Publishing Day at UL

 

Q&A Joseph O’Connor with Sarah Davis-Goff

On the 5th of December, a range of experienced publishers and agents visited the university to talk with the MA in Creative Writing program. This was an enjoyable end to the semester at UL.

The day kicked off in conversation with Alan Hayes, a successful independent publisher for Arlen House, Galway. Alan has published many authors such as UL’s Donal Ryan and Martin Dyar. Alan claims his journey into the publishing industry was a ‘fluke’ and all worked out by chance, as he developed his interest in the field after studying at NUI Galway. His main word of advice for the students was “sell your writing, not yourself“, as he emphasized the importance of the writing itself rather than publishing something for the sake of being noticed and seen. This was an important point that many often lose sight of nowadays, with bookshops promoting the biggest names and trends.

Editor and writer, Brian Langan, was in conversation with Donal Ryan. They both discussed the relationship they have as editor and writer, and the challenges they often face. They described this as a three-way relationship between writer, editor and the book. Langan explained how making edits and offering feedback can be quite challenging, so it’s important for the editor to always be passionate about the book. Both Ryan and Langan stressed the importance of keeping the audience/reader in mind when re-drafting a book.

 

Brian Langan

Marianne Gunn O’Connor is literary agent to writers such as Cecilia Ahern, Pat Mc Cabe, and Mike Mc Cormack. Marianne discussed the importance of failure in life, as one learns to succeed through their response to failure:

“Failure is the fuel, and success is the breaks.” 

If she sees something in a writer, she will stick with them. This was the case for Mike Mc Cormack who faced many obstacles and refusals when attempting to publish his work. Mc Cormack, whom was once described as a “disgracefully neglected writer“,  won the Dublin Literary prize and the Goldsmiths prize, for his novel Solar Bones. Marianne is “looking for a person, not a book” when choosing clients, as who she works with and their connection is important.

Closing the day, Sarah Davis Goff, from Tramp Press, was in discussion with Joseph O’Connor, head of the MA in Creative Writing program.  Tramp Press is an independent publishing agency run by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen. Since being launched in 2014, they have published award winning authors, such as Mike Mc Cormack and Sarah Baume. She discussed the importance of the quality of writing when selecting a piece. Tramp is always looking for diversity and promoting gender equality. The Q&A was concluded with Sarah reading a piece from her upcoming novel, Last Ones Left Alive. 

 

Marianne Gunn O’Connor

 

 

 

 

 

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A reading with Danny Denton

“Write the story that you want to read”

As UL Frankenweek drew to a close on Halloween eve, we were lucky to be joined by upcoming Cork author, Danny Denton.

Frankenweek kicked off on Monday the 22nd of October and has offered great writing workshops, readings and screenings related to the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Denton read an extract from his new novel The Earlie King & the Kid in Yellow. It has been described in a review by The Irish Times as “A grim dystopian Ireland that is all too believable”. The plot revolves around ‘The Kid in Yellow’, who stole the babba from ‘the Earlie King’. The novel is set in a post-digital future and could be viewed as an Ireland without limits; where all of the problems the country is facing such as homelessness and addiction are amplified beyond control.

Denton’s reading was followed by a discussion with UL writer in residence, Donal Ryan. Ryan pointed out the obvious presence of the rain throughout the entire novel and how it’s almost a character in itself. Denton spoke of his admiration for texts/films where it’s raining throughout, Blade Runner was one of the examples he referred to.

In discussion, Denton spoke of the challenges many writers face when redrafting and trying to write a story to please an audience. His main advice to the room was to “write the story that you want to read”, as that’s what he did after years of attempting to write something the public would love, illustrating how it’s impossible to please everyone.

He described writing as a “craftsmanship” and stressed the importance of a daily writing routine. Denton’s hard work paid off with this modern authentic novel that’s now shortlisted for an Irish Book Award.

You can click on this link to vote for the best books of the year and be in with a chance of winning a 100 euro book token : https://www.irishbookawards.irish/vote2018/

 

Ryan Molloy Collaborates With Martin Dyar

Buaine na Gaoithe takes place in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance this Wednesday, the 10th of October, at 6 p.m. Composer, Ryan Molloy, will collaborate his new song cycle for soprano, flute and harp with a collection of poetry from UL’s writer in residence, Martin Dyar.

Martin Dyar is welcomed to the faculty of the 2018 Creative Writing MA; where he will work closely with many of the students involved in the production of the Ogham Stone throughout the year. Dyar is particularly known for his well – received collection of poems, Maiden Names.

Ryan Molloy talks to The Irish Times about what aspect of Dyar’s work appealed to this project:

“I also found in his poems an identity and a use of imagery that connected with me strongly in musical terms. When the opportunity to write a song cycle arose via an Arts Council commission award through the singer Francesca Placanica, Martin was a natural choice to collaborate with.”

Ryan Molloy has adapted many poems to music in the past; he finds a text that resonates with him then begins to “unpick it musically, the text gradually revealing the music inherent within it and, somehow, within myself”.

Molloy and Dyar met a number of times before they began writing in the summer of 2017. They explored common grounds that could be found in both of their art work, then used Molloy’s music to “amplify” Dyar’s writing. Common themes both discovered, which will be illustrated in Buaine na Gaoithe, include “heritage, family, nature, landscape and light”. 

The performance, including five songs/poems, invites the audience to immerse themselves in the world of both words and music. As noted by Molloy, “It’ll be peaceful and tumultuous at once. And that’s the purpose”.

Click on the link below to read Ryan Molloy’s interview in full.

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/flight-of-fancy-composer-ryan-molloy-on-collaborating-with-poet-martin-dyar-1.3647680

 

Dyar Molloy Song Cycle banner.png

The Ogham Stone 2015/2016 – We’re Back!

The Ogham Stone, the University of Limerick’s literary and visual arts journal, is getting ready for your submissions for the Spring 2016 edition.

The Ogham Stone, the University of Limerick’s literary and visual arts journal, is getting ready for your submissions for the Spring 2016 edition.

Last year, almost seventy pieces were accepted for publication, including short stories, flash fiction, poetry and artwork. They featured alongside an introduction by Joseph O Connor, Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing at UL and multiple-award-winning Irish novelist, as well as a short story by Donal Ryan, author of The Spinning Heart, long-listed for the Booker Prize, Guardian First Book Award winner and recipient of the European Union Prize for Literature at the London Book Fair in 2015. The 2014 journal was an eagerly sought-after item, with a voracious demand for copies.

The Ogham Stone is quickly becoming a valuable platform for new writers and artists, local, national and international, to bring their work to a wide audience. We are particularly proud of our connections to the local creative communities in Limerick and last year featured work from writing and art projects active in the city, including The Heart of Limerick anthology and the ARTiculate competition.

This year, as well as accepting fiction, memoir, poetry, visual arts and photography, our new team are happy to announce that we will be seeking short graphic novels and creative non-fiction also.

Our call for submissions is imminent so browse our submissions guidelines here, buff and shine your offerings and watch this space for further details.

Last Day to Submit!

deadline_clock[1]

Last day to submit your poems, fiction, non-fiction, and artwork to The Ogham Stone.

Remember, submit your work to oghamstoneul@gmail.com and visit our submission pages for the details.

https://theoghamstoneul.wordpress.com/submit/

Come on–Less than 24 hours left!

Submit by this Wednesday!!

dont_miss_deadlineThree days left to submit your carefully crafted fiction, non-fiction, poetry or proses to The Ogham Stone! If you haven’t already sent in your work then hop to it!

Our editors are working over time and still want more to read! Submit to oghamstoneul@gmail.com.

Go on–submit before Wednesday!

The Writing Process

Writing_Process_Flow_ChartRegardless of your abilities, experience or expertise, the writing process fills most people with apprehension. Writers often ask themselves questions such as how am I going to plan my writing project? In addition, will I be able to form a coherent narrative? Finally, what strategies will I use to proofread my work? Writers need to look at writing not as some sort of destination but as a process. Only by doing, including constant refinement and adaption can writers improve their style. Writing is an individualist act and each writer will use a different approach to writing. In some cases, writers may not be sure of the distinct phases that make up the writing process and it is without doubt helpful for writers to be aware of these stages when indulged in the act of writing.

Stage 1: Structure

Another name for this stage is planning in which the writer will effectively plan what they are going to write. Like all the writing stages, this is an intensive process, which challenges the reader to utilise a wide variety of skills including research, writing, brainstorming ideas and topic formation. Writers who do not pay adequate attention to this stage will have difficultly later in the writing process, as their project will lack direction.

Stage 2: Drafting

Depending on the writer, the drafting stage can be quiet difficult. For many a blank screen fills them with dread as they struggle to get something written down. When this happens, free writing is a useful entry point into your writing. Free writing involves writing something. Anything that comes into your head write it down be it your shopping list for tomorrow, a schedule of the bills that you have to pay. This may seem a pointless exercise and individuals may ask what does this have to do with my History essay? However, the more you write regardless of the topic, the more ideas it will stimulate. The key point to this stage is that drafting is a fluid stage that you will be modifying at a later stage. There is no fixed number of drafts that a writers need to go through in order to produce a credible piece of work. All that writing critics can say on this is that it takes as many drafts as the writer believes necessary albeit within the time constraints of the writing project.

Stage 3: Revising

Having produced a series of drafts it is time to bring all your ideas into one piece of writing. In some case, paragraphs and ideas that you thought were applicable will no longer be necessary. In some case, this stage will highlight deficiencies in the writer’s draft, which will require further development. Linking paragraphs is a crucial part of writing and this is an area, which writers need to look at in the revising stage of the writing process. “Do my paragraphs make sense?” If so, “Are they in the correct order or do I need to switch them around?” Questions like these are important to consider, as they will stimulate the writer into deeper refection concerning their writing.

Stage 4: Proofreading

As will all stages in the writing process this is a crucial phase. However, in many cases writers in the proofreading stage can overlook this exercise. Having completed an ardours writing task, some writer may fall into the trap of complacency in the proofreading stage. However, without due attention in terms of proofreading an excellent piece of writing can suffer. Writer need to address Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, punctuation, presentation, and capitalisations in this stage. If not an A, paper can quickly turn into a mediocre B at best. A major problem with the proofreading stage is that the writer is overly accustomed to the work. Writers cannot see errors which other can because of their closeness to the project. Therefore, a productive method of proofreading is to give your work to friend, peer, or family member to read through. Because if their detachment to the writing they are more likely to pick out error in the work. Finally, reading aloud is a productive proofreading exercise because verbalising the work will help the writer to recognise any errors in terms of sentence coherence and meaning.

Remember writing is a process so keep writing and best of luck. Most of all enjoy!

~By Pádraig Ó Loingsigh