|Congratulations to Fermanagh Writers’ members – and especially Gordon Williams and his proofreading team – for all their hard work. When we went to work on the project last year members scribbled furiously to produce stories and poems for Tuesdays At Charlie’s and the production team put it all together. Tuesdays just celebrated the first anniversary of its release last month and this week we have learned that the collection was shortlisted for Writing Magazine’s Writers Circle Anthology contest. So well done everyone!|
A Day With The Feldstein Literary Agency
fcwg Uncategorized Feldstein Literary Agency, Fermanagh writers, Getting Published, literary agencies, Paul Feldstein, Susan Feldstein, writers workshops
On Saturday Fermanagh Writers hosted the Getting Published workshop, taught by Susan and Paul Feldstein who run the Feldstein Literary Agency. In the workshop they covered everything from what to include in a synopsis and covering letter to send to an agent or publisher, to what happens during the period between getting an agent and signing a publishing contract, to things to consider if you decide to self-publish. There was lots of very valuable information crammed into a day that passed too quickly. Susan and Paul presented the material in an informal but very knowledgeable manner.
Workshop participants travelled from as far away as Downpatrick and Lisburn and towns and villages dotted around Counties Cavan, Leitrim and Fermanagh. Everyone was full of questions which the workshop leaders ably answered. There was a buzz of chatter as participants left at the end of the day, still discussing what they had learned.
Tony Brady, FW Chair emailed these comments to the Feldsteins after the workshop: “Thank you for your most stimulating, educative and motivating Presentation today at Fermanagh House in Enniskillen…My initial soundings over lunchtime [of workshop participants] were of positive appreciation of you both and definite value obtained from subscribing to the event.”
John James, another FW member said: “Before the workshop I was somewhat lost in terms of getting my work published, I thought I knew what I was doing – but I guess I really did not. They really put us all in the picture and I feel I can now go forward with my plans with greater insight, competence and confidence. In sum, the workshop was invaluable for anyone considering getting their work published in whatever way they choose.”
Lorna Milligan, a workshop participant said: “It was a very enjoyable day – Paul and Susan were great hosts – informative, encouraging and their dynamics as a couple – a joy to behold! The Enniskillen group sure sounds like it is an encouraging place to bring work – and all members I met seem to have a bright flame of inspiration, the stories around the table sounded wonderful.”
fcwg Uncategorized Fermanagh writers, Ireland's Own, Marie Connor, Mariette Connor, The People's Friend
On behalf of Fermanagh Writers, Dianne Trimble bids farewell to Marie Connor:
I first met Marie Connor when she called into the office where I work to arrange catering for the book launch of a writers’ organisation she belonged to. As a result of this chance meeting she introduced me to the organisation and I joined it. Through a convoluted series of events I eventually ended up also as a member of Fermanagh Writers and the secretary for both organisations. And it’s all down to my first contact with Marie.
Marie and her husband, Bill, are leaving Enniskillen this month and moving to the sunnier south of England and I will miss her. And so will the other members of Fermanagh Writers. She has made a great contribution to our group.
Marie has an outgoing personality. She encourages and draws the best from group members and charms shop owners into stocking our first book. She’s our best saleswoman and she has always been a great ambassador for the group. She also provides sound advice, based on her experiences, about writing and getting published to our members.
She’s been a prolific writer for many years and her stories and reminiscences have been published in Ireland’s Own and The People’s Friend as well as numerous writers’ groups’ anthologies and local newspapers around the world. Her varied experiences in many countries have fuelled her pen.
At Marie’s farewell dinner this week members of our group read poems they had written in her honour and she was touched by them. Maybe she has also sparked the beginnings of our next anthology?….
Fermanagh Writers wish Marie and Bill the best of luck as they move across the sea. We’re also hoping she finds a home in a new writers’ group soon – we plan to visit her….
Fermanagh Writers At FLive
fcwg Uncategorized Fermanagh Arts Festival, Fermanagh writers, FLive
Last week was a busy one for Fermanagh Writers. We had no sooner performed at Erneside Shopping Centre, reading our poetry as part of All Ireland Poetry Day, then we were in the spotlight again.
On Saturday, 6th October we hosted an afternoon of readings at Enniskillen Library as part of FLive. During the Fermanagh Arts Festival’s mini-fest a couple years ago we hosted an Open Mic afternoon but this is the first time we have participated in the main festival. We were delighted by the response of the audience and the festival organisers to our writings.
We had an attentive audience in the library foyer and we also piqued the interest of everyone who slipped past us into the library. Before the end of the afternoon all the seats were filled and people were standing at the back listening to us.
Marie Connor, one of our committee members, gave her last reading with our group before she and her husband move to warmer climes in the south of England. She enchanted the audience with a gentle tale reminiscent of the stories she writes for Ireland’s Own and The People’s Friend.
Gordon Williams gave a very animated reading. Books flew across the table and around the room as he shared his thoughts about some of the tomes in his personal collection.
The short stories and poems were funny, poignant, exciting and nostalgic. Readings by
our members are always a diverse affair. Pete Byrne took a humorous look at the complexities of Northern Irish society from an alien’s point of view, Tony Viney looked at modern life from a World War II veteran’s perspective and Dianne Trimble stepped into the realms of Mills & Boon fiction. The listener never knew what was coming next. But when we looked out at the faces in the audience it seemed that they were enjoying it.
Fermanagh Writers would like to thank Flive for inviting us to participate in the festival.
Mall Rats – Our Contribution To All Ireland Poetry Day
fcwg Uncategorized All Ireland Poetry Day, Dianne Trimble, Fermanagh writers, John D Kellly, John Llewellyn James, poetry, Poetry Ireland, Seamas MacAnnaidh
John Llewellyn James recounts our experience of All Ireland Poetry Day: After surviving everything Fermanagh weather could throw at us at Portora Castle last year, we sought shelter this time for our Annual Poet’s Corner on All Ireland Poetry Day, sponsored by Poetry Ireland, in our local shopping mall, the Erneside Centre. We felt somewhat alien in this high temple of capitalist trade, and wondered whether some monetary messiah was going to come over and kick over our table and jump up and down on our hymn sheets.
Nevertheless, the leader of our band of brothers – and one sister – renowned Fermangh poet/writer Seamus MacAnnaidh stood up to brave the incessant muzak and deliver thoughtful verse on our historic local fortifications, that left one in the grip of thoughts of bygone ages and in the throes of thirst for more. He was followed by our canny wordsmith John D. Kelly, who carved intricate patterns of word play with gentle rhyme and no little reason.
Our good Doctor friend, Gordon Williams, was next and his patience (or should that be patients?) was tested by the throaty vocals of diva Bonnie Tyler, he prevailed and delivered a prescription of laughter with his pun-laden poetry. The Welsh songstress gave way for her fellow countryman John Llewelyn James, who performed a poignant peon for his mother. Next up was our latest rising star Paul, who crammed more thought and feeling into one stanza, than one would find in many a contemporary novel. Our roster was completed by Dianne Trimble, who stepped out from behind the camera to provide a gentle and thoughtful evocation. We had survived the breach and emerged victorious with all our fingers intact.
Our sincerest thankst to Poetry Ireland for their continued support and our thanks to the staff and customers of Jamm who played tolerant hosts to our group. Also to our cheerleader Pete Byrne, who shied away from participating, but made every effort to support us and drum up business for our gig on Saturday as part of Fermanagh Live Arts Festival (more about that another time).
No Alibis – Nowhere To Run And Hide
fcwg Uncategorized Belfast bookshops, book launch, David Torrans, Dianne Trimble, Fermanagh writers, John D Kelly, John Llewellyn James, No Alibis Bookshop, Peter Byrne, Tony Viney, Tuesedays At Charlie's
John James recounts our visit to the Big Smoke:
When it was first mooted, we all had our doubts. How would a local anthology fare up in the Big Smoke? Would anybody be interested in a bit of culchie culture in the rich tapestry of life and art, in the Bohemian student area of Botanic Avenue? Nevertheless we saddled our horses and put the remaining copies of our first print run in our panniers.
No Alibis Bookshop provided a home away from home, a table and microphone set amongst shelves and shelves brimful of learned tomes, literature and poetry, artfully decorated with playful prints.
Our host and the owner of No Alibis, David Torrans, was genial and made us feel welcome, as well providing competition in the wearing of fancy shirts. We settled down to await our audience. At first we were nervous, as it was a case of one man and his dog and the mutt was outside sniffing the lamp-post. However, when David introduced us and we peered anxiously around the corner, the aisles were full to the brim with punters.
Our Chair Tony Viney, began with a tale of criminal activity, appropriate for our venue, followed by John Kelly who reeled off a string of character-laden poetry. Pete Byrne followed with a tale of his misspent Dublin childhood, another Dub Marie Connor, delighted us all with a piece of homespun whimsy. John Llewelyn James got into his costume box, to tell a sentimental story in verse. It was left to Fermanagh native son, Ken Ramsay, to present a childhood memoir of wit and nostalgia. Tony rounded things off with a pithy haiku that will do wonders in the promotion of Fermanagh as a place to visit.
This played out to an appreciative crowd and camera-flashes that made us feel like movie-stars – though the latter was provided by our own Thomas McGovern. We spoke to people after the event and sold some books, made useful contacts for developing future partnerships for our group.
Our sincere and grateful thanks to David, Claudia and Emma at No Alibis for providing the venue and selling our books without any charge or commission – all David asked for were donations to the Northern Ireland Hospice. We hope he raised lots of money for that worthy cause. Our thanks also to Dianne Trimble for contacting David and organising the gig, which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
Paul Muldoon At Charlie’s Bar
fcwg Uncategorized Charlie's Bar, Fermanagh writers, Paul Muldoon, poetry
John D Kelly talks about Paul Muldoon’s visit to Fermanagh Writers:
Last Tuesday at Charlie’s Bar – on 28th August, Fermanagh Writers had the great pleasure of being entertained and educated by one of the world’s most highly acclaimed living poets currently writing in the English language.
Paul Muldoon, most graciously, and without hesitation – or condition, agreed to come speak to us when I asked him a couple of months ago. I think it was the reflection, off my brass neck, that dazzled him into it as the sunlight streamed through the kitchen window of our home in Corsale; or perhaps it was our two fierce dogs looking hungry, or was it the isolation of where we live and maybe the sight of the two shotguns hanging on the gun rack – beside the chainsaw that made it hard for him to say no?
All joking aside, Paul was most generous in his response. He possesses a modesty and an apparent egoless ness rarely found amongst individuals. These qualities – and his openness, warmth, wisdom and ability to teach, share and to reach out to, and inclusively engage with, everyone in our group – even the prose writers! – was truly astounding, and I know that many of us learned a lot from what he said that night.
He took us back to what ‘he’ called the basics of ‘what a poem is’ and what is meant by ‘verse’ and ‘prose’ and he explained how he sets about ‘building’ with words – from the foundations up! These so called ‘basics’ came across strangely as something blindingly new for many of us I think – simply by the way Paul communicated them to the group with such soft seriousness, energy, clarity and encouragement. We talked about inspiration, the fear of the white page, the collective unconscious, conduits, blockages, constipation, discovery, finding a voice – or many voices – knowing when to stop. . . .
At the end of it all, and beyond a two hour session, we were all well nourished I feel but, in our gluttony, some still wanted dessert; to hear him read more of his poems!
Perhaps another time?
Unhinged and Beckett
fcwg Uncategorized Beckett Festival, Dermot Maguire, Dianne Trimble, Enniskillen, Fermanagh writers, Happy Days, Happy Days Festival, John D Kelly, John James, Marie Connor, Peter Byrne, Russell & Donnelly, Tony Viney
John James reflects on Fermanagh Writers’ contribution to Happy Days, Enniskillen’s first Beckett Festival:
Cobbling together a name at the last minute for our session on the Fringe, was a challenge in itself, all the best ideas seemed to have been snapped up by other events. However our dish seemed to entice an interested and appreciative audience from the local community and guests from further afield.
Our Chair Tony Viney compered the event and began proceedings with a thoughtful environmental prose symbiotically attached to a cultural classic. He was followed by the quiet man of Fermanagh, Dermot Maguire, with thoughtful and topical pieces. The high priest of poetic perambulations, John Kelly, followed with a selection of tongue-twisting, mind-expanding linguistic gymnastics. John Llewelyn James came out of his shell, channelling a voice of rage and bitterness, delivering a broadside against pretension. Mariette our matriarch, told a story about a rogue that was quintessentially Irish, but echoed a multitude of similar characters in other cultures, therefore it spoke to everyone.
We had a beautiful musical interlude provided by Ben and Sarah,and Daniel our thanks to them for coming and taking part. After the break, Tony Viney pulled another ‘Flatlake’ on Pete and delivered a thoughtful, if a little sacrilegious, satire on a difficult and emotion-laden issue. At last, Pete Byrne from the nether regions of Dublin, gave us a comical, self-effacing memoir on his, well, nether regions. Dianne Trimble calmed proceedings down, with a gentle reflection of times gone by, that still have a lot to teach us about how we are today. We finished with more from John Kelly, l eaving the audience lifted and buzzing with thoughts and ideas of their own.
Our thanks go to the festival organisers for creating a fertile environment for our presentation and to the all the people at Russell & Donnelly, who helped make the day happen.
Writers On Water
fcwg Uncategorized Erne Paddlers, Fermanagh writers, kayaking, watersports, Waterways Ireland
Our member, John James, fills us in on Writers and Watersports Day on 12th August:
They say that water and ink don’t mix, we beg to differ. At our Annual Kayaking Day on the 12th August, members of the Fermanagh Writers got out onto the water of Lough Erne in kayaks thanks to members of the Erne Paddlers who got us all kitted up, provided the kayaks and most importantly, kept us all safe.
Waterways Ireland kindly provided the necessary funding and gave our members, who had practically little if any experience, the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful waters of Lough Erne, up close and personal.
We thought that Sir Steve Redgrave had gained his medals cheaply – until we tried to get out of bed the next morning! But it was worth it and all the sweeter knowing such a privileged experience had to be earned. Our bodies were placed on the line to power the boats, all motion was hand-wrought and unassisted by engines.
On a warm Summer’s day, we were watched by family and friends, joined in the water by the occasional dog and a group of children bravely swimming, motorboat pilots and passengers waved us by and quelled their speed to soften their wakes.
Everybody was excited by viewing the sights from a very different angle, getting connected to the water on an almost spiritual level, making personal resolutions to get out on the water more often, in any and every capacity in the future. We fell in love with Lough Erne again, no more shall we take it for granted, indeed we want to bring friends and families from far away places, back to Fermanagh and enjoy the waters with us. Our waters here in Fermanagh are magical places and have proved to be an inspiration to us and our work.
Book Well Received In Ballinamore
fcwg Uncategorized Angela McCabe, Anthony Viney, Ballinamore, Dialogues Through Literature Readers Symposium, Fermanagh writers, Helen Osborne, Tuesdays At Charlie's
Yesterday at the Dialogues Through Literature Readers’ Symposium in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim Fermanagh Writers celebrated the launch of Tuesdays At Charlie’s. We had already launched the book in Enniskillen in May. But since two of our members live in Co Leitrim we also wanted to celebrate the book in Co Leitrim. The book was on sale at the event and was well received by readers.
Helen Osborne, Northern Ireland Libraries, introduced members of our group who read excerpts from the book and she commended the book to the audience.
Angela McCabe and her stepson read two of her poems. The pieces clearly evoked a sense of these places that are important to Angela.
Anthony Viney read one of his prose pieces, a chilling story entitled Friends Re-united.
borders and of crossing them to establish dialogue through the medium of literature. On the day that we attended, we shared a platform with Booker Prizewinner, DBC Pierre, who explored the concept of borders in his presentation as well as reading extracts from his book concerning the US-Mexico border. Later we had a presentation from Tony McAuley, about his childhood in Belfast, how social and political borders were inculcated in him from a young age, through prejudice, fear and bigotry. He spoke about how he crossed those borders and began a lifelong commitment to breaking down barriers here in Northern Ireland, bringing people
together through literature. He emphasised that people have much more in common, than what they have different. These presentations and following discussions have inspired us to further develop our commitment to do more cross-border work and to challenge barriers that still exist in Fermanagh. At the event, we met with people from both sides of the border and exchanged ideas and we discovered a mutuality of interests and potential for future cross-border co-operation.