Photo © Mike Hannon
17 - 20 September daily, 9.30am - 12.30pm
All workshops €180, with the exception of Short Stories for New Writers with Jon Boilard (€150). Please see individual class descriptions for more information.
Maximum number of participants in each workshop is 15.
Click on the panels to view the course descriptions and tutor bios.
Prerequisite: publication in periodical / journal.
This four-part master-class in short story will examine all elements of the short story – characters, setting, plot, conflict and theme, as well as the short story form itself – what makes a short story a short story? We will look briefly at some well-known short stories but participants are also encouraged to read and discuss their own work. Writing exercises will feature in the hope that each participant will begin and develop a new short story.
1. Characters, Settings, Point-of-View and Tense
The first session of this master-class will concentrate on what you need before you even begin to write a story; three dimensional characters that ring true and jump off the page, a place and a time that your reader will recognise even if they’ve never been there, and the narrative mode best suited to bring the very best out in your story and characters.
2. Beginnings and Backgrounds
The second session of the master-class will look at planning and starting a short story. We’ll learn ways to plot narratives that prevent the writer getting stuck or overloaded somewhere in the middle by learning to differentiate between necessary and unnecessary information. We’ll also look at ways to gauge a reader’s attention from the get-go and keep them reading.
3. Drama, Conflict and Minimalism
Session three and the continuation of the story. How to plough through the most difficult part of your story without complicating, confusing or boring your reader, and simultaneously keep your plot and themes small but vital? We’ll look at ways to use conflict in order to heighten the drama in your story whilst avoiding clichéd, abstract and judgemental writing.
4. Climax and Endings and what next?
The final session of the master-class will look at short story climaxes and endings; ways to conclude your stories that both tie up all your loose threads and leave your reader feeling as though they’ve experienced an emotion rather than simply read a few paragraphs. Plus, what to do with your short story now that it’s written? Some advice on competitions, short story markets and composing collections.
Rachel Trezise was born in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales, where she still lives. She studied at Glamorgan and Limerick Universities. Her debut novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2002. Harpers & Queen magazine voted her New Face of Literature, 2003. In 2006 her first short story collection, Fresh Apples won the inaugural International Dylan Thomas Prize. Her first full length play Tonypandemonium was staged by National Theatre Wales in 2013 and won the Theatre Critics of Wales Award for best production in 2014. Her second collection of short stories Cosmic Latte was shortlisted for The Edge Hill Short Story Prize this year. She also writes non-fiction and critiques manuscripts for The Literary Consultancy. racheltrezise.co.uk
Suitable for beginner writers who would like to explore the foundation elements of the short story, and for those who have never written before. Topics include: plot, setting, character, conflict, symbols, point of view, and building themes. Participants will read and discuss their own stories in class and writing exercises will feature in most sessions. The tutor will advise on building good writing habits, finding a writing community and how to send off work for publication.
SESSION ONE:Elements of Fiction
Plot, Setting, Character, Conflict, Symbol, and Point of View are the main elements which fiction writers use to develop a story and its Theme. Setting might be the most important element in one and almost nonexistent in another. Just as a Crime Scene Investigator cannot approach a crime scene looking for a specific clue (e. g., shell casings), you as a reader cannot approach a story deciding to look for a specific element, such as Symbol. This session will look at each element in depth, and the class will look at participants' work in progress.
SESSION TWO: Sending your work out.
Remember that writing isn't just the act of putting words on paper, it's also sending your completed stories to literary magazines for publication, entering fiction contests, basically flooding the market with your best material—the administrative side of writing can be just as important as the creative side. No agent or editor or publisher is going to come looking for you, you have to make yourself visible. You have to put yourself out there. Writing exercises and advice on establishing habits and sending out submissions features in this session.
SESSION THREE: Shameless Self-Promotion; News & Trends.
This session involves advice from the tutor on how to share and promote your work. Discussion will follow on current trends in fiction. Class will look at participants' work in progress.
SESSION FOUR: Resources for Beginning Writers, Q&A / Contact information.
The tutor will advise students on resources for beginning writers, and there will be a general Q&A session to discuss the topics covered during the week. The class will continue to discuss participants' work in progress.
Jon Boilard was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. He has been living and writing in Northern California since 1986. His short stories have been published in literary journals in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, another received a special mention for the same, a third won the Sean O'Faolain Award and several others have earned individual small press honors. His first novel, A River Closely Watched, was published by MacAdam Cage in 2012. http://jonboilard.com
Photo © John Minihan
Story to novel: how to write long when you are used to writing short
This workshop will provide an introductory guide to novel writing. Participants will receive a daily handout and we will write at every session. We will also have an opportunity to discuss publishers, agents etc. Participants are welcome to bring the first five pages of a novel in progress for discussion in class.
SESSION 1 – The first five pages
This workshop will look at early decisions in novel writing: the importance of a strong title; point of view, tense and structure. We will also explore the notion of theme in writing novels.
SESSION 2 – Plotting and planning
In this session we will focus on ways of enriching your novel as opposed to making it flabby. We will look at plot, sub-plot, side-alleys, structure and flow in novel writing.
SESSION 3 – Character and dialogue
This workshop will examine character under the following headings: creating believable characters; motivation; conflict; profiles; naming. We will also zone in on the things our characters say and don’t say; correct layout of dialogue; how to reproduce real speech in fiction; and the use of colloquial language.
SESSION 4 – Self-editing
The final workshop will focus on MS layout and how to improve self-editing skills. In this session, Nuala will also answer queries from participants regarding publishing opportunities, approaching agents and publishers, recommended reading etc.
Nuala Ní Chonchúir was born in Dublin in 1970; she lives in East Galway. Her critically acclaimed first novel YOU was published in 2010 by New Island. The same publisher brought out her fourth short story collection Mother America in 2012. A chapbook of flash Of Dublin and Other Fictions was published in the US in late 2013 by Tower Press and Nuala’s second novel The Closet of Savage Mementos appeared in April 2014 from New Island. Penguin USA and Penguin Canada will publish Nuala’s third novel, Miss Emily, about the poet Emily Dickinson and her Irish maid, in 2015. www.nualanichonchuir.com
Photo © John Minihan
Prerequisite: publication in periodical / journal.
This September, during the Cork International Short Story Festival, The Munster Literature Centre is grabbing the opportunity to present a four morning Poetry Masterclass with one of Europe’s most admired poets under forty years of age. The Estonian poet Kristiina Ehin is attending the festival to read from her latest short story collection in English. Her work has received not only all of Estonia’s major poetry awards but also the Poetry Society’s highest accolade for poetry in translation (The Popescu Prize). She lectures in creative writing at Tartu University and this will be a rare opportunity for Irish poets seeking a masterclass with a completely different perspective. Combining elements of Estonian and Irish folk and poetic traditions, this masterclass will present insights novel to the Irish poetry workshop scene by a young poet of acknowledged genius. The masterclass is reserved for poets who have already begun to publish in periodicals or who may have already published a collection of their own. For more about Kristiina visit:
During the four day workshop participants will be encouraged to share their poetry and prose poems in order to expand their creativity and methods of composition. We will use a variety of spontaneous exercises in description, reflection, language and structure. Working as a group we will create a positive atmosphere to respond to each other's work.
Preliminary task: Participants are asked to bring a list of at least 10 unusual words to the first session that are interesting in their sound, meaning and feeling, and that might find their way into your poetry. These can be from literary works, dictionaries, folk songs or just from other people.
Introduction. Exercises for inspiration. Games to find one's own means of poetic expression. Identity as one of poetry's basic themes (parallel examples in classic Estonian and Irish poetry). Who am I, where am I, where am I going – the creation of a poem. How to connect hearing and writing: working in pairs – posing questions and writing a poem based on the answers.
Exercises to enliven the senses: how to turn sensations, feelings and ideas into words. How to find the right words. Poems made up of unusual words. Words as sensitive colours with which to paint landscapes, situations and beings. Dialogue poems. Exercises to establish contact.
Creating images as a riddle. The tightrope walk of mystery and explication. Exercises in stylistic imitation (haiku, romantic poetry, folk poetry, classicism, surrealistic poetry, free verse).
Using traditional folk motifs in poetry ( Estonian and Irish examples). Folk poetry as inspiration. Writing poetry on the basis of fairy tales. Archetype in psychoanalysis as a creator of the multidimensionality of a poem. Sharing the participants’ work. Conclusions.
Cancellation Policy (Please read carefully.)
Mobility Requirements: Most of the venues have wheelchair access but not all. If you have limited mobility every effort will be made to accommodate you, but best chance is through an early booking.
Your workshop place will be secured only after full payment. Every effort will be made to make sure that the programme proceeds as advertised but the Munster Literature Centre accepts no responsibility for changes made due to circumstances beyond our control. Refunds will be given only if a workshop is cancelled.
As workshops sell out notification of such will be posted on this page.
How to Book
We will be accepting workshop bookings from July.
Phone + 353 (021)4312955
In person at The Munster Literature Centre, Frank O’Connor House, 84
Douglas Street, Cork
Payment will be accepted by cheque/postal order (made payable to the Munster Literature Centre) or by credit card via Paypal (link provided on registration).