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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eimear Ryan is 2011 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year; Marybeth Rua-Larsen wins in poetry category

The winners of this year's Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition announced
at this evening's Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library 
Eimear Ryan is 2011 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year

Results and Judges' Comments from Elaine Feeney


"This was an extremely strong competition with many entries on the shortlist very very capable and appealing voices. The entries ‘A Child Believes a Hand Can Be a Rose or a Tree’ by Damian Cunniffe (County Galway), ‘God’s Gift to Women’ by Evelyn Parsons (County Galway), ‘Queen of the Night’ by Natalie Ryan (Dublin) and 'New Year’s Day' by John Walsh (County Galway) are all highly commended in that order.

The winner in the fiction section is Eimear Ryan for her story ‘Livewire’.

‘Livewire’ opens with the most extraordinary brevity and immediate character development in the shape of Ogie and the first person narrator. "Ogie is not the prettiest sight; hair that makes me think of tarmac on a hot day, a scattering of freckles like a fistful of loose dirt". I quickly began to empathise with Ogie and his room mate. The story unfolds in the context of a hospital ward, St. Dymphna's. There is an innocence and distance to the characters in an effortless way. However it is seamless and you trust their development by the writer. Unforced metaphor weaves its way through the narrative. The writer also uses a modern angle often mentioning the everyday and setting the context without being overly specific or pedantic. It is a smart, cynical and satirical piece of prose, it is timely for the times we find ourselves in today. The inmates are doubting the system and the narrator becomes bitter when he finds out his roomate Ogie will be 'graduating' without him. "I'm in the lotus position in Eastern Meditation when Mentor Jack calls me into the corridor'. It becomes clear that Ogie was misdiagnosed, and while his brain has the scan of a sociopath, he was actually a genius, and this mistake can be made. This writer has come at a good time. Systems are flawed, but when writers try to write about this, it is often contrived. Here we have an excellent example of the passion of characters, while remaining simple and metaphorically brilliant."

Eimear Ryan was born in 1986 in Co Tipperary. She studied journalism in Dublin City University and has lived in Boston and New York, where she spent a year interning in publishing. Her short fiction has been published in The Sunday Tribune and The Stinging Fly, and she was the winner of the Hennessy Award for First Fiction 2008. She blogs at  


"Heidi Wickam (Sligo), Kerrie O’Brien (Dublin), Lauren Norton (California) & Tom Lavelle (Galway City) are highly commended in that order.

The overall winner in the poetry section  is Marybeth Rua-Larsen for her poems 'Summer of Want', 'Freestyle' & 'The Dylan Boys Map Out a Route for Cinderella'.

This poet shows a flair for the aesthetic as well as unusually juxtaposed ideas. I can almost taste and smell the blueberries and the juice from the nectarines that run down the speakers' shirtfronts, while the 'summer of want' opens before them. We are left with a withering ending, a realistic account of a chase, relationship or friendship. You cannot 'preserve' the sensual abundance, it is 'unfit for freezing' and the miles cause the ripening and the beauty to rot. Clever poetic technique and beautiful sensual imagery used.

'Freestyle' unearths again the use of colour and abundance of sensual awakening, while exploring the realms of a father and daughter relationship. It is startling in its oddness and its unusual juxtaposition of the task at hand, that of fishing and yet the trust that is between the two 'a colour scheme that flips the darkest hue on top, like fish in water'. This makes me consider the gentleness of relationship as it juxtaposes the cliché of one being out of water, or out of one's depth. There is a strange sense of suspense cleverly evoked, and while there is an abundance of aesthetically wonderful language and imagery, something about the ending conjures up a sense of 'settling' or 'acceptance'.

'The Dylan Boys map out a Route for Cinderella', makes clever use of Bob Dylans' 'Desolation Row' and 'One Headlight' by Jacob Dylan of the Wallflowers. This is a powerful poem, both in its clever use of repetition and word reversals. The poem is a move away from the lyrical, slow paced and beautifully moody other two poems. In this the poet shows an ability to alter style, to move away from the stricter technique used in the other poems, while still maintaining poetic integrity. The theme is modernized and 'Cinderella is sweeping up on Desolation Row, which was always where she was headed in my opinion. The poem, extraordinarily clever in its conclusion, laments and encourages, ' I can't take the dark out of the nighttime for you Cinderella. Row away from desolation. Whatever feels like daytime is independence'. I loved these poems, strong writer, well done!"

Marybeth Rua-Larsen lives, teaches and writes in Somerset, Massachusetts. Her poems have appeared in Measure, The Raintown Review, The Barefoot Muse and Two Review, among others.

The overall winner
and 2011 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year
is Eimear Ryan.

Marybeth Rua-Larsen will receive a cash prize of €300.

Eimear Ryan will receive a cash prize of €700
and will be a Featured Reader at an Over The Edge: Open Reading during 2012.

Over The Edge warmly thanks Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Niall Ó’Brolcháin, McGinn’s Bar, Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames & Mike Cubbard for sponsoring this year’s competition.

Over The Edge poets visit Lorient for workshop and reading

The Galway-Lorient Twinning Committee, in association with Over The Edge, is facilitating a visit this month by three local poets to Galway’s twin city, Lorient in Brittany. During their visit to Lorient the poets Nicola Griffin, Mary Madec and Susan Millar DuMars will take part in a workshop with local poet Patrick Argenté on Friday, October 14th, 6-7.30pm at the Médiatheque Francois Mitterand, Lorient.

For further details of the workshop see here;jsessionid=7BDB2E7545F7C95CC38A518D4B336132?Global=1&WaMain=15&howManyNews=1&withDbidNews=actu-1316511925784-

The following afternoon, Saturday, October 15th at 3pm, Nicola Griffin, Mary Madec and Susan Millar DuMars will give a reading of their poetry, with accompanying French translations. The reading will also take place at the Médiatheque Francois Mitterand.

For further details of the reading see here

This Galway-Lorient poetry exchange follows a visit by Lorient-based poet, Patrick Argenté, to Galway in May 2010, during which he was a Featured Reader at that month’s Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library.

Nicola Griffin was the winner in the poetry category in the 2010 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year Competition. Her first collection of poetry will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2013.

Mary Madec’s first collection of poetry, In Other Words, was published by Salmon in 2010 and has sold so well it was recently reprinted.

Susan Millar DuMars is co-organiser of Over The Edge. She has published two collections of poetry, Big Pink Umbrella (2008) and Dreams for Breakfast (2010), both with Salmon Poetry.


Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust is holding a charity auction in the Rowing Club on Friday October 21st to raise much needed funds to continue the arts programme with patients in Galway University Hospitals. Rod Goodall will host the auction and entertainment will be provided by the Molly Hicks and Totem Roll. The event begins at 8.30pm and tickets are €10

To continue this work the Arts Trust called on the many artists who have worked with the hospitals in recent years to help raise much needed funds. Artists taking part in the auction are; John Behan, Siobán Piercy, Mary Horan, Annie West, Elaine Byrne, Aideen Barry, Kieran Tobin, Eithna Joyce, Cliona Fox, Tony Gunning, Emmet Kierans, Charlotte Kelly, Ceara Conway, Paul Maye, Diane McCabe, Leah Beggs, Kamil Krawczak and Pam O’Connell.

The auction will be hosted by Rod Goodall. Rod currently on tour with Faith Healer is well known for his work with Footsbarn Theatre, Macnas, Blue Teapot Theatre and several independent productions. Music on the night will be provided by The Molly Hicks and Totem Roll.

Arts Officer, Margaret Flannery states: “We are very grateful to the artists who have given us both their time and a variety of wonderful artworks to raise funds to continue our arts programme.”

Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust is a charitable organisation that runs an extensive programme of activities in University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital. Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust aims to explore the role of the arts in the promotion of healing and wellbeing through a multi-disciplinary arts programme in order to promote greater links between the hospital and the community. The Trust promotes high quality, creative programming with artists and the arts community as a means of empowering the hospital community to express themselves creatively, improve their quality of life and bring about positive changes in the hospital environment and the wellbeing of the hospital community.

A generous loan of Modern Irish Art, initiated the arts programme in Galway University Hospitals in 2003. Artworks from the loan include the lithograph and brush prints of An Táin by Louis le Brocquy, works by Alice Maher, Samuel Walsh, Michael Cullen, Michael Mulcahy, Geraldine O’Reilly and many other prominent Irish artists. The programme has expanded to include twelve temporary exhibitions each year.

Other important programmes include Poems for Patience – displayed throughout the waiting areas, Art Angel – a programme of participatory art workshops in the Paediatric and Geriatric Departments. Artists residencies including Lorraine Tuck’s The Regional, Paul Maye’s Beyond Appearance as well as commissions, the latest being a series of murals and artworks for the Paediatric Unit.

Other activities include music recitals, drama workshops and publication of the memories of patients in the Geriatric units. The programme is linked to the cultural life of Galway city through exhibitions and partnerships during Galway Arts Festival, the Tulca Festival of Visual Art and the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Over 300 individual arts and health events have been programmed since 2003 in Galway’s public hospitals.

Tickets are available from Galway University Hospitals Arts Office and for further information please contact Arts Officer, Margaret Flannery at 091 544979 or  

North Beach Poetry Nights: Neil McCarthy PLUS The Connacht Heat of the All Ireland Slam 2011

Neil McCarthy

Monday October 17th at 9 pm

North Beach Poetry Nights


The Connacht Heat of the All Ireland Slam 2011

in The Crane Bar

with guest Poet - Neil McCarthy (straight from Vienna!)

Poets wishing to enter the October Slam should have 2 max. 3 minute poems. The poem for the 2nd round must be performed without a script. So time to get memorizing now!

Two winning poets will represent Connacht in the All Ireland Slam in Derry in November.

Info: John @ 091-593290

North Beach Poetry Nights acknowledges the generous support of Galway City Council.

All Ireland Poetry Day to be celebrated at Galway University Hospitals on Thursday October 6th

Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust will be taking part in the Arts and Health Coordinators Ireland National Poetry Project, A Moment in Time on Thursday 6 October as part of All Ireland Poetry Day 2011. Staff and patients of University Hospital and Merlin Park University Hospital will be receiving a short anthology of poems, selected by Poet Mark Roper. The anthology will be presented as a menu on the breakfast tray for patients and will be available on tables in the staff canteens and in the hospital restaurants and shops. The poems approach the topic, A Moment in Time in various ways: some focus on the awareness of a single moment, others on a moment of realisation or choice.

Patients and staff of the hospital will also be in for a lunchtime treat when local poet Michael Gorman will give a poetry reading at 1.00pm in Conference Room 1, Nurses’ Home in University Hospital Galway. Michael Gorman was born in Sligo and educated at Summerhill College and NUI, Galway. His poetry collections include Postcards from Galway, Waiting for the Sky to fall and Up She Flew. He teaches poetry on the MA in Writing at NUI Galway. Michael Gorman is a hugely charismatic reader of his work; his readings are everything a good poetry reading should be.

The aim of the Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust is to support and enhance the patient environment in University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital. We believe that involving the arts in the healing process promotes the wellbeing of patients staff and visitors to the hospital. For further information on this project and or the arts programme in Galway University Hospitals please contact Arts Officer, Margaret Flannery at 091 544979 or  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 'Over The Edge: Open Reading' with Moyra Donaldson, Aileen Armstrong & Davnet Heery PLUS the announcement of the winners of our 2011 New Writer of The Year competition.

Moyra Donaldson

The September Over The Edge: Open Reading takes place in Galway City Library, St. Augustine Street, Galway on Thursday, September 29th, 6.30-8pm. The Featured Readers are Aileen Armstrong, Davnet Heery & Moyra Donaldson. The evening will also see the announcement of the winners of this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of the Year. The competition judge is Elaine Feeney.

Aileen Armstrong’s writing has appeared in the Stinging Fly, Three Times Daily, Some Blind Alleys, and Cuadrivio (in Spanish translation). In 2009, she graduated from the M.A. in Writing programme at NUIG, and in 2010, she received a literature bursary award from the Arts Council of Ireland. She lives in Co. Galway, and is currently working on a collection of short stories.

A long-time resident of Cois Fharraige, Connemara, Davnet Heery enjoys solitary walks along the shore and on the bog, day-dreaming. Recently graduated from the MA in Writing at NUIG she has had a giddy summer reading at literary festivals countrywide for the launch of the class anthology Bicycles with Umbrellas. Primarily a poet (she has been grant aided by Galway Co.Co. to work towards a collection Camellia) she also enjoys writing plays. Her short story The Little Girl in Pink was short-listed for The Francis Mc Manus award, 2011.

Moyra Donaldson was born and brought up in Co Down and has been described as one of the country’s most distinctive and accomplished writers: a poet whose voice is full of integrity and mystery. Her first full collection of poems Snakeskin Stilettos was published in 1998, followed by Beneath the Ice in 2001, both from Lagan Press. She has received four awards from the Arts Council NI, most recently, the Artist Career Enhancement Award. Moyra’s poems have featured on radio and television, including the Channel 4 production, Poems to Fall in Love With. Horse’s Nest, was published by Lagan Press in 2006 and described in Poetry Ireland Review as ‘one of the most enjoyable poetry books of the last few years.’ Her most recent collection, Miracle Fruit, was published by Lagan Press in November 2010.

There will be an open-mic when the Featured Readers have finished. This is open to anyone who has a poem or story to share. New readers are always especially welcome. The MC for the evening will be Susan Millar DuMars. For further details phone 087-6431748

Over The Edge acknowledges the ongoing generous financial support of Galway City Council and The Arts Council.

Monday, September 12, 2011

NEWSFLASH Shortlist for 2011 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year


Philip Abbink, Galway, Ireland

Lisa Allen, Galway, Ireland

Bernie Ashe, Galway, Ireland

Stephanie Brennan, Galway, Ireland

Stephen Byrne, Galway, Ireland

Marie Cadden, Galway, Ireland

June Caldwell, Dublin, Ireland

Kimberly Campanello, Dublin, Ireland

Jane Clarke, Wicklow, Ireland

Damian Cunniffe, Galway, Ireland

Madeleine D'Arcy, Cork, Ireland

Philippa Gibbons, Galway, Ireland

Mary Healy, Kilkenny, Ireland

Sandra Jensen, Cork, Ireland

Jean Kavanagh, Clare, Ireland

Tom Lavelle, Galway, Ireland

Barbara Leahy, Cork, Ireland

Rosaleen McDonagh, Dublin, Ireland

Danielle McLoughlin, Cork, Ireland

Sighle Meehan, Galway, Ireland

Lauren Norton, California, USA

Kerrie O’Brien, Dublin, Ireland

Noel O’Regan, Kerry, Ireland

Niall Ó’ Sioradáin, Dublin, Ireland

Evelyn Parsons, Galway, Ireland

Bridget Rowland, Mayo, Ireland

Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Massachusetts, USA

Eimear Ryan, Tipperary, Ireland

Natalie Ryan, Dublin, Ireland

Rejini Samuel, Galway, Ireland

Seamus Scanlon, New York, USA

Maresa Sheehan, Carlow, Ireland

Steve Wade, Dublin, Ireland

John Walsh, Galway, Ireland

Heidi Wickam, Sligo, Ireland

The competition is kindly sponsored by Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, McGinn’s Bar,
Niall Ó’Brolcháin, Senator Fidelma Healy Eames
& Mike Cubbard.

The winners will be announced
at the September Over The Edge: Open Reading
in Galway City Library
on Thursday, September, 29th, 6.30-8pm

The competition judge is Elaine Feeney

Galway launch of 'Boyne Berries' magazine at Charlie Byrne's Bookshop

Boyne Berries magazine was launched in spring 2007 by the Boyne Writers Group and it has been published twice yearly since. Boyne Berries includes prose and poetry from Boyne Writers Group members but also receives submissions from elsewhere in Ireland and from all over the world. It has published poems and stories from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and India in its nine issues so far. The group is especially pleased to have given many writers their first publication opportunity.

Boyne Berries’ simple spare style and trademark covers have become well-known among Irish writers but this ten has a different look and feel. Boyne Berries 10, is a special celebratory issue in a larger format with pictures and graphics as well as the usual prose, poems and drama. The cover has a striking colour image of Trim Castle floodlit at night by Greg Hastings whose images have been featured on the previous nine covers.

The titles of some of the other pieces give some idea of the variety of subject matter in the magazine: 'Leaving Nagasaki'; 'In Times of Deep Recession'; 'An American Mother’s Day in Ireland'; 'Thirteen Superstitions'; 'Allotment Allure'.

To mark this the tenth issue there will be a special Galway launch from 6pm on Friday 30 September in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Middle Street, Galway. Kevin Higgins will perform the official launch there and will read his contribution. Other contributors from the Galway area in this issue include Alan McMonagle, Liam Duffy, Rachel Coventry, Méabh McDonnell and Mari Maxwell.

The Boyne Writers Group was founded in March 2006 and meets twice monthly in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath. Its members are drawn from south Meath and surrounding counties and write poetry, prose and drama. Many have been published and have won awards in literary competitions. They have organised regular readings in Trim, a satire competition and poetry readings in connection with Trim Swift Festival and have organised events for All Ireland Poetry Day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute this Autumn- BEGINNERS & INTERMEDIATE


Creative Writing for Beginners with Kevin Higgins takes place one evening per week (Monday) from 7-9.30pm. (8 weeks) It commences on Monday, September 26th, 2011. Advance booking is essential. Places cost €120. Kevin Higgins will provide writing exercises for, and give gentle critical feedback to, those interested in trying their hand at writing poems, stories or memoir.

Intermediate Creative Writing with Susan Millar DuMars takes place one evening per week (Tuesday) from 7-9.30pm (8 weeks) It commences on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011. Advance booking is essential. Places cost €120. This class is suitable for those who’ve participated in creative writing classes before or begun to have work published in magazines. Flexible exercises and work-shopping of assignments, together with the study of the works of published writers, will help each class member to find their own writing voice.

To book a place in either class contact GTI, Father Griffin Road, Galway Telephone 091-581342, e-mail or see

Poetry Workshops at Galway Arts Centre with Kevin Higgins STARTING IN SEPTEMBER

Starting in September, 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 last year by Salmon and his work also appears in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade –New British and Irish Poets (Ed. Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). A collection of Kevin’s essays and reviews will be published by Salmon Poetry early next year. His next collection of poetry ‘The Ghost in The Lobby’ will be published in early 2013, also by Salmon.

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, another the Cúirt New Writing Prize, and yet another the Cúirt Poetry Grand Slam, while several have published collections of their poems. 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 September 19th. They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (first class September 20th); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (first class September 22nd) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (first class September 23rd).

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 an €100 concession rate.

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

GMIT presents Creative Writing for Beginners with Susan Millar DuMars

This autumn GMIT is offering a course in Creative Writing for Beginners with Susan Millar DuMars. The course takes place at GMIT Dublin Road Campus one evening per week (Wednesday) for 7 weeks from 7–9p.m. It commences on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011.Advance booking is essential. The course fee is €95.

During the seven weeks Susan Millar DuMars will give support, instruction and feedback to students who are interested in writing either fiction (short stories, novels) or poetry. The class will work on techniques for forming ideas and getting started; engaging the reader’s senses; using figures of speech effectively; being alert to the importance of the sound of words, the rhythm of writing; how to manage the truth in a fictitious piece; the different forms of poetry; awareness of character and point of view in fiction; editing and polishing work. Whether the student seeks publication, self-expression, a rewarding hobby (or possibly all three), this course is a wonderful place to start.

For further details or to book a place contact GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway. Telephone 091 742145 or see

Course Tutor:
Susan Millar DuMars' debut poetry collection, Big Pink Umbrella, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2008. Her next collection, Dreams for Breakfast, appeared in April 2010. Her work features in Landing Places, Dedalus’ 2010 anthology of immigrant poetry written in Ireland; and also in The Best Of Irish Poetry 2010. A fiction writer as well, she published a collection of short stories, American Girls, with Lapwing in 2007. She published a book of short stories in 2010: Lights in the Distance, published by Doire Press. She has been the recipient of an Arts Council Literature Bursary. She lives in Galway, where she and her husband have run the Over the Edge readings series since 2003.