The first batch of world-famous West Cork Literary Festival writing workshops are now on sale. I’m honoured to say I’ll be teaching the novel week long workshops (July 13-17) alongside the incredible Paul Muldoon for poetry and Cynan Jones for short story.
This year the festival will also host Anne Enright, Roxane Gay and Eimear McBride among many others.
The last time I was a West Cork it was wonderful and I met so many amazing writers and did events with Eoin McNamee, Glenn Patterson and Liz Nugent.
“Over the five days you will look at how to grow your story idea into a novel that grips your reader from start to finish. You will look at that crucial opening that hooks the reader, how to keep the narrative momentum going through that difficult middle and lead to a satisfying ‘inevitable surprise’ of an ending. You will look at creating believable complex characters that stand out and stay with your reader, the many uses of dialogue and how to find your voice. You will explore world building, the importance of setting and how it can become another character in your story. If you are happy to you can share your work-in-progress and get constructive problem-solving focused feedback. The course will finish with advice on what every debut novelist needs to know, covering agents, building a readership and an online presence, making industry connections and a behind-the-scenes look at those coveted literary prizes.”
Lyra McKee piece for The 32: Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices
Two bits of exciting news – ‘The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices’, which I’m editing, has received a huge donation of £3,000 from the wonderful people behind The Spaniard Belfast, Muriel’s Kitchen, Panama Belfast and new owners of The Chester Bar.
I have also secured a piece of writing by Lyra McKee who had agreed to be in the anthology before her tragic death. You can read all about it in the Belfast Telegraph article by Claire McNeilly.
“I met Lyra through Anna Burns, the Booker Prize winner, and the three of us had lunch together – three working class Ardoyne authors from three different generations,” he said.
“She told me her book was coming out and I spoke to her about being part of the anthology – that was before her book deal – and then, heartbreakingly, the tragedy happened.
“I recently talked to her publishers, who are bringing out a new book from her next month, and after I explained the back story, they are now giving me an unpublished piece of her writing to include, which is really amazing.”
Update **This postponed due to tragic death of broadcaster Stephen Clements**
Nuala McKeever is sitting in for Lynette Fay on BBC Radio Ulster today with a mix of music and chat. The chat today is with me! We’ll be talking about The Good Son for sure and who knows – growing up in Belfast – books…
I’ll be teaching for the wonderful TLC. Here’s the info from their site…
TLC is thrilled to announce the tutor for its Guardian-recommended Literary Adventure writing retreat 2020 is the award-winning novelist Paul McVeigh. Paul will be joining us September 5th-12th 2020 at the beautiful Casa Ana in the Alpujarra region of Spain. Groups are limited to a maximum of 12 writers, to allow writers the creative space and freedom to help develop their projects in a focussed and supportive environment. The retreat is open to writers of fiction and memoir with works in progress.
TLC Literary Adventures offers an environment where inspiration and improvisation meet. You will have access to world-class teaching, get a chance to work, read, listen, learn and relax in a stunning setting which will open the mind and senses. The retreat will include morning workshops, free writing time, readings, and optional afternoon sessions including a poetry workshop, a talk about the publishing industry, and a trip to a nearby village offering artisanal products. The week will end with a series of short, focussed one-on-one sessions, and a chance to share work written during the week with your fellow writers. Daily breakfasts, lunches, three 3-course chef cooked dinners at Casa Ana, and accommodation are included in the ticket price. A full programme including details on accommodation, location and booking can be found here, or you can email us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
I’m excited to be heading to Qatar soon for JLF Doha. Here are my events at the Qatar National Library.
Fri 13th, 6:20 PM TO 7:05 PM, SPECIAL EVENT AREA
Writing Conflict: Paul McVeigh, Ahmad Dallal, and Prayaag Akbar in conversation
In a world fraught with conflict, eminent writers speak of how they make sense of the disturbances and dystopias around us. Prayaag Akbar’s award-winning novel Leila, adapted into a popular Netflix series, addresses the ongoing conflicts in society. Paul McVeigh’s debut novel, The Good Son, tells the story of the Irish Troubles in turbulent Belfast. Writer and academic Ahmed Dallal has examined the conflicts of the Middle East.
2:55 PM TO 3:40 PM AUDITORIUM
What is Not Said: Celebrating the Short Story: Alex Shaw, Kaltam Jabor M. Al-kuwari and Paul McVeigh in conversation
The brevity of short fiction, illuminating transformative moments in life, eliminating all that is unnecessary, takes it to the heart of the reader. A session which investigates and celebrates the form and function of the short story. Conversations and contextual readings featuring Alex Shaw, author of the popular Aidan Snow SAS series, Kaltam Jabor M. Al-kuwari, the first Qatari women to author a collection of short stories, and Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son and director and co-founder of London Short Story Festival, Paul McVeigh.
Did you know that Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that has no writer development agency? It meant working class writers from NI couldn’t apply to be part of Kit de Waal’s ‘Common People’ anthology. ‘The 32’ anthology is here to redress this. Please pledge.