Writing Changes Lives – 3 x 1 day Saturday workshops
Dates: Jan. 28th, Feb. 4th & Feb. 11th 2017
Venue and time: Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir from 10.30am to 4.30pm
These are my own writing workshops, based on the work of Pat Schneider, and ‘built on a trust in the inherent talent in people and trust in the power of writing as a process’. Anyone who has written with me I think understands how that is proven over and over as we write together in the workshops. Something wonderful happens when people gather and write in a space safe enough to take risks. For more background I highly recommend Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others, (the quote above is from this book) – it is in many local libraries and in the Book Centre, Waterford. As always these writing days are suitable for anyone beginning, or beginning again, to write. Please contact me directly to book a place or to ask me about the workshops – I would love to hear from you.
‘Writing has brought me up from underground. I’ve been my own Orpheus.’ Nuala O’Faolain
Join writers Selina Guinness and Katie Donovan for the 2016 Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend. The dates are: Friday, 1st April, Saturday, 2nd April and Sunday, 3rd April, the weekend after Easter. This is Ireland’s most intimate writers’ weekend, limited to 12 participants, where writers get the opportunity to work with some of the best writers and teachers of writing in Ireland. Participants gain insights into the practice and craft of writing through group workshops, one to one tutorials and time for writing.
Here is what Nessa O’Mahony, one of our fabulous duo of tutors at the 2015 event, has written about the impact on her of attending a workshop with Katie Donovan: ‘Katie Donovan will forever have my gratitude for being the first professional writer to tell me that I had something worth developing – my own voice.’
The early-bird fee for the weekend is €160, but this must be paid by Friday, 5th February. This fee includes all workshops and tutorials plus lunch on Friday and Saturday. For payments later than this the full fee of €175 will apply, but please note that the weekend will fill on a first come, first paid basis. If you need accommodation for the weekend the Carraig Hotel is offering a special deal to participants.
For booking and payment details please get in touch with me through the Contact page.
Writers, if you want to treat yourself to some writing time in 2016, with expert tuition and guidance (or suggest this to anyone who is asking what you would like for Christmas), here are a couple of suggestions:
The Story House course, ‘Poetry: The Craft’, with poets Nessa O’Mahony, Peter Sirr and midweek guest Patrick Chapman. The dates are Monday, 11th to Saturday, 16th April 2016 and you will be living and writing in the magnificent surroundings of Borris House in Co. Carlow. The full fee is €700, which includes daily workshops, one-to-one tutorials, all accommodation and food. A deposit of €200 secures your place with the balance to be paid six weeks before start of course. If you want to check any details about this please email email@example.com
For a shorter writing break there is the 3 day Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend with writers Selina Guinness and Katie Donovan, from Friday, 1st April to Sunday, 3rd April. There is an early bird offer of €160 if booked and paid in full by Friday, 5th February (€175 if paid later). For those who live outside of Carrick-on-Suir The Carraig Hotel are offering a special deal to participants. For more details about this you are welcome to get in touch with me through the contact page here.
Both of these courses are limited to 12 participants.
The next course at The Story House will take place from Monday, 11th April to Saturday, 16th April 2016. ‘Poetry: The Craft’ will be facilitated by the very talented team of Nessa O’Mahony and Peter Sirr in the special surroundings of Borris House in Co. Carlow, home to the Festival of Writing and Ideas. The midweek guest writer will be the poet Patrick Chapman.
If you are interested in taking you and your poetry on a very special break you can reserve a place right now with a booking deposit of €200. The full fee of €700 includes accommodation, all meals, daily workshops and one to one tutorials. The camaraderie and stimulation of being with other writers for a week is priceless. The course is limited to 12 participants and, be aware, there are only a few places left. See booking terms and conditions here. If you would like to know more The Story House can be emailed directly at: thestoryhouseirelandATgmailDOTcom
Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend
Fri. 10th, Sat. 11th, Sun. 12th April 2015
Inspired by Arvon City
EARLY BIRD OFFER: €160 if paid by Thurs. 12th Feb. (€175 after that date)
‘The universe is expanding … you’re going somewhere else!’ (Robert Pinsky).
Join writers Ferdia MacAnna & Nessa O’Mahony for three days of writing in the intimate setting of Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir. Expand and develop your range of writing skills and learn how techniques used in screenwriting, poetry and memoir can help to expand your writing toolkit. You will work with Nessa & Ferdia, two experienced writers and teachers of writing, over three full days, exploring the link between real life and imagination and discover new ways of identifying and transforming material. There will be facilitated workshops, one-to-one sessions and time for you to write. Fee: €160 early bird if paid by 12th Feb or €175 if paid later. If you want to know more do get in touch with me through the Contact page.
Poetry Plus returns on Friday, 31st October, Halloween night as it happens, so you might set free your inner spook!
This is a night of words where anyone can read either two poems or short(ish) pieces of prose. It’s informal and a bit of fun. There will be a lucky dip prize for anyone who recites by heart, from the heart. More and more people are taking up this challenge, but no pressure!
Venue: Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir
Date: Friday, 31st October 2014
2014 Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend – here’s a brief photographic sample of the event.
Overall winner of the poetry competition Grace Wells, with adjudicator Richard Hayes, WIT (centre) and David Ryan, Dungarvan, whose poem ‘Another Blue Boy’ was Highly Commended in the Emerging Poet Category. Photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel
Mary O’Gorman, Clonmel, being congratulated by Richard Hayes. Mary’s poem ‘A Poem’s Thoughts’ was Highly Commended in the overall category.
Prizewinners all! From left, Patricia Cantwell, Clonmel – winner of the Emerging Poet Category, Bríd Kervick, Templeorum – Highly Commended in the Emerging Poet Category, Mary O’Gorman, Clonmel – Highly Commended in the Overall Category and Danny Harty, Comeragh College – winner of the Schools’ Category. Photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel
Dave Lordan making a definite point about the writing of Flash Fiction, although Mary Marron, Dungarvan, doesn’t seem to be taking him too seriously.
It was a busy, busy but very enjoyable weekend and thanks to everyone who made it so. If you would like to see a sample of what Shem Caulfield presented at his seminar on Saturday morning, click here. After being in Shem’s company for a couple of hours, listening to him and seeing his beautiful images, for me, and for the others who attended, a gate will never again be just a gate. There really is an epic in the detail!
Dear President Higgins,
You are about to start a historic visit to the United Kingdom and I have no doubt that the schedule planned for you and Mrs. Higgins during this trip is interesting and full.
In a recent article in The Irish Times you raised some interesting questions. “What is necessary to human flourishing? What human capabilities does Irish society encourage, genuinely enable, or block?” I suggest that you may find some answers to those questions if you include in your visit a meeting with John Moat and a visit to any of the four Arvon houses in the UK. What is The Arvon Foundation? In its own words “Arvon is a charity that works to ensure anyone can benefit from the transformative power of writing.” Don’t you find that wonderful? That anyone can benefit? John Moat, with the late John Fairfax, founded what became Arvon over 40 years ago in Devon. To date there is nothing comparable in Ireland that offers a residential experience to anyone who wishes to write, away from everyday distractions, responsibilities and habits and that also actively engages with schools and many underserved communities. Nor one with the simple apprenticeship model of Arvon, each 5 day residential course led by two experienced writers.
Instead in Ireland there is an ad hoc provision of writing courses, writing centres and writers augmenting their income through teaching. Indeed I offer some of these courses myself. Arts officers here strive to support all the creative arts within increasing budgetary constraints and a public discourse that veers between questioning the relevance of the arts and attempts to yoke the arts to an economic project. The support available to a writer too frequently depends on the area in which they live. The writers I have worked with over the past few years have shown me again and again the value of the process of writing, how the sudden discovery as the pen leaks words onto the page changes lives in a myriad of minute ways. It’s about writing but it’s always about more than writing. When I lectured in Adult Literacy Studies in the past, particularly in the area of Family Literacy, the class always came alive when I introduced them to creative writing, to story, using the method developed by Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Writers and Artists. Pat has written that “Art is the creative expression of the human spirit, and it cannot – it must not, for the sake of the human community – be limited to those few who achieve critical acclaim or financial reward.” I think you appreciate better than most that if appropriate conditions are put in place then creativity, and people, can flourish. For example, it is likely that there will be an increase in the numbers of writers emerging from north Dublin because of the existence there of Fighting Words and the work of Sean Love and Roddy Doyle. There will consequently also be many, many more young people in that area growing into adulthood with increased confidence in their own voice and their ability to express themselves. As Gianni Rodari said:
“Every possible use of words should be made available to every single person … not because everyone should be an artist but because no one should be a slave.”
There is quite a list of Irish writers who have taught on Arvon courses, from the late Seamus Heaney through Paul Durcan, Anne Enright, Carlo Gebler, Hugo Hamilton, Patrick McCabe, Shane Connaughton, Medbh McGuckian, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Thomas McCarthy, Colm Tóibín and others to Leanne O’Sullivan and Julian Gough, yet none seem to have brought back the spirit, the idea of Arvon to Ireland. I find this very puzzling. Seamus Heaney judged, with Ted Hughes, the very first Arvon poetry competition and was a patron of Arvon until he died. An essay of his is included in a book called ‘The Gist: A Celebration of the Imagination’, recently published in acknowledgment of the work of John Moat. Also included as an appendix in this book is Ted Hughes’ ‘Arvon and Education’ in which he says that “we have to acknowledge what is perhaps not much acknowledged – that far-reaching inner changes, creative revelations of our inner self, the only part of us with any value, are usually triggered in the smallest fraction of time.” If there is to be one piece of writing that I would press on you to read in relation to the importance of developing a residential writing centre here, modelled on Arvon, it is this essay by Ted Hughes.
In ‘Renewing the Republic’ you wrote that “Unlike the characters in a play, we can change the script of our lives. We can reflect on the choice of selves, societies, masks and fictions. If we lock the arts away for an occasion, for an evening, for an indulgence, we lose out on much of their potential for the future, and for their revelatory and pleasurable potential now.”
Now to return to your recent questions: “What is necessary to human flourishing? What human capabilities does Irish society encourage, genuinely enable, or block?” Establishing a residential national writing centre in Ireland would serve as the tangible symbol of a belief in the importance of writing as a vital part of the creative arts and also provide real support for developing writers of all ages. There would also be opportunities for cultural tourism. It would provide a focus for the development of a community of writers, teaching opportunities for writers, and also “ensure anyone can benefit from the transformative power of writing”. It is my belief that many people in Ireland, indeed Irish society as a whole, would benefit and flourish from such a development.
The adjudicator, Richard Hayes, has made his final difficult decision and I’m now delighted to share with you the results of the 2014 Brewery Lane Poetry Competition.
Winner – ‘Winter’ by Grace Wells, Ninemilehouse
Highly Commended 1 – ‘Metempsychosis’ by David Butler, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Highly Commended 2 – ‘A Poem’s Thoughts’ by Mary O’Gorman, Clonmel
Emerging Poet Category:
Winner – ‘The Abandoned Heart’ by Patricia Cantwell, Clonmel
Highly Commended 1 – ‘Another Blue Boy’ by David Ryan, Dungarvan
Highly Commended 2 – ‘The Light’ by Bríd Kervick, Templeorum
Congratulations to everyone and thanks to all who entered! I hope as many of you as possible can join in the celebrations in Brewery Lane Theatre on Friday, 11th April with the winners and the adjudicator, Richard Hayes, as we present the awards and launch this year’s Writers’ Weekend.
Think small, think perfect – this is Ireland’s most intimate writers’ weekend.
There will be poetry, (including a showing of the film Poetry), flash fiction with the writer and passionate advocate of creativity Dave Lordan, and the artist Shem Caulfield will persuade everyone that The Epic is in the Detail. Check here to see how we celebrated last year’s opening event.
For enquiries and booking information email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact page here