Two writing workshops led by two award-winning authors

Image credit: RJMiller

Monica Corish’s Craft and Critique Workshops are for writers who are working toward publication. They are an opportunity to develop writing skills through constructive critique, insightful feedback and tailored craft exercises. Monica is an Amherst-certified writing workshop leader and award-winning writer of poetry, short fiction and memoir.

If interested, contact her at or 087 6414185

  • Kinlough Community Centre, Kinlough, Co Leitrim.
  • Fortnightly on Tuesdays, 7 – 9:15 pm (tea and chat afterwards, for those who want).
  • 10 sessions: January 17 & 31; February 14 & 28; March 14 & 28; April 4 & 18; May 2 & 16.
  • Cost €235; early-bird €200 before midday, Jan 13 (PayPal or cheque).

Shane Leavy’s Creative Writing Workshops are open to anyone with an interest in writing. Shane is an Amherst-affiliated writing workshop facilitator and an award-winning author and poet: If interested, contact Shane directly at or 086 3525988.

  • GlenCar TeaSHED, Glencar, Co Leitrim.
  • Weekly on Wednesdays , 7– 9:30 PM
  • 8 sessions: Feb 22 – Apr 12.
  • Cost €180 / early-bird €160 before Feb 1

A Brigid / Time Traveller / Nativity Story

Midwife at the Birth

She went into the stable and was in time to aid and minister to the Virgin Mother, and to receive the Child into her arms…

Genealogy of Brigid (451-525 AD), Carmina Gadelica
Nativity with Midwife 1913 Eric Gill

Brigid threw her eyes to heaven as the priest droned his way through the gospel. It’s as if he’s telling a dirge for a death, she thought, not an anthem for a birth and the best story of the year. But he’s a good man, gentle with the novices and their small sins, and not given to fawning over the pretty ones. Her mind drifted. Was it cold there, cold as this stone church on Christmas Eve? How did that poor frightened girl manage with only her old husband to help? The innkeeper’s wife would have been too busy – the shepherds knew how to deliver a lamb, they might have known been some help – but the angels waited until after the baby was born before they sang their Hosannas. Not a lick of sense between them. Why on earth didn’t Gabriel ask a midwife to be present for the birth?

The scraping of pews broke her reverie. She wrapped her green shawl close and took her place at the back, behind the line of monks and nuns. She noticed that Mother Muireann’s limp was getting worse, that Sister Imelda needed to mend her hem. She inched her way toward the altar, her breath fogging the chill air.

“Corpus Christi.”

The host dissolved on her tongue. She bowed her head and prayed, her body suffused with the light of God incarnate. Her slave-born mother’s words flashed through her mind. You have the spirit of a nun, Brigid, and the soul of a poet, and the hands of a skilful midwife. As the choir sang the recessional hymn, she fizzed with fear and excitement. Can it be done? Could I do it?


When the abbey was fast asleep, Brigid rose from her bed. The Chapel of the Flame reminded her, as it always did, of a small child nestled beneath the protection of the great winter oak. She laid one hand on fissured bark, one hand on lichened stone, breathing deep, asking for courage. Then she lifted the latch and opened the door. Áine was dozing on a bench at the far side of the fire.

“Sister Áine.”

The young nun snapped awake. “Mother Brigid!”

“I will tend the flame tonight. You may go to your bed.”


She gazed into the leaping flames, seeing again the old woman, the one who had tended the flame before the coming of the Christ-story. They shared the same name, Brigid, woman of valour. The old Brigid had been the last of her kind, the seer-women who communed with the goddesses and gods of old Ireland. She remembered her words: This flame sits over the eye of a holy well. It is a marriage of sacred water and sacred fire. It will not burn your flesh. This flame is a doorway into the time before, and a doorway into the time that is to come. If your intention is pure, this flame will take you where you need to go. She had never, in all her years as abbess, tested the truth of the old Brigid’s story. Because, she thought, I am still wary of the pagan mysteries, I worry that their power might seduce me away from the Christ-story. But now, tonight, my intention is pure – none purer – to serve the Mother of God. She thrust her hand in, whipped it out. The small hairs on the back of her fingers had not been singed. She reached in again, felt a liquid coolness. She stared at the drops of dew in her palm.

Do it now, she told herself, before your courage fails. She cleared a level space in the centre of the fire with the poker, then closed her eyes. With her inner eye she saw where she needed to go – the stable – the ox and the ass – the young woman, her belly huge with child – the old man Joseph – the guiding star.

She stepped in.

She was standing in the middle of a forked tree, three splayed trunks fanning out, one bent low to touch the ground. Between her feet, between the sister-trunks, she found the small un-burning flame, her pathway home. She sighed with relief. A drunk sang a tuneless song, someone shouted at him to shush. She became aware of the bustle of the inn – the star – the lamp-lit stable.

She stepped out from between the tree-trunks and walked across the sandy ground. Through the open doorway she saw Mary and Joseph, the young woman’s face knotted with pain, the old man’s face racked with fear. She knocked on the lintel.

“Greetings,” she said. “I am Brigid of Ireland. I have come to be midwife at the birth of your child.”

Early-bird extended to September 14

“Makes me write instead of thinking about writing.” J O’ C

If you want to build confidence in your writing voice or if you simply enjoy writing with others, this “Just Write” online workshop is for you. These encouraging and inspiring workshops are based on the Amherst Method.  You don’t need previous experience of zoom to take part, but you will need an adequate Wi-Fi connection. Learn more about online workshops in my blog, Writing Together in the Zoom Room.

Joe HF

When: Tuesdays, 7 pm – 9 pm: September 21, October 5 & 19, November 9 & 23, December 7.

Cost: €120. Early-bird: €100 before Sept 14, by PayPal or cheque /postal order. Contact me at to check availability and to receive a PayPal button or address for payment by post. 

NOTE: You don’t need a PayPal account to make a payment through PayPal – if you have a credit or debit card, you can pay with that.

The Colour Red Has Many Flavours

I’m delighted that my flash fiction has won the Myslexia # 91 Flash Challenge. You can read Judge Meg Pokrass’s generous comments below.

The Colour Red Has Many Flavours is a potent story of realization. In this epiphanic moment, a woman in an abusive relationship recognizes what she’s been living in, as if waking up from a terrible dream. The way the story builds makes us see, through the main character’s perspective, just how unhappy she has become. Earned through the careful crafting of language and world building, the author brings realistic and often shocking insight. This insight comes from the sort of questioning that ensues when something bleak is transformed by a moment of brightness or when something seemingly mundane is suddenly revealed as earth-shattering. Because the story is loaded with masterful use of sensory detail, and the reader is treated to a most satisfying ending—something we wish happened more often in the real world.

Meg Pokrass

Just Write – Online Writing Workshop

cat writingIf you want to build confidence in your writing voice or if you simply enjoy writing with others in a group, this is the workshop for you. These encouraging and inspiring workshops are based on the Amherst Method.  You don’t need previous experience of zoom to take part, but you will need an adequate Wi-Fi connection. Learn more about online workshops in my blog, Writing Together in the Zoom Room.

When: Tuesdays, 7 pm – 9 pm: September 21, October 5 & 19, November 9 & 23, December 7.

Cost: €120. Early-bird: €100 before Sept 7, by PayPal or cheque /postal order. NOTE: You need a credit card to make a payment through PayPal, but you don’t need a PayPal account.

Places are limited. Contact me at to check availability and to receive a PayPal button or address for payment by post. 

Image credit: @ChrisBrecheensWritingAboutWriting 

Path to Publication workshop at 2021 Allingham Festival – plus competitions

Lepus Print, a new Sligo-based publisher, will offer an on-line Path to Publication Workshop at the 2021 Allingham Festival.

The workshop will help writers clarify the nature and direction of their writing, improve their craft, and develop publication-worthy manuscripts. Writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s books are invited to apply.

Led by Lepus Print publishers and authors Brian Leyden and Mary Branley, the on-line
workshop invites applications from writers worldwide. Scheduled as a fully-interactive
webinar from 10 am to noon GMT on Thursday, 4 November, the workshop will be limited
to 12 participants.

Workshop applicants are asked to provide a 50-100 word summary of their experience in
writing and publishing, a 150 word description of their goals and their work-in-progress,
and copies of five poems or two chapters of prose (up to 7,000 words) by October 1.

Application documents and work samples should be attached to an email addressed to by October 1, including the words LEPUS PUBLICATION
WORKSHOP in the subject line.

Applicants who are selected for the Lepus Path to Publication Workshop will be asked to
confirm their attendance by purchasing a €15 ticket on-line. For additional information contact Tom Sigafoos, PRO, Allingham Festival,

The deadline for entries in the Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions is Sept 17. Entry forms for the competitions are found at

Invitation to submit Stories and Poems inspired by the River Erne

Fermanagh Writers are looking for short fiction (max 2000 words) and poetry (max 40 lines) to include in a new anthology, Loughshore Lines. Full details on their Facebook page. Submission date Sept 1 2021.

Wearing my Landscape and Myths Hat, here are a few links that might set the ink flowing: Boa Island Janus on Lower Lough Erne; Inis Saimer at the mouth of the river in Ballyshannon; and the many wonders of the Marble Arch Geopark. There’s lots more – about the name, the folklore and the legends of the river – on Wikipedia and in Ireland’s Own.

Writing for UNICEF #5 – All donations matched £ for £

On May 18, 2021, participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. This week we share writing from Shane Leavy, Margaret O’Brien and Theresa Jones.

Our fundraiser will remain open till June 30th. All donations will be matched, pound for pound, by the Pears Foundation! Click here to donate.


Shane Leavey, Glenar, Co Leitrim

Image credit: “Wild Imagination” by James Moonan, Ireland

james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1Look, the newspaper always has to gaze
on darkness.

But outside
thistle trembles in the sun
soft waters slash in sudden, showering bursts
that yield at once to rainbows,
rich and ripe,
rivulets dance diamond on the heathered hills.

Bluebells bring indigo haze
under hazel,
skylarks sing, hovering, and swallows flaunt,
flinging feathered arcs
from rafter to fern.

It’s hard to hold dismay for long,
in lushness,
sun on life-enveloped loam
as seed and sapling yearn towards the sun.

ECDYSIS: the act of casting off the old skin

Margaret O’Brien @margaretwriting, Co Tipperary, Ireland

Image credit: “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan

muzzamil-mughal-pakistanWe wear masks. Now they are visible. But before? We wore masks that were not so visible, a performance maybe of what we thought the world expected us to be.

Today our fabric masks hide the lower part of our faces, our noses, mouths, jaws. But our eyes are still eloquent, showing our joy, fear, love. I store my masks in a bag behind our front door and stick one in a pocket or my bag as I leave our house. I’ve become very accustomed to wearing them in a public space such as a supermarket but it still feels odd, awkward if I’m in a private space like someone’s home. Not that this happens often.

Vaccinations are rolling out, steadily working down the age cohorts here in Ireland. I’m relieved to have had my first one. Still we must mask up, out of care, out of courtesy, out of love. We have learned so much in the past year. Ecdysis.


Theresa Jones, Clonmel, Tipperary

Image credit: “You Are Not Alone” by Samira Mammadova, Azerbaijan.

samira-mammadova-azerbaijan-1The image of serenity, just look at her, she is definitely looking down at me. COVID a time for peace, to develop peace of mind, read more, dance more, listen to more music, learn more. 

The image of the spiritual woman seemed to look directly into my soul, it seemed to say. 

“I see you.  I see what you lack.  I see what you need”.

But she also seemed to ask, “Do you know the answer to these questions?  Can you say you are at peace with yourself?”

Smug madam.  Looking down, judging me.   She seemed I must say, for someone cross-legged, many armed; totally focused, at peace.

It would be easy to imagine that she never screamed at the computer, at the TV or at the sheer frustration of needing that one little thing to complete a project, that was only sold in a shop deemed to be “non-essential”.  Except that just at this very moment, it seemed very essential to my well being, to my sense of self.

But I looked at her again, resenting her calmness, her look of utter contentment.  Resilience shone through her.  I am sure that woman never threw anything down in temper; with any of her arms.  She was perfectly happy to stay at home. 

Love more, she said. 

Who do you suggest? I said.  Well, I have read more, listened to more music and meditated to beat the band.   Dancing, I won’t admit to.  But love more, well, if you call walking the dogs many times a day and being nice (from a distance) to the neighbours qualified, then Yes, I also did that too.

Perhaps someone out there saw a together woman walking her dogs, chatting with ease and wondered at the peace radiated there.

Perhaps we all share a veneer of calm, while flapping inside, the outward image of serenity; not smugness at all.

Double your donation to UNICEF – and push the G7 toward a #PeoplesVaccine

Our fundraiser will remain open till June 30th. All donations will be matched, pound for pound, by the Pears Foundation! Click here to donate.

You can make a difference twice over by signing the petition for a #Peoples Vaccine – free of patents and available to everyone. Watch this short video, narrated by Mark Ruffalo, share and join the movement of 2.6m people, pushing G7 leaders to share the vaccine with the world.

Writing for UNICEF # 4

On May 18, 2021, participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. This week we share writing from Tom Sigafoos, Margaret Coen and Bernie Condon. You can still make a donation – our fundraiser will remain active until June 30, and you can donate directly to at any time.


Tom Sigafoos, Kinlough, Co Leitrim

Image credit: “You Are Not Alone” by Samira Mammadova, Azerbaijan

samira-mammadova-azerbaijan-1There’s an old trope in Hollywood movies: when humankind is threatened by a common enemy, we all put our differences aside and work together to save ourselves. How many stories have been contrived around that idea? For openers, there’s War of the Worlds – Orson Welles on the radio in 1938; a movie in 1953 and then a Steven Spielberg version in 2005. In the over-the-top foolishness of Independence Day in 1996, the President of the United States – Bill Pullman, in this case – flies off in a jet fighter plane and shoots down a flying saucer. If you’re a 1950’s sci-fi movie buff, you’ve probably seen The Day the Earth Stood Still, with its sinister intergalactic password KLAATU BARADA NIKTO – not to mention When Worlds Collide, This Island Earth, and The Man from Planet X. The core of the stories didn’t change – when the chips were down, humankind pulled together.

But now in 2021, in the face of a genuine worldwide threat, what’s happened? We’re all at each other’s throats. Who’s going to get the vaccine? And who’s going to get it first? Who’s going to see the idea of wearing a surgical mask as a low-impact, sensible public-health measure, and who’s going to vilify it as a sinister intrusion on personal freedom? Who’s going to look for ways to share the vaccines and PPE, and who’s going to look for ways to make a buck?

Maybe the grand union of human purpose has always been a fable. Reality has provided gritty material for writers and artists, as in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, where the man who grew rich selling war materiel, like the supplier of the Grenfell Tower cladding, is exposed as a conscienceless corner-cutter. Arrival comes close to a counter-heroic narrative, as the national armies of the world grow suspicious of alien visitors and prepare to destroy them – and each other – until the aliens help human beings learn a new way to think.

Is there something we can learn from Covid viruses – something about adaptability and endurance – that can help us re-think our heroic myth?

Tom Sigafoos, May, 2021


Margaret Coen, Ireland

Image credit: “Wild Imagination” by James Moonan, Ireland

james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1It’s so difficult. What do I do? I can’t go anywhere, just sit here staring out of my window. They said two weeks. What is it now, six weeks? Six months? A year? I honestly can’t remember. The days merge into one another. I had such plans, travel, art projects, good times with my nearest and dearest. But that’s all out of the window. 

God! Is it my fault? When I was a kid I wanted to know what it was like to survive a really awful situation. I used to make plans for a nuclear bunker and how to store my supplies away. Would I be able to kill and eat any animals? Would I be able to catch them in the first place? Maybe my wish has come true! It’s like being in a bunker, almost, when you’re not allowed out of your house except for shopping or a 2km walk. 

But I really shouldn’t complain. So far I haven’t had to kill anybody’s pet to keep starvation from my door. Tesco delivers. The weather wasn’t too bad over the summer and making Christmas crafts filled the darker months. 

And what will all of this do to the world? Maybe we have become a little more compassionate and certainly we must all have learnt to appreciate the work done by those most often taken for granted. How could anyone ignore the sacrifices made day after day, hour after hour by the staff in hospitals? My great hope is quite a simple one. I hope everyone who hasn’t before, remembers to wash their hands before leaving a bathroom. That could stop a lot of diseases spreading around. 

I think we must all have learnt, in the more affluent countries anyway, to do without a lot of things we thought so essential before, and realised we can live a simpler life. We can see now the importance of communication. Contact with people on the most basic level is essential for the well-being of everyone. And we must know that wherever they live on this insignificant lump of rock we call Earth, all people are our own people. If they are not in a good place, then neither are we. Someone coughing in China can, and has killed people in my town. The cliché “The Global Village” is coming home to roost. We cannot let whole generations or categories of people die, because they don’t matter to us, they don’t affect us. I say with Donne, “Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.”


Bernie Condon, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Ireland

Image credit: “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal


I don’t recognize the face in the mirror looking at me.
A face that looks exhausted, a face that should look younger perhaps.
Two startled eyes showing fear are covered with goggles.
I keep looking at this woman, yes, it is a woman, once upon a time a fresh faced young girl,
now, she is lined with worry and confusion.
What has she been through? What has she seen?
I notice her beautiful shaped eyebrows, her long eyelashes, can beauty be found amid obvious trauma? A tear rolls down my cheek, when I look again, a tear rolls down her cheek.
The penny drops, it is me I’m looking at, it is me.
Bathroom break over. I silently leave and go back to the Covid warzone.

Writing for UNICEF #3

On May 18, 2021, people from Kenya and Ireland and Spain and California took part in an  ONLINE WRITE-A-THON to raise funds for UNICEF’s #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign. You can still make a donation – our fundraiser will remain active until June 30 – and you can donate directly to at any time.

Participants wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. Every Saturday until the end of June I’ll post a selection of their “Writing for UNICEF”. This week we have three poems, from Eileen Acheson, Patricia Weldon and Caroline Mason. The first two were written in response to all four prompts: a painting from the National Library Children’s Covid-Art Collection (name of artist unknown); “Wild Imagination” by James Moonan, Ireland; “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan; and “You Are Not Alone” by Samira Mammadova, Azerbaijan.

UNICEF online write-a-thon 4 images


Eileen Acheson, Co Tipperary, Ireland 

Cerise, green, yellow
turquoise, red, purple
blue, dog, people, racoon
flying pink duck
dandelion, daisy
disconnected youth in grey.


Keyboard buckles.
Christmas tree wilts.
Gifts returned
The cat has turned his back
on another bloody Zoom.

I got my vaccine today.
Sin é.


Patricia Weldon, Tara, Co. Meath, Ireland

The boy in the window draws my attention.
He sits with his hands on his knees,
gazing into no-man’s land.
Colour and excitement are all outside his window.
Flowers, exotic pink flamingo, striped racoon, blue skies, far distant hills,
all outside his window.
He sits and stares,
Hands on his knees.
It is grey on the inside of the window.

‘If only I could join the outside world.
If only I could fly freely, sticking my neck out, seeking those foreign lands,
Like the pink flamingo.
All the wonders in the world and here I sit,
Nothing doing, nothing happening.'
'It’s a bit grim in here,' he thinks.
‘It’s nice to hold my knees, a sort of comfort,
like hugging my own body, holding myself together,’ he thinks
as the world passes by on the outside of the window.
‘I suppose I must stay in here.
Safety for others my duty.’

The picture below the boy explains the circumstance for the indoor habitation.
A medic in goggles and mask.
PPE the word that has dominated our landscape along with Covid-19 and numbers.
Endless numbers, so meaningless and so mean filled.
This covid-19 is filled with meanness, stops us all in our tracks.
Locks us indoors for days and weeks and months.
Wearing masks and gowns to come close to another, it has been a stark reality.

Tracking left now, the picture of the girl with the multiple arms.
Maybe she is a mum home schooling while working full time and more.
Not sure if she has time to dance and meditate, listen to music and read.
Perhaps in her dreams as she falls into bed exhausted from multitasking from morning to night fall.

Then we come to the image top left,
our new reality, zoom calls, zoom meetings, zoom webinars.
Little did I know 5 years ago when I first met zoom that zoom would take over our living rooms in such a spectacular way.
Could have invested then would be a millionaire now!
It is amazing to think what we thought was so important before
is so insignificant now.
They are alive.
We are alive.
What more can we want.
A lot more thinks the boy as he sits in the window.
Is this all there is to life?
Where has my future gone?

It’s not enough for his soul to sit and stare.
He needs the colour and the fun.
It’s a dilemma for sure.
The young held back to keep others safe,
Yet their well being depends on the well being of the youth.
A dilemma I am glad I don’t have to decide.
Yet these boys are my boys and I see the price they have paid.

It’s time now to let them experience their dreams,
return the colour to their lives,
before it is too late
for their mental gates to re-open.


Caroline Mason, Co Donegal, Ireland

Image credit: “Healthcare Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan

I like the way it billows in and out as I breathe,
The linen fitting snuggly under my chin.
The soft cloth caresses my lips, stray fibres tickling my tongue.
My warm breath mists the visor, obscuring my identity.
I feel safe behind it.
Today I walked home, one of the many,
Masked and visor-ed and unremarkable.
If anything, people are scared of me now.
If I walk too close they shrink away or swerve around me.
I am their real and present danger.
Not the other way around, like it used to be.
Before the plague.

My heart quickens with excitement and anticipation for a new way of living.
I’m not afraid anymore.
I don’t want to run.
I can stand my ground.
Take my place in the world.
I smile behind the mask.
I laugh inside.
I am free to be me at last.

Writing for UNICEF #2

On May 18, 2021, Monica Corish and Tom Sigafoos hosted an ONLINE WRITE-A-THON to raise funds for UNICEF’s #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign. You can still make a donation – our fundraiser will remain active until June 30, and you can donate directly to at any time.

Participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. Every Saturday till the end of June I’ll post a selection of their “Writing for UNICEF”.

We have two prose essays this week, and a haiku. All three were written in response to the painting “Health Care Heroes” by Muzzamil Mughal.  The first essay, by Jarso Mokku of Isiolo, Kenya, is called “Mass Grave Burial Is the New Norm”; the Himalaya haiku is by me, Monica Corish; and the second essay “There’s so Much in her Gaze” is by Mary Foley from Sligo. 


Jarso Mokku, Isiolo, Kenya

A story inspired by the picture of a woman wearing a face mask – a stark reminder that in Africa our people are still dying in record numbers without reporting.

 In The Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful. Say!  I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn. From the evil of what is created. And from the evil of darkness when it spreads. From the past to that year when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic. Two years on, people world over are still dying in record numbers especially in the poorer countries without reporting. This pandemic is far from over and seems unstoppable as its rage continues to spread across the world among all communities, like the bush fires from the forest to dry grass land.

In Africa, the cases are increasing by day and all burial sites that were set aside to serve more than fifty years are full, mass grave burial is the new norm.  World travel, inter community cooperation and family connections have come to a standstill.  All learning institutions are closed, and all children are locked indoors. Continue reading Writing for UNICEF #2

Online Launch of The Cursing Stone, May 28, 8 pm

Reserve your free ticket for the on-line launch of the Irish historical novel The Cursing Stone by Tom Sigafoos at Sponsored by the Allingham Arts Association, the launch (8:00 pm Fri 28 May) will feature journalist Michael Daly and History Ireland editor Tommy Graham, with video by Emer O’Shea and trad music by Bella Nethercott. 

Sign up for a free subscription to The Cursing Stone at

Writing for UNICEF #1

On May 18, 2021, Monica Corish and Tom Sigafoos hosted an ONLINE WRITE-A-THON to raise funds for UNICEF’s #GiveTheWorldAShot campaign. We’ve already raised £1345, and we’re aiming for £2000. You can still make a donation – this fundraiser will remain active until June 30.

Participants from Kenya to California wrote in response to Covid-themed paintings by children, teenagers and young adults from around the world. Every Saturday until the end of June I’ll publish a selection of their “Writing for UNICEF” here on my blog.


Rachel Webb, Co Leitrim, Ireland

Image credit: Wild Imagination by James Moonan, 15, Ireland

james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1I sit here alone – up close against the day as it trickles into dusk, or drifting in a space that stretches from my seat to the moon – silent.

These are the things I try to bear in mind: my breath – easy and rich with oxygen; the palm of my hand along her soft fur and the gentle engine of her purr; my eyes filled with the colours beyond my window; the fridge humming its cold tune around olives and ice-cream, pesto and peas, soya milk for the one endless cup of tea.

Gratitude is lying in bed remembering the song I danced to as the pasta boiled, the wave of my neighbour as she passed my fence, my sister’s face on our WhatsApp call. ‘I have it all’ I whisper into the empty air above my body, ‘I-have-it-all’.

This morning the sun shines and sweet scents drift through my open window, a bird in the bush is worth twenty in somebody else’s. She sings and I lift my head to reply. I hear my response – a long moan of a howl. How out of place in the bright bee-haunted buzzing of Spring – this hungry Winter midnight of a howl. A lonely wolf calling for the pack: ‘Come back, come back, come back, come back. My loves, my life, please please come back’.


Cathleen Young, Santa Monica, California, USA

Image credit: Health Care Heroes by Muzzamil Mughal, Pakistan


When will this nightmare end? Will it end? Or will the nasty little virus just endlessly roam the globe, an airborne whirling dervish, leaving body bags stacked in air-conditioned trucks in its wake? I’m remembering my microbiology from my training. What exactly is this demon killer? A tiny scrap of DNA held together by a little protein jacket? And yet — in every cell of my body — lives the DNA that makes me me. That must be the good DNA. The DNA that makes me want to smile at my 17-year-old twin girls. Not the DNA that kills me. If I’m being honest, I don’t always mind when my goggles steam up. Like a camera lens with a filter to make everything prettier, I don’t see the suffering quite so clearly. The desperate eyes, the hands that clutch at me, the fingers I have to pry off when someone down the hall begins to die in earnest and we must all rush over, the crash cart skidding down the gleaming hallway, an orchestrated dance of syringes and paddles and chest compressions so fierce we sometimes hear a rib crack. Especially in the old ones. Their bones as fragile as hollow bird bones — except they can’t fly. I sometimes welcome the moment we stick a breathing tube down someone’s throat — right after we slide a needle into the port — paralyzing them so they don’t fight the tube. Their eyes go quiet. No more desperation, just the long, slow death that usually awaits them, alone, with no one holding their hands and crying at their bedside. 

Online write-a-thon in aid of UNICEF’s ‘Give the World a Shot’ campaign.

We aim to bring 100 people together online, all writing to raise funds for UNICEF’s “Give the World a Shot” campaign.

You can help by joining our online creative writing workshop on May 18 from 7:30 pm to 9 pm. This inspiring and encouraging Amherst-method workshop will be hosted by Monica Corish and Tom Sigafoos and co-facilitated by a group of experienced writers and workshop leaders. Everybody is welcome to participate, whether they are practiced writers or completely new to creative writing. 

We ask everyone to make a minimum donation of €10 when they register – but we encourage participants to donate as much as they can. And even if you can’t join us, you can still make a donation…

You’ll find details of how to donate and how to register for the workshop on UNICEF’s crowdfunding website

If more than 100 people register, we will run a second write-a-thon on June 29th.

UNICEF is ensuring no one is left behind in the race to vaccinate against COVID-19. People in India… South America… Africa… are still exposed to the virus, and the whole world is still at risk of new variants.

UNICEF’s goal is to ensure that the most vulnerable in every country – not just the wealthier ones – are protected, and that patients get the urgent medical supplies and oxygen they need.

This is the biggest health and logistics project in history. UNICEF need your help to deliver 2 billion vaccines, 5.6 million tests and 5.5 million treatments around the world this year.

The Cursing Stone, a free serialized novel from Tom Sigafoos

Many people who follow my blog will have met my partner – my beloved, my editor, my co-facilitator – Tom Sigafoos.

In the spirit of Charles Dickens, Margaret Atwood and Stephen King, Tom has serialized his novel “The Cursing Stone” and is making it available online for free – click here to subscribe. Here’s Tom’s message:

I’ve published The Cursing Stone, an Irish historical novel, and I’d like to invite you to read it at no cost.

County Donegal, Ireland, 1884. Your island home is threatened with evictions. How far would you go to stop them?

The fates of two men – Ruari Mullan of Tory Island, and Sub-Lieutenant William Gubby of HMS Wasp – intersect in the disastrous arc of the Irish Land Wars.

If you’ll sign up to my mailing list, I’ll send you The Cursing Stone in weekly instalments. I’ll also send Bonus Materials – photos, maps and unusual background information.

There is no cost to sign up or read the instalments. If you enjoy the novel, I’ll appreciate it if you’ll write a review. That’s the entire proposal – no strings attached.

To subscribe to The Cursing Stone, please follow this link and sign up at If you change your mind, you’ll always have the option to un-subscribe.*

Paperback and ebook versions of The Cursing Stone are also available from Lulu and Amazon.

If you know others who’d enjoy reading a lively historical novel, please forward this invitation to them as well. Questions? Please contact me at

Thanks and best wishes,

Tom Sigafoos

*You’ll receive an email in your primary inbox within an hour of your subscription. Others will follow every 3-4 days. If you don’t see them, please check your alternate email folders, like Social, Promotions and Spam. If you can’t find the emails, please let me know.”

Give the World a Shot

Unicef UK and Crowdfunder is campaigning to fund and deliver Covid-19 vaccines around the world

I’ve just donated to VaccinAid, helping UNICEF deliver 2 billion vaccines in 2021, so the whole world can be safe from COVID-19. Join me and #GiveTheWorldAShot at

Making a donation is good, but it’s nowhere near enough. We also need to TAKE ACTION FOR A PEOPLE’S VACCINE

“Our best chance of ending this pandemic is to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. But pharmaceutical monopolies could leave countries in the global south waiting up to 2023 for widespread vaccination. This threatens everyone as no-one is safe until everyone is safe. People from around the world are calling for a #PeoplesVaccine – freely available to everyone, everywhere.” Join them at

Unto us a Child is Born

Newborn, Nimule, South Sudan – Monica Corish

Unto us a Child is Born

On 25 August 2020, after four years without a single case, the African region was certified free of wild polio virus.

In 1994, a few days after I arrived in the border town of Nimule in South Sudan, I woke in the night to a bone-chilling cry. It reminded me of an Irish caoineadh, a keening for the dead. In the morning I heard that a baby had died of measles. I was stunned. I knew, from book-learning, that measles can damage the nerves, the eyes, the ears, the brain. I knew in my head that measles can be fatal, but in my heart I still thought of it as a benign childhood disease.

The epidemic raged through the small town, taking the children who were weak, malnourished, immuno-compromised. Night after night I heard the songs of grief – five children dead, still more facing lifelong disability – and then silence. The epidemic had burned itself out.


I was in Nimule to train community health workers, and to help with a programme of immunisation. With a team of South Sudanese and Kenyan health workers, I visited local villages and camps. Everywhere we went we offered immunisation against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, tuberculosis and polio.

I met a young woman in one of the villages. She held her baby to her breast, in a wrap made out of a food sack. I asked how old her baby was. One week, she said. I asked if I could see. She unfolded the wrap and showed me her child. I can’t remember if it was a boy or a girl – I can’t remember the young woman’s name – I only remember her grace, her weathered hand holding her child, the newborn’s sleeping perfection. I asked the young woman if I could take a photograph of her baby. She said yes.


In 1994 an estimated 75,000 children across Africa were paralysed for life by the polio virus. Thousands of those children died when the virus paralysed their breathing muscles. Nelson Mandela, the recently elected president of South Africa, refused to accept this ongoing tragedy. “When people are determined,” he said, “they can overcome anything.” In 1996, in partnership with Rotary International, Mandela launched the “Kick Polio Out of Africa” campaign. Footballs with the slogan showed up everywhere – in stadiums, in school yards, on dusty soccer pitches. Communities, parents, health workers, volunteers, churches, mosques, governments, donors – they all came together, united by one aim – to immunise every child on the continent against this crippling disease.


On 25 August 2020, after four years without a single case, the 47 countries in the Africa region of the World Health Organisation were certified free of the wild polio virus. Today, because of the committed work of thousands of health workers and volunteers, more than 18 million people are able to walk, people who would otherwise have been paralysed by the virus.

But the fight against polio in Africa isn’t over yet. In Ireland, children are given an injectable vaccine that contains a dead form of the virus. This injectable form is expensive. Less well-off countries have to use an oral vaccine which contains an weakened form of the virus. In very rare circumstances this weakened virus can itself cause polio.

And so, although a huge milestone has been reached, immunisation and outbreak surveillance continue, and efforts are underway to make the injectable form of the virus available to everyone, everywhere. The journey continues, until the day when polio, like smallpox, is completely eradicated from the face of the earth.


That photo I took of the mother and her newborn has stayed with me over the years. I keep it close, on the door of my fridge, tucked into a diary, pinned to a corkboard.

I imagine this child grown to adulthood – I like that I don’t know whether it’s a girl or a boy – not knowing increases my sense of the possible lives this child may have led. I imagine that the infant in the photograph is a parent now, with children of their own. I imagine a baby, grandchild to the mother in the photograph, born into a world that is entirely free from the threat of polio.


This article 1st appeared in the Christmas 2020 issue of Africa Magazine. You can read more about the eradication of polio in Africa on these websites:; Rotary International’s website; the Global Polio Eradication Initiative; and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance

Mother and Newborn, Nimule, South Sudan – Monica Corish

“the border between us”: a creativity up-skilling programme

Excellent opportunity for anyone in the Leitrim / Fermanagh region who wants to learn the skills of visual storytelling, while exploring the political, personal, real, imagined and socially-distanced borders that impact on our lives.

This 12 week series of free, online workshops is hosted by the Glens Centre/Across the Lines, and facilitated by writer Monica Corish and visual artist Rachel Webb. Full details, including how to book, at


Image Credit

Just Write – Online Workshops – Autumn 2020

Series 1 – Tuesdays – Sept 22, Oct 6 and 20, Nov 3 and 17, Dec 1FULL

Series 2 – Tuesdays – Sept 29, Oct 13 and 27, Nov 10 and 24, Dec 8CANCELLED


Writing Together in the Zoom Room – the pros and the cons

These innovative creative writing workshops will be led by Monica Corish, a trained and experienced Amherst Method facilitator (see below for more about the Amherst Method).

Find details about the workshop here.

Writing Together in the Zoom Room – the pros and the cons


I’ve been leading Amherst Method writing groups since 2008 – in arts venues, in community centres, in my local library, and from the sitting room of my house in north Leitrim. In late March 2020, shortly after lockdown was announced, we left my sitting-room and entered into the Zoom-room.

The first few sessions were challenging. Together we learned a new and unfamiliar technology; we learned how to function as a group in a virtual space; we learned how to be spontaneous, while also being respectful of each other’s voices.

Some things stayed the same. As before, people gathered once a fortnight to write together in a safe and inspiring environment, based on the Amherst Method guidelines. At each session I offered a prompt and invited the group to write in response. Silence fell as words poured onto the page, for 10, 20, 30 minutes. If someone got stuck I could meet them one-to-one in a private “breakout room”, to help them find their flow again.

As before, I invited people to read what they had written; the group practiced the skill of “close listening” – a vital skill for every writer; and those who chose to read received positive feedback that helped them develop their voices. People wrote about everything under the sun in these sessions, including the minuscule virus that had upended our lives. One person wrote the first chapter of a witty Zoom-room murder mystery…

Sometimes a video connection broke down, sometimes the audio was glitchy – in rural Ireland strong broadband is a gift, not a given. The disadvantages of writing together online are obvious: you don’t get to meet your fellow participants in the flesh; you can’t read their body language or hear the small gasps of admiration as you read your work; you don’t get to chat one-to-one during the break.

But there are advantages. You can join in from anywhere in the world. And you don’t have to get into your car on a dark, blustery winter’s night to drive to my sitting-room in north Leitrim.

Writing prompt for the Crossing Borders Open-Mic: Interiors and Edges

The endlessly inventive and productive people at Across the Lines (IFI) / Open Mic Manor / The Thing Itself are inviting video or audio contributions for their next Crossing Borders Open Mic Online (IFI). The theme for this event is “Way-points and Markers” – the places, journeys and signposts that have marked our individual and collective transitions over the last three months.  They invited me to come up with a prompt to spark contributions. Here it is:

Hestia is the Greek goddess of interiors, of contemplative time and space. She is the hearth-fire that makes a house into a home.

Hermes is the trickster god of travel, trade, computers, protector of doorways and boundaries, the messenger and mover, the communicator.

In her books “Goddesses in Everywoman” and “Gods in Everyman”, Jean Shinoda Bolen tells how these two very different archetypes  are related. In Greek households the “herm” – a pillar symbolizing Hermes – stood just outside the front door, in a distinct but intimate connection with Hestia’s hearth-fire at the centre .

I invite you to see in your mind’s eye a place that represents the containment of “lockdown”; and a place that represents the process of “unlocking”. These places may be in the geography of your home, your county, your country, the world; or virtual places; or the space inside the arms of someone you love – a hug you are grateful to have received during lockdown, or a hug you are still yearning towards.

Whatever spaces come to you, feel them through your senses, through smell, and sight and touch and sound. And then write about these two spaces, placing them in relationship each with the other.

Image by Varun Kulkarni from Pixabay crop

Photo credits:


Episode 2: Imbolc

snowdrops and snowTune in to the Glens Centre YouTube channel on Friday, June 12 at 8 PM, to hear poems, stories and songs inspired by Imbolc, by Spring, and by Brigid, Goddess and Saint. This episode will feature writing from:

  • Monica Corish,
  • Shane Leavy,
  • Dermot Lahiff,
  • Paula Lahiff,
  • Tara Baoth Mooney,
  • Margaret Timoney
  • Tom Sigafoos.

This event is a fundraiser for North West STOP Suicide Prevention, which provides counselling support for people at risk of suicide. Donations can be made through their website, or through Facebook.

Poetry and Story inspired by Landscape and Myth – Glens Centre YouTube channel

100474907_2343722685730463_2436211952595238912_n Tune in to the Glens Centre YouTube channel on Friday, June 5, 12, 19 and 26 at 8 PM, to hear poems, stories and songs inspired by the myths and legends, landscapes and festivals of the North West. Featuring work from:

  • Monica Corish,
  • Shane Leavy,
  • Dermot Lahiff,
  • Paula Lahiff,
  • Maggie Kilcoyne,
  • Tara Baoth Mooney,
  • Margaret Timoney
  • Tom Sigafoos.

You can hear more about these broadcasts in Brendan Murray’s interview with Monica Corish on Ocean FM’s Arts North West, on Thursday, June 4 at 9:30 PM (repeat Sunday, June 7 at 8 PM).

This event is a fundraiser for North West STOP Suicide Prevention, which provides counselling support for people at risk of suicide. Donations can be made through their website, or through Facebook.

Writing Prompts from the Cocoon, May 19

image from the new art of memory

Write a flash memoir. Start from the memory of a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch. Set yourself a 500-word limit – for me this is the equivalent of two handwritten A4 pages.
Before you begin consider the following advice from True Stories Well Told.
Flash Memoir tends to be:
  • Free of preambles—They start at the flashpoint—the moment when conflict ignites tangible action that drives the story forward.
  • Scene-based—They frequently take place in one run of time, without jumping around.
  • Observant—They tend to feature not the “I” but the “eye.”
  • Insightful—Like a flashlight illuminating a dark corner, they explore something that provoked an insight.
  • Specific—They stick with concrete, observable events and actions rather than abstract concepts.
  • True—As a subgenre of creative nonfiction, Flash Memoir must uphold the nonfiction contract that what is reported actually happened.
More advice from The Writer Mag :
  • At its most basic, a micro-memoir is written in sentences, drawn from personal experience, and strives to create a world in as few words as possible.
  • A true hybrid, the micro-memoir strives to combine the extreme abbreviation of poetry, the narrative tension of fiction, and the truth-telling of creative nonfiction…
  • What they’re not: fragments. Micro-memoirs aren’t slivers of a bigger creation. They’re designed to stand alone…
  • Forget about the big memories, like meeting your beloved or witnessing a tragedy.
  • Consider memories that you retain without understanding why.
And here are links to places where you might publish your flash memoir:


Image from page 80 of “The new art of memory, founded upon the principles taught by M. Gregor von Feinaigle: and applied to chronology, history, geography, languages, systematic tables, poetry, prose, and arithmetic.”

Image from page 80 of "The new art of memory, founded upon the principles taught by M. Gregor von Feinaigle: and applied to chronology, history, geography, languages, systematic tables, poetry, prose, and arithmetic. To which is added, some account of the

Writing Prompts from the Cocoon, May 6

Royalty-free HD Phase photos | Pikrepo“It was the day the dandelions turned into clocks.” — Sherrie Scott, member of the original Scratching Hens.

You might use this quote as a regular prompt, or you might use it to create an acrostic poem — definition and examples here and here. Here’s a sample start:


it was the day i got lost in









































Writing Prompts from the Cocoon, April 29

John_Tenniel_-_Illustration_from_The_Nursery_Alice_(1890)_-_c06543_03 Not a writing prompt this week, rather a signpost to online resources that will help you develop your craft.

If you have time on your hands, the renowned Iowa Writers Workshop offers FREE online courses in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

And if you have time and money to spare, the excellent Arvon Foundation and Faber Academy offer a variety of options.

These range from a two hour Arvon Masterclass in Plot and Narrative Structure, (April 30 at 11 AM, cost £35); to Faber’s flagship eight-month course, Writing a Novel Online (application date August 19, cost £2500).

Happy writing – stay well, stay smart, stay kind.

Writing Prompts from the Cocoon – April 21

Four Horses – Photo by David WhyteThis week’s prompt was given to me by Eva O’Callaghan, another Amherst Method creative writing facilitator.

Start by reading “Four Horses”. Eva says: “I like the structure of this poem by David Whyte as a prompt for reflecting on and writing about any happening and its impact. I found it helpful to me to reflect on what is going on in our world at the moment.” She suggests that you write a response that is anchored by these phrases from Whyte’s poem:

  • On XXXday…
  • Since then…
  • Since then…
  • Each morning…
  • I spend my whole day…
  • I find myself wanting to…
  • I find myself wanting to…
  • I hear…
  • I feel…

And if you come up with a poem that you want to publish, be sure to credit its source: after Four Horses by David White

Photo credit David Whyte


Writing Prompts from the Cocoon – April 14

John_Tenniel_-_Illustration_from_The_Nursery_Alice_(1890)_-_c06543_03 Write a poem or a flash fiction that includes all these words, offered by the All-Weather Writers: Pencil – Oily – Diamond – Invoice – Pester – Muddy – Cacophony. Be as serious or as silly as you like. And if this writing prompt appeals, consider following the weekly Ó Bhéal Five Words International Poetry Competition

Flow Writing

If you get stuck, with this or any other prompt – staring at the blank page, waiting for inspiration to strike – you might consider the excellent Natalie Goldberg‘s excellent advice on flow writing, summarised here.

Writing Prompts from the Cocoon – April 7

Martin-Gale--Over-and-Above--oil-on-canvas--110-x-60-cm_670Today’s writing prompt is an invitation to Ekphrasis – defined by The Ekphrastic Review as “writing inspired by visual art”. Two famous examples of ekphrastic literature are WH Auden’s In the Musée des Beaux Arts, and Tracy Chevalier’s novel (later a movie) Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Today’s Ekphrastic inspiration is the painting “Over and Above by Irish artist Martin Gale. You can learn more about the painting and the artist on the National Gallery of Ireland website.

And if you are happy with what you write, you might consider submitting it to The Ekphrastic Review.

Writing Prompts from the Cocoon – March 31

John_Tenniel_-_Illustration_from_The_Nursery_Alice_(1890)_-_c06543_03For the duration of the duration, I will be posting occasional writing prompts in my blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. First up – given that we are all now hyper-aware of how we stand in relation to each other – is “A Snap Quiz in Body Language”, by David Wagoner:

Click here to read a prose poem I wrote in answer to David Wagoner’s poem, at the first virtual gathering of the wonderful All-Weather Writers. I posted it on the Allingham Festival Facebook page, as a contribution to their  #CreativityAgainstCorona challenge – you might want to do the same.

Stay well, stay safe – Monica

“The Air is Alive with Fear and Care” @AllinghamArts #CreativityAgainstCorona

The Air is Alive with Fear and Careriver and tree

When people greet in South Sudan, they hold hands for many minutes – half an hour if the warmth is strong, the bond of kin or friendship. How is your mother? Your aunt? Your son? And your herd of cattle – thriving? Did the speckled cow survive the difficult birth?

Now the air crackles between us, friend or stranger, in every nation. Two metres. Six feet, the length and depth of a coffin. I walk a narrow path in the woods, meet a man with an unleashed terrier. Will he step to his side, mirror my care? He does.

We smile, we breathe a sigh. The air is alive with fear and care.

On the lake the Swans continue their slow courtship. I am learning the songs of the residents – Blackbird, Robin, Song Thrush, Wren – while they have the forest to themselves.

The evenings are longer by the day. There is no call to quarantine the birds. Larks exhilarate, Starlings murmurate, dark swirls against a clouded sky.

Soon the explorers will arrive from Africa – Cuckoo and Swallow, the creaking Corncrake, not yet extinct. Our small island will levitate with their cacophony, their mating joy. They will tell again their noisy stories, how they navigate by star maps and the magnets in their eyes.

Leave us our green walks, I pray.

O makers of the rules of wise restraint, let me be close to the wisdom of Hazel, let me watch her leaves unfurl out of the cell of winter.

I can do this, I tell myself. Cocoon. Lock-down. Self-isolate.

And if they say I cannot walk between the trees, there is still my garden, small and unruly, in need of love.

I can do this, however long it takes.

If every day I can rinse my heart clean of fear. If I can fill my lungs with God’s green air.

ghamArts #CreativityAgainstCorona

Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth – Imbolc writing workshop February 2nd

At this workshop, based on the Amherst Method, we will write in response to prompts inspired by Imbolc / Lá Fhéile Bríde.

Imbolc is associated with the birth of lambs, the spring sowing, the return of the long days and the fire of the sun. It is a time of new beginnings, green shoots, the unploughed field, the blank page. Imbolc is also known as Brigid’s Day – Lá Fhéile Bríde. Brigid, honoured both as a pre-Christian goddess and as a Christian saint, is linked with blessing and fertility, inspiration, midwifery and birth.

No previous knowledge of myth or experience of writing is necessary to participate in this writing workshop – all you need bring with you is a notebook, a pen, and a willingness to be surprised by your own unique voice.

“What brings me back time and again is the surprise of not knowing what will emerge…”

Just Write

Kinlough, Co Leitrim; Fortnightly on Wednesdays, January 15 – May 20;  7 – 9:30 PM.

2888979463_7d12d71a4cYou like to write, but you don’t know where to start? You used to write, but you can’t remember how you made it happen? You are a writer, but your words feel stale on the page?

Then this Amherst method workshop is for you. Full details at, or contact / 087-641 4185.


Image credit: amystrachan

Writing Workshops, Kinlough, Co Leitrim, Spring 2020

Details, Dates, PayPal links:

Writing: the Art and the Craft – – Fortnightly on Tuesdays typewriter-28701_960_720

Writing and manuscript response for those who are working toward publication. Develop your skills through tailored exercises and guidance on craft, and receive constructive critique and insightful feedback from other writers. 

Just Write – – Fortnightly on Wednesdays      2888979463_7d12d71a4c

Creative writing time for everyone: beginners & experienced writers, women & men, anyone over the age of 18. Whether you are completely new to creative writing or an experienced writer who wants to generate new work and experiment with different genres and styles, this Amherst method workshop is for you.

Image credit: amystrachan

Poetry Workshop: Early Bird Ends Midnight November 17

early bird, by joe hfPoetry: the Art and the Craft – Places still available

Saturday 23 November 2019, 11 am – 5 pm, Clanchy Court, Kinlough, Co Leitrim. Cost: €60 / Early bird: €50 before November 17.

Email to receive a PayPal button, for payments with credit card / debit card / PayPal, or post a cheque. Places limited, advance booking essential.

One Day Poetry Workshop, November 23

Poetry: the Art and the Craft

Saturday 23 November 2019, 11 am – 5 pm, Clanchy Court, Kinlough, Co Leitrim. 

A day of reading, writing and revising poetry. All you need bring with you is your notebook and a curious mind. If you have a poem – max 20 lines – you’d like to receive feedback on, bring 10 copies to the workshop. 

Cost: €60 / Early bird: €50 before November 17.

Email me to receive a PayPal button, for payments with credit card / debit card / PayPal, or post me a cheque. Places limited, advance booking essential.


Space still available

Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth: Samhain 2019

The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Sunday, November 3, 10:30 – 16:30.     €30, booking through or phone the Glens: (071) 9855833.       Led by Monica Corish, award-winning writer and AWA certified writing workshop leader.

limnal trapeze

The Liminal Space: Andrea Cambridge-Gonzales, Liminal Space & Instructional Design on Pinterest

Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth: Samhain 2019

The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Sunday, November 3, 10:30 – 16:30.     €30, booking through or phone the Glens: (071) 9855833.       Led by Monica Corish, award-winning writer and AWA certified writing workshop leader.

autumn-mood-3830084_1280At this workshop we will write in response to prompts inspired by Samhain.

The festival of Samhain is associated with borders, boundaries and liminal spaces – between life and death, sleep and waking, the world of the everyday and the world of the sídhe. It is the time of summer’s end and the beginning of winter and the Celtic year, a time when the veil between worlds is thinned. Our writing may be inspired by any realm – by mythical borders or by political limits and lines on the map. No previous experience of writing is necessary – all you need bring with you is a notebook, a pen, and a willingness to be surprised by your own words.

Documenting 100 Years of History and Heritage in Co Leitrim

Artists Grainne McMenamin and Catherine Bourne are facilitating a series of public drop-in sessions, to document objects & stories from Leitrim at the time of Irish independence. They especially hope to create a fuller picture of women’s lives, so personal/domestic items and crafted/ everyday heirlooms are of great interest, especially if they have a story to tell…  Grainne and Catherine are also available for one-to-one appointments, in person or online, if the library sessions are unsuitable. They can be contacted at

Writerly Events at the Allingham Festival, on-line and on-stage

Interesting happenings at this year’s Allingham Festival, 3rd to 7th of November 2021, taking place both at the Abbey Centre, Ballyshannon, and online. Here’s my personal selection of writerly events – click on the links to go to the relevant page on the Allingham Festival website:

Nets of Wonder: Stories on the Wall


Abbey Centre, Wednesday, November 3, 8:30 PM

A creative collaboration between writer Olive Travers, of frequent Sunday Miscellany fame, artist Barry Britton, and musician/composer Eamon Travers.


Readings by Lepus Authors


Brian Leyden will introduce readings by poet Mary Branley and novelist and filmmaker Johnny Gogan. Brian will also talk about Lepus Print, the new independent publisher of fiction, poetry and non-fiction based in the North West, dedicated to the discovery and curation of exceptional Irish and international literature.


Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Awards

Literary Awards Adult.pngOnline, Friday, November 5, 2021, 18:00 – 19:00

The finalists in the Poetry and Flash Fiction competitions will be joined by the judges, Afric McGlinchy and Nuala O Connor, to read their entries before the winners are announced. This year’s record number of entries will ensure that the standard of writing will be as high as ever. 


An anthology of stories and poems inspired by the River Erne. Contributors to the collection include Colin Dardis, Kate Ennals, Monica Corish, Tom Sigafoos, John McIntyre, Pat Joe Kennedy, Trish Bennett, Teresa Kane, and Jenny Brien.