Category Archives: Uncategorized

Allingham Competition Deadline Extended to 24/9

The deadline for entries in the 2021 Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions has been extended to 24 September. Competition rules and on-line entry forms here.

Applications for seats in the Lepus Print Path to Publication workshop will remain open until 1 October.

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 2 & 23, December 7.

Cost: €120. Early-bird: €100 before Sept 14, by PayPal or cheque /postal order. Contact me at monicacorishwriting@gmail.com 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 2 & 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 monicacorishwriting@gmail.com 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 allinghamfest@gmail.com 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, tomsigafoos@gmail.com.

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

2021 Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competition Open for Entries

Tom Sigafoos

The 2021 Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions are open for entries. First-place winners in Flash Fiction and in Poetry will each receive a prize of €300. Deadline for entries is 17 September 2021, with a fee of €5 per entry.

Prizes will be awarded in a live on-line Awards Ceremony during the Nov 3-7 Festival. Poet Afric McGlinchey and novelist Nuala O’Connor will judge the competitions. Rules and on-line entry forms are posted at http://www.allinghamfestival.com/fiction-poetry-competitions.

Nuala O’Connor, Fiction Judge

Afric McGlinchey, Poetry Judge

Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction entrants must be 18 years of age by 3 Nov 2021. The Festival offers separate art and writing competitions for children, also detailed on the website.

This year’s Allingham Festival will include concerts, workshops and a performance by comedian Seamus O’Rourke. In line with national health guidelines, Festival planners hope to offer live events in the Abbey Centre and other…

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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 #6 – Fundraiser ends June 30 – Double your donation

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

In this, our last post, we have writing from Madge O’Callaghan, Aideen Walsh and Paula Gilvarry.

SHASHI DHAR IS SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED

Madge O’Callaghan, Co Clare, Ireland

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

muzzamil-mughal-pakistanShashi Dhar is sick and tired of being sick and tired. Another old woman gasping her last breath. Shashi holds her hand and sings softly to her. Her family didn’t make it on time to see her. Two strong sons and a fine daughter, laid low or living in another country, Shashi guessed.

Shashi caresses the cracked dry skin of his charge, willing her to die quickly, painlessly. Another one, and another and another. How many was that now? Old women and old men outliving their usefulness. Sure who would miss them? Hadn’t they lived long enough anyway?

No flatline. No unplugging. The most he can do is offer slow release pain meds – saturating the old woman’s lungs with morphine, watching her as she slowly draws a last rattling breath and flicks open her eyes, wide and accusing.

Shashi sings softly, all the old tunes that his mother taught him at her knee. He sings songs about boats on rivers that he’s never seen; about love of people in strange and foreign places; about children and insects and cows and horses and bees and snakes. He dredges up memories of songs that he thought he had long forgotten and when he could sing no more he reaches inside himself further for yet another song. The old woman wasn’t dead yet. Her heart was strong. She fought until there was no fight left in her. Then she relented, gave a soft sigh and she was gone.

Shashi went to the next bed. He held the hand of the woman lying in the bed. He sings to her until she too slips peacefully beyond him. 

THAT WAS THE YEAR…

Aideen Walsh, Co Leitrim, Ireland

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

That was the year we unhooked 
our tentacles from the world
and watched it stand still;
Found the music of birdsong, laughter, tears
and the joyful silence of togetherness.
A year stolen from the world yet spent together.
Reflecting a time we may never have again.

IT IS GREY INSIDE

Paula Gillvarry, Co Sligo, Ireland

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

It is grey inside.  I am grey. Life is grey, no school, no sport, no anything
My parents are on top of me, all the time
Feckin Armageddon since March 20
Zombies would be better
This is zombie land by a thousand
My room is grey, I am grey, my parents used to be fun, well for parents they were fun
And they went out to work, came home with news
Now they are on compute all day and only watch Covid news
I hate bloody Covid
I want to beat it, burn it, obliterate it
But it's too clever
It's a virus
I know about viruses on computers
And now the virus in us “humans’
Are we humans still?  Seems to me we have become the zombies… Ha ha, hysterical
I want to go out the door, kick a football around, hang around that park bench where the girls used to sit, especially when Sarah was there
Sarah... I see her colours, bright red, cobalt blue, iridescent green
She shimmers in my mind
She sometimes walks past the house with her parents, masks on taking their daily walk… good for your mental health, that really annoying voice says on the radio.
I hate the radio now
I will live in my head with Sarah,
We will fly to Africa on Pink Flamingos, feed fat racoons,
I will give her a giant sunflower and secretly long for a sweet Sarah kiss in return
james-moonan-wild-imagination-ireland-1
We will sit on the grass in the park and she will make a daisy chain, using her finger nail to close the chain.
She will lean in towards me and place her offering over my head
As it falls over onto my neck I lean forward to kiss her
Knock, knock
My bedroom door is shaking
Sean, did you not hear me?
Dinner
It's grey again

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.

LOOK, THE NEWSPAPER ALWAYS HAS TO GAZE

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,
rejoice:
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.

THE IMAGE OF SERENITY

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.