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Monday, December 11, 2017


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, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese & Portuguese. His fourth collection of poetry, The Ghost in the Lobby, was published in 2014 by Salmon. 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. Kevin was satirist-in-residence with the alternative literature website The Bogman’s Cannon 2015-16 and is Writer-in-Residence at University Hospitals Galway. 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in early 2016; a pamphlet of Kevin’s recent political poems The Minister For Poetry Has Decreed was published in 2016 by  the new Culture Matters imprint of U.K. based Manifesto Press. Song of Songs 2:0 – New & Selected Poems is published by Salmon (Spring 2017) and launched at the 2017 Cúirt Festival. The Stinging Fly magazine recently described Kevin as “likely the most widely read living poet in Ireland”. His poems have been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Times (UK), The Independent, The Daily Mirror, and on Tonight With Vincent Browne.
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 22nd.  They will take place on Tuesday evenings, 7-8.30pm (first class January 23rd); on Thursday afternoons, 2-4pm (first class January 25th) and on Friday afternoons, 2-3.30pm (first class January 26th).

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

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 four collections of poetry, Big Pink Umbrella (2008), Dreams For Breakfast (2010), The God Thing (2013), & Bone Fire (2016) all with Salmon Poetry. Susan was the Featured Fiction writer in a recent issue of 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, 2.30-4pm, commencing on Monday, January 22nd. It runs for 10 weeks.

The cost to participants is 110 Euro with a 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 Galway Arts

Friday, December 01, 2017

Final Over The Edge: Open Reading of 2017 with Iggy McGovern, Linda Forde, & Flávia Simas

The December ‘Over The Edge: Open Reading’ takes place in Galway City Library on Thursday, December 14th, 6.30-8.00pm. The Featured Readers are Iggy McGovern, Linda Forde, & Flávia Simas. There will as usual be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are especially welcome. The Over The Edge Christmas celebration will take place afterwards. 

Flávia Simas was born and raised in Goiás, Brazil, where she completed her studies and earned a Master's Degree in Linguistics. She moved to Ireland in 2013 to accompany her spouse who got assigned to a project in Tuam. She's also lived in India and the US. Flávia works in Galway as a Customer Service Representative and is interested in the effects, both positive and negative, of Globalisation in people's lives. A Womanist, Flavia is a founding member of two collectives: the Ativismo de Sofá in Brazil and the Galway Feminist Collective in Ireland. Her work has appeared at the and she also occasionally publishes at Elephant Journal. Flávia is also a yogi, chronically ill, very much alive and a Kate Bush enthusiast. 

Linda Ford is from Wales and has been living in Galway for five years. She has had a varied career, setting up and running her own Art and Craft shop for 15 years before becoming a Business Adviser, Town Regeneration Co-ordinator and then a Business Support Manager. She is now a Personal Performance Coach and Trainer, working with small business owners and teams to reach their goals. In the past, Linda’s writing career involved reports, newsletters and funding bids. Whilst there was often opportunity for extensive creativity in this work, it wasn’t enough for Linda so she joined Susan’s Creative Writing Course at Galway Arts Centre in September 2016. 

Iggy McGovern
Iggy McGovern is Fellow Emeritus in the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of three collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, The King of Suburbia (2005), Safe House (2010) and The Eyes of Isaac Newton (2017). A Mystic Dream of 4 (Quaternia Press 2013) is a poetic biography of the 19th century mathematician and poet, William Rowan Hamilton. His awards include the Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry, the Hennessy New Writers Award and the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary.

As usual there will be an open-mic after the Featured Readers have finished. New readers are always most 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, Poetry Ireland, & The Arts Council.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

November Over The Edge: Open Reading-Penelope Shuttle, Ursula Shields-Huemer, & Gillian Hamill plus LAUNCH of Skylight 47 Latest Issue

The November Over The Edge: Open Reading takes place in Galway City Library on Thursday, November 23rd, 6.30-8.00pm. The Featured Readers are Penelope Shuttle, Ursula Shields-Huemer, & Gillian Hamill. The centre piece of the evening will be the launch of issue nine of Skylight 47, the exciting bi-annual poetry paper from the Skylight Poets, which will be on sale on the evening. The publication will be launched by Penelope Shuttle. Skylight 47 is based in Galway and publishes poems by poets from all around the globe; all poets are welcome to submit poems for consideration for future issues. For details on how to take out a subscription to Skylight 47 see here.

Gillian Hamill
Originally from the village of Eglinton in Derry, Gillian Hamill has lived in Dublin for the past 13 years (intermingled with stints in Galway, Waterford and Nice). She has a BA in English Studies from Trinity College, Dublin and a MA in Journalism from NUI Galway. She is currently the editor of trade publication, ShelfLife magazine and has acted in a number of theatre productions. Gillian started writing poetry in late 2014.

Ursula Shields-Huemer is Austrian and has lived in Ireland for 25 years. She is a psychotherapist and Jungian analyst. Her poems have grown from a longtime engagement with language and creativity  – supported by classes with Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars. Ursula was recently invited to present poems at a conference on artist Caspar Walter Rauh. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Over the Edge New Writer’s award.

Penelope Shuttle
Penelope Shuttle has lived in Cornwall since 1970, and is the widow of the poet Peter Redgrove. Her first collection of poems, The Orchard Upstairs (1981) was followed by six other books from Oxford University Press, and then A Leaf Out of His Book (1999) from Oxford Poets/Carcanet, and Redgrove’s Wife (2006) and Sandgrain and Hourglass (2010) from Bloodaxe Books. Redgrove’s Wife was shortlisted for both the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2006. Sandgrain Her retrospective, Unsent: New & Selected Poems 1980-2012 (Bloodaxe Books, 2012), drew on ten collections published over three decades. Her most recent collection, Will you walk a little faster?, was published by Bloodaxe in May . First published as a novelist, her fiction includes All the Usual Hours of Sleeping (1969), and Rainsplitter in the Zodiac Garden (1977).With Peter Redgrove, she is co-author of The Wise Wound: Menstruation and Everywoman (1978) and Alchemy for Women: Personal Transformation Through Dreams and the Female Cycle (1995). Shuttle’s work is widely anthologised and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4, and her poem ‘Outgrown’ was used recently in a radio and television commercial. She is current Chair of the Falmouth Poetry Group, one of the longest-running poetry workshops in the U.K.

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, Poetry Ireland, & The Arts Council.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year WINNERS

The winner in the Fiction category, and 2017 Over The Edge New Writer of the Year, is Micheál Ó'Síocháin from Cork for his story 'A day in the life of Frankie Bones and Little Maneen'.
Micheál Ó'Síocháin
Micheál receives €700 in prize money, a hamper of books from Kenny's Bookshop, Galway, and will be a Featured Reader at an Over The Edge: Open Reading in the first half of 2018. Doire Press will read, without prior commitment to publish, a collection of short stories submitted to them by Micheál

The runner-up in the Fiction category is Richard Newton - Hampshire, UK for his story 'Loose Ends'.
In third place is Kathryn Burke, Dublin for her story 'A Legacy Issue'.

Highly commended in the fiction section are Paula Conway - East Sussex, UK for her story 'Chalk Man'; Niall Bourke, London, UK for his story 'The Hands of The Andes' & Niamh MacCabe, Leitrim for her story 'Steer The Dark Skies Blue'.

The winner in the Poetry category is Caroline Am Bergris, London, UK for her poem 'Graceland'.

Caroline receives prize money of €300 and Salmon Poetry will now read, without prior commitment to publish, a collection of poems submitted to them by Caroline. Caroline will also read her work at an Over The Edge event during 2018. 

The runner-up in the poetry section is Emily Vieweg - Fargo, North Dakota, USA, for her poem 'Bipolar is...'

In third place is Evan Costigan, Kildare for his poem 'Simplex No. 15,604'.

Highly commended in the poetry section are Connie Masterson, County Galway for her poem 'Unholy'; Sighle Meehan, Galway for her poem 'Autumn'; &  Anne Walsh Donnelly, Mayo for her poem 'Odd as Fuck'.
Nicki Griffin

Judge’s comments from Nicki Griffin: 

"In the end 'graceland' came first [in the poetry section], very closely over 'Bipolar is…', because of its careful, clever, original use of language, painting an extraordinary picture of a housing estate and its residents of which the narrator is one. The situations within the poem are often desperate, yet the poem is not gloomy. This is in no way a humorous poem, yet there is a hint of an underlying humour in the descriptions of place and people, a recognition of the strength and resilience of those living in often appalling circumstances.

In the fiction section: every word in 'A day in the life of Frankie Bones and Little Maneen' counts. The characters are utterly believable, brought to life through telling detail. The story is not new, but the writing is fresh with layers of complexity illustrating an impossible dilemma for the narrator. There's a lot of dialogue in this story, written in readable dialect, which is not easy to get right, and each character has a clear, unique voice.

The overall winner was really difficult to pick. But it's 'Frankie Bones and Little Maneen'."

The shortlist from which the winners were chosen is available here

Over The Edge would like to thank Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Kenny's Bookshop & Gallery, Dock No. 1 Bar & Restaurant, Ward's Hotel, Senator Trevor Ó'Clochairtaigh, and Clare Daly T.D. for sponsoring our competition this year.