Michael Mullan Cancer Fund: Writing Competition Results

For the second year running, it was a honour to judge the Flash Fiction competition on behalf of the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund Writing Awards. I am always keen to congratulate all of the shortlisted writers. It is some achievement to get that far in any writing competition. Indeed, respect to anyone who finishes a piece of writing and submits it to a contest. It’s proof to yourself that you are a real writer!

Flash fiction is a rather particular art form – the telling of a complete story while being very economical with words. As a reader, I need to connect with the heart of the narrative. I need to care about the characters, and while there doesn’t have to be a happy ending, there does need to be a satisfying one – and for this particular competition, all in 500 words or less. Not an easy task for any writer. I read six shortlisted stories, and I liked all of them — each for different reasons. However, I could only pick one winner and one runner-up.

In second place, I chose a story that concerns the heartfelt ending of a relationship, told from the point of view of the rejected character – and there is a hint in the title: A ROUGH BREAKUP, written by Johnathon McLaughlin. The winning story is a concise and descriptive window into a mature relationship – a glimpse of the gentle nature of love in action, the theme evoked wonderfully in its title: MINDING, written by Anna Harrison.

Writer, Martin Malone, judged the Short Story Awards, but as Martin was unable to attend, I had the pleasure of presenting the winners. Placed second is a story that deals with a secret that finally erupts, leaving the reader to ponder its ramifications on the boy, his mother, his sister…and the victims his father has left in his wake: ON THE MOVE, written by Dee Scallon. The winner of the Short Story Award 2019 is a story of murder, intrigue and suspense, about a family who unwittingly walk into a perilous situation: SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY, written by Helen O’Leary.

Writer, John MacKenna, judged the Poetry Awards, and as John was unable to attend, I also had the pleasure of presenting the winner – in this case with First and Second Prize – to Paul O’Brien for his poems, A HAND IN ANSENTIA and THROUGH A LENS IN OMEY.

All entries were judged anonymously.

It was a great night that celebrated the very deserving writers, a lovely audience, and wonderful hosts from Newbridge Library and Kildare Readers Festival. Congratulations again to all the winners and shortlisted writers! You can find out more about the Michael Mullan Cancer Fund HERE

It was indeed a Fright-Ful Friday at Leap Castle

It was a joy to curate the Short Horror Film Programme for Fright-Ful Friday at Leap Castle, an annual event run by the Offline Film Festival in County Offaly. This sold out evening of all things spooky and fantastical took our large group, by bus, from outside the very hospitable Ormond Clubhouse, Emmet Square, Birr, and onward to Giltrap’s Pub in Kinnitty for prosecco and finger food. Then back on the bus for a moonlit journey to Leap Castle for the screening of the short horror films — well received by a lovely, enthusiastic audience.

Horror has very different meanings for fans of the genre – from gothic to grotesque, psychological, visceral and even humour. For this programme, I attempted to include a variety of those emotive experiences, and am also proud to say that all the films are from talented men and women currently working in Irish film. There were 7 films in total.

The Wake

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Written and directed by Rik Gordon. Rik has also written and directed Pigman and most recently, Pure Gold, doing well on the festival circuit.

Chimes

Written and directed by Jannine Benkhardt. Jannine was also assistant director on The Switch, a short film currently screening at festivals.

Under Growth

Under Growth Poster

Written and directed by Evin O’Neill. Evin has also written and directed the short films, Digs for Pennies, Spooks, A Dry Christmas and Invisible.

Inexorable

Inexorable Poster

Written and directed by Zoe Kavanagh. Zoe also directs music videos and is the writer and director of the short film Tides, and the award-winning feature, Demon Hunter.

Mother Father Monster

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Written and directed by Sean Breathnach, and funded by Offaly County Council Arts Office and filmed in Charleville Castle. Sean has directed several short films and his debut feature film “Beyond the Woods” was released to critical acclaim.

The Trap

Paul Reid in The Trap (2018)

Written and directed by Helen Flanagan. Helen has directed short films including Away with the Fairies and The Drive. She also writes performance pieces and facilitate creative workshops with, as she says herself, a suspiciously witchy vibe.

How Olin Lost His Eye

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Written and directed by Damian McCarthy. Damian has directed several short horror films and is currently in post on his first feature, also a horror.

To round off the evening, the owner of this haunting and magical place, Sean Ryan, regaled us with tunes and stories of the spirits that roam the castle corridors. Then, back on the bus to The Chestnut Bar for great chats, and even a complimentary drink! What more could you possible ask for. Frightful and Delightful!

 

 

Talking Publishing at CelticCon | JuneFest2019

What better way to spend a bank holiday Monday than chatting alongside a panel of talented fellow writers at the CelticCon2019 | JuneFest2019 event, happening in Newbridge Town Hall, County Kildare, this coming Monday, June 3rd from 11:00am – 6:00pm.

There are lots of interesting guests and events throughout the day, and our panel will discuss ‘Our Publishing Journey’ from noon until 1:00pm, but we authors will be there until 6:00pm, so if you have any publishing, writing or filmmaking related questions that you’d like to ask, come and chat to me – I’ll be hanging around the MAGENTA section – Table 5 – see the plan below. 🙂 ↓ 🙂

And I’ll have copies of my novel LADY BETH for sale at a specially reduced price for the CelticCon. Make sure to say hello!

Events: Three Readings at 3pm

It’s a famine or a feast these days. A busy month with yet another reading, this time in the fabulous Books Upstairs in Dublin’s D’Olier Street. I’ll be reading with two wonderfully talented writers, Lindsay J Sedgwick and Carolann Copland, this Sunday, April 22nd.

Events: Creative Librarians… and their secret lives!

I’m hitting the road to Cork to appear as a guest of Cork County Library and Arts Reader’s Day, focusing on creative librarians. I’ll be chatting with Dermot Bolger (also a former Librarian) mid-morning in Cobh Library, this Saturday, April 14th.

Guests include author, Colette Caddle and poet, Thomas McCarthy, and a number of current Cork County Library staff will also read and speak about their published works. Elizabeth Desmond, Mallow library, has been shortlisted in the “From the Well” short story competition and has published in a variety of anthologies. Micheal O Flaherty of Charleville library, has worked in Cork County Library since 2003. He has had two westerns published and was also shortlisted for the 2013  RTE Guide / Penguin Ireland short story competition. Kristin Gleeson of Bantry library is originally from Philadelphia. She lives in West Cork, where she writes, works as a librarian, plays the harp and sings in an Irish choir. She has written a historical biography and several historical novels, her most recent being , In Praise of the Bees in 2015.

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I am a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. Author of the novels LADY BETH which won the award for BEST NOVEL at the Carousel Aware Prize and ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE, I have also written several feature-length and short screenplays including ADAM [2013] and the multi-award winner, IN RIBBONS [2015]. I have recently written and directed FRAMED, due to begin a festival journey in 2018. I am a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland, the Irish Writers Union and The Irish Film and Television Academy.

Events: Staccato Spoken Word Night

I was delighted to be invited to read at Staccato Spoken Night, with some wonderful writers, poets, musicians, actors and storytellers. The event is held in Toner’s Pub, Baggot Street, Dublin on the second Wednesday evening of every month. Well worth a visit, and great craic!