Sunday, July 29, 2012

Novel Writing Tips from Anita Shreve

Anita Shreve, international best-selling author of 15 novels, was a keynote speaker at the West Cork Literary Festival earlier this month. Also a judge in Ireland's first "Writers Idol," she offered the following tips to those who had submitted the first page of a novel to the competition:

The Don’ts

Don’t give too much background detail. You need to move things on.

Don’t descend into cliché; never use, designer stubble, smooth skin, cold sweat, beating hearts.

NEVER start with a character waking up in the morning.

Don’t introduce too many characters; this caused confusion.

The Do’s

Always write for yourself; don’t write what you think will sell.

To shine you must have an original voice. You have to be different.

Be yourself. Be confident.

Rewrite. Read your work aloud. And read the first page of books you love.

You MUST hook the reader. Maybe use a prologue.

Monday, July 23, 2012

31 July Deadline for Short Story Competion

The Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition will be wrapping up soon—deadline for entries is 31 July. Interested writers can contact Jennifer Matthews at .

The Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition, a prize for a single short story (in English), is currently open for submissions to writers of any nationality. If the winner comes to Cork to collect their prize, we will lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Story Festival (September 2012). They will also be published in Southword Literary Journal, which has previously showcased Haruki Murakami, James Lasdun, Mary O'Donnell, Ethel Rohan, Colm Tóibín, Shannon Cain and D.W. Wilson amongst many other respected writers. First Prize: €2,000 (*approx $2690.82/ £1685.27), publication in the literary journal Southword, AND a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat.

Second Prize: €500 and publication in Southword.

Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120.

Submission deadline: 31 July, 2012. Judge: Ian Wild.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anam Cara Winners at Launch of 2012 Fish Short Story Anthology

Selected as the second-place winner of the annual Fish Short Story Competition is Jonathan Carr (in the centre) for his story "Takeover" and, as joint third-place winner, Fionna O'Rourke (on the right) for her story "Wrong Whiskey." Both read from their stories at the launch of the 2012 Fish Anthology, held in Bantry on Wednesday, 11 July. As part of his prize, Jonathan spent the week before the launch as a writer-in-residence at Anam Cara, working on his latest novel. Fiona first came to Anam Cara as a participant in Vanessa Gebbie's Short Fiction workshop in 2011. She returned this year for a week with two other participants in that same workshop who are already planning another reunion retreat in 2013.

At the conclusion of their evening of readings in St. Brendan's Church, a group of the authors published in the Anthology gathered for a photo. Included here is Michael Ray (fourth from the left on the back row), the second-place winner of the Fish Poetry Competition, judged by Billy Collins, for his poem "Before Flight." This is the first year that Anam Cara has awarded second prize, a week's residency, in the poetry competition. Jonathan is fourth from the right on the back row, and Fiona is on the far right of the first row. Clem Cairns, the editor of the Anthology and one of the Fish publishers, is sitting in the centre of the first row.

For more information about Fish writing competitions and to purchase the Fish Anthology 2012, go to