OPEN CALL: Discovery Writers’ Residency

If you’re based in Dublin, consider applying for this day-long creative writing residency with Discovery Gospel Choir on Sunday 23rd June.

The residency will be based around a free writing workshop facilitated by writer and performer Dave Lordan and will focus on the history and diverse communities of the north east inner city of Dublin.

Lordan has been described as Ireland’s most vital and courageous poet, and a performer of electrifying intensity. Lordan provides a portal to the inspirational power of the spoken and written word, and is currently one of Ireland’s leading educators in creative writing.

As part of the residency, you’ll meet people from the area, engage with already-existing art and learn about local history. You’ll be encouraged to think about the parallels and links between the experiences of old and new communities: for example, the Magdalene laundries and Direct Provision, and asylum seekers and longer-standing Dubs uniting against the housing crisis.

And here’s the best bit: the work you produce will be performed at a Discovery Gospel Choir concert a week later, on Saturday 29th June. 

The Elephant in the Room


The residency is open to writers over the age of 18, working in any genre (poetry, drama, spoken word, fiction, non-fiction, etc). Applications are welcome from writers of all levels of experience, with applications from the following groups particularly encouraged:

Residents of North East Inner City Dublin
Ethnically diverse applicants
Socioeconomically diverse applicants
Established writers
Less experienced writers
Members (previous or current) of Discovery Gospel Choir

The residency will run from 9am to 5pm, and is based in St. Thomas’ Church, Cathal Brugha Street, where writing spaces, food, tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day.

Throughout the day, participants will be invited to participate in a series of writing exercises. The target audience for the writing will be members of the general public attending Discovery’s concert on Saturday 29th June. Availability for the concert on the 29th of June is encouraged but optional.

A walking tour of the area will form part of the day’s activities. Please let us know if this activity raises any concerns for you in terms of accessibility and wellbeing.

TO APPLY, please send the following by the closing date, Friday 14th June at 5pm:

1. A brief email/letter referring to your relevance to one or more of the target groups above, and confirming that you will be available to attend the residency at St.Thomas’ Church, Dublin 1, from 9am until 5pm on Sunday 23rd June. Include your email address and phone number.

2. A CV or short biography of your past experience.

3. One example of your writing (in pdf/word format, mp3 (for spoken word), or as a link to online writing/video/sound recording).

Email your application to Nessa at:
Or post to: Discovery Workshops, 56 North Avenue, Mount Merrion, Dublin A94 T3Y0.

Applications must reach us by 5PM ON FRIDAY 14TH JUNE 2019. Applicants will be emailed with a result by the following Tuesday.

We look forward to hearing from you! Ubuntu!

This exciting new initiative is supported by the Department of Justice Communities Integration Fund.


Engineering a set of delusions

Lit Hub: How do you tackle writer’s block?
Ben Marcus: “Writer’s block, if that’s the name for it, happens when I am boring, when my mind is flat, when I have nothing to add to what has been said and done. Therefore it happens nearly all of the time. It happens when writing is an obligation and not a desire. And I really don’t mind. It’s not clear that I am meant to pump out writing at all costs. The opposite is true. The world will be just fine without anything I might write. Writing is not exactly a scarce resource. There is far too much out there that hasn’t been read enough. So I don’t try to solve this silence. To me it is necessary.

It is exhausting to be obsessed and driven and full of some pressing need to write—and it doesn’t happen very often. I also don’t write so sharply if I don’t care about what I’m doing, and caring is hard to fake. So, to me, writer’s block is a sign that I probably ultimately don’t give enough of a shit. This is my own flaw. I should care about more than I do. Or what I care about doesn’t fit so obviously inside the boundaries of what I consider fiction. Part of the beginning of any project is the discovery of what matters to me, followed by an attempt to conceive of it in terms of fiction. That’s what it is to start a project: engineering a set of delusions that the act of writing has consequence and simply must be done.”

More here.

Poets in the City: Cardiff!


Save the date for this very special reading by Aifric Mac Aodha, Celia de Fréine and Llŷr Gwyn Lewis.

Aifric Mac Aodha’s first collection, Gabháil Syrinx (The Capture of the Syrinx), was published by An Sagart in 2010. Foreign News, with translations into English by David Wheatley, was published by The Gallery Press in 2017 and Aifric was awarded the Oireachtas Prize for Poetry in the same year. She has taught in St Petersburg, New York and Canada and has lectured in old and modern Irish at UCD. She lives in Dublin where she now works for the Irish-language publisher, An Gúm. She is the Irish language poetry editor of The Stinging Fly.

Celia de Fréine is an award-winning poet, playwright, screenwriter and librettist who writes in Irish and English. She has published six collections of poetry, including most recently cuir amach seo dom : riddle me this, published by Arlen House in 2014, and has been awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Award and Gradam Litríochta Chló Iar-Chonnacht, among others. She has translated many European poets into Irish and English and her own work has frequently been anthologised and translated. Celia lives between Dublin and Connemara.

Llŷr Gwyn Lewis is a Welsh-language writer and poet. His first prose work, Rhyw Flodau Rhyfel (Some Flowers of War) (Y Lolfa, 2014), won the Creative Non-Fiction category in the 2015 Wales Book of the Year award, and his poetry collection, Storm ar Wyneb Haul (Storm on the Face of the Sun) (Barddas, 2014), was shortlisted in the poetry category. He was selected as one of Literary Europe Live‘s New Voices from Europe 2017. Llŷr was raised in Caernarfon, north Wales and now lives in Cardiff.

This reading will take place in Irish and Welsh with English translations.

With support from Culture Ireland, Poetry Ireland and Cardiff University School of English, Communication and Philosophy, and in collaboration with Poetry Wales.

Dublin launch of Insistence

Insistence was launched in Dublin by my PhD supervisor, Prof Briona Nic Dhiarmada, the absolute ledgebag. This felt particularly appropriate in a week when immodest women are adding ‘Dr’ to their twitter handles to show off their hard work and smarts. It was also just lovely because Briona is lovely – and ridiculously kind when introducing Insistence.

Book launches are always overwhelming, because so many well-wishers turn up, but launching in Dublin, where I grew up, was particularly surreal. Nonetheless, here I am overcoming the nerves and reading a few poems. The launch was generously supported by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, and I am madly grateful to Chris Fox, who made it all happen.

Insistence in the Irish Times

John McAuliffe reviews Insistence alongside work by Martina Evans and Paula Meehan in today’s Irish TimesHe writes:

Insistence includes a remarkable long sequence, Alphabet, which derives its unusual poetic form from the Danish poet Inger Christensen’s alphabetical, accumulating sequence (also named Alphabet). Darcy’s sequence oscillates between doomy prognostication (“dust storms / and dust events; drone deaths and dental dams and / online dating sites and death squads”) and scattered consolations (“apricot trees insist; apricot trees insist”).

Into this world comes the poet’s pregnancy, and the birth and growth of her child, and anxious imaginings of his future, not as a land of plenty but a land of scarcity, so that by section 11

kin insists, kin insists;
your pink cheek tucked up
with mine, not thinking
of solitude or extinction,
of the whale in your book,

not thinking of the pink krill
with intricate eyes; not thinking
of kelp forking over rocks,
their thick holdfasts, fat
kelp picked for iodine

One of the ironies of this anxiety about scarcity is Alphabet’s wonderful momentum, the way that one thing always leads to another in this capable, capacious sequence.”

You can read the full review here.