|Anti-Room panel at Dublin Book Festival|
I've been tearing around the place the last few days and there's no rest for me yet - I'm back up to Dublin today to meet my new TCD writing mentee - always a joy. I ran a flash fiction workshop with the Lit and Deb Soc in NUI Galway on Thursday; then went up to meet the lovely MA and MPhils in Writing at UCD on Friday. And this Friday sees the New Planet Cabaret launch in the Gutter Book Shop.
The Dublin Book Festival on Saturday saw the Anti-Room discussing women's literature and women's place in the literary world with the charming and wonderful Sinéad Gleeson, Anna Carey, Christine Dwyer-Hickey and Jennie Ridyard. We talked VIDA stats, Brontës and Austens, women-only lit prizes and the branding of female writers. Both Christine and Jennie have brand new books out - so look out for them: short stories and a novel, respectively.
|Anna Carey and Christine Dwyer-Hickey listening to Jennie Ridyard give the VIDA stats|
Yesterday I took part in Mindshift at the Festival, an excellent day of professional development for published writers. Authors have been crying out for just such a forum for ages and kudos to Valerie Bistany at the Irish Writers' Centre for providing it. The two speakers - Margaret E. Ward and Eoin Purcell - were excellent. I learnt so much about how the publishing business works and where all the money goes. It was both humbling and mildly depressing but, ultimately, knowledge is power.
In the afternoon, Audrey Carville chaired a discussion about what development needs published writers have and asked how the IWC can help in providing them. Very valuable for mid-career writers who find themselves isolated and, often, feeling a little neglected when all opportunities appear to be for either the début writer or those who are famous.
There will be more Mindshift events and I urge published writers to attend, to meet their peers and help to get some new supports in place. I met loads of great writers who were new to me and/or whose names I know but had never met. An excellent day out, hugely informative - thanks to all involved.