Writing at Lughnasadh

A day of writing inspired by Lugh, god of first harvests, great gatherings, skill, crafts, oaths and truth.

Where? Lakeside Centre, Belleek Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
When? Saturday, August 11, 11 AM – 5 PM
How much? €75
Early bird concession: €65 before August 3
Questions? Go to monicacorish.ie/workshops/ or email monicacorishwriting@gmail.com


Writing: The Art and the Craft

Writing: The Art and the Craft – Tuesdays – Kinlough, Co Leitrim

typewriter-vintage-old-vintage-typewriter-163084Six Tuesday evenings: 7 – 9:30 pm, Apr 10, Apr 24, May 1, May 8, May 22, Jun 5. Cost: €90, early bird concession €75, before Tues Apr 3.  For more infomonicacorishwriting@gmail.com 087-6414185. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. Develop your writing skills through constructive critique, feedback and tailored craft exercises.


Women Writing Together – Wednesdays – Kinlough, Co Leitrim

my labyrinth smallSix Wednesday evenings: 7 – 9:30 pm, Apr 11, Apr 25, May 2, May 9, May 23, Jun 6. Cost: €90, early bird concession €75, before Tues Apr 3.  For more infomonicacorishwriting@gmail.com 087-6414185. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. Develop confidence in your voice by writing with other women in a warm and encouraging environment.


Sligo, November 25: Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth: The Cailleach

A workshop to generate new writing, inspired by the myths of the Cailleach, of Samhain and Winter, the dark of the year… The workshop will take place in the Sligo Park Hotel on Pearse Road, halfway between Queen Maeve’s Cairn on Knocknarea and the Cailleach a Bherra’s House in the Ballygawley Hills, in the heart of Sligo’s ritual landscape. What better place to meet your mythic muse?

When? Saturday, November 25, 10:30 – 5:30. Where? Hazelwood Suite, Sligo Park Hotel. Cost? €80. Numbers limited, advance booking essential. For more info contact 087-6414185, monicacorishwriting@gmail.com To pay, go to www.monicacorish.ie/workshops/


This is the second in a series of “Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth” workshops led by award-winning writer and AWA certified writing group leader Monica Corish.

Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth: The Cailleach

Saturday, November 25, 10:30 – 5:30, Hazelwood Suite, Sligo Park Hotel. Cost €80 / €70 if payment received by November 19. To book, go to monicacorish.ie/workshops/, for more info contact monicacorishwriting@gmail.com

CailleachShe is the Hag of Winter, both female and male, the end and the beginning, the gateway to the ancestors, she is the dark before birth and the dark we fear. And, in her wild and withered dryness, she is the juicy source of our best writing…

This is the second in a series of “Poetry and Story Inspired by Myth” workshops led by award-winning writer and AWA certified writing group leader Monica Corish.

The workshop will take place in the Sligo Park Hotel on Pearse Road, halfway between Queen Maeve’s Cairn on Knocknarea and the Cailleach a Bherra’s House in the Ballygawley Hills, in the heart of Sligo’s ritual landscape. What better place to meet your mythic muse?


Literary Highlights of the Allingham Festival 2017

Poetry Masterclass; Fighting Words; The Art of Awareness; Literary Lunch; Wild Atlantic Writers; and lots, lots more… Book all events through Eventbrite. More info at www.allinghamfestival.com

Allingham 2017 logo

  • Friday, 10:30 – 11:30 Fighting Words Information Session, with Sean Love – for anyone interested in learning about Fighting Words, the free creative writing programme for students of all ages in Ireland.
  • Friday, 11:30 – 12:30: Fighting Words Volunteer Training, for those who have already completed the application process – if you are interested in applying in time for this training, please email donegal@fightingwords.ie
  • Friday, 13:30 – 15:30: The Art of Awareness: A Creativity Workshop for Adults, with Olive Travers
  • Friday, 16:00 – 17:30: Wild Atlantic Writers, with Mick Delap, Winifred McNulty, Monica Corish and Enda McGloin.
  • Saturday, 9:00 – 12:00: Poetry Workshop with Moya Cannon: “Stitching the Inner and the Outer World Together”. This workshop is aimed at those who have been writing poetry for some time – places limited to 10. Participants are asked to send two pieces of work to allinghamfest@gmail.com before October 31st.
  • Saturday 12:30 – 15:00: Literary Lunch in Nirvana: Splendid Food; Jim Keane Flash Fiction Award; Allingham Poetry Award; launch of “Grace” by Paul Lynch
  • Saturday 15:30 – 17:00: Mike McCormack, author of “Solar Bones”, in conversation with Sinead Crowley, RTE Arts and Media Correspondent.
  • Saturday 19:00 – 20:00: History Ireland Hedge School: William Allingham – “An Irish poet but not a national poet”? Moderated by Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland.

Do you have what it takes to be a Fighting Words volunteer?

Fighting Words is coming to South Donegal/North Leitrim/North Sligo/West Fermanagh, and we are looking for volunteers!  Have you got what it takes? Have a browse on the Fighting Words website: www.fightingwords.ie/volunteer to learn more, or come along to an information session at Bundoran Library on Monday, October 9 from 12 till 1.


From the website:

What kind of people volunteer at Fighting Words?

Everyone! All tutoring at Fighting Words is free and delivered by teams of volunteer writing tutors.  We have over 400 volunteer tutors – people from all walks of life – including third level students (from all disciplines!), retired people, writers (both professional and aspiring), teachers, journalists, visual artists, musicians and filmmakers – just to name a few.

What kind of skills do I need to volunteer at Fighting Words?

Anyone who enjoys working in a creative environment with the individuals and groups that come to our centres – and is a good listener –  is welcome to volunteer. You don’t need to be a writer or a teacher to be a Fighting Words volunteer writing tutor.

What kind of commitment to I have to give?

Volunteering with Fighting Words is totally flexible because your time is a valuable resource.  Tutors choose the days and times they come in using our online calendar for Dublin, Glencree and Cork.  You simply click on the day you’d like to come in and sign up. For example, we have tutors who choose to come in on the same day every week on the same day, tutors who come in for a week or two in the summer and tutors who come in a few times a year for evening workshops. In Mayo, the local volunteer co-ordinator will contact you by email about our monthly workshops.

There is no minimum time commitment – and we mean that!

Deadline Extended for Allingham Flash Fiction and Poetry Competitions

Dig out your best work, there is still time to enter. Up to 5 poems, max 40 lines; up to 5 flash fiction pieces, max 800 words.  Moya Cannon will judge the poetry competition, Paul Lynch the flash fiction, and Monica Corish will be the filter judge for both competitions. Read all about it at http://www.allinghamfestival.com/fiction-poetry-competitions/

And keep an eye on the Allingham website for news of lots of splendid writerly events, including a poetry masterclass from Moya, a book launch from Paul, and readings from all three judges.


Creative writing on Thursday mornings in Bundoran Community Centre

Bundoran Community Centre is offering a new ETB-funded creative writing class on Thursday mornings, 10.30 – 12.30,  starting September 28.

The cost for 7 sessions is only €14. The classes will be led by local creative writing tutor Monica Corish. Places are limited, so contact bundorancommunitycentre@gmail.com to book your place, or phone 071-982-9675.


Bundoran Community Centre Creative Writing Logo


Quotes on Writing, Quotes on Living

Tom Sigafoos

Each morning I read the latest postings from The Writer’s Almanac, Delancey Place, and Word-a-Day. From those sources, and a few others, I’ve collected two kinds of quotations that have caught my eye:

  • Quotes on writing, primarily from writers – observations and advice on how to use language to spin stories, conjure memories, and reconstruct vivid experiences.
  • Epigrams, aphorisms, and observations about this endlessly-challenging business of living.

aa-author-photo-cropped-2Last year I launched www.tomsigafoos.com, hoping to attract a community of like-minded writers and readers. At the core of the website, I’ve posted quotations. In 2016, most of my posts were about writing. In 2017, in a world that seems to be losing its sense of decency and compassion, I’m going to post other quotes as well.

I hope that you enjoy the quotations and ideas. Please consider following my blog, re-blogging the quotes, and sharing them on Facebook or re-tweeting them on Twitter…

View original post 15 more words

In Memoriam Andy McLaren

Love this piece by Tom, in memory of a good friend.

Tom Sigafoos

Andy McLaren 1943-2017

It’s been a year since Andy McLaren died. My tribute to him appeared in today’s edition of the Donegal Post (4 July 2018):

Andy McLaren died shortly after midsummer last year. He spent the last week of his life in the Intensive Care Unit of Letterkenny General Hospital, where only immediate family members were permitted to visit. A sympathetic nurse carried messages back and forth. Andy was on a breathing apparatus, and he didn’t want me to see him under those circumstances. He said that he’d let me know as soon as he was better, but his lungs were too damaged and his resistance was too low. He died on Sunday, July 2.

I miss Andy. I miss hurrying into Linda’s Diner to find him sitting with one eye on the clock and the other on a rumpled newspaper, halfway through a cup of coffee and wondering how late I…

View original post 423 more words

Collage your Personal Soul Cards – A Workshop for Women

Create your own Soul Cards with card, glue, images and  imagination. Collage — a creative and playful method for intuitive, artful self-discovery and self-expression — is accessible to everyone, even those who think they have no artistic ability.

Where? Lakeside Centre, Belleek Road, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal
When? Saturday, July 14, 11 AM – 5 PM
How much? €75, all materials supplied
Early bird concession: €60 before July 6 
Questions? Contact monicacorishwriting@gmail.com

What they said about previous workshops: “Surprisingly easy.”  — “A window into my interior, amusing, surprising and fun.”  — “A restful day of creative play and unexpected connections.”

three cards together
This workshop is based on the SoulCollage® process developed by Seena B Frost, and on the Art to Heart methods taught by Jole Bortoli.

Lunch, teas, coffees will be available at AJ’s Wine Bar and Restaurant, Lakeside Centre.

“Eight Tips on How to Write a Great Story”

Tom Sigafoos

Again from Brainpickings, which I urge you to read and support, here are “Eight Tips on How to Write a Great Story” — guidelines from Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-5, Cat’s Cradle, and many fine short stories):

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window…

View original post 58 more words

Literature Doesn’t Have a Country

Tom Sigafoos

15 March — It’s the birthday of Ben Okri, author of The Famished Road, who said, “Literature doesn’t have a country. Shakespeare is an African writer. … The characters of Turgenev are ghetto dwellers. Dickens’ characters are Nigerians. … Literature may come from a specific place, but it always lives in its own unique kingdom.”

ben okri

He also said, “Beware of the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.”

View original post

Avoiding Prologues

Splendid writing advice…

Tom Sigafoos


Elmore (“Dutch”) Leonard, author of HombreGet Shorty and Rum Punch, laid down ten rules for good writing. They’re hard to beat:

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

And he said, “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

View original post

Some of the Best Advice on Writing You’ll Ever Read

Tom Sigafoos

zadie smith profile

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing:

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the page.

  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the Internet.

  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody…

View original post 42 more words

Four American Authors

Tom Sigafoos

norman mailer colorIt’s the birthday of Norman Mailer, who wrote prophetically, “To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.”

Others who share this birthday include Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton, Zane Grey (Riders of the Purple Sage), and John O’Hara, author of one of my favorite quotes: “What is loneliness anyway but the final condition of us all? And where would love be without it?”

View original post