Awards, articles, submissions…

Rather than always harping on about my own thoughts on writing, or my garden, or stuff I’ve been doing, I like to share interesting tidbits from others that I’ve found around the place. And the last couple of weeks has been particularly interesting so here’s a few of my findings…

Bord Gais Book Awards

Whyte Books - a cosy haven for readers and writers

Whyte Books – a cosy haven for readers and writers

It’s a week of celebration as I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel, and I also found out the bookshop I work in has been nominated for Bord Gais Irish Bookshop of the Year after winning the Munster vote. So, here’s a massive well done to Sheila, the owner, brains and driving force behind the lovely bookshop that is Whyte Books.

Also linked to the Bord Gais Book Awards, did you hear about the new Short Story Award? Well if not (and I hope it’s not too late) – you have to vote! Read the six shortlisted stories over on (six stories for free? It’s a gift!) and then support your favourite by voting on the Bord Gais website. Stories & details here.

Horror Fiction

Is anyone writing horror out there? I love horror fiction and although it competes with crime on a global scale as one of the top genres, I feel it’s still underrated and under-appreciated in the UK and Ireland. I’ve felt rather out on a limb with my attempts at literary horror fiction, but that’s probably because I didn’t know this place – the Horror Writers Association – existed! Thanks to Paul Fitzgerald, a fellow blogger, I’ve now found a homely hub for my guilty pleasure! 

Publishing opportunities

Take a look at the exciting new journal, Spontaneity, a refreshing new arts journal that’s all about inspiration, (think future submissions inspired by those selected for publication in previous issues). The first issue has the theme of Age and Beauty – details here.

As writers, we’re always looking for new outlets whether it’s competitions, journals or publishing houses. So here’s a few that stand out: firstly (you’ll have to be quick to get this one in – deadline is Nov 15th), Susan Lanigan’s free-to-enter short fiction competition Walking on Thin Ice based around ‘mental illness, stigma and oppressive institutional power’.  It may be free but the judge is Dave Lordan and there are cash prizes.

Two presses that have caught my interest are erbacce press, a co-operative that makes sure all contributors receive royalties, with all money feeding back into publishing more writers, and Notting Hill Editions, the home of the essay that’s doing exciting things (it produced the gorgeous Deborah Levy Things I Don’t Want To Know essay in response to Orwell’s Why I Write). Go check them both out – they’re gorgeous.

Art meets literature

It seems that every time you think there are no more incredibly interesting ideas left to discover, some talented/forward thinking individual comes up with one! In case you haven’t heard, there’s a weird but probably very wonderful installation/project happening around the Liffey, with quotes from Joyce being washed into the grime of the river’s surrounding walls. Derek Flynn has the info here.

Writing motivation

And finally, here’s a lovely post, I am Good Enough, And So Are You by Susan Lanigan that’s bound to lift your writing spirits.

If you have any more articles, links or competitions you think should be shared, please add in the comments below! I only have a certain amount of time free for researching this kind of stuff (with most of my info through blog subscriptions, twitter, and chatting in Whyte Books) – so I’d be delighted if you’d expand my horizons!


Irish music shout out

Seeing as St Patrick’s Day has just passed, I thought I’d give a shout out to Irish music and musicians.

Living in rural Ireland, I’m embroiled in Irish music on a regular basis, especially since my husband is a singer/songwriter/balladeer (he’s just getting into the online thing. You can see his facebook page here). But even without his influence, West Cork has retained its Irish musical roots to such a degree that I’m constantly treated to some form of storytelling through song.

It seems everyone here can sing; at least, everyone is willing to belt out a favourite tune at the drop of a hat. Believe me, never have I felt my ‘Englishness’ so much as when the microphone/guitar/banjo is passed my way and I quietly, but firmly, decline. (Singing is an art form I haven’t mastered, so I’ll stick to my notebooks. It’s better for everyone all round.)

If you love Irish music, there’s a great site called Irish Music Forever that shares quality Irish tunes past and present, while Derek Flynn updates his Rant, with Occasional Music blog every Monday with a new song recording; a mixture of his own tunes and covers/mash ups. He even takes requests.

And as a St Patrick’s treat, here’s a little something for you to enjoy: my husband singing his song “Wrapped Up” with incredible vocalist Camilla Griehsel (soon to be starring in an operatic production at Cork opera House).