One Day Courses at Big Smoke Writing Factory



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.

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.

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:

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:

Poems Featured on Poethead

I’ve a number of poems from Liffey Swim featured on Christine Murray’s  Poethead blog today, and I’m delighted to also be featured on her index of Irish women poets. You could get happily lost in both, so do have a look around if you have a free moment.

Here’s the link to Poethead, which regularly features great contemporary poetry:

And here’s the link to the index of Irish women poets, an excellent online resource:

Creative Writing Summer School at IADT

I’m delighted to be teaching a Creative Writing summer school at IADT on the week of the 14th July. The course runs from 10am-1.30pm Monday-Friday and details are below:

This course offers each individual a key to understand the writer in themselves and is geared towards beginners and for those who want to find “ways into creative writing”.

The workshops will offer participants a space to develop their own creative powers.

It introduces some ‘ways in’ to writing that stir both memory and the imagination and invites participants to develop their own creative powers and to find a voice for what can’t be said.

The course offers structures and space for writing and a warm and constructive environment for feedback on the work as well as a chance to explore and extend ideas of what a poem or story might be through the reading of a diverse range of voices and styles.

During the course participants will have the opportunity to explore different forms of writing (prose, poetry and script writing) but will be able to focus on the genre that most interests them by working on a project in a chosen style. 

Courses will run on the following date:

 – Week Starting 14th July ’14 10am – 1:30pm (1 Week) – Ref: SS9




Creative Clinics at the Irish Writers Centre

On Saturday 24th May, I’ll be running a series of one-hour consultancy sessions as part of the Irish Writer’s Centre’s new Creative Clinics initiative. These one-to-one sessions are aimed at aspiring playwrights and are ideal for anyone looking for advice on how to develop their work, where to send their play, and on what kinds of opportunities there are out there for playwrights. I’m hoping the participants will come away feeling inspired and re-energised!

There are some places still available. Please do spread the word to any interested parties! More info and booking here:



Saturday 24th May + Sat 7th June

10.30am – 4.30pm
Duration: 1 Day

Cost: €85/€75 Members

We’re giving writers at all stages of their professional development the opportunity to book a one-hour slot with an experienced, published writer. You can use it to discuss any aspect of your work as a writer: to get a professional opinion on an idea or concept, to address a specific problem, to get an assessment of and feedback on a sample piece of text, or to seek industry advice.

Your chosen author will review a small sample of your work in advance (1,000 words) whether that be a synopsis, sample text, script treatment, or a summary of the issue to be addressed. The author may, if you wish, take further time during the hour to read more of your work before feeding back and offering advice. Consultations are strictly limited to one hour, but arrangements may be made for ongoing consultations.

The following writers will cover these chosen areas.

Celine Kiernan

Sci-fi / Fantasy

24th MAY

Sean O’Reilly

Fiction & Short Stories

24th MAY

Jessica Traynor

Theatre script

24th MAY

Lauren McKenzie

Film & TV script

24th MAY

Louise Phillips

Crime / Thriller (2 dates)

24th MAY & 7th JUN

Henry McDonald


7th JUN

Oisín McGann

Children’s Writing

7th JUN

Conor Kostick

Rights & Contracts

7th JUN


There are three slots available with each writer, which are:

10.30AM – 11.30AM
11.45AM – 12.45PM
1.30PM – 2.30PM


For more information on these clinics and to book a slot, please call 01 8721302.




Introduction to Playwriting




I’ve two playwriting courses beginning in the next few weeks. My Playwriting Workshop course is filling up fast at Big Smoke, but I believe there are still a few places left in my Introduction to Playwriting course at the Irish Writers Centre.

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 rewriting. Each participant will also be encouraged to write and workshop a number of scenes. 

The course is eight weeks long and begins on the 6th May. More details and booking here: