Know the team behind The Ogham Stone (post #2)

As promised, we are back with a series of interviews with the members of The Ogham Stone team. Enjoy the spread and please watch this space next week for more!

Yao Tang says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?
    I enrolled into this MA for improving my level of English and studying literature for my own work.
  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone Project?
    It is a little difficult for me, as a foreigner, but I feel comfortable because the members of our team take care of me very considerately.
  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?
    I like to share the highlights of some poems with my teammates. They told me some unique meanings of words only suitable for the very situation mentioned in the poem.
  •  What are your hopes for the project?
    I hope I can know what a real Irish magazine is like. In China, magazines are not popular any more.

Tracy Culleton says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?

So many. The first is that I feel the lack of ever having had formal 3rd level education and am finally healing that lack now. The second is that although I have been studying this craft for all my adult life really, you never know what you don’t know, so looking for guidance and direction from it. Also, this wasn’t my reason for doing it as I didn’t realise it would be an element, but finding great value in studying so much English literature too, which was another gap in my knowledge

  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone Project?

To be honest, I wasn’t originally thrilled to say the least.  It seemed a distraction from writing and learning about writing. I know both writing and publishing are the same industry, but they’re different ends of the industry. Having said that, I am really enjoying working with Carrie and also the others on the Communications Group, and it is very interesting to see the process from the other side of the desk

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

My favourite bit is the way we can, as a team, influence the shape of the Ogham Stone, but literally (as in design decisions) and metaphorically. The Ogham Stone is in its early days and so we are on the ground floor of creating something that promises to be very exciting.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

I hope that we can do a good job, that is professional and business-like but which also contributes to the cultural landscape of Ireland, and of creative writing, in even a small way.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

I have some experience in organising websites and a small business, so I think that’s the place I’m best located in.

Conor McCarthy says:

  • What are your Reasons for doing this MA?

I love writing and have been studying it for the past four years. I see this as a chance to grow my portfolio and meet successful authors.

  • How do you feel about doing the Ogham Stone project?

I’m excited to have a chance to put my name to something that will appear in print and to help others achieve the same.

  •  I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

I’ve loved reading all of the entries and experiences the diverse voices and styles of the authors.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

That we’ll create something that will endure and give a platform to some very talented writers.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

My experience in fiction writing and love of the short story.

Grainne O’Brien says:

  • What are your reasons for doing this MA?

I just decided it was time I make writing my priority for the year. The MA program is a wonderful opportunity to do that.

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I think it’s a wonderful, chaotic idea. We will create something together we can be proud of. It can be a humbling experience to see how much work goes into something like this and the range of talent that is out there. And writers can always use a bit of humbling.

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

The magazine is a space for us to see the ‘other side’ of the process. You see how many submissions we get. Now you can understand why publishers and agents can’t take on everyone. So many people have a voice. So many want to be heard and we just can’t publish them all.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

That it’s gets published with everyone still alive.

  • What skills and interests are you hoping to bring to this project?

I already have a literary magazine called Silver Apples. I’m quite enjoying having so many people to chat to about this project. I just want to produced the best quality magazine we can and more importantly ENJOY doing it.

Stephen Murphy says:

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I’ve spent a good part of the past few years writing and performing across various stages, but I’ve also edited books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. I’m currently in the poetry committee with partial responsibility for what will eventually go in to the Ogham Stone, and in many ways it’s similar to my previous years spent judging various poetry competitions that I won’t name for fear of offending anybody who might have entered but didn’t win..

  • I know it’s early days, but do you have a favourite bit of this project? What is it, and why do you like it?

My favourite parts of the project so far are both the grit involved in putting it together, and the standard of entries we’ve had the privilege of reading. The volume of submissions was enormous, so to whittle it down hasn’t been easy, but between the lot of us it’s generated huge debate over what should make the grade and what shouldn’t, all the way down to what makes some poetry stand out from the crowd more than others. The conversation has been lively and informative, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the final poems are.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

My hope is that eventually we’ll manage to work our way through the massive amount of work we have ahead of us to put together a book that can stand the test of time. So much of modern living is fleeting and instant, so if we can capture something timeless and present it to the world I’d be delighted.

Lauren Preston says:

  • How do you feel about doing The Ogham Stone project?

I have been published in a few literary journals, but this will be the first time I am getting to work behind the scenes. I am eager to bring my knowledge of being a writer to the position of being an editor. I think I will have a sensitivity as well as an understanding of what kind of quality the literary journal requires

  • What do you like about the project?

So far I have enjoyed the team of readers in the Fiction / Memoir group and our ability to work well together.

  • What are your hopes for the project? 

I hope the project will produce a quality literary journal that can be a satisfactory outcome for both the editors in the class and the writers and artists who bravely submitted their work.

Ashley Bentley says:

  • What are your experiences coming into the project?

I contributed to the production of an online historical journal about the Irish immigrant experience in Australia last year.

  • What is your favourite part about the Ogham Stone project?

The structure of the project, for example: there has been no confusion about the allocation of responsibilities (As of yet, anyway)

  • What are your hopes for the project?

Quality over quantity is important in an exercise like this, and I don’t think people should be burdened with awkward responsibilities just because they have experience in that area.

Ciara Gordon says:

  • What are your experiences coming into the project?

I’ve done public relations for different events, so I have experience in the area of Communications, but none for the actual journal itself!

  •  What is your favourite part about The Ogham Stone project?

I’m really enjoying getting to see different perspectives from others in my group, and getting to see how a literary journal comes together.

  • What are your hopes for the project?

I hope that this experience will be equal parts enjoyable and successful for everyone involved in it, and that the launch nights will go well!

Kevin O’Connor (who likes to keep it short!) says:

I was the reporter for a community magazine “Ballinasloe Life” for 7 months, so I have experience in printing and writing for magazines
My favourite part (only part) so far is reading the submissions. It’s fun to read other people’s stories.
I hope the project wont rob me of too much sleep over the course of publication!

By Mayuri Goswami

Advertisements

Louder Than Words

(As reported by The Ogham Stone team member and communications facilitator, Ciara Gordon)

On Thursday September 21st, Out in UL (UL’s LGBTQ+ society) held a poetry evening, ‘Louder Than Words’ in The Scholars Club on campus. Poetry evenings have become a staple in Limerick city recently, due to the rise in popularity of a monthly event for emerging writers called Stanzas. Stanzas aims to give a platform to those who are just starting to create prose and poetry, and gives them an opportunity to allow their writing to engage with the wider community. Out in UL saw the impact of this event and decided to try and engage the student population of UL even more with the joys of poetry.

‘Louder Than Words’ began with poetry readings by some members of the society, which included many original poems, that had a strong focus on the themes of identity and sexuality. After a short break, those in attendance were encouraged to take part in the open mic section of the night, where they could read any poetry that meant something to them. Several people decided to give it a go, many of whom had never read in public before, but all shared a love of words, be it their own or those of a poet they resonated with.

Events Officer of the society, Luke Slattery, gave his views on why poetry events such as Louder Than Words resonate with people; “Poetry is gaining popularity in Limerick and UL because of how accessible it is. You don’t need a specific skill set or tools to express yourself through it, whether it be for yourself or to an audience. Sure, there are different levels of abilities, but all are equally appreciated and have the same ears listening at events and readings.”

‘Louder Than Words’ was an intimate and thoroughly enjoyable event, which was a wonderful experience for those on either side of the microphone, and will hopefully become a regular event in UL!

The Ogham Stone 2018 Issue: Call for Submissions

00001

Submissions are now invited for the 2018 issue of The Ogham Stone, the University of Limericks’s journal of literature and arts.

Produced by the students on the MA in English and the MA in Creative Writing programmes at UL, The Ogham Stone is fast emerging as a distinctive and prestigious context for new writing in Ireland. The 2017 issue showcases important new writing and artwork by established and emerging Irish writers as well as international contributors from the UK and the USA. It features (among thirty-two pieces) poetry by Orla Fay, Julian Gough, Marie Cadden, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Mike Gallagher, and Jaki McCarrick; short stories by Joseph O’Connor, Catherine Donnelly and Anne Griffin; creative non-fiction by Nuala Ní Chonchúir and Barry McKinley; and artwork by Kieran Nee, Ruth Egan, Richard Smyth and John Chavers.

The Ogham Stone submission guidelines are available at https://theoghamstoneul.com/submit/ and the team can be contacted at oghamstoneul@gmail.com. The deadline is 31st August 2017.

UL/Frank McCourt Summer School, New York, June 2017

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK/FRANK MCCOURT CREATIVE WRITING SUMMER SCHOOL, 2017. GLUCKSMAN IRELAND HOUSE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, JUNE 22nd to 25thSPONSORED BY SHANNON AIRPORT

ULNY%20Final%20Poster%20March%202017.jpg

 

Shannon Airport and the University of Limerick have teamed up to present the 2017 Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School at NYU’s beautiful Glucksman Ireland House, 22nd – 25th June. Study writing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere with bestselling authors Joseph O’Connor, Donal Ryan and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, poet Mary O’Malley, UL professor Eoin Devereux and others. Speaking from New York about the Summer School, Loretta Glucksman said: “It’s our joy at Glucksman Ireland House to help link Frank’s two cities, Limerick and New York. He remains beloved in both.”

Welcoming the announcement of the 2017 programme, UL President, Professor Don Barry remarked: “The UL Frank McCourt Creative Writing Summer School in New York links two literary worlds – on the banks of the Shannon and the shores of the Hudson – that fired our much-missed Frank’s imagination. The very promising 2017 programme will draw on his unique legacy to inspire new generations of creative writers”.

UL Professor of Creative Writing, Joseph O’Connor, added: ‘The Summer School offers a taste of Creative Writing as we teach it at UL, with the emphasis on enjoyment, collegiality, mutual respect and love of words, in a community of writers working together. We hope the fine range of authors we’re offering this year will make it an experience to remember.”

Highlights will include readings by JOSEPH O’CONNOR, broadcaster, playwright and author of eight novels including the million-selling ‘Star of the Sea’. Booker Prize-longlisted DONAL RYAN, author of ‘The Spinning Heart’ (recently voted Irish Novel of the Decade) will reveal the secrets of writing captivating short stories. Acclaimed Young-Adult author and UL professor SARAH MOORE FITZGERALD will outline those essential motivational and time-management tools that all writers need.

Celebrated Irish poet, MARY O’MALLEY, will offer exciting sessions on ‘Poetry and the City’, focusing on the streetscape of the Lower Manhattan/Greenwich Village where the Summer School has its base, and the counterculture of downtown NYC provides a vivid context for PROF EOIN DEVEREUX’s talk on long-time New York resident David Bowie.

KERRY NEVILLE joins us as this year’s special guest. Teacher, Huffington Post contributor and award-winning short-story writer (‘Necessary Lies’), Kerry is a dazzlingly talented wordsmith whose take on the creative process in our contemporary era is fascinating. Writer in Residence for the Summer School, DARRAGH McKEON, author of acclaimed debut novel ‘All that is Solid Melts into Air’, will be on hand to offer advice, answer questions, give his insights over coffee, share perspectives and respond to students.

Our Guest of Honour, ELLEN FREY McCOURT, Frank’s wife, remarks: ‘Three cheers to Shannon Airport Authority for continuing their enlightened support for the ambitious UL/Frank McCourt Summer School in New York.  In one divine stroke they have enabled the two things Frank loved most—teaching and writing.  Thank you also to Joseph O’Connor and his UL colleagues for putting it all together with NYU (Frank’s Alma Mater) Glucksman Ireland House and the Irish Arts Center. Frank would feel triply blessed.”

The Summer School is open to application from everyone, whether resident in New York or willing to travel from Ireland. No previous writing experience is required, but willingness to prepare for the programme is a must. Price $300/$200student/unwaged.  Numbers are strictly limited, so book early to avoid disappointment, at http://frankmccourt.ulfoundation.com/

Details/informal enquiries: ULNY@ul.ie   Press Queries: joseph.oconnor@ul.ie or eoin.devereux@ul.ie

 

It’s almost here! The Ogham Stone 2016 is on its way…

Launch of The Ogham Stone 2016 is only weeks away. We’ve had a sneak preview of the final draft and it looks incredible.

Expect amazing art, stunning stories, memorable memoirs and perfect poems, with contributions from Jenny Belton, Nickolas Butler, Elaine Gaston, Colum McCann, Paula Meehan, Joseph O’Connor, Mary O’Malley and Peter Robinson.

Details of when and where you can get your copy of The Ogham Stone 2016 coming very soon!

Colum McCann Update!

81FuRfDpc+L._SL1500_

Because of strong interest we have moved our guest speaker, Colum McCann, into a larger venue for the public interview at UL this coming Wednesday, 5th November, at 5 pm.

It will now be taking place in Lecture Theatre KBG 12 in the Kemmy Business School. We hope to start promptly at 5 pm. All are welcome. Come if you can. Bring a friend or colleague. A reception will follow the interview.

Hope to see you all there!

Truth, Fiction and my Grandmother’s Diary

4892370217_0ee2dee629_zThe truth is a strange thing in fiction. We students of the MA in Creative Writing are becoming familiar with the idea that fiction needs to be more believable than reality – that grey, unfathomable world.

I imagine most writers see the fictional world as superior to the real one. We are closer to our characters than to the people we touch and see. Fiction’s truth comes from empathy; whereas reality’s truth comes from fact and we would much rather empathise than be knowledgeable.

And, of course, every act of writing is an act of fictionalizing – that passing through language into the world of subjectivity. And this is the main reason truth eludes not only fiction writers but everyone who speaks or even sees; all of us subjecting the world to interpretation: passing it through the medium of language and the soul.

But that does not mean we don’t owe a duty to the truth, or at least to the capital ‘t’ ‘Truth’ when we are writing fiction.

It is (actually) easy to dismiss reality when you hear about the man who woke up at his own funeral or when the woman next door has a baby without ever knowing she was pregnant or when you run into your first cousin walking down the street in Kolkatta. The joke: “you couldn’t write this stuff!” becomes mantra, because the reality is simply not that believable.

But the best writers haven’t lost sight of truth and are not afraid of it, no matter how ridiculous it is. They know how to tell all of it and tell it slant.

My grandmother always kept a Diary. Sometimes an entry would just be a word or two: “Mary’s debs” and other times there would be a full entry recounting a day trip to Dun Laoghaire, the first day of a new job, thoughts, feelings, hopes for the future and so on. It’s not always proper to read someone’s (secret! shh!) diary but I do remember sitting in my Grandmother’s living room once and she had her hands folded on her lap as my aunt read out an entry where her daughter moves to France. We were wide-eyed with intrigue; pleased to be included in this secret world. And my grandmother didn’t mind much, all those years later.

And the intrigue that most people have for these (secret! shh!) documents made me think about the truth and the ways in which we release our private little truths. Because I think diaries are important. I think they can help us unravel our confusion about the world. And I think people don’t keep diaries enough these days. We are consuming media at an extreme rate: we blog, we create profiles and persona and characters for ourselves. We instagram our photos and filter them and fictionalize our lives. But we are losing touch with the things that bring us close to who we are.

Writers who keep diaries know themselves. They write the truth about themselves in ugly ways. Anyone who’s ever written a diary entry will know how it feels to read back years later and cringe. But the cringe factor is invaluable when it comes to fiction. Writers who keep diaries write fiction which expresses an intangible truth; a cringey truth; a truth which makes readers say things like: “is this about you?” which, no matter how frustrating, is a huge compliment.

~Niamh Donnelly

Colum McCann Due to Visit UL

81FuRfDpc+L._SL1500_Creative Writing at UL and Narrative 4 present

IMPAC AWARD-WINNING NOVELIST

COLUM McCANN

Author of Let the Great World Spin

INTRODUCING NARRATIVE 4 IRELAND

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5pm – 6pm

Millstream Common Room, University of Limerick

with

JOSEPH O’CONNOR: UL Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing and Honorary Member, N4

Narrative 4 (N4) is a global organisation that fosters empathy by breaking down barriers and shattering stereotypes through the exchange of stories. Headed by the world’s most influential artists, educators, students and community advocates, N4 is committed to developing the next generation of empathetic leaders and citizens.

Originally founded by over 100 writers from around the world, including Michael Ondaatje, Gabriel Byrne, Ian McEwan, Sting, Chimamanda Adichie, Michael Cunningham and Edna O’Brien. The organisation is based on the simple idea that by knowing the story of another, we are able to better understand each other. When listening to stories, we suspend argument, engage our emotions, and, walking in the shoes of another, experience compassion.

N4 currently promotes stories as an agent of change and a framework for understanding by:

  • Creating a working arts leadership network by regularly convening a diverse group of authors and other advisors who are leaders in their field to exchange ideas
  • Offering N4 designed and supported accreditation workshops in order to effectively roll out the Narrative 4 model internationally
  • Presenting story-based art experiences direct to the public(during literary festivals, author events, writing workshops, songwriter performances, and more)
  • Partnering with N4 advisors, community leaders and humanistic organizations from around the world to create a “boomerang” effect, presenting their work to audiences everywhere, while extending the work of N4 to their communities

Please join us for a reception and public interview with Colum McCann at the Millstream Common Room, University of Limerick, Wednesday November 5th, 5 pm – 6 pm.  [rsvp to claire.ryan@ul.ie by Monday 3rd November]