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Aspiring scribes poised for Writers’ Week

Never ones to rest on their laurels, Writers’ Week in Listowel has announced details of its literary workshops and competitions for 2012. The festival will take place from the May 30 to June 3 with submissions for all competitions taken until Friday, March 2.The literary workshops and competitions have been launched with 15 workshops including novel, poetry, short fiction, theatre, freelance journalism, screen, creative writing and new for this year, travel writing.  Writers’ Week have in place a selection of workshop directors, who will share their writing expertise, such as Paul Perry, who will direct poetry; Aifric Campbell, who will teach novel getting started and Mark O’Halloran, who will teach everything he knows about writing for screen and television.  New to this year’s festival will be renowned journalist, Sinead Gleeson, who will direct freelance journalism; successful theatre writer Mark O’Rowe and travel writer and documentary maker, Manchán Magan.   Places for workshops are limited to 15 and should be booked well …

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Life’s great fears and loves

ENNIS resident and author Catriona Lowry has just released her debut work of fiction where she has captured life’s greatest fears and greatest loves.

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What happened at Kilmichael?

ACCORDING to Ennis-based historian and author Meda Ryan, there has been much controversy associated with Tom Barry recently, particularly centred on the Kilmichael Ambush and whether there was a false surrender during that battle.As a result of questions being raised, Meda has reissued her publication Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter, which outlines through interviews with those men that survived the ambush what went on at Kimichael, West Cork on November 28, 1920. “It’s only in recent years that questions have arisen. Was there or wasn’t there a false surrender, because the Auxiliaries were killed, or died shortly after? One escaped through the fields but was captured by local men some fields away as he made his way to Macroom to alert the Macroom CastlE men. One other was found next, when the Auxiliaries came to the site, with a pulse. He survived for many years. I have gone into the ambush in great detail in the book because I knew …

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Fred’s words dance from the asylum

By John Rainsford   A PROPHET is never recognised in his own land, according to biblical tradition. However, a new book by a writer in residence with Clare-based writers’ group,Three-Legged Stool is threatening to buck that ancient trend. Fred Johnston was born in Belfast and educated in St Malachy’s College before a brief sojourn took him to Toronto in Canada. He moved to Dublin in 1968 and then to Galway in 1976, living in Spain and Africa somewhere along the way. He is a founder/director of the Western Writers’ Centre in Galway. Suitably enough, given his political focus, Dancing in the Asylum is the title of his latest collection of stories, published by Parthian Books in Wales. The collected works have been written variously over the past quarter of a century. Orangeman, a collection of stories in French, was published by Terre de Brum (France) in October 2010. “This anthology was described by critics as being somewhat ‘dark’,” explains Fred. …

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Higgins’ poetry pays for the spuds

MOST poetry collections don’t concern themselves with souped-up Honda Civics, the HSE’s payroll system, swaggering wheel clampers, George Lee, the indignity of a concession refusal at a theatre’s ticket desk or cryptosporidium. However, Ireland is Changing Mother isn’t most poetry collections.In nine books over 25 years, Galway poet Rita Ann Higgins has explored injustice and survival in ordinary lives through a blackly funny voice. Her latest work is alive to the personal but was forged in the furnace of political corruption and economic collapse.“It’s a frustration,” she says of the driving force behind this collection. “That’s always been there in earlier books, just maybe more so here. I hadn’t recognised that earlier. But now that the poems are out there, I see there is an awful lot of frustration. It reads as anger but, for me, it’s just utter frustration.”Poems like The Darkness and Where Have All Our Scullions Gone, in particular, bristle at the swollen culture of entitlement fostered …

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The Champion short story challenge

YOUNG writers are once again being offered an opportunity to have their work published in the columns of The Clare Champion, as winners of an exciting competition with a prize fund of €1,500.

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Book festival closes its covers for 2011

THE Children’s Book Festival has drawn to a close at libraries around the county for another year.

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A sense of what’s to come in Keane’s new book

TWO Clare women talk about their experiences of having premonitions in a new book, Forewarned, by best selling Irish writer Colm Keane.One of the women said she had sensed there would be a serious car accident in her local area, while another felt she was given advance notice of her brother’s death back in the 1970s. The second, Elizabeth, had a dream that her brother was going to die and in the book, she explains her views on premonitions. “I think the dream was some sort of forewarning to prepare me for what was going to occur. I knew something was coming and it did happen. I think people are susceptible to the energies that are there and that pass between us. We all have this ability but some people have thinner veils than others,” she states in the book.“I think that when something really profound is coming towards you, you get messages. I think that your life is known …

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