Creative Writing Workshops at Listowel Writers Week 2017
by Maire Logue - Thursday 1st June 2017 view all items


“We are important, and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded.” – Natalie Goldberg

We are delighted to announce our 3-Day and 2-Day Creative Writing Workshops, all of which take place during the Listowel Writers’ Week 2017 festival.

This year’s dates are:
  31st May – 4th June 2017

Since 1971, when Listowel author Bryan MacMahon first introduced Creative Writing Workshops as part of the festival programme, we have continued with the tradition of putting in place a distinctive programme of workshops to suit a range of genres and levels of expertise.

This year’s stellar line-up of Irish and international workshop directors include award-winning Waterford-born poet, Thomas McCarthy, who will direct ‘Poetry – Advanced’ and Director of Fiction at Faber Academy, Richard Skinner, with ‘Novel – Advanced’.  Both directors are returning to us for the second year running.

These workshops sold out quickly last year, so
BOOK EARLY to avoid disappointment.

Our other workshops will include:

Creative Writing – Getting Started’ 3-Day with Ruth Gilligan

Ruth is the author of four novels, including the critically-acclaimed Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan (2016), which was inspired by the history of the Jewish community in Ireland. After graduating from Cambridge, Yale, UEA and Exeter, she now works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, whilst also contributing regular literary reviews to the Times Literary Supplement, Guardian, Irish Independent and Los Angeles Review of Books.

Planning the Novel’ 3-Day with Giles Foden

Giles is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick and the University of East Anglia. Between 1996 and 2006 he worked on the books pages of the Guardian, during which period he published The Last King of Scotland, which won the 1998 Whitbread First Novel Award and was released as an Oscar-winning film in 2006. He is the author of three other novels: Zanzibar (2002), Mimi & Toutou’s Big Adventure: The Bizarre Battle of Lake Tanganyika (2004), Turbulence (2009), and Ladysmith, a work of narrative non-fiction (1999).

Short Fiction’ 3-Day with Clare Morgan

Clare is founder and director of Oxford University’s world renowned M.A.  Creative Writing programme.  Her novel, A Book for All and None (2012), was shortlisted for the Author’s Club Best Novel Award and described as ‘written with eloquence and artistry’ by the Mail on Sunday; and ‘too tantalising to resist’ by Time Out.  She has published a collection of stories, An Affair of the Heart, and her short fiction has been widely anthologised, as well as commissioned and broadcast by BBC Radio 4. She is a member of the Folio Prize Academy and former Literary Mentor for the Arts Councils of England and Wales.

Poetry – Getting Started’ 3-Day with Peter Sirr

Peter works as a freelance writer, teacher and translator.  The Gallery Press has published ten collections of his work. Awards include the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the Michael Hartnett Award and the O’Shaughnessy Award of the Irish American Cultural Institute. The Rooms was published in 2014 and shortlisted for the Listowel Writers Week Pigott Poetry Prize 2015. Sway, versions of poems from the troubadour tradition, was published in 2016. He lives in Dublin.   

Writing Comedy’ 3-Day with Helen Lederer & Ian MacPherson

Helen is best known for her role as the Dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous. She appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders in all six series and in the recent film. Her first comic novel, Losing It, was shortlisted for the PG Wodehouse Bollinger Prize 2015. Ian won the first London Time Out Comedy Award. His books include The Autobiography of Ireland’s Greatest Living Genius and The Book of Blaise. ‘One of the most creative and intelligent comedians I’ve ever seen’ Guardian. ‘The funniest book I’ve ever read’ Irish Times.  

Non-Fiction & Memoir’ 3-Day with Michael Harding

Michael is the author of an ongoing chronicle of midland Irish life that appears weekly in the Irish Times, and three volumes of memoir. He is also the author of many plays for the Abbey Theatre and other Irish companies, as well as three novels: Priest, The Trouble With Sarah Gullion, and Bird In The Snow. His memoir Staring At Lakes was published in 2013. His most recent book Hanging with the Elephant was published in 2014. He has received many awards for his work in Ireland and is a member of Aosdána.


Creative Writing -  Advanced’ 3-Day with Maria J. Hyland

Maria is a novelist, short story writer and editor. She is an ex-lawyer and now works as a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Manchester & as Senior Editor at Hyland & Byrne.  Maria has written three multi award-winning novels and dozens of short stories, essays and works of non-fiction.

How the Light Gets In was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Carry Me Down was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize & This is How was longlisted for the Dublin International IMPAC Prize. Her short story ’Somebody Else’s Bed’ was long listed for the EFG Sunday Times Short Story Award.

Writing for Theatre’ 3-Day with Graham Whybrow

Graham is course director of the Master of Fine Art – Playwriting at The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin. He is an associate director of the Royal Court Theatre in London. Graham was literary manager of the Royal Court from 1994 to 2007. He specialises in identifying and encouraging talented theatre artists, playwrights, directors and other theatre-makers.

Short Fiction’ 2-day with Danielle McLaughlin

Danielle’s short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Stinging Fly, the Irish Times and elsewhere. Her debut collection of short stories Dinosaurs On Other Planets, was published in Ireland in 2015 by The Stinging Fly Press, in the UK and US in 2016 by John Murray and Random House, and, most recently, in Slovakia by Inaque.

Booking a Workshop

Each 3-day Workshop will run from 9.00am – 12.30pm on Thursday 1st June, Friday 2nd June and Saturday 3rd June 2017.

Each 2-day Workshop will run from 9.00am – 12.30pm on Saturday 3rd June and Sunday 4th June 2017.

Places are limited to 15 per workshop.

Workshop Fees:   €185.00 for each 3-Day workshop and €145.00 for each 2-Day workshop.

Each transaction is subject to a €3 booking fee.

Bookings can be made
Online by clicking the Book Now button. However, if you prefer the traditional method over the phone, please feel free to ring us on (00 353) 68 21074 and we would be delighted to take your booking using a credit or debit card. If you would like to make a booking by post, please submit your payment either by Irish Cheque or Irish Postal Order, made payable to Listowel Writers’ Week.

If you have any queries about the above please do not hesitate to contact us.

Creative Writing Competitions 2017

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

It’s time to get writing or to retrieve those short stories, poems, plays and humorous essays from your files and enter one or more of our Creative Writing Competitions. There is only a couple of weeks left to enter and submit.

Prize-winners of ALL our competitions will receive their awards on the Opening Night of Listowel Writers Week on Wednesday
31st May 2017.

The total prize fund of €40,000 includes the following two awards:

The Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year is generously sponsored by Kerry Group Plc, and with a prize of €15,000 it remains the largest monetary prize for fiction available solely to Irish authors. Novels must be published between 1st February 2016 and 1st February 2017.

The Pigott Poetry Prize, now in its fourth year, is generously sponsored by Mark Pigott KBE and the Pigott Family. The €5,000 Prize is awarded for a published collection of Poetry by an Irish poet. Collection entries must be published between 1st February 2016 and 1st February 2017.


All other Creative Writing Competitions are open to entries that are previously unpublished and include: The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, The Eamon Keane Full-Length Play in association with Siamsa Tíre, the Single Poem and the Poetry Collection, Listowel Writers’ Week Originals, the Con Houlihan Young Sports Journalist Award and Kerry County Council Creative Writing Competitions for Youth. All of the above include a generous prize fund and many can be entered online through our website.  Closing date for receipt of entries is 3rd March 2017.

Many of the competitions can be entered online through our website


All that’s left for you to do is to let those stories, poems and essays that are bubbling away inside of you to break free now.

Write them down, submit them, and be in with a chance of success.


Full details and criteria for ALL our Creative Writing Competitions are available here

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