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Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Final Over The Edge: Open Reading of 2019 with Rachael Hegarty, Paul McCarrick, & Bern Butler

The December ‘Over The Edge: Open Reading’ takes place in Galway City Library on Thursday, December 19th, 6.30-8.00pm. The Featured Readers are Rachael Hegarty, Paul McCarrick, & Bern Butler. There will as usual be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished which this month will include, among others, poets from the MA in Writing at NUI Galway.  New readers are especially welcome. The Over The Edge end of year celebration will take place afterwards. 

Bern Butler was born and raised in Shantalla in Galway city. She is a writer of prose and poetry, has been short and long-listed in the Fish, Over the Edge and Listowel writing competitions and published in Force 10, The Grey Castle, ROPES and The Galway Review. She has an extensive background in adult education, specifically Prison Education where she co-edited the first ever Irish Anthology of Prison Writing, Another Place. She was the Co-ordinator of the Writers in Prisons Scheme for ten years, wrote, directed and produced prison dramatic productions, liaised with the Cuirt Festival of Literature, and the Arts Council of Ireland to bring writers into prisons, and was lucky enough to have worked on several major drama and publishing projects in Castlerea prison with the writer, Dermot Healy. She facilitated writing workshops in Corrundulla Community Library for several consecutive years and edited a collection of participants’ writings, Burning to Tell. In 2019 she was awarded an MA in Writing from NUIG and is now working toward a first poetry collection.

Paul McCarrick’s poetry has been published in The Blue NibCrannóg, Skylight 47The Stinging FlyPoetry Ireland Review, and elsewhere. He was selected by Martina Evans to take part in the 2019 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He has also received an Arts Bursary Grant from the Westmeath County Council Arts Office in 2019. He lives in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, where he is completing his first collection.
Rachael Hegarty
Rachael Hegarty is a Dubliner. She is 7th child of a 7th child.  She was educated by Holy Faith nuns in Finglas, the U. Mass. Bostonians, the Trinity MPhil in Creative Writing and the PhD poetry magicians at  Queens University Belfast. Her poetry is widely published and broadcast. Her kids say she uses the 3 F- words too much: Finglas, feminism and feckin’ poetry. Her debut collection, Flight Paths Over Finglas won the Shine Strong Award in 2018. Her second collection, May Day 1974, has received critical acclaim for the unique representation of 33 docu-sonnets and 33 ballads for the people who died on the single worst day the Troubles. Her next collection, Dancing on the Dementia Ward explores the adverse, and sometimes bizarrely liberating, effects of dementia on an individual and a family.

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of Galway City Council, Poetry Ireland, & The Arts Council.


Starting in January, Galway Arts Centre is offering aspiring poets a choice of three poetry workshops, all facilitated by poet Kevin Higgins, whose best-selling first collection, The Boy With No Face, published by Salmon Poetry, was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish poet. Kevin’s second collection of poems, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in 2008 by Salmon Poetry and his poetry is discussed in The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry. His third collection Frightening New Furniture was published in 2010 by Salmon. His work also appears in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade –New British and Irish Poets (Ed. Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe April 2014).  A collection of Kevin’s essays and book reviews, Mentioning The War, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2012. Kevin’s poetry has been translated into Greek, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, Serbian, Russian, & Portuguese. In 2014 Kevin's poetry was the subject of a paper 'The Case of Kevin Higgins, or, 'The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire' presented by David Wheatley at a Symposium on Satire at the University of Aberdeen.  He was Satirist-in-Residence at the Bogman’s Cannon (2015-16). '2016 - The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins' was published by NuaScéalta in 2016; a pamphlet of Kevin’s political poems The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published, also in 2016, by the Culture Matters imprint of the UK based Manifesto Press. His poems have been praised by, among others, Tony Blair’s biographer John Rentoul, Observer columnist Nick Cohen, historian Ruth Dudley Edwards, activist and writer Eamonn McCann, and Sunday Independent columnist Gene Kerrigan; have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Times (UK), The Independent, The Daily Mirror, Hot Press magazine and on Tonight With Vincent Browne; and read aloud by the film director Ken Loach at a political meeting in London. In 2016 The Stinging Fly magazine described Kevin as "likely the most read living poet in Ireland." He has published five collections of poetry with Salmon, most recently Song of  Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems (2017).  Kevin has read his work at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013), Boston, Massachusetts, USA (2013) & Amherst, Massachusetts, USA (2013), & New Mexico, USA (2018). Kevin’s most recent poetry collection, Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital, was published by Salmon Poetry in June 2019; one of the poems from which will feature in A Galway Epiphany, the final instalment of Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor series of novels. Kevin’s poetry has been broadcast on RTE Radio, Lyric FM, and BBC Radio 4.
Kevin Higgins
Each week Kevin will give participants a poetry writing exercise for the following week and will offer each participant constructive suggestions as to how her or his poem can become the best possible poem it can be.

Kevin is an experienced workshop facilitator and several of his students have gone on to achieve publication success. One of his workshop participants at Galway Arts Centre won the prestigious Hennessy Award for New Irish Poetry, two have won the Cúirt New Writing Prize, and yet another the Cúirt Poetry Grand Slam, while several have published collections of their poems; two being shortlisted for the Shine-Strong Award for Best First Collection of poems. In 2013 a group of his students set up the poetry newspaper Skylight 47, which publishes new poems, reviews of poetry books and opinion pieces about poetry related matters. Kevin teaches poetry on the NUIG BA Creative Writing Connect programme and is Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway Summer School. Kevin is also co-organiser of the successful Over The Edge reading series which specialises in promoting new writers.

Each workshop will run for ten weeks, commencing the week of Monday January 27th.  They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (first class Tuesday, January 28th); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (first class Thursday, January 30th) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (first class Friday, January 31st).

The Tuesday evening and Friday afternoon workshops are open to both complete beginners as well as those who’ve been writing for some time. The Thursday afternoon workshop is an Advanced Poetry Workshop, suitable for those who’ve participated in poetry workshops before or had poems published in magazines. The cost to participants is €110, with a €100 concession rate.

Places must be paid for in advance. To reserve a place contact reception at Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street, phone 091 565886, email, or go to

New Year Daytime Creative Writing with Susan Millar DuMars at Galway Arts Centre New Year Daytime Creative Writing with Susan Millar DuMars at Galway Arts Centre

Susan Millar DuMars
Starting in January, Galway Arts Centre presents a daytime class for all those beginner and continuing creative writing students out there, facilitated by Susan Millar DuMars. Susan Millar DuMars writes both poetry and fiction. A collection of her stories, Lights In The Distance, was published in December 2010 by Doire Press; she has published five collections of poetry, Big Pink Umbrella (2008), Dreams For Breakfast (2010), The God Thing (2013), Bone Fire (2016), and Naked: New and Selected Poems (2019), all with Salmon Poetry. Susan was the Featured Fiction writer in a the American online magazine The Atticus Review. She is also co-organiser of the Over The Edge reading series which specifically promotes new writers. Susan edited the anthology Over the Edge – the first ten years, published by Salmon, which includes work by forty seven writers who have published a first book since they did a reading at an Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library.
The class is suitable for both beginning and continuing creative writing students, working in either poetry or fiction. Students will spend their weeks responding to writing exercises designed to inspire, rather than inhibit. In class, they will receive gentle feedback on their work from their classmates and from the teacher. The class takes place on Monday afternoons, 2.30-4.00pm, commencing on Monday, January 27th. It runs for 10 weeks.

The cost to participants is 110 Euro with an 100 Euro concession price. Booking is essential as places are limited. There are no refunds once the class has started. For booking please contact Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominick Street, phone 091 565886, email, or go to