Today I was at a very interesting discussion led by Thomas Morris, editor at The Stinging Fly magazine, as part of the Dublin Writers Festival. It was a colloquy about the short story between two practitioners of that form, Nuala Ni Chonchuir and Mike McCormack, the latter my tutor during my MA in Writing twelve years ago (God, I feel old. Again.) I felt like a bit of a poacher-turned-gamekeeper as I haven’t written a short story in well over a year, and one of any considerable length in more than two. But it was interesting hearing what the short story had to offer and where short story writing, particularly in Ireland, might have lost its way somewhat. Continue reading “Discussion of the Short Story with Nuala Ni Chonchuir and Mike McCormack”→
Well, here is a great short story competition with a prize and a half:
The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is now open for entries until July 31st. The annual competition, sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre, is accepting entries (3,000 words or fewer) from around the world.
I have been following the @GreenRibbonIRL account on Twitter and reading about the conversations being started about mental health. Wearing the Green Ribbon, or blogging about the event, indicates a willingness to start and continue this ongoing conversation.
I’m nearly finished my part of a novel that concerns itself greatly with mental health (WWI combat soldiers had high rates of shell shock) and stigma (the white feather itself) It’s strange how little people change from that day to this. I hope that the “conversation” will resonate come publication day! Yesterday was National Conscientious Objectors day in England and I feel it is fitting that the two events are so close.
I have always felt that the act of stigma carries a dubious legitimacy. Then and now, it’s about one thing. Power.
Also that the conversation cannot just be had between the vulnerable and relatively powerless. The powerful need to examine their ways, check their sanity privilege, and throw their weight behind this discussion. If for nothing other than economic reasons. Even the War Office needed to do something in 1917 when 40 per cent of their fighting men were disabled by extreme mental stress.
Well yesterday I delivered the substantive edits for White Feathers and they are DONE. Three months of rewriting and editing and now the process is nearly complete. And there in some dust covered corner is the rest of my life, demanding my attention.
Given that my bank balance needs a bit of TLC, I have made the first tentative steps towards offering writers’ workshops again. I last conducted them in 2011 – so it’s been a while, but thankfully the fundamentals of writing haven’t changed that much since then. I however have a lot more experience to bring to the table now than I did then – and I love to share it! If anyone is interested to hear more, please click the “Workshops and Services” page on the menu.
When I conduct workshops I only ever do what I know how to do – I don’t fake anything. That meant that I didn’t feel entitled to give advice on crafting a novel, just short stories – but now that’s changed. I am redesigning my programme to take that into account.
One thing I love about workshops is how eager people are to take part and how much you, the facilitator can learn from them as well as vice versa. It really is a privilege to be able to do it and I hope I will get the opportunity soon.