Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Juniper in Mountmellick

This beautiful image arrived in my inbox - the work is that of Shona Shirley Macdonald, and her exhibition titled “Juniper” will run from 5th -29th May in The Library Gallery. Mountmellick. Co Laois.

Originally from Aberdeen, Shauna, is currently based in Co. Waterford, and works as an illustrator.Past projects include illustration for comics, poetry, short stories, murals, textile design and concept art. Her first solo show was in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady in August 2014. She is also a member of the Illustrators Guild of Ireland.

See for more details.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What News, Centurions?

Colm Scully's poetry collection "What News, Centurions?” will be launched on Monday May 4th at 7 pm in The Workman's Club, Wellington Quay, Dublin. It should be a fantastic night, guest readers will include - Erin Fornoff, Angela Carr, Fióna Bolger and Anne Tannam, Sue Cosgrave, Rab Urquhart. And, there will be music from Aidan Murphy.

Colm Scully is from Cork, he won the Cúirt New Writing Poetry Prize 2014, and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductory Series 2014, and commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize 2014.

"Humour and imagination are Colm Scully’s defining qualities. Not simply confessional, his poems often reflect modern life in snapshots that incorporate dramatis personae from wider mythical or historical contexts. This is a welcome new Irish voice – one that is observant, balanced, humane.”
– Afric McGlinchey

“A serious narrative artist as well as an authentic wearer of poetic masks, Colm Scully marshals his characters towards subtle feats of telling and singing, mining an original creative ore as he does so, and offering his readers a dream of Irish experience which, again and again, works deep enough to arrive at a vision of truth.”– Martin Dyar

Friday, April 24, 2015

On Purpose

Have you lost touch with the reason you began your novel? An interesting post from Jan Morrison could help - its about Purpose, and as ever with Jan, its wise and insightful. She says - 'I do think when we are attempting something with such a broad scope - like writing a novel or book length memoir or non-fiction - we need to constantly go back to our purpose.' 

Her words remind me that sometimes the work to be done is off the page, not on it. Jan's post is HERE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Launch of Novel Fair 2016 - Any Questions?

The Irish Writers Centre are launching the 2016 Novel Fair tomorrow Thursday 16th of at 7.00pm in their centre in Dublin. It is a free event, but you need a ticket, which you can book by following this LINK

The launch will allow aspiring novelists to gain the inside track about how the Fair works. At the Fair twelve emerging writers will have the opportunity to bypass the slush pile and pitch directly to a selection of publishers and agents. The submissions period will open tomorrow, and remain open for six months. The Fair itself will be held in February 2016.

Here's what they have to say -
Former Novel Fair winner Niamh Boyce (The Herbalist) will share insights on this unique opportunity to connect with publishers and agents, and Dan Bolger, Commissioning Editor of New Island Books will reveal how the Fair benefits publishers through discovering new authors. A must for anyone who has ever dreamed of getting a novel published.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2015.

Do you have a batch of poems? The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award for a first unpublished collection of poems in English is open to poets, born in the island of Ireland, or of Irish nationality, or long term resident in Ireland. The award is now in its 45th year. Previous winners include Eileán Ni Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, Thomas McCarthy, Peter Sirr, Sinead Morrissey, Conor O’Callaghan, Celia de Freine and Joseph Woods. Deadline Friday 24th July 2015. The winner of this year’s award will receive €1,000.

Rules and entry form from the Patrick Kavanagh Centre, Inniskeen
Tel. 00353(0)429378560, Fax 00353(0)429378855

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Hennesssy Anthology 2005 - 2015

'These are the early – and, very often, the first – stories written by an exciting new wave of writers: an extraordinary, vibrant and dynamic explosion of talent that is changing the face of Irish fiction.'

A story of mine appeared in the New Irish Writing Page of the Tribune newspaper in 2009 and was shortlisted for the Hennessy Awards. Being nominated encouraged me to keep writing, (and I really needed the encouragement at that point.) It was my second story to be published, (my first was in Crannog) and it was called Steps Of Stairs. In 2011, I was nominated again, and won overall New Irish Writer of the Year. It has had a huge postive impact on my writing life.

The Hennesssy Anthology 2005 - 2015 was launched last week, it features a selection of twenty-five stories shortlisted for the Hennessy Awards over the past decade. The third in a series, the Hennessy anthologies are edited once a decade by Dermot Bolger and Ciaran Carty. I'm delighted to have my story included in it. The other contributers are Sara Baume, Alan Jude Moore, Jennifer Farrell, Thomas Martin, John Murphy, Michael O’Higgins, Nicola Jennings, Colm Keegan, Selina Guinness, Kevin Power, John O’Donnell, Oona Frawley, Eileen Casey, Kevin Doyle, Andrew Fox, Pat O’Connor, Maire T. Robinson, Monica Corish, Carmel McMahon, Brendan McLoughlin, Sean Kenny, Chris Connolly, Elizabeth Brennan, Sean Coffey.

‘(These) are often the first stories, or the newly struck note, of a voice that will go to new horizons. Just being shortlisted for the award gives a needle-shot of confidence and a sense of breadth early in a writer’s career.’
Colum McCann

The Hennessy Anthology 2005 - 2015 can be ordered HERE. An ARENA interview from April 2nd with myself and Dermot Bolger can be listened to HERE.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hallelujah for 50ft Women

This beauty arrived through my letter box this morning! My advance copy of Hallelujah for 50ft Women poems selected by Raving Beauties and printed by Bloodaxe. My poem The Beast is Dead, Long Live the Beast is in there, amongst some knock me down inspiring poetry... much needed refreshment for my muse - after a year of novel writing, the process has begun to feel like wading through mud :)

'This new anthology is inspired by a passionate desire to celebrate our bodies in a fully realised way, leaving Barbie’s grotesque silent pliability in her box for good. Instead of pouting, our mouths have the power of language, our romantic fluttering hearts give and receive compassion, skin ages with grace when we see beauty in everything, a pierced belly button connects us to our ancestors and a belly needs to be strong before it's flat.

This book has been selected from over a thousand submissions. New poets published here for the first time are proud to share this anthology with established writers such as Selima Hill, Kim Addonizio, Jackie Kay and Helen Dunmore. By revealing the complex depths of our relationships with our bodies Hallelujah for 50ft Women makes a much needed contribution to a compassionate understanding of our evolving selves.

Friday, March 20, 2015

By The Light of Four Moons

Some news! I will be launching John MacKenna's new poetry collection By the Light of Four Moons published by the ever exciting Doire Press. So come along to Carlow Town Library, this Sat night, March 21st, at 7.30 pm. Everyone is very welcome - there will be readings from the book and refreshments.

Winner of the Hennessy Literary Award, the Irish Times Fiction Award and the Cecil Day-Lewis Award, John is a brilliant novelist, playwright, short story writer and poet, and this collection is really something to look forward to.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Arkyne, A Vampire Tale

Caroline Farrell has just published her first novel Arkyne, an atmospheric gothic vampire tale set on the island of Inis Mor. I'm really delighted that Caroline popped over to answer a few questions...

1. You've set your story on Inis Mor, can you tell us why? Inis Mor is a spiritual place, and Dun Aonghusa is particularly exhilarating. I remember the first time I visited the cliffs, the wind was blasting and swirling with such power, it could have literally swept me off my feet. There is an 'other worldly' quality to the landscape. If magic exists, as I am inclined to believe, it is there in abundance.I didn't write any of ARKYNE while on the island, but the place definitely inspired me to develop it further.I had these characters hanging around in my head, and they settled well to that beautiful, haunting environment.

2. Who is your own favourite writer and why?I don't have one particular favourite,there are so many amazing talents out there. I was influenced by Anne Rice - would you ever have guessed that? -and I like Susan Hill, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman and of course, Stephen King. I like a good mysterychiller, told with some natural magic, the very human kind - so I take inspiration from the aforementioned, and aren't we always told to write what we want to read?

Author Caroline Farrell
3. You wrote your book in a (relatively) unusual way by releasing it bit by bit, can you tell us why, and how you found that experience?I tend to break the traditional rules when it comes to creative stuff anyway. I take my writing very seriously, though I am not precious about it. Why not write online and interact with readers? It worked for me because (a) it helped me to set personal deadlines, and (b) I received honest feedback from readers who liked the genre, but also from writer friends who wouldn't normally touch the genre with a barge pole! I knew I would get feedback that was going to be balanced and truthful, and that was immeasurable in helping me finish it.

Can we have an excerpt?! Very difficult to pick a favourite, but since I have such a grá for the character of Henri, I’ll share my description of him…

Inside the château, amid sumptuous though somewhat decaying antique splendour, Henri de Rais sat by an open fireplace, engrossed in the pages of a small, dense volume on his lap, an ancient French Grimoire, bound in calf-leather and gold-leaf.

Coco’s father was a beautiful man, far more youthful looking than his forty-three years. And yet, to look into his dark eyes was to see wisdom of a very old soul, and heartache, so profound that the beholder might shudder with sadness. With unruly hair that fell across his serious expression, he carried on reading, his eye drawn to an incantation…

And thrice I hear thee, dark-winged harvester
Eater of souls
With thine hollow caw of malaise

…and so caught up between the words, his brow furrowed, that even as his pretty sister-in-law, Anna, entered the room carrying a tray laden with coffee and biscuits, Henri did not tear his gaze away from the page before him.

4. You’re also a film maker Caroline, can you tell me a little about that?A very different style of storytelling, but works for me.My stories generally demand their own medium of expression, so I'll know pretty early on whether they will develop as screenplays or novels, though occasionally, they become both, as was the case with ARKYNE.I've written and co-produced two short films so far, ADAM,2013 and IN RIBBONS, 2014. Film is primarily a visually driven, collaborative venture, whereas, writing a novel is a solitary business.I really don't prefer one over the other, and it's lovely to move between the two. Producing takes a lot of energy, from the physical to the intellectual and everything in between. There are a lot of managementand problem-solving skills that need to be tapped into, and it is imperative that you mind your most vital resource, the people who help you to make your film.I project-manage all the time through my day job, so I don't find any aspect of it particularly stressful. And there is nothing as satisfying as seeing your work on the big screen, so even the tough days are worth it.

5. What’s next for you?Later this year,through my own business Ninnyhammer Productions,I will direct my third short film, HUSHAWAY.I also have a number of feature scripts that I should really start pushing out there. In terms of novel writing, I am constantly working on something, mostly supernatural stories. The success, or not, of ARKYNE will determine what I put out next, but I also have a 'Lady Killer' drama that I have long had a love affair with, which is already in feature script format, so there is a possibility that I might jump genres and finish that one first. Time will tell - and I just wish I had more of it.

Thanks Caroline, you can find out more at... Caroline’s Blog: OR  Facebook Page:

And you can buy the book HERE

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Short Story Prize

The Bristol Short Story Prize is open for entries, all the lovely rules are here

Max Word length is 4,000 words.
Entry fee is £8 per story.
Closing date: 30 April 2015.

Prizes....1st £1000 plus £150 Waterstone's gift card
2nd £700 plus £100 Waterstone's gift card
3rd £400 plus £100 Waterstone's gift card
17 further prizes of £100 for shortlisted writers.
All 20 stories will be published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 8.

Nice to see a competition with a max word length longer than the usual 2,000. Good luck if you enter, and don't forget the People College Competition, click here for more about that... the deadline is february 28th, I'm judging and really looking forward to reading the short stories...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Large Print Edition 'The Herbalist'

Came across this on the Internet a few weeks ago. A large print edition of my novel The Herbalist. It's quite a shock to see the cover, but I like it a lot. So, the book is available in large print, it seems :) 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

People's College Short Story Competition

The People's College Short Story Competition is open for submissions and I'm delighted to be judging the entries. Here's what they have to say......

'Stories can be on any topic topic up to a limit of 2,500 words, typed 1.5 or double spaced on A4 paper, single-sided, with numbered pages securely fastened. There is no limit to the number of entries submitted.

1st prize €1,000, 2nd prize €750, 3rd prize €500

Closing date February 28 2015

Judge: award-winning author Niamh Boyce

A short list will be published on the People’s College website in April 2015 and the winners will be announced at an event in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square, in May/June 2015. Winning stories will be published on the website and the first prize winner will also be published in our 2015 newsletter. Please submit your stories to

Entry fee per story €10

Stories will be judged anonymously. Entrant’s name should not appear anywhere on the story. Contact details should only appear on a separate entry form, available online or from the competition flyer.

Stories can be emailed to under subject heading ‘Short Story competition’ or can be sent by post to The People’s College, 31 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.'

For more details, or to enter clickity click HERE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Here's a nice opportunity for short story writers and poets. 

Dundalk FM100 is open for submission, they are looking for original short stories and poems for their programme, 'The Creative Flow'. Send...
Short stories (between 1500/1800 words) typed in double space
Poetry submissions (between 3  & 5 poems.) 

The authors will get to read their work, and should be available for interview during the programme. 
Send submissions to or hand a hard copy into the station reception.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Croi Anu

Belated Happy New Year! Hope your writing resolutions are going well, if you need a kickstart, here's a date for your creative diaries :)

On Sat 7th of February I'll be facilitating a workshop in Croi Anu, Moone, Co Kildare from 2 - 5pm. Its the only workshop I'll be teaching in the forseeable future (too much of my own writing to get through) so I'm really looking forward to it.

The session is suitable for all kinds of writers, from complete beginners to those already working on novels, or short stories. All you need to bring is a pen and notebook, and a snack to keep you going. Tea and coffee are provided. Places are limited. There are more details on Croi Anu's Website

For anyone with work ready to send out, here's a few links of interest...
A great post from poet Jo Bell's Blog on submitting to literary journals, ...
If your looking for ideas on where to submit - there's also Duotrope

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Longlisted for The IMPAC

The Longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC Literary award has been announced...142 books on the longlist were nominated by libraries in 114 cities and 39 countries worldwide. 49 titles on the longlist are books in translation, spanning 16 languages and 29 are first novels. in this, the 20th year of the award we are delighted that five Irish books have made the longlist... (And my novel The Herbalist is one of them!)
Mary Morrissy, Donal Ryan and myself
The Irish authors long listed are

* The Herbalist by Niamh Boyce, nominated by Galway County Library, Ireland.
* The Guts by Roddy Doyle, nominated by Liverpool City Libraries, UK.
* TransAtlantic by Colum McCann, nominated by Halifax Public Libraries, Canada; Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland; Waterford City & County Libraries, Ireland; Liverpool City Libraries, UK; New Hampshire State Libraries, Concord, USA; The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA.
* The Rising of Bella Casey by Mary Morrissy, nominated by Cork City Libraries and Dublin City Public Libraries, Ireland.
* The Thing About December by Donal Ryan, nominated by Limerick City Library, Ireland.

Well done to all the nominees, it's a great end to 2014 for me, a big thank you Galway County libraries for the nomination! There were 37 American novels, 9 Canadian, 9 Australian, 4 from New Zealand and 19 Uk novels nominated this year. And if you want ideas for books to buy this Christmas- the longlist, (which is very long) can be read HERE