The Irish and Northern Irish Feminist Judgments Project

If anyone noticed an uncharacteristic silence: I’ve been away.  Here’s something I found in my inbox when I got back (sent by Therese Caherty of the Feminist Open Forum).

The information originated from Mairead Enright (U Kent), the project co-ordinator. It’s an intriguing idea :–

“A collective of academics and practitioners based in Ireland and abroad will rewrite 30 important legal judgments, which they believe would have been decided differently if a feminist perspective had been brought to bear on the case. The cases selected will cover constitutional law, child and family law, reproductive rights, property law, criminal law, immigration law and religious freedom. By rethinking the process of judgment, the project will demonstrate the influence which judges have had on women’s lives, and on the politics of identity in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The project will run from October 2014 to September 2015. A series of workshops will be held throughout Ireland in the autumn and in the spring, at which draft judgments will be presented for discussion by academics, practitioners and activists. A book, collating the feminist judgments produced during the project, will be published by Hart in 2016. For further details, email”
They also invite submissions for their ‘Perspectives’ series of blog posts to
Twitter:  @irishfjp


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Fly Italian

INKROCI cover-ENG-8LThis morning I found a lovely thing in my Inbox:  the most recent issue of Inkroci, which includes my short story “Flight” in both Italian and English, translated by Anna Anzani (thanks, Anna!)  I can’t put words on how it feels to look at your own words wearing new clothes, looking proud and fine and perfectly at ease with their new circumstances. They certainly don’t need you any more.  

Inkroci is at:

(English version)

(Italian version)

Inkroci is a bilingual (Italian/English) online journal that promotes culture and cinema.  This issue also features work by the group of Irish writers who participated in this year’s Italo-Irish Literature Exchange: Mia Gallagher, Sean Hardie, Afric McGlinchy, Liz McManus, Noel Monahan, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, and William Wall

The editorial, written by Heiko Caimi, provocatively suggests that writers who appear on TV consent to the reduction of books to merchandise  ‘a product to sell to an audience on non-readers’. TV, says Caimi is ‘the medium that supports the most extreme and systematic destruction of language.’ 

There’s your thought for the day.

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Anam Theatre Company @ the New Theatre, Dublin

PRESS RELEASE (from Sarah O’Toole @ Anam)
“Low Level Panic” is a foul-mouthed, funny and unflinching exploration of the ways in which we view women’s lives, their bodies, their safety and their sexuality.Low Level Panic
Under the patronage of Ireland’s first lady, Mrs Sabina Higgins, Anam Theatre is now reviving its sell out production of Clare McIntyre’s Samuel Beckett Award winning play.
After a highly successful run at Galway, we brought our National Tour to the Crescent Arts Centre Belfast from Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th June and are now finishing up with a strictly limited run at The New Theatre in Dublin from 14th to 19th July. Tickets for the Dublin run are €15/12 and are available at
“[a] bold, courageous production that pokes its fingers – with a punkish derision – in the eyes of convention”
Sarah O’Toole, Eimear Kilmartin, Aoife Martyn, Jerry Fitzgerald and Joseph Lydon, plus ensemble of children and men
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Writer’s Fellowship (2014-2015) University College Dublin

This is now being advertised:

“Post Title: Writer’s Fellowship
School/Faculty: School of English, Drama and Film, College of Arts and Celtic Studies, University College Dublin
Closing Date: Friday 8 August 2014
Applications are invited from Irish writers of established reputation for a Writer’s Fellowship (with special emphasis on fiction) which is funded by the School of English, Drama and Film and by a grant-in-aid from the Arts Council. The Fellowship will be tenable for the period January-May 2015.
Candidates are invited to submit a covering letter outlining their interest together with a full CV containing details of their teaching experience and including the names and contact details of 2 referees to: Ms Hilary Gow, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Informal enquiries can be made to Mr James Ryan at or Professor Anne Fogarty at
Applications may be sent by post to the above address or by email to:
The closing date for applications will be no later than 17.00 on Friday 8 August 2014.

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$20,000 for 100 words?

Here’s something interesting. The César Egido Serrano Foundation is dedicated to the use of language to promote connection between cultures and oppose violence. They’ve proclaimed November 23rd the “Day of the Word” and are running a Micro Fiction competition with a whopping big $20,000 prize to mark it. You’ll find details below – but don’t be greedy. Their website is worth a look, so be nice and go there before you think about all the trouble $20,000 might bail you out of. logo Cesar Egido Serrano

(Before anyone gets snippy about the use of ‘bail’ versus ‘bale’ in that sentence, I made an executive decision and went for ‘bail’ in this instance because there’s money involved.)

Here’s a summary:

“The Egido Serrano Caesar Foundation aims to the international diffusion of an idea: “The Word as a link of humanity, and against all forms of violence”. This is an effort in all areas of public opinion, at all levels to ensure that the word becomes only weapon of the resolution of conflicts and differences. The promotion of dialogue and culture between peoples, the opinions or political, religious beliefs…

For the achievement of its objectives the Foundation Cesar Egido Serrano, performs activities financed with their own means, and does not request nor receive subsidies or aid from any public or private institution.”

And this is what they say about the competition:
“$20,000 FOR 100 WORD STORY
The César Egido Serrano Foundation and the Spanish ‘Museum of Words’ have opened their ‘microfiction’ competition, closing date November 23rd 2014. Write a 100 word story you could win a prize of $20,000 – and second prize is $2,000.
Open to international writers, entries can be submitted in English, Spanish, Arabic or Hebrew.
Entries must be sent exclusively by filling in the entry form that can be found on the website
All stories entered must be original, unpublished in all means (paper, electronic publications, network…) and have not been awarded in any other contest. Check out the website for the full details.
As one of the objectives of the organising César Egido Serrano Foundation is the value of the word and dialogue as a tool for uniting peoples, so the slogan of this contest is Mandela: Words and Concord. However the rules state that your story can be on any subject.
A first prize of $20,000 will be awarded to the winning story. The three remaining finalist stories in the remaining language categories will receive a $2000 runner up prize each.”
Click here for the entry form:

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How to bang your own drum (publicity & promotion notes)

When a book comes out, there’s a small flurry of attention, if you’re lucky.  Reviews, interviews, guest posts on blogs, requests to write short pieces for this slot or that.  If you’re really lucky, you’re invited on to radio and TV shows.  You slaughter the swarm of butterflies in your gut and accept these invitations, hoping to god you won’t make a complete eejit of yourself and that the single plain shirt you own still fits after a chocolate-upholstered winter – I’ve been advised that plain bright colours look best on TV.  I don’t know if that’s still true in our digital age, but I cling to this single crumb of insider knowledge as though the shirt I wear will produce instant intelligence and sparkling repartee in the studio. As though the shirt I wear is ever going to distract from unruly hair and a scarred and radiation-damaged (not to mention ageing) face.

FallenI’m about to emerge from one of those lucky promotion periods. So far, Fallen has had a warm and generous reception. The two weeks since the launch have clarified a few principles for me that might be useful to someone else.  I offer them here – not because I managed to use them all but because my awareness of their importance is (in some cases painfully) fresh.

  • Before your book comes out, figure out what you want to say about it.  And about yourself. Give yourself a pretend interview. Ask the questions you want to be asked – and the ones you don’t.  What’s the best way to answer them?  I read Lynn Barber’s A Curious Career in the week before my launch. One thing that stuck with me is that if you tell a journalist something is off the record, you can’t rely on them to honour your request:  their job is to discover a story, not to hide it
  • Stay awake when you’re talking to journalists. Be as clear as you can: what they think they hear might be entirely different to what you meant to say.  Brace yourself for this. If it happens, get over it quickly. Try to keep your balance. You won’t like what some people say about your book, you’ll get carried away by the enthusiasm of others – but remember where the real magic happens: quietly and on the page, between reader and book, well away from public view.
  • Your own words will come back to you strange, hollow and false in someone else’s sentences.  It’s like listening to yourself on an old cassette tape.  I don’t sound like that, you think; but everyone else assures you that you do.
  • Keep your roots in good nick in case a photographer shows up.
  • Some questions will wear you down.  Saying what your favourite book was when you were a child can feel like betrayal.  All those other books, the ones that kept you company and guided you through the dank and scary thickets of childhood, bristle and sidle away in a huff.  They’ll show you their grumpy back, goad you awake in the small hours: Remember ME?
  • You might despair of finding new ways to say the same thing, or reach a point where you’ve said something so often you begin to wonder if it’s actually true. I don’t have a solution, I’m only saying.
  • The What I Wish I’d Said phenomenon: get used to this.  A blog is a handy outlet.  If you don’t have one, make a note of the brilliant bon mot that came to you in the shower; you might get a chance to use it in a later interview instead.
  • When people ask you to do things, say yes. If you agree to write a piece  to a specified word length within a certain time, meet those deadlines. This really matters.
  • Drop in to local bookshops and talk to the staff.  I’ve been reluctant to do this, not wanting to be pushy, but I’ve started to do it and so far the response has been great.
  • Social media (hello!) – twitter, facebook, blogging and so on – choose the ones you actually enjoy.  Try to work out a balance between the time you invest and what the returns might be, but don’t think of ‘returns’ exclusively in terms of book sales.  The contacts, alliances and support you find online can be invaluable. On the other hand, some social media stuff might leave you feeling slightly grubby.  All I can suggest – since I haven’t entirely resolved this issue myself – is: don’t make it all about you.
  • And now for something completely different:  celebrate! A launch is always a good idea.  It’s not a chore, it’s a party.  People who’ve put up with your absence and general lack of availability  for the last n years – not to mention the people who’ve endured all your moaning and insecurity – deserve a party. So do you.  So does your book.  Invite everyone.
  • I know some people go straight from one novel to the next, but I don’t know how they do it. I’d suggest you think about what you might do next but don’t rush into it. I am so consumed by Fallen at the minute, talking about it etc., that it would be hell to drag myself out of another book to do it, and then go back – it would feel like infidelity.  I’d be afraid the new one would throw me out for good and change the locks.  In the gap between sending the manuscript away, last autumn, and publication this month, I’ve been teaching and working on short stories, and mulling over possibilities for a new book.  Those possibilities are getting restless now. They want out.  The whole long-drawn out process, years of staring at a wall and into space, is about to start over…

… because time moves on. New books come out and the whole process begins again, for someone else.



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paper visual art journal’s new editorial team  seeks submissions: reviews of exhibitions but also fiction, essays, interviews etc that relate to contemporary art.

For submission guidelines, click HERE.

Theatre Factory/ The Ashton Group  is looking for a new one act play with a running time of 60 minutes, to be professionally produced and toured. The play should be written for four young actors: 2 male, 2 female. If practicable, these four actors can play any number of different characters.

The writer should be no older than 25.

All writers should submit a synopsis (including plot and character outline), and the first ten pages of their play before Friday 11th July 2014

Four writers will be given the opportunity to develop their work into a full length piece with the guidance of a professional mentor. One play will be selected for development and production by the Apprenticed Actor Company.

Send submissions to The Ashton Group’s Associate Director Chris Loveless: or email for further info if required.

The Irish Writers’ Centre is running workshops in August:

They’re also accepting applications for a new Stinging Fly Fiction Workshop with Sean O’Reilly (Deadline:  8th August 2014)



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