New Island/ Today Show Publish Your Novel Competition

It’s been quiet around here as of late as I’ve been teaching poetry and playwriting courses with Big Smoke Writing Factory and working on an exciting dramaturgical project with the Big Green Apple – this alongside my work at the Abbey and reworking my poetry MS, which will be published later this year by Dedalus Press. Nice to be busy.

I found out on Wednesday that I’ve been shortlisted for the New Island/ Today Show ‘Get Your Book Published’ Competition. I actually picked up the email at the Sive opening night and so had to suppress the desire to talk about it (not my night etc) until the next day. As an aside, I really enjoyed Sive – a good reminder of the brutal lyricism of John B. Keane’s work. Modern Irish dramatists owe such a debt to Keane – the violence sublimated in his work is brought to the fore in theirs.

Back to the point – I’m delighted to have had the book shortlisted. It’s a YA novel that I wrote back in 2011 while in Edinburgh. The MS was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in early 2012, but I wasn’t happy with it and I overhauled it extensively last year. Although it’s definitely in better shape now, I’m not holding out too much hope of winning this particular competition – there are a lot of talented writers on the shortlist and I’d say it would be difficult to justify picking a YA winner over, say, some hard-hitting literary fiction – but the shortlisting should give me the impetus to start sending the book out again and maybe bring me that bit closer to getting it published.