Wolf in Winter. John Connolly will be joined by musicians Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell in what promises to be a unique and thrilling evening. There will be a book signing after the event in The Gutter Bookshop.

Date:  Thursday, 20 March 2014
Time:  6.30pm
Venue:  Smock Alley Theatre
Admission:  Free ticketed event (€1 admin fee for on-line tickets)


Events in Dublin

There’s plenty of events to keep all avid readers and aspiring writers busy over the next few weeks and plenty more to come. Check out a selection below.

Hope to see you there!

Irish Crime Fiction: A Festival

Trinity College Dublin and Glucksman Ireland House, New York University are holding a festival devoted to Irish crime fiction, featuring more than a dozen of the most exciting Irish crime novelists. This will be a memorable weekend, devoted to a key genre of contemporary Irish writing, so please make plans to join us.

Among the confirmed participants are Conor Brady, Declan Burke, Jane Casey, Paul Charles, Michael Connelly, John Connolly, Conor Fitzgerald, Alan Glynn, Declan Hughes, Arlene Hunt, Gene Kerrigan, Kevin McCarthy, Brian McGilloway, Eoin McNamee, Stuart Neville, Niamh O’Connor, Louise Phillips, and Michael Russell.

We’re particularly pleased to announce that our weekend will conclude with a major event: for the Irish launch of his newest novel, The Gods of Guilt (Orion Books, November 2013), Michael Connelly will be interviewed by John Connolly. After the interview, and questions from the audience, Michael will be signing books, which will be for sale on the evening. Tickets are required for this final event, and they are €6 (inc. fees) from

Date:  Friday, 22 – Saturday, 23 November 2013
Time:  6.30pm
Venue:  Trinity College Dublin
Admission:  Free events (€6 for Closing Event)
Admission:  Free

Book Launch:  The Outsider by Arlene Hunt

Arlene Hunt - The OutsiderFrom the time she was born, Emma Byrne was different from other children. Shy and reclusive, her world revolved around animals, so much so that by the time she was 15, Emma was a much sought after horse trainer.

So who would try to harm this gifted young woman? Who was shooting in Crilly Woods on that fateful August day?

Emma’s twin brother, Anthony, is determined to get to the bottom of what happened to his sister, and in the course of his investigations makes a terrible mistake, one that will change all their lives forever.

The Outsider: sometimes those who love us most hardly know us at all.

Date:  Thursday, 7 November 2013
Time:  6.30pm
Venue:  The Gutter Bookshop
Admission:  Free

Photos from Dublin Writing Events

A selection of photos with writers, from all genres, that I have had the privilege to meet.

I admire them all, not only for for their work, but also for their attitude and their willingness to help fellow writers.

And lots more to be added soon, I hope!

The National Emerging Writer Programme
Dublin City Library and Archive
9 January, 2013:

Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O'Loughlin, Susan Condon
Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O’Loughlin, Susan Condon

Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Susan Condon, Declan Hughes
Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler,
Susan Condon, Declan Hughes

Vanessa O'Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon
Vanessa O’Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons,
Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon

#TXS2 at The Westin Hotel
November, December 2012:

Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory, Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory,
Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon

Susan Condon, Trish Nugent
Susan Condon, Trish Nugent

After Crime Night at the Civic Theatre
November, 2012:

533511_10151163759547911_320014214_n (1)
Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle, Trish Nugent,
Ruby Barnes, Louise Phillips

553695_10151163759772911_668106002_n (1)
Shay Condon, Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle,
Tanya Farrelly, Ruby Barnes, Trish Nugent,
Louise Phillips, Declan Kerins, Rhoda Kerins

Three Voices/Three Forms
Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre
14 November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan, Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan,
Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips

Louise Phillips, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Susan Condon

Eileen Casey, Susan Condon
Eileen Casey, Susan Condon

Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards
Saggart Heritage & Arts Centre
November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition
SDCC County Hall
27 March 2012:

Mayor of Tallaght, Susan Condon
1st Prize
SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition, 2012
Deputy Mayor of South Dublin County Pamela Kearns, Susan Condon

Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon
Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon

Tallaght Library Writers Group
Rua Red
August 2011:

Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly, Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak
Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak

Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey, Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey
Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon

SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition
SDCC County Hall
28 May 2010:

Susan Condon, Mayor Michael Duff
1st Prize
SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition, 2010
Susan Condon, Mayor of South Dublin County Mick Duff

City of Dublin VEC Creative Writing Competition
Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square
29 April 2010:

John MacKenna, Susan Condon - 1st Prize - City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
1st Prize
City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

John McKenna, Susan Condon - 3rd Prize - City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
3rd Prize
City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

Out and About at Writing Events:

Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty, Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty,
Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
After Inspiring Crime Writers
Dublin Book Festival
The Porterhouse, Temple Bar (15 November 2012)

Louise Phillips - Red Ribbons Launch
Louise Phillips
Launch of Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips
Hughes & Hughes Bookshop (5 September 2012)
Photo by Ger at Taken by Titch

Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Launch of The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly
The Gutter Bookshop (31 August 2012)

Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Launch of The Terrace by Maria Duffy
The Clarion Hotel (2012)

Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Launch of The Scarlet Ribbon by Derry O’Dowd
Hodges Figgis Bookstore (10 February 2012)

Susan Condon, Joseph O'Connor
Susan Condon, Joseph O’Connor
A private Reading of Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
at the home of Orla Coffey (13 April 2011)

Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Irish Women’s Fiction
Eason, O’Connell Street, Dublin (31 March 2011)

Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
Mick Halpin, Ann Usack, Patrick Fay,
Brian Roche, Laurence O’Bryan, Louise Phillips
Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
(only some of them and taken by me!)

The Next Big Thing

Recently, I was approached by the extremely talented writer, Valerie Sirr, as she wanted to tag me in an on-line blogging chain – The Next Big Thing – a way for writers to promote their work-in-progress through a series of questions. Valerie, as I’m sure many of you know, is a Hennessy New Irish Writer winner – and if you’ve already read any of her short stories or poetry, then you’ll see why – if you haven’t yet, then you’ve a treat in store.  I’m a big fan of Valerie’s work – and was honoured to accept the challenge along with fellow writers, Celeste Augé and Brian Kirk.

So here goes!

My Next Big Thing:

I’ve been working on my debut novel – a crime fiction thriller set in New York City – for the guts (good choice of word considering my chosen genre!?!) of the last year.

In between, and to keep my writing ego buoyant, I’ve managed to produce a few short stories which have done extremely well – one was Long Listed in the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition, 2012, another has just been published in the Anthology of Original Writing from Ireland’s Own, 2012 and another was awarded First Prize in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards, 2012.

What is the working title of your book?

My title, as yet, is not set in stone.  I had originally opted for Killer’s Curse.  But on advice from a couple of writers I greatly admire, they figure that when I get published, the right cover will give readers an idea of what’s inside, so a title that’s a little less telling would suit better.  You noticed the ‘when’ – probably why I value their opinion so much!  I’ve a title in mind, but I want to hold it there and savour it for just a little while longer . . .

Where did the idea come from for the book?  

Reading a snippet about a killer and how he chose his victims set my mind racing and my fingers typing and they never stopped until I reached the end.

What genre does your book fall under?

It has to be crime fiction.  I’ve always been an avid reader and I’d read extensively, but I’ve always LOVED thrillers – in any shape or form – the thrill of guessing what’s going to happen next keeping the pages turning late into the night.  Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t and occasionally you come across such a clever twist or turn that you really wish you’d been clever enough to come up with it.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?      

If I could pick any actor, from any era, to play one of my main characters then the first name to pop into my head as the good guy would be a young, Gregory Peck.  Impossible I know, but as a kid I loved watching his movies.  My favourite had to be Alfred Hitchcock’s, Spellbound, with the tag line ‘Will he Kiss me or Kill me?’  I was enthralled from start to finish.  Maybe it’s time to watch it again?  My villain, in this scenario, could have been Paul Newman – those piercing, ice-blue eyes, dismissing any doubts his victims might have.

English: Colin Farrell at the 2007 Toronto Int...

English: Colin Farrell at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And if I had to go modern day, then I’d go with Colin Farrell for my good guy.  My character isn’t perfect – far from it – but in the end, you trust that whatever obstacles lie in his way and no matter how difficult the choices, he will strive to do the right thing.

Matt Damon would be my choice as my charismatic villain – his role in The Departed sealed the deal on this one!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  

Your name appears on a list, along with six others – five are dead!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  

With work and life butting-in, it took me the guts of a year.  But I also did quite an amount of research which I could probably have done during the editing stage to get the first draft down on paper much quicker.  Swings and roundabouts, I suppose . . .

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?   

Some of my favourite thriller writers include; Alex Barclay, Tess Gerritson, Jeffrey Deaver, John Connolly, Harlan Coben, Jo Nesbo, Tana French, Arlene Hunt and Louise Phillips – so I would be delighted if my novel compared favourably to any one of them.  Aiming high, aren’t I?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?   

I’ve always loved books – especially mystery stories – something to keep the brain engaged.  That love of books eventually inspired me to write.  I started with short stories and poetry.  If I’m totally honest here (and shooting myself in the foot in the process!) I prefer to read a book rather than a short story – even by my favourite authors.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy them – I most certainly do – but I feel that you’ve invested your time and interest in their story, you’ve got to know the characters, but then suddenly – it’s over!  With a book, you know you can become more immersed in their lives and if it’s a good story, then you want that.  And that’s why, when this nugget of an idea began to grow, I decided I had to use it to write my debut novel rather than another short story.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  

This novel is based in New York City and contains elements of the occult – just a trifling – but enough to appeal to readers who are excited by something a little different to spice up their thriller.

When and how will it be published? 

Well, first, I need to finish editing so that my debut novel is as good as it can be.  I’ve heard, on more than one occasion, that you only really get one shot with agent’s and publisher’s and I want to ensure that when I come knocking on their door that I have a novel worthy of their time!

And now it’s time to pass the baton.  I’d like to tag three diverse writers who are destined for big things:  Derek Flynn, Jillian Godsil and Michael Whelan, for The Next Big Thing (Wednesday, 9th January 2013).  Keep an eye out for their rising stars!

Derek Flynn is an Irish writer and musician, with a First Class Honours degree in English Literature.  He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and was First Runner-Up in the 2011 J. G. Farrell Award for Best Novel-In-Progress.   He released his debut album, “Do You Dream At All?” earlier this year. His writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – can be found here: and on Twitter, he can be found here:!/derekf03

Jillian Godsil is a writer, blogger and freelance journalist.  She went viral in 2010, 2011 and traditional in 2012.  She hasn’t looked back (much) since. Her blog is and you can follow her on Twitter

Michael J Whelan is a poet, writer & historian living in Tallaght County Dublin.  He served as a Peacekeeper with the Irish Defence Forces in South Lebanon and Kosovo during the conflicts in those countries.  He was 2nd Place Winner in the Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Award 2011 & 3rd Place Winner in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards 2012.  He was also short-listed in the Doire Press and Cork Literary Manuscript Competitions and selected for the Eigse Eireann/Poetry Ireland Introductions 2012.  He has written books on the Irish involvement in the Congo in the 1960s and Ex British Soldiers in the Irish Army during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War 1913-1924.  He is the curator of the Irish Air Corps Aviation Museum and a member of Platform 1 and Virginia House Creative Writers.  Follow his blog here:

November Events

November is a jam-packed month full of events to keep all avid readers and aspiring writers busy!

And I am delighted to have my short story, Secret Librarian, included, along with pieces from fellow Platform One Writers – Michael Whelan and Doreen Duffy in the:

Red Line Book Festival 2012 – RE(A)D LINE WRITING

Date: Wednesday, 14 November
Venue: RUA RED, Tallaght
Time: 6-7pm
Tickets: Free but booking essential on 01-451 5860 or

South Dublin County Library’s Red Line Books Festival proudly presents an evening of new work by emerging and recently published writers from South County Dublin.

New work by emerging writers based in and around RUA RED, read and performed by actors from South Dublin theatre and film groups in a collaborative and inter-generational showcase event.

Writers, artists, theatre and film groups from a wide range of backgrounds and age groups are based in RUA RED South Dublin Arts Centre. Individuals and groups based in  the building are producing diverse creative projects from poetry, novels, audiobooks, songs and digital media installations to short films.

The first ever Re(a)d Line Writing event introduces a collaborative production of this work to you, the audience.

Led by writer Sue Hassett and actress Rachael Dowling, Red Line presents a one-hour reading and performance of new work.

This event will be recorded for podcast by Curious Broadcast –
Curious Broadcast is a broadcasting space where communities and individuals can exchange and generate new ideas and imaginings for social change

These events are part of South Dublin County Libraries 4-day Red Line Books Festival.

15% discount at Rua Red Café from 7 to 8pm

Red Line Book Festival 2012 – Three Voices/Three Forms
An evening with writers Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips and Colm Keegan
Date: Wednesday, 14 November
Venue: Civic Theatre, Tallaght
Time: 8.15pm
Tickets: €5
Three Voices/Three Forms – An evening with writers Eileen Casey, Colm Keegan and Louise Phillips.

Dublin Book Festival – Inspiring Crime Writers
Niamh O’Connor, Conor Brady and Sam Millar. Chaired by Louise Phillips.
Date: Thursday, 15 November
Venue: Smock Alley Theatre
Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: Free but as seats are limited it is advisable to arrive by 6.15pm
Join some of Ireland’s top crime writers and hear where they draw inspiration from for their hair-raising thrillers. Niamh O’Connor is the author of three crime novels and true crime editor for the Sunday World.

Sam Millar is author of highly acclaimed crime novels, the most recent of which, Dead of Winter, is the third Karl Kane novel and Conor Brady, former editor of The Irish Timesand author of crime novel A June of Ordinary Murders.

Louise Phillips is the author of Red Ribbons and her second novel, The Doll’s House, is due out in 2013.

Red Line Book Festival 2012 – Crime Night
with John Connolly, Niamh O’Connor, Declan Hughes, Declan Burke and Mark Billingham
Date: Friday, 16 November
Venue: Civic Theatre, Tallaght
Time: 8-10pm
Tickets: €10/€8 concession
Red Line Book Festival is delighted to present John Connolly, Niamh O’Connor and Declan Hughes, all of whom have played a significant part in putting the Irish crime novel on international map. They will be joined by UK crime writer Mark Billingham, whose DI Thorne novels are perennial bestsellers. Led by Declan Burke, who is the co-editor with John Connolly of Books to Die For, the authors will explore the elements that go into making a classic crime fiction novel, and discuss their own favourite books in the genre. Don’t miss what is sure to be a crime event to die for…

My Journey to Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch ...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I arrived in Narnia the evening that I joined my first writing class – never to return.  And what a journey!

I’ve always had to have my daily fix – reading.  As a child, I would be outdoors, playing with friends, but if I didn’t have a book waiting patiently by my bed, then I would feel a little out of sorts.  But the solution was easy – I just began another journey between the pages of a book.  Often, my parents would find me late into a school night, with my head buried beneath the covers with a torch, just finishing those elusive ‘last few pages’.

Although I’ve always written a little, it was when I joined my first Creative Writing Class that I felt as if I’d entered another world – my own, personal, Narnia.  Only this time, there was no wicked witch!  Instead, fellow writers I’ve met, at every stage of their career, have been nothing but a delight.  In Narnia-speak, pure Turkish Delight – but without the catch.  Every one of them has offered nuggets of advice, at the exact moment I needed them most, to push me forward.

And so, armed with all this knowledge, I talked about writing a novel, incessantly.  Then I finally began.  Taking on board, tips from Alex Barclay and John Connolly, I began again – this time changing the location from the streets of Dublin to those of New York.  It is October 2012 and I’ve finally done it – I’ve finished my debut novel!

Now, before we all get too excited – I do know it’s still only the first draft.  I know that I’ll probably have close to ten drafts before I’m entirely happy with it – so still a lot more work to be done.  BUT, at this moment in time, I am so happy to have 90,000 words which I have managed to spin into a story, printed and sitting on my kitchen table.

Maybe you’d care to follow my journey through Narnia as it continues or comment about your own writing journey.  I’d love to hear . . .

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