One Day Courses at Big Smoke Writing Factory

 

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The Spring season of writing workshops is really getting into full swing now, and I’m delighted to have a few one-day courses coming up at Big Smoke Writing Factory.

These are great taster sessions for anyone who would like to get into creative writing, but who may not be quite ready to commit to a full-length course.

In April, I’ll be teaching an Introduction to Creative Writing on Saturday 1st and Beginning to Write Poetry on Saturday 8th. These great value courses run from 11-4, and I can guarantee a lot of fun, and a lot of writing.

Playwriting Course at Big Smoke Writing Factory

It’s been a few years since I’ve run a playwriting course, since I’ve been so busy with my work at the Abbey and my own writing.

I’m delighted to be teaching one again for the lovely folks at Big Smoke Writing Factory, beginning on the 9th February. It’s an eight week course that covers the basics of good writing: characterisation, plot, structure, language, style and genre and redrafting. We’ll also be looking at some classics and trying to work up new scenes and play ideas.

There are one or two places left still, and you can book here

New Year New Writing

I’m finishing up full time work at the Abbey Theatre at the end of this year to return to freelance work. After two exciting but hectic years as Literary Manager, I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to writing and teaching.

I’ve a few courses lined up for Spring 2017, covering playwriting, poetry, and spoken word at Big Smoke Writing Factory and the Irish Writers Centre. Take a look – maybe one of these might be a nice Christmas present idea for a friend who needs a creative boost?

Write the Play – Fundamentals at Big Smoke Writing Factory

Start Date Duration Time Slot Fee
Thursday January 26th 8 weeks 6.30pm-8.30pm € 200
Ever wanted to write a play, but didn’t know where to begin?
This course is suitable for those looking for an all round introduction to the craft of playwriting, or those with a play-in-progress looking for a creative boost. We’ll cover the basics of playwriting under the headings of plot, characterisation, structure, dialogue, theatricality and style and redrafting. Each participant will also be encouraged to write and workshop a number of scenes.
Jessica Traynor is a dramaturg and poet who has worked as Literary Manager with the Abbey Theatre, reading and responding to hundreds of plays and developing new work for the Abbey and Peacock stages with some of Ireland’s top playwrights.

Starts: Mon 6 Feb 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm 
Duration: 6 Weeks
Cost: €165/€150 Members

Award-winning poets Adam Wyeth and Jessica Traynor are offering a space for your poems to be workshopped and critiqued in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. Each participant will have the opportunity to read their own pieces to the group. They will then have a chance to listen to feedback from their audience, with Adam and Jessica giving a final summary of detailed analysis, constructive feedback and suggestions for further improvement.

Jessica Traynor’s debut poetry collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award. Adam Wyeth is a published poet and playwright and works as editor for Fish Publishing.

 

The Art of the Spoken Word with Emmet Kirwan and Jessica Traynor

Starts: Wed 8 March 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 6 Weeks
Cost: €165/€150 Members

As an art form and mode of communication, spoken word is enjoying tremendous popularity and is a powerful and playful way to communicate on themes of social importance. Spoken word embraces word-play, intonation and voice inflection with strong links to rap, hip-hop, theatre, jazz and blues. While the words are important, how they are delivered is equally so. This new course takes a two-pronged approach, as actor, writer and star of RIOT, Emmet Kirwan focuses on the art of performance, the truth, delivery and connection to the audience, while award-winning poet Jessica Traynor will guide participants through the technicalities of the form.

Jessica Traynor is a poet and creative writing teacher from Dublin. She is Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre. Her first collection, Liffey Swim, was published by Dedalus Press and  shortlisted for the Shine/Strong First Collection Award. www.jessicatraynor.wordpress.com

Emmet Kirwan is an award winning actor, playwright, poet and voiceover artist from Tallaght in Dublin. He has worked extensively on Irish television and Film appearing in many films as well as leading roles in home grown Irish series from the Big Bow Wow and Legend for RTE and Jack Taylor for TV3.

Busy December

It’s been a busy month leading up to Christmas (as always), but this year I’ve had a few lovely experiences promoting Liffey Swim. The first was reading at Bray Arts earlier this month to a really engaged and responsive audience. Have a look at their website for upcoming events.

The second week in December, I went to London for the launch of Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, edited by Gareth Prior and Claire Trévien. this is a really fantastic anthology in which a number of poets respond to historical events. This is exactly the kind of poetry I like to write, and I was very pleasantly surprised to be included in such great company. I think many of the poems included really stand up in their own right, even without immediate knowledge of the various historical contexts involved, so I’d really recommend picking up a copy, which you can do here.

Earlier this month, I also paid a flying visit to RTE’s Arena, where I recorded an essay on personal Christmas experiences which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve. At the same time, I recorded a few more poems from Liffey Swim, which Arena have been dotting throughout their broadcasts over the past few weeks. It’s always lovely to get a text from someone saying ‘Did you know you’re on the radio??’ My poem From the Diary of Doctor Jekyll can be heard at here, and The Water Table can be heard here.

Finally, I read as part of the Big Smoke Winter Literary Café, along with Michael Naghten Shanks, Mia Gallagher, Michelle Read, Dave Lordan, Raven and more. I’ve been writing lots of new stuff since the book was published and it was nice to have the opportunity to try out a new poem (although, as with the Doctor Jekyll poem above, it was a bit off-season. I’m going to have to publish a purely Halloween themed book next time around.) At least I got the Christmas jumper right.

Beginning to Write Poetry Course

I’ll be teaching a six week Beginning to Write Poetry course for Big Smoke Writing Factory, starting on the 6th November.

This is the perfect course for those who’ve been dabbling in poetry, and would like to take the next step. It’s also great for those who may have written poetry in the past and who’d like to get back into it. I really enjoyed giving a version of this class earlier this year and am looking forward to getting back into it.

More info and booking here: http://www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com/Courses_btwpoetry.php

And if any of you are poetry fans, you might be interested to know that I’ve just launched my own collection of poetry, Liffey Swim. It’s available in Books Upstairs and also online from the Dedalus Press website:

http://www.dedaluspress.com/p/liffey_swim

Beginning to Write Poetry

Writing is by its very nature a solitary pursuit. It’s one of the things that I love about it; it gives me licence to spend what might otherwise be seen as an unhealthy amount of time inside my own head. However, community is important. While writing can be solitary, creativity is communal. You create work for other people to enjoy and so you have to make other people a part of your process (within reason and in a manner that works for you). When I was beginning to write seriously, I had the good fortune to be accepted onto the Creative Writing MA in UCD (this was also in the days when we were fortunate enough to have grants to cover college fees.) The Creative Writing MA didn’t magically turn me into a fully fledged writer, but it gave me the luxury of spending a year sharing my work and ideas with some extremely talented and supportive students and lecturers.

After the MA, I felt the lack of community and so I did a number of creative writing courses with different organisations. The quality varied, but I always found myself refreshed by taking part in these courses, and I found myself producing more and better work. After a few courses, I was lucky enough to be invited to become part of a small writing group with four other poets. We meet once monthly and share work – we’re tough but fair and we’re focused. It’s not a social outing, but a serious part of our  work practice. I had a similar group during my time in Edinburgh, and I wouldn’t be without it now.

Now I’ve got to the point where I’m teaching my own poetry course for beginners, through Big Smoke Writing Factory. I’m  really excited about experiencing the atmosphere of  possibility that seems to be magically invoked by getting a group of people who want to share their creative ideas in a room together. I’m also intrigued by the challenge of having to scrutinise my own approaches to poetry; to define and discuss the sources of my own inspiration. I’m hoping to be surprised by the subject matter and range of the poetry I read, and hoping to offer people some challenges and inspiration in return.

Now, at the end of the blog noodling, the plug: My six week Beginning to Write Poetry course starts on 3rd February at Big Smoke Writing Factory’s brilliant new premises in Temple Bar. Anyone who’s interested is more than welcome and can sign up at the link below, as I believe we have a few places left.

http://www.bigsmokewritingfactory.com/Courses_btwpoetry.php