Category Archives: Print

Novel Research, Kindness and Methodology

My third research trip for my novel started and ended with snow. My flight from Cardiff to Belfast was delayed by 23 inches of it near the airport and by another fall on the return but I encountered nothing other than warmth from the people I met in Northern Ireland.

It was a pleasure to spend time with teachers, schoolchildren, community workers, experts in Irish and Ulster Scots, journalists, farmers and agricultural experts. I also enjoyed two great reading gigs and came home with a prize certificate.

Receiving Commended certificate in Bangor Literary Journal 40 Words Poetry Competition from Poet, Moyra Donaldson

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Research Trip 3

The motto of Belfast on the carpeted floor of the City Hall: For so much received what return can we make? I’m looking forward to returning to Northern Ireland for my third research trip for my novel from 3rd to 19th March.

I hope to be mainly outside the capital this time but here are two of my favourite Belfast buildings: the Art-Deco former Bank of Ireland…

Bank of Ireland, Royal Avenue

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Novel Research, Kindness and Trauma

Research Trip 2 for my novel, from 21st January to 2nd February in Northern Ireland, gave me access to generously shared experience and expertise from writers, sociologists, historians, academics, journalists, teachers and an educationalist, former civil servants, librarians, language activists, clergy, lawyers, a farmer, a statistician, a youth worker and many who shared from the cutting edge of their painfully gained experience.

I was struck too by the kindness with which I was treated.

I cannot do justice to the events and individuals who gave me their time. I will, however, single out, among the public events I attended,  the conference organised by the Ulster University Faculty of Health and Life Sciences: Addressing the Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma and Mental Illness in Northern Ireland.

I had noticed something of a narrative about Northern Ireland along the lines of: the effect of the Troubles is exaggerated; it’s all behind us now and I wanted to get beyond personal opinion to some facts about ‘legacy’ and ‘impact’.

Logo of the Institute of Mental Health Sciences, University of Ulster

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Writer’s Bursary: Highlights so far

I have a fortnight left of my Literature Wales Bursary.  I began it with a strategy. So how have I got on? I will be mentioning pleasure a lot.

Some highlights:
• Working with an editor
• Shaping  a Short Story Collection
• Being read
• Funding the work
• Moving to publication

‘I am nervous/excited but…’ Tag from a previous student, Ty Newydd

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1st Prize Bridgend Open Short Story Competition 2017

It is such an encouragement to win this competition. Adjudicator, Laura Foakes said of my story, Acting Abby:

This multi-layered story stayed with me long after each reading, which is always a sign of a job well done. The author conveyed her understanding of the vagaries of the human condition in a profound but unsentimental way. The wistful first-person narration drew me immediately into the story and the “voice” was strong.

I particularly liked the device of using a stage play as a metaphor for the judgements people/audiences make, and the eventual unfolding of the “choice” the narrator made. The author invites us to judge at our peril. This is a very accomplished and thought provoking piece of work. Continue reading 1st Prize Bridgend Open Short Story Competition 2017

A Bursary and a Strategy

Angela Graham, a Welsh-speaking TV Producer from Northern Ireland, was awarded a Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary 2017 to complete a collection of short stories. She describes getting to grips with the business side of writing. This blog appeared first on the Literature Wales website

Even before I knew I’d been awarded a Literature Wales Bursary I’d decided I would commit to writing as soon as a major work project finished on the 29th April. When the Bursaries were announced on the 30th I’d already booked myself a fortnight of relative solitude in Strangford, Northern Ireland. The encouragement of the Bursary was a real boost for this period.

The ferry at Strangford

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South American Short Stories – Fiction Fiesta

Ignorance prevents me having an opinion on The Latin American Short Story  but after hearing Juan Villoro (Mexico) and Andrés Neuman (Argentina) speak on that topic on May 31st I am keen to start forming one by reading their work and that of other writers they mentioned. What engaging, perceptive and generous speakers they were. Continue reading South American Short Stories – Fiction Fiesta

Writers and the Sherman Theatre

A website is one thing but a person is the real thing. Gethin Evans, Associate Director of the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff gave the Cardiff branch of The Writers’ Guild an up-to-the-minute tour of opportunities for engagement and a sense of the Theatre’s ambitions and future projects in a lively encounter at May’s meeting.

The Sherman’s Artist Development page has not quite caught up with the calendar as most of its references are to 2016 so it was enlightening to get a sense of how the various projects are developing.

Gethin Evans (right) with Guild members

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