Full Scholarship for the 2022 MFA in Playwriting


The Patricia Leggett Scholarship which has been offered at The Lir Academy for the past six years.

This bursary is open to writers resident on the island of Ireland to support them to complete a one-year MFA in Playwriting at The Lir Academy, commencing later this year. The value of the support is up to €12,000.

This is a great opportunity for a budding playwright to train under the expert guidance of tutors Graham Whybrow, Karin McCully, Gavin Kostick and Thomas Conway.

For more information on our MFA in Playwriting, please follow this link.

In order to apply for the scholarship, applicants must be:

  • Qualified to degree level
  • Resident in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Applicants can submit a 45-minute-long complete play to info@thelir.ie by Friday April 8th, 2022.

Job Vacancy: Technical Advisor to the County Arts Office

Longford County Council Arts Office wishes to invite submissions from suitably qualified candidates for the position of Technical Advisor to the County Arts Office. The successful candidate will be selected following a competitive tendering process. Closing date for submissions will be Friday August 2nd at 1.00pm. Given the nature of the position candidates must apply on-line to fkennedy@longfordcoco.ie marked: Arts Office Digital Technical Advisor.

Download application form


Job Vacancy: Researcher and Textual Compositor to Longford County Council Arts Service

Longford County Council Arts Office wishes to invite submissions from suitably qualified candidates for the position of Researcher and Textual Compositor. The successful candidate will be selected following a competitive tendering process. Closing date for submissions will be Friday August 2nd at 1.00pm. Given the nature of the position candidates must apply on-line to fkennedy@longfordcoco.ie marked: Researcher and Textual Compositor.

Noel Monahan – Book Launch

I’m delighted to inform you that our friend and popular Longford poet Noel Monahan will launch his most recent collection of work entitled Chalk Dust on Thursday next 3rd May at 8.00pm in the Courthouse, Cavan.

Throughout the years Noel has been a committed supporter of emerging literary talent in Longford. He has given generously of his time, his skills and his experience to a generation of Longford writers.

I, for one, would like to mark this occasion by thanking him for all his help and support to the County Arts Office, over the past twenty two years and I hope to do so at the launch on Thursday night.

The launch of the collection will be accompanied by the performance some excellent classical music by soprano Naimh McCormack and pianist Simon Harden.

If you are free on Thursday night why not make the effort to come along and mark a rite of creative passage of one of Longford’s most talented sons.

Launch of As Moon and Mother Collide a new collection of poems by Mary Melvin Geoghegan

Canal Studio Thursday April 12th 8.00pm

We are blessed here in Longford to have such an active writers community. This collegial atmosphere is a benefit and support to our individual writers in many ways and has also been the occasion for many enjoyable nights of poetry and prose in the past.

We have that active writers community to enjoy because we are willing to come out and support each other and celebrate the success of our fellow writers.

Next Thursday night is yet another occasion for celebration as Longford poet Mary Melvin Geoghegan launches her latest collection of poems entitled; As Moon and Mother Collide.

Mary’s reading will be introduced by popular Cavan poet PJ Kennedy and the doyenne of Irish poetry publishing Jessie Lendennie will also be present to celebrate the launch and to renew acquaintances with her other Longford Salmon poets and her many old friends.

Be sure to make the effort to come along to the event will last from 8.00 to approx 9.15pm and copies of the collection can be purchased from Jessie on the night.

Chalk Dust – New Poetry Collection from Noel Monahan

This new collection, by award winning poet, Noel Monahan, searches for identity and belonging, in the shifting shadows of modern Ireland. The section on sonnets seeks a spiritual uplift out of the darkness and poems written in Irish, with English translations further the quest for meaning. “Chalk Dust”, the stunning title poem, portrays an Irish Catholic boarding school, where sons of strong farmers and rural shopkeepers are placed in the ivory hands of priests, to be educated. This long dramatic prose poem is episodic and follows the calendar of a school year, where trapped male energy erupts, under the strains of collective living and time alone allows the Chalk Dust to settle.


Noel Monahan was born in Granard, Co. Longford. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and writing. His awards include: The SeaCat National Poetry Award, organised by Poetry Ireland, The RTE P.J. O’Connor Award for drama, The ASTI Achievements Award, The Hiberno-English Poetry Award and The Irish Writers’ Union Poetry Award. He has read his work on Sunday Miscellany, RTE 1, on a number of occasions.

His poetry was prescribed text for Leaving Certificate English, 2011 & 2012. “Chalk Dust” , is Noel Monahan’s eighth collection of poetry. “ Opposite Walls”, was published in 1991, “Snowfire”, in 1995, “ Curse of The Birds” in 2000, “ The Funeral Game” in 2004, “ Curve Of The Moon” in 2010, “ Where The Wind Sleeps” 2014, published by Salmon. “Celui Qui Porte Un Veau” , a selection of French translations of Noel Monahan’s work was published by Alidades in 2014. A number of his poems have been translated into: Italian, Russian, French and Romanian. His most recent plays include “ The Children of Lir”, performed by Livin Dred Theatre and “ Lovely Husbands”, a play for young people, based on the work of Henry James. For twenty six years he has worked with Heather Brett as co editor of Windows Publications.

Recently, he has had work included in the following anthologies: Windharp, edited by Niall McMonagle and published by Penguin, Tra Una Vita E L’Altra, published by Guanda, Italy, Lost Between, New Island Press, Everything To Play For, published by Poetry Ireland, Even The Daybreak, published by Salmon, Reading The Future, New Writing From Ireland, Arlen House. Noel Monahan holds an M.A. in Creative Writing.

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2018

Waterford City & County Council’s Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting entries for the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2018.

The late writer lived, until her death in 1996, in Ardmore, Co. Waterford. Her first ten novels and four plays were published under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. In 1981 ‘Good Behaviour’ became a publishing sensation for which she was short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize. Annually since 1998, to celebrate this rich literary life, the Waterford Arts Office, by kind permission of the Keane family has invited entries for a previously unpublished short story to a maximum of 2000 words. There is no entry fee, no age limit and no restriction on the subject matter. A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner at a special ceremony during the IMMRAMA Literary Festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in June 2018.

The closing date for receipt of entries is Thursday 15th March 2018 at 12 noon.

Download entry form

Edward Denniston – Book Launch

Waterford Longfordian Edward Denniston has a new collection of poems, published by Salmon Poetry. The collection, entitled The Scale of Things, is his second book of poems and will be launched at Greyfriars’ Municipal Gallery Waterford on Friday June 14th. The book is dedicated to Aileen Denniston, his mother, who died in November, 2011. [Read more…]

From Beatrix …….to Harry

from beatrix to harryFor a considerable number of years Longford County Council’s Arts has developed projects the purpose of which have been to encourage creative writing skills and an appreciation of literature among Longford’s primary and secondary school students.

The process has yielded some highly innovative and imaginative projects not least of which have been, the children’s collaborative novel; All Because of a Toothbrush in which over three hundred students in over thirty primary schools actively co operated to develop the story line and the characters of a charming children’s novel.

Another milestone in the nurturing of children’s creative writing was the development of our De-scribe programme. De-scribe was a two year pilot programme designed to develop and test a highly original approach to developing the creative faculties of even the very young primary school children. The development of the De-scribe programme also resulted in the establishment of four children’s writing groups in the county.

These are just two examples of an extensive, year-round programme of supports organised to encourage children’s creative writing. Through the high level of activity in this area The County Arts Office has forged an extensive network of partnerships with various stake holders in the sector such as; school’s staff and principals, parents, artists and administrators.

We therefore decided to utilize this locally based reservoir of experience and expertise to assist us in exploring new structures and techniques in the development of our writers and readers of tomorrow. Rather than going down the route of devising a work plan or schedule, which we felt was too prescriptive and rigid an approach, we decided to form a focus group from our pool of partners and to ask the group to assist us in generating a set of guidelines or reference points for the future development of our work in this area. With the financial assistance of the Arts Council we engaged the facilitator Anne Gallagher to motivate and guide the work of the focus group and we would like to take the opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to Anne and all the members of the focus group for their effort commitment and enthusiasm.

View report

Launch of the King of the Back of the Hill

Last March we, in the Ardagh Creativity Centre, hosted a very interesting evening with the archaeologies Adel Coleman who told us of the findings of her research in Ardagh. The results of a 1967 archaeological dig had been languishing in the National Archives for decades so Adel decided to writer them up.

We were so inspired by the talk that night we put out a call for writing and art inspired by the dig and the story of the skeleton of the King of the Back of the Hill alleged to be King Maine of Teabhta, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages

We were delighted with the response which includes art, photography, poetry, short stories and factual writing from adults and children.

Launch of De-scribe

This week sees the launch of the latest and possibly the most innovative creative writing project to emerge from Longford County Arts Office. The Describe project demonstrates new and exciting methods of developing creative writing both with children and adults.

The project techniques have been designed and piloted over the past three years in primary schools and public libraries in County Longford and according to Fergus Kennedy Longford county Arts Officer the reaction of parents and teachers to the project has been overwhelmingly positive with a total of 35 primary schools participating in the project. Schools are already incorporating the describe approach into their toolbox for creative writing and “Author and Scribe” family writing sessions, using the Describe method, are established, regular events in branch libraries.

The creative / educational process draws on a scribing technique which, according to Chris Thompson who has designed the technique and facilitated the project, “takes a partnership approach to creative writing. It is a technique that allows very young, reluctant or disadvantaged children to develop literacy skills creatively and enjoyably but it has many other appropriate applications for adults and children working together”. Scribing involves one person, acting as active listener and recorder of the author’s orally recounted story.

Fergus Kennedy points out that; “the beauty of the techniques developed through the De-scribe project is that it is flexible enough to be applied in a wide variety of contexts from the formal group context of a school room to the informality of a family kitchen. Because the project offers the means through the attractive and original user-manual and multi-media CD-ROM, to train interested adult facilitators or Scribes, and provides all the resources necessary to begin Scribing, the process is highly cost-efficient and thus sustainable over time.” Resource materials are included on the CD-ROM.

View a demo of the De-Scribe CD-ROM

Cork International Short Story Festival

The Cork International Short Story Festival is taking place from 13 – 16 September, and it’s shaping up to be another dynamic year with readers including June Caldwell, David Means, Nuala O’Connor, Billy O’Callaghan and many more. Online tickets are now available for purchase!

There are two opportunities to inspire your own writing: a fiction masterclass with Claire Keegan, as well as a writing workshop with this year’s Frank O’Connor Fellow Marie-Helene Bertino. Both classes will run for the four mornings of the festival, from 9.30am to 12.30pm at the newly renovated Nano Nagle Place in Douglas Street.

Claire Keegan’s masterclass is 200 Euro, and the Marie Helene Bertino workshop is 150 Euro.

Full descriptions of the courses are available at our website here: http://corkshortstory.net/workshops.html .

For more information, please contact Jennifer at The Munster Literature Centre: info@munsterlit.ie or 021 431 2955 .

Poetry Workshop in Cavan

An eight week poetry workshop will be facilitated this Autumn by Kate Ennals on Tuesday evenings from 3 October to 28 November (with a break on Tuesday 24 October for AT The Edge, Cavan) between 7pm and 9pm in Swellan, Cavan Town.

The workshop will be based on a mix of themes and forms. Kate will provide poems for inspiration, discussion, and assignments each week. The group will workshop the poems of each participant. The aim is to explore and write new poetry and bring together local poets/writers to stimulate and develop their work. There will be a limit of 8 participants allocated on a first come, first served basis.

For further information and to register, contact Kate Ennals on 0863737847 or email kateennals@live.co.uk.

Kate Ennals is a poet and writer and has published material in a range of literary and on line journals (Crannog, Skylight 47, Honest Ulsterman, Anomaly, Burning Bush 2, Poets meets Politics, The International Lakeview Journal, Boyne Berries, North West Words etc). Her first collection of poetry At The Edge was published in 2015. She has lived in Ireland for 25 years and currently runs poetry and writing workshops in County Cavan, and organises At The Edge, Cavan, a literary reading evening, funded by the Cavan Arts Office.

2017 John McGahern Award

Leitrim County Council Arts Office is now accepting applications from emerging writers for the inaugural John McGahern Award. The award is offered by Leitrim County Council and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre as part of the Iron Mountain Literature Festival which will be held on Friday 6th & Saturday 7th of October in Carrick on Shannon.

Arising from the John McGahern seminar which ran from 2007 for eight years, the Iron Mountain Literature Festival was established in 2016, reframed in a wider context involving writers, artists and thinkers from different fields that converge on a set of interests consistent with the work of John McGahern and with Leitrim. In particular the festival combines panels, talks, readings and field trips which look to ideas central to and arising out of an exploration of place, home and identity.

John McGahern is one of Ireland’s most respected and celebrated authors. His fiction is critically acclaimed internationally, has been translated into many languages and has appeared in many anthologies. He was a member of Aosdána and won numerous awards, including the Irish-American Foundation Award, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and the Prix Etranger Ecureuil. He taught at universities in Ireland, England, the USA and Canada. Amongst Women, which won both the GPA and Irish Times Award, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and made into a BBC television series.

The recipient of the Award will receive a two-week fully resourced residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and a stipend of €500.

Who Can Apply:
This is an open call to writers of fiction born or resident in the Republic of Ireland. Applicants must have had some fiction or short stories published in a recognised journal, or anthology selected by an established publisher or editor. Submissions from emerging writers are particularly welcome.

How to Apply:
Applications are accepted by email only to arts@leitrimcoco.ie and should include:

  • A cover letter including your personal details and statement of artistic intent, clearly and concisely outlining the project you would like to focus on during your time at Annaghmakerrig.
  • An up to date Curriculum Vitae (max. two A4 pages).
  • Clearly labelled samples of recent work (One sample of 1000 words or up to three short samples of up to 500 words each.)
  • Any relevant information on your proposed project such as written excerpts, photos, research information, etc.

Note: All attachments should be in .pdf format

Application Deadline:
5pm, 31 July, 2017. No late applications will be considered. Applications will be acknowledged by email on receipt.

Selection Process:
Applications go before a selection committee nominated by Leitrim County Council and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. The successful applicant will be notified no later than 15 September, 2017. The recipient of the award will be publicly announced on Saturday 7th October 2017 during the Iron Mountain Literature Festival at The Dock, Carrick on Shannon.

For further information, please go to www.ironmountainfestival.ie

National Poetry Day in Longford

On April 27th Ireland’s love of poetry was celebrated in every town in the country. In Longford we enjoyed a relaxed informal evening of poetry by some of our many local poets.

National Poetry Day celebrations were held in the Backstage Theatre where writers and audience were casually seated in a cafe style setting enjoying light refreshments while poets took turns to read from their work or perform their pieces in tandem.

Why not enjoy some brief excerpts from the evening?

Waterford Poetry Prize 2017

The Arts Office, Waterford City & County Council is pleased to announce details of the Waterford Poetry Prize 2017. The Waterford Poetry Prize is open to all writers currently living on the island of Ireland. There is no age limit and no entry fee. The closing date for receipt of entries is 12 noon on 26th June 2017.

For more details view PDF


Francis Ledwidge Creative Writing Award

To commemorate the Francis Ledwidge Centenary 1917 – 2017 Meath County Council Cultural Services are pleased to announce the establishment of the Francis Ledwidge Creative Writing Award. This award is open to practitioners of all creative writing genres on the island of Ireland over 18 years of age.

For details view PDF

King at the Back of the Hill Anthology – New Deadline

We have been asked to extend the deadline!

New deadline is now Friday, 19th May 2017. Please forward this to all who might be interested in submitting.  We are looking for art, photography, poetry, fiction and factual writings inspired by King Maine, Son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, St. Patrick and Longford, Liam De Paor and the archaeological digs in Ardagh, Adel Coleman and her revisit to the dig at The Back of the Hill. Sure we all knew there was a King at the Back of the Hill, didn’t we!!


Report from Alan McMonagle Book Launch

A Selection of Photos from the Night

Read more about Alan McMonagle

Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival

Edgeworthstown: The Town of Great Writers

In 1782, Richard Lovell Edgeworth decided to move his family from his home in England to the family estate in Edgeworthstown, County Longford. This was to begin a long tradition of literary creation in the town.

His daughter Maria Edgeworth went on to have an illustrious career in writing, and produced many works, some of which are to be found in print today. Her most famous novels were ‘Castle Rackrent’ and ‘The Absentee’.

Longford went on to produce many acclaimed writers including Padraic Colum, Vona Groarke, Belinda McKeon, Alan McMonagle and Noel Monahan, to name just a few, and the Edgeworth Literary Society endeavours to maintain the Edgeworth legacy through its annual Festival. The Society continues to promote the work of writers through its annual competitions, and the awarding of the Deirdre Purcell perpetual prize.

It also endeavours to keep alive the legacy of the Edgeworths through its programme of events.

2017 will be no exception with this year’s festival from May 5 to 7, 2017 featuring a varied line-up, sure to pique the interest of literary fans of all ages and tastes.

This will include children’s storytelling, with Heritage in Schools expert Eamon Brennan, while John Beddoes a direct decedent of the Edgeworth Family, will discuss the poetry of Anna Edgeworth.

Professor Iggy Mc Govern, Physicist and Poet, will give a poetry workshop on the Saturday morning and will discuss the link between science and poetry in an evening session. Dr Susan Manly of St Andrew’s University, an authority on 18th century literature and the author of a new biography on Maria Edgeworth, will look at the legacy of Maria Edgeworth.

There will be lots of local talent too, including participation from the local members of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, Corrine McCormack-Bushell, the O’Reilly family and many more.

As part of the heritage trail walk, Octavia Tulloch will give a talk on ‘hedgerow’ medicine and plants at the Gardens in the Manor, and visitors will be able to visit places of interest on the guided walk, ‘St Mary’s to St John’s and Beyond’, with refreshments being served at the rectory.

Arguably the highlight of the weekend will take place when a new portrait of Maria Edgeworth, created by Ballymahon artist Orla Kelleher, is unveiled, meanwhile, the weekend concludes with a trip to Tullynally Castle, which will include a guided tour of the Castle and Gardens, and a talk by Thomas and Valarie Pakenham.

Details of the festival can be attained from the festival office on 043 6671801 or by visiting  www.edgeworthstown.net/festival

Killoe Group Takes on the One-act Circuit

Well known in Longford for their ambitious productions and talented casts, Cilleo Yew Tree Players took on a new challenge last winter – performing on the All-Ireland one act circuit.

A fixture in the local drama scene since the late 1980s, the group has a membership of approximately thirty, from school age upwards.

“Usually once a year, we would normally do a full length play in March or April,” explained group Chairperson and Director of their one-act offering ‘Brenton vs Brenton’, Damien Bennett.

“We had talked about going on the one-act circuit for a long, long time, so we applied for as many festivals as we could.”

Giving the reason for their show selection, Damien revealed; “We had done farce before in the group, so it seemed suitable to do it.”

A cast of six also meant that more people got to take in the experience of the circuit.

The group learned a lot from their first foray into the competition, Damien admitted. With an extensive set, and a large cast, the experience was often a difficult one, but one which they greatly enjoyed, nonetheless.

They had remarkable success at the festivals too. They performed at five festivals, earning second and third place in Cavan and Manorhamilton, respectively for the American spoof, which is set in an advertising agency in Chicago.

Paul McCarthy, meanwhile, was awarded ‘Best Actor’ in Carrigallen, and received numerous nominations. Sharon Finneran was nominated for ‘Best Actress’, while the rest of the cast, including Damien himself, Mary Mahon, Mick Dunne and Carmel Kennedy put on a memorable performance. Damien was also quick to praise the crew for their invaluable input.

“Without them we wouldn’t have been able to do what we did.

“We’ll absolutely try again,” Damien continued. “The overall consensus was that it was a very enjoyable and very worthwhile experience.”
Attention now turns to the group’s 2017 production, ‘Belfry’, which will take to the stage in the first week of April, directed by Micky Kenny.

Poetry and Prose Night

It was a dark, cold evening outside, but inside Longford Library on November 9 last, there was a very warm atmosphere, as creative talents from across the country gathered together for a night of appreciation.

As County Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy astutely pointed out; “I can feel the creativity literally bouncing off the walls.”

A project of Longford Writers Group and Longford Arts Office , the Poetry and Prose night served a dual purpose; to give local writers a chance to share their pieces and to give up-and-coming Longford artists the opportunity to showcase their work.

“When you look around in here at some of this beautiful artwork here on the walls it would actually lift your spirits at this time of the year and I think it’s fantastic to see that all of these artists are from Co Longford, and we’ve a lot to be very proud of in Longford,” Fergus Kennedy added.

Officially opening the evening, Cathaoirleach of Longford Municipal District, Cllr Padraig Loughrey, said he was honoured to do so, and paid tribute to the talent in the county.

“We have a multitude of wonderful talent here in this county that’s showcased here tonight,” he said. “It’s important that we as a community foster and support this talent. Longford Writers Group is doing just that.”

Writers Dan Flynn, Sally Martin, Eileen Moynihan, Geraldine Ryan, Martina Cooney, Rose Moran, Hilda Kennedy, Rose Byrne, Ann Gerety Smyth and event organiser and MC Maggi McKenna then took turns delivering their poetry and prose; some enchanting, some hilarious – some earth-shattering.

The writers delivered their pieces with a unique backdrop of art created by Gerard Keaveney, June Belton, Dan Flynn, Gene Rhatigan, Christine Treacy and Frank McGarry, and in keeping with the ‘Longford’ theme, Killoe singer-songwriter Sean Rooney provided the perfect soundtrack.

In his speech, Cllr Loughrey expressed his wish that the evening would become a regular event in the county’s social calendar, and thanks to the inaugural night’s success, this wish appears to be coming true.

As we go to print, plans are already afoot for the second such evening, with two singers, Jemma Cowan and Sean O’Neill, lined up, as well as four new artists.

Alan McMonagle Book Launch

Alan launches his first novel Ithaca in the Backstage Theatre on Monday 13th March at 8.00pm.

Longford punches ‘way above its weight’ in creative writing in this country.

We have our literary heritage of Goldsmith, Edgeworth, Casey and Colm, we thankfully have a generation of living writer who have consolidated their literary reputations nationally and in some cases internationally such as Noel Monahan and Vona Groarke, Breda Smith and Mary Melvin Geoghegan.

Then we have a new and very exciting generations coming off what is beginning to look like a Longford ‘conveyor belt’ of talented writers such as: Belinda McKeon, John Connell, Lorne Patterson, Rose Moran, Margaret Nohilly, Valerie Masters and most recently Alan McMonagle.

Alan launches his first novel Ithaca in the Backstage Theatre on Monday night. It promises to be a great night of music by Paul Gurney and Mick Warnock, readings by guest readers, an interview with the author by the talented young poet/novelist Nuala ni Chonchúir and finally a reading by the star of the night Alan McMonagle.

The night is a recognition of, and a tribute to, a significant young creative Longford talent – but it is also an acknowledgement of all Longford writers.

Therefore I call on all Longford writers to turn out on Monday night to enjoy an entertaining evening of music and literature, to salute our latest talent and above all to celebrate Longford writing.

Remember – to nourish our literary sector we must all get up – get out and support our literary sector.

I hope to see as many of you as possible on next Monday evening at 8.00pm in Backstage. Booking is advisable as seats are limited!!

Till then – may the muse never desert you!!!

Red Line Book Festival 2017

The Red Line Book Festival 2017 is now open for submissions from writers/poets to participate in the literary strand of the festival. The closing date for applications is Monday 20th March at 4pm.

The Red Line Book Festival is a celebration of all things literary; be it spoken, written, sung, played, illustrated or even just thought!

We provide a programme of events and workshops that appeal to people of all ages and interests, from children to adults and casual readers to book worms. Our line-up of events covers areas such as history, drama, poetry, music and literature. Do not be put off attending if you are not a big reader! You don’t have to read to be inquisitive and that is what this festival is all about. Fuelling the imaginations of people who are eager to learn and explore new ideas and opinions. Many thanks to all of our writers, audiences and partners in making such a great festival in 2016.

Keep an eye out for news over the coming months for Red Line Book Festival 2017.

Majour Longford Children’s Literary Event

The Maria Edgeworth Literary Festival has grown in stature and national recognition since its inception. It serves several notable purposes: preserving the name of the Edgeworth family, giving recognition to the spectacular intellectual and creative achievements of the gifted family and contributing to the continued growth of creative writing in Longford by affording children’s writing the same status and recognition as adult writing.

Many of our adult writers today began to develop the belief that they are possessed of a literary talent through their participation in the Edgeworth Children’s Poetry Competition when they were much younger.

It is that time of the year again – the hard working committee in Edgeworthstown are inviting submission to the 2017 Children’s Poetry competition on a theme of: Maria Edgeworth in the Garden.

If you know a primary school student who has demonstrated any interest in writing or rhymes please direct them towards this worthwhile exercise. All necessary details are outlined below:


Entry Fee: €1 per entryf

1st Prize €50

2nd Prize €30

3rd Prize €20

Closing date 24th February 2017


  1. Entry fee must accompany all entries.
  2. All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not have been published, accepted for publication, broadcast or honoured by the closing dates for entries.
  3. All entries to be clearly written or typed on one side of the paper only.
  4. Name and address to go on a separate attached sheet.
  5. The decision of the judges shall be final.
  6. Poems limited to 40 lines.

Entries to be sent to:

Competition Secretary,
Edgeworth Literary Society,
Old School House,
Ballymahon Road,
Co. Longford
Tel. No. 043-6671801

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017Waterford City & County Council’s Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting entries for the Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017.

The late writer lived, until her death in 1996, in Ardmore, Co. Waterford. Her first ten novels and four plays were published under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell. In 1981 ‘Good Behaviour’ became a publishing sensation for which she was short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize.

Annually since 1998, to celebrate this rich literary life, the Waterford Arts Office, by kind permission of the Keane family has invited entries for a previously unpublished short story to a maximum of 2000 words. There is no entry fee, no age limit and no restriction on the subject matter. A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner at a special ceremony during the IMMRAMA Literary Festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in June 2017.

The closing date for receipt of entries is Tuesday 14th March 2017 at 12 noon.

Full details and an entry form can be downloaded from www.waterfordcouncil.ie or by contacting the Arts Office on 058-41416.

SCRIPTS Ireland’s Playwriting Festival seeks new works


SCRIPTS Ireland’s Playwriting Festival, which is dedicated to new Irish plays, is looking for new works.

Taking place across Birr, Co Offaly from Sunday 9 July to Sunday 16 July 2017, playwrights (both established and emerging) are invited to submit original 15 minute plays on the theme, “What Next?”

Scripts most suited for development will be chosen by the selection panel headed by playwright Eugene O’Brien. Deadline for submission is Friday March 31st 2017.

Playwrights must be available to be in Birr from Sunday 9 July -Thursday 13 July 2017, as well as attend the headline event at Birr Theatre & Arts Centre on Sunday 16 July 2017 where the plays will be presented as staged readings.

There will be a prize for “Best Play“. There are also opportunities for winning playwrights to meet and engage with production and dramaturgy departments of professional theatre companies and network with production partners. The winning play may then go on to represent the festival in further opportunities and events, should production partners deem it appropriate.

Playwrights can submit plays by e-mail to submissions.scripts@gmail.com or by post to “Scripts”, Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, Oxmantown Hall, Birr, Co. Offaly.

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

ballymaloe poetry prize

This year’s prize, judged by Deborah Landau, closes on 31 December.

If you would like to be in with a chance to win €10,000, or one of three runner-up prizes of €1,000, and see your poem published in the spring issue of The Moth, click here.

Previous winners include Abigail Parry (who also won this year’s Troubadour Prize), Lisa Bickmore and Ann Gray (her winning poem was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem)

For further details email enquiries@themothmagazine.com.

Rose Moran at Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre

rose moranEnjoy a relaxing evening with local Poet, Rose Moran, at 7pm on Tuesday the 6th December in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre.

Rose will be reading from her new anthology, Meadow of the Spell, celebrating the beauty, colour and gift of nature and all who attend to creation in its many manifestations.

Come along and enjoy the readings and do some Christmas shopping in the Craft Shop while we chat over tea. All welcome.

Creative Ardagh, supporting local artists, writers and crafters.

Emerging Longford Writer in line for Majour Literary Awards

john connell

The talented Killoe writer John Connell has been shortlisted for the prestigious Bord Gais Irish Book Awards – Short Story of the Year Section.

The story was published by Granta Magazine in Granta 135 New Irish Writing alongside the work of such internationally acclaimed writers as; Roddy Doyle, Donal Ryan and Colm Toibin’s.

The short story, entitled The Birds of June, is set in Longford and concerns a nurse working in the local county hospital.

The nomination as a finalist of such a prestigious competition in the company of multi-award winning writers including a Booker Prize winner (Roddy Doyle) represents a majour milestone in the creative development of one of our most talented young writers. It also reflects very well on the number and quality of contemporary Longford writers.

Our emerging artists and writers need all the support we can give them for their individual development but also for the development of the national perception that Longford is a place of talent and creativity thus making the road a little easier for all our emerging artists.

The shortlisted story, The Birds of June, can be read on www.writing.ie sponsors of the award.

The overall winner will be selected both by the judges and by popular acclaim. Therefore you can play a very real part in helping John Connell bring the title of short story writer of the year back to Longford. All you have to do is log on to: http://www.irishbookawards.irish/vote2016/

Support your local writer and remember, in this week of presidential elections, the immortal words of Sen. Huey Long “Vote early and vote often”!!!!!

Ardagh Fright Fest 2016

Gothic novels, short stories and even poetry with a gothic mood are all the literary rage at the moment.

Those inexhaustible artistic animators of the Ardagh Arts Centre have assembled a fascinating programme of gothic readings and workshops in the techniques of gothic writing for almost all age groups.

Come along to that haven of tranquillity and creativity that is the Ardagh Creativity Centre and sample a welcome that is anything but gothic or threatening.

Relax and enjoy a reading in the picturesque setting of one of Irelands multi award winning villages and acquire the skills of gothic writing at one of the creative writing workshops.

This is a rare and seasonal opportunity and is one that you overlook at the expense of your eternal souls!!!!! As you can see I’m no Mary Shelley that’s why I’ll be at the Ardagh Fright Festival 2016 Literary Events.

Bookings can be made online or by contacting us at creativeardagh@gmail.com or 0863027602

Full details of all events including lots more for adults, children and families can be found on http://ardaghfrightfest.blogspot.ie

ardagh fright fest 2016

Wednesday 2nd November

A Gothic Evening
7pm Readings and discussion
of classic gothic literature including Frankenstein, Dracula and more
Age 14+ to adult €6pp

Thursday 3rd November

Hour of the Witch
7pm. Enjoy a relaxed evening with local author Lorne Patterson including readings from his latest book Hour of the Witch.
Adults €6 per person.

Friday 4th November

Finding the fantastic in your fiction
3pm Award-winning YA author Ruth Frances Long joins us for a writing workshop for teens Age 12+ €15 per person.
Booking essential.

Adult writing workshop
7pm Joe Murphy returns due to popular demand to share gothic writing secrets
Adults €15 per person. Booking essential.

Saturday 5th November

Author Panel
Ruth Frances Long, Joe Murphy and Lorne Patterson answer your questions about their books and what they love about writing.

Budding Longford actor stars in IFTA-nominated show

daire o'muiriIt’s been an ‘Eipic’ year for 17-year-old Daire O’Muiri.

A talented actor, who hails from Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon, Daire was cast in the acclaimed Irish-language comedy musical drama ‘Eipic’, which aired early this year.

“It was fantastic, it nearly exceeded expectations,” Daire smiled, when asked about seeing the finished product on screen. “I really enjoyed seeing the whole story come to life.”

In a nod to the 1916 Centenary, the six-part series follows five teenagers who take over the local Post Office to start a musical revolution. Daire played the role of Aodh in the series, which called on his talents as an actor, a musician and a gaeilgeoir.

‘Eipic’ received an extremely positive reaction, and has since gone on to be nominated for three Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) awards for Irish Language programme; Director – Soap and Comedy; and Children’s and Young People’s programme. It equalled the number of nominations received by the ever-popular Mrs Brown’s boys.

“I heard that the nominations were coming out on the Wednesday, so I was keeping an eye,” he admitted. “Just seeing ‘Eipic’ written was a bit weird.”

Daire has been keeping himself busy for the rest of the year, balancing auditions and school with a performance with Backstage Youth Theatre, of which he is a member. He took on the role of Padraig Pearse in the youth group’s engaging and moving 1916 production: ‘2016 – A Coming of Age’.

For now, however, Daire’s acting is taking a back seat as the St Mel’s College, Longford student prepares to undertake his Leaving Certificate exams. However, it’s definitely not the last we’ve heard of Daire, and he confirmed that he is keen to pursue other stage and screen projects, though maybe not immediately.

“I might not go straight into an acting course. At the moment I’m planning to do Primary School teaching and see where it goes from there,” he concluded.

‘At Large’ in Edinburgh

daniel o'brien

A Longford man was ‘At Large’ in Edinburgh last month, as a Dublin-based theatre group brought three plays to the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
30-year-old Daniel O’Brien, a native of Newtownforbes, is a member of At Large Theatre, who presented three original shows over two weeks.

From a passing interest in drama as a child, O’Brien joined the drama society when he enrolled in Trinity College to study History and Economics, but, as he laughed; “College just got in the way.”

It wasn’t until he had left college and completed his accountancy exams thereafter that he was convinced by a friend to join No Drama Theatre in Dublin, where he developed his acting, writing and directing skills.

“I went along with him and I enjoyed it. They did a weekly workshop every Tuesday and I’d go to those,” Daniel explained, before laughing, “my friend dropped out after a few weeks.”

After working with At Large Theatre’s Artistic Director, Gráinne Curistan, he joined the group and went on to write one of the three plays they presented in Edinburgh.

According to Daniel, ‘Nowhere Now’ centred on “internal trade agreements and capitalism and working life”.
“It’s mostly just about the language people use to talk about them.”

Daniel also appeared in the Gráinne Curistan written and directed ‘The Meeting’ a comedy set in an office. The third show was the deeply personal, character-driven ‘Beryl’.

Speaking on his return from the festival, Daniel said; “Edinburgh was great. We got settled into it pretty quickly; the routine of flyering, dealing with the time slot pressure that you get at festivals… which was great. I was a bit nervous beforehand about how we’d react to that but everyone handled it very well.

“It is a very competitive environment and we had to learn very quickly how best to sell the different shows.”

They did an excellent job, if the results were anything to go by, with Daniel reporting some great audiences as well as some sell-outs.

“I think it was a very positive experience overall,” he concluded, “we got some very positive audience reactions, we saw a lot of great shows and talked to a lot of interesting people, and everyone made it back physically safe and mentally sane, which is a good result on its own!”

For more on At Large Theatre, visit www.atlargetheatre.com or follow them on Facebook.

Longford Author’s Debut a Turn Up for the Books

bernice barringtonA thrilling page-turner which keeps the reader guessing from beginning to end, Bernice Barrington’s debut novel ‘Sisters and Lies’, published by Penguin Ireland, was released in March of this year, to great acclaim.

The story centres on two sisters, Rachel and Evie, the latter of whom is in a coma following a car crash. Everyone, including the police, believes that the crash was either an accident or a suicide attempt, but Rachel isn’t convinced, particularly when she discovers that Evie has been living with her childhood bully and has been concealing her identity from him.

The book is written as a dual narrative, as Rachel searches for answers and Evie desperately tries to remember what happened and communicate with her sister, and is set between London, Dublin and Leitrim.

It has received rave reviews from fans and fellow writers alike – including Marian Keyes, who dubbed it “head and shoulders above the rest” – and Bernice is thrilled with the reaction.

“Obviously, getting the quote from Marian was amazing, and by and large the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads have been very positive,” she stated, admitting; “I was dreading the inevitable one-star ratings but there have been mercifully few of those”.

Beyond the great reviews, the book has also re-connected Bernice with many old friends and acquaintances, and she has received many Facebook photos showing the book being read on sun loungers around the world.

“Basically the whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m still trying to process all the good will and positivity that has been directed my way,” Bernice continued. “The other amazing thing is that it has given me a feeling of legitimacy about my writing. Making any kind of creative work can be so lonely and difficult – but the reaction has made me feel the hard work was worthwhile.”

A native of Aughnacliffe, north Longford, Bernice (née Mulligan) cut her writing teeth at the Longford Leader, where she worked as a journalist for almost two years. She then went on to work as sub-editor and editor at a magazine publishing company before taking on the role of Media Project Manager at Zahra Media Group.

Based in Dublin, where she lives with her husband Brian and their beautiful daughter Lily, who was born mere months after the release of ‘Sisters and Lies’, Bernice has certainly had a busy year.

“I was on the TV3 show Midday as a panellist promoting the book in June,” Bernice revealed. “I also wrote the article in the Irish Independent about the Leaving Cert and did the follow up interview with Kathryn Thomas on the Ray D’Arcy show.”

Just a month after publication, ‘Sisters and Lies’ was part of the Eason/Pat Kenny Book Club for the month of April, and Bernice is due to feature in the Sunday Times for an article about writers and their writing desks.

In terms of writing desks, Bernice’s has changed slightly since welcoming baby Lily this summer.

“I am in the very early stages of a new idea,” she revealed, “in between nappy changes and feeds!

“Needless to say, we are beyond smitten and (touching every piece of wood possible) she has been a wonderful baby – sleeping well and generally being an absolute treasure. I know it’s going to be challenging combining writing and motherhood, but I’m (optimistically/naively) hoping it will all work out!”
For more information on ‘Sisters and Lies’, which is now available as an audiobook through Bolinda, or to contact Bernice, see: Facebook.com/bernicebarringtonauthor; Twitter @beebarrington or visit www.bernicebarrington.com.

‘Sisters and Lies’ will also be coming out in the UK in Spring 2017.

The New Roscommon Writing Award 2016

Roscommon County Council is delighted to announce details of the 2016 New Roscommon Writing Award. This is the third year of what has already become an important event in the literary calendar of the county.

The NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2016 is organised as part of the county’s literature development programme. It is funded by Roscommon County Council and The Arts Council, and supported by the Roscommon Herald and by Shannonside FM.

The winner will receive a monetary prize of €500 and will have their winning entry printed in the Roscommon Herald. It will also be broadcast on Shannonside FM. (Four runners-up will receive €50 each).

Closing date for entries is 30 November 2016

Enquiries to ghoare@roscommoncoco.ie

View PDF Flyer

Competition Rules

  • Entries, in English, on any theme, in any literary form, will be accepted.
  • The competition is open to anyone over 18. All entrants must have a connection with the county of Roscommon (born in, living in, currently working in, went to school in, etc).
  • Typed entries (handwritten entries cannot be accepted) must be no more than 500 words. Mark the number of words in your entry on the bottom of the page. Entries over the 500 word limit will be automatically disqualified. There is a limit of two entries per entrant.
  • Include your name, address and contact details, plus your connection to the county. Include these on a separate page, not on your entry.
  • There is no entry fee. All entries must be received by 30 November 2016.
  • The competition will be adjudicated by Brian Leyden. The judge’s decision is final.
  • Post your entry to: NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2016, Aras an Chontae, Roscommon Arts Office, Roscommon. You may also email your entry to: ghoare@roscommoncoco.ie. Title your email NEW ROSCOMMON WRITING AWARD 2016.
  • The names of the shortlisted writers will be announced in local media and online at http://www.roscommoncoco.ie/en/Services/Comm_Ent/Arts_Office/literature.htm
  • The awards ceremony will take place early in 2017, on a date and at a venue to be announced.

Mark Grist Show – Cruthu Festival

Mark Grist

Let me tell you about a very interesting and unusual literary event happening in Longford over the Cruthu Festival this Bank Holiday Weekend.

Mark Grist an English poet who is rapidly developing a glowing international reputation is appearing in the Canal Studio Backstage on Friday night.

He is an English teacher who took the world by storm when he took on a challenge from one of his students to face off to a rap battle (ala Eminem in 8Mile). Such was the response online that he has since quit teaching and performs full time.
Have a look at his videos and you’ll see why.

In addition Mark will be giving two workshops during the day, his workshops are on writing and writing for performance and are on Friday at 1pm & 3pm priced €5, the evening show is at 8pm and is priced at €15.

Marks poetry and presentation style are a little different to what we are used to but are ‘all the better for that’. It gives us an opportunity to open our minds to new experiences in poetry, to new styles and to new genres.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear this immensely talented poet and performer as he is about to become huge on the international literary scene and you can say that you saw him first at Backstage and for only €15.00

Contact Backstage on 043 33 47888 and book a place while there are still some left.

Intercultural Writing Competition for Young People

metro eireann young persons writing competition

Metro Éireann, in collaboration with the Duke University Kenan Institute for Ethics, is hosting an intercultural writing competition for young people in Ireland. The competition, as well as the optional one-on-one writing workshops associated with the contest, is completely free. Cash prizes will be offered to the winners. We would greatly appreciate the Longford County Arts Office promoting this event to the young people with which it engages. I am attaching an image of a flyer for you to peruse. Perhaps you would consider highlighting this event on social media pages? We would love your help getting the word out about this national competition amongst those passionate about the arts!

The competition is a great chance for young people to improve their writing skills, develop their understanding of interculturalism, and try to earn cash prizes!

The following contains the details of the writing competition and workshops:

The 2nd Annual Metro Éireann-Kenan Institute for Ethics Intercultural Writing Competition seeks to simultaneously enrich Irish intercultural life and foster the development of the next generation of Irish writers. All Irish residents, immigrants and non-immigrants, are encouraged to enter, and no submission fee is required.

Submissions of original fiction that illuminate the ethical challenges of intercultural diversity in Ireland are invited in the following genres:

  • a short story (2,000 words maximum)
  • a novel extract (2,000 words maximum)
  • a selection of poetry (5 poems maximum)

All submissions must be previously unpublished. Our panel of judges will pay attention to the following criteria:

Engagement with Themes of Ethics and Interculturalism

  • Creativity/Originality
  • Organization/Structure
  • Impact on Reader
  • Initiative of Beginning Writers

€3200 will be awarded in total to the winners!
Age 14-17 winner (€800) and runner-up (€400)
Age 18-21 winner (€800) and runner-up (€400)
Age 14-21 Spirit of Intercultural Ethics winner (€800)

All submissions must be typed using 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and sent to info@metroeireann.com with the entrant’s full name and the word ‘Submissions’ in the subject line. Submissions should also include a cover page that provides the entrant’s personal information (name, age, address, telephone number) and details about their work (age category, title).

Submissions are due by Midnight on July 31; winners will be announced on August 5.

To learn more or book an individual meeting, please visit www.facebook.com/MetroEireann, call Catherine Ward at 087 401 3414 or Chinedu Onyejelem at 01 878 3441, or 
e-mail info@metroeireann.com.

Respond II

Don’t miss a really exciting night of literature and digital arts when Longford film makers respond creatively to Longford poets and prose writers on the subject of – “Longford”.

When you join the forces of creative writers and film makers together you engineer an immediate creative explosion.

What kind of explosion?

Come along to the Canal Studio Backstage Theatre on Thursday evening 11th Feb. at 7.30pm and find out. Helmets are optional!!!

Gothic Writing Workshops in Ardagh

fright fest 2015

It is rarely that anyone sits down with the intention of writing a purely gothic/horror novel or short story in the tradition of Bram Stoker of Sheridan Le Fanu.

However everyone at some point in their writing tries to incorporate tension, anxiety, fear even terror into their story-line.
This is the ‘bread and butter’ of gothic writing (or a more appropriate cliché might be ‘blood and guts’ of gothic writing)!!

Anne & Annette – those ‘whirling dervishes’ of creative energy at Ardagh Creativity Centre have scheduled a workshop in Gothic Writing Skills over two nights as part of their Fright Fest Programme 2015.

The facilitator is Joe Murphy – the author of three gothic novels – Joe will give his workshops over two nights Wed. 28th & Thursday 29th October in the Ardagh Creativity Centre from 7.00pm – 9.00pm.
The workshop is excellent value at just €20.00 for the two nights or two nights for the price of one!!

An opportunity to study the techniques, skills and tricks of gothic writing is very rare outside of a post-graduate creative writing course so don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
Further information may be had by logging on to: ardaghfrightfest.blogspot.ie

Or by contacting the Centre at 086 3027602/ 087 2326553

Irish TV Want To Profile Longford Artists

irish tv

Karina Charles – Longford Correspondent for Irish TV is interested in profiling the work of Longford artists on the Longford programme each Saturday evening.

If you have an item relating to your life as an artist or something to do with your practice please contact her at the number or e-mail address below.

Karina will be delighted to hear from you.

085 1030569