Welcome to Creative Writing at UCC

This site is a road map to the world of creative writing at UCC.  The School of English offers creative writing at undergraduate, Masters and PhD level. See what we do – check out our blog written by students, see the major names in literature who visit our campus, and explore the numerous courses we offer that redefine and broaden what it is to be a 21st century creative writer. 

News and Events

AWP showcase for UCC's creative writing

Niamh Prior reading from her work at the University of Tampa, Florida

UCC's creative writing programme made a splash at this year's AWP Conference in Tampa, Florida.   Director of Creative Writing, Dr Eibhear Walshe and PhD candidates poet Kathy D’Arcy and fiction writer Niamh Prior read from work in progress on a panel entitled "Out From Under the Influence: Irish Writers Reach Beyond Post-Colonialism."  They were joined by the 2014 winner of the Frank O'Connor Prize,  Colin Barrett.

The AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programmes) Conference & Bookfair is the largest literary conference in North America and a linchpin of the cultural year for  professional writers, teachers of writing, students, editors, and publishers. Over 12,000 people attend, with over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures.

The book fair hosts 800 presses, journals, and literary organisations from around the world. 

After the conference, Kathy D'Arcy, Niamh Prior and Colin Barrett went on to give a reading at The University of Tampa to an audience of faculty, students and members of the public and visited Dr Kathleen Ochshorn’s Irish literature class where they read from their work and discussed the theme of writing and "Irishness".

Kathy D'Arcy, Colin Barrett and Niamh Prior at the reading in the University of Tampa, Florida.





Allihies inspires enterprising students

Creative writing MA students M.F.Whitney and Claire Zwaartman  are the leading lights behind a totally new west Cork festival of food and literature.  The inaugural "Allihies Inspires" festival which will take place July 6-8,  is an eclectic mix of workshops, readings, walks, music and food and is being run in conjunction with the Allihies Coastal Education Hub.https://www.facebook.com/allihieshub/

Writers Claire Keegan, Leanne O'Sullivan, Theo Dorgan, Paula Meehan, Tony Curtis and Anita Brohail will be reading and artists Tim Goulding, Sheena Dempsey and Bill Griffin will be talking about their work.  There will be writing workshops and guided tours, including the historic Allihies Copper Mine, pictured above, plus several lunches and seafood suppers

M.F. and Claire dreamed up the festival as part of the Business of Writing module, which requires students to do a placement with a literary/cultural organisation during their MA.  They've gone one better - they've started their very own event. We hope it becomes a fixture on west Cork's  cultural calendar. 

For further programming details see : http://www.AllihiesInspires.org


Breda Joyce wins Aronson contest

Anne and Vivien Ridler, as photographed by Judith Aronson, in a moment celebrated in Breda Joyce's poem

Congratulations to MA student Breda Joyce whose poem, "Free Fall" was selected as the winner of a creative writing contest in association with Likenesses: Portraits of Literary and Cultural Genius, an exhibition by American photographer and academic Judith Aronson, which was on touring display in the Boole Library earlier this semester. 

The exhibition was accompanied by Aronson’s book, also called Likenesses, in which the subjects of the photographs, often writers and artists, wrote about one another.  Inspired by this, UCC students were  invited to write a piece in response to one of Aronson's photographs. 

Breda Joyce

Aronson has been taking photographs of writers, academics and artists for over 30 years. LIKENESSES explores the intimate and ranging relationship between photographer and subject in a series of double portraits, where the sitters are also related  Novelists Saul Bellow and Salman Rushdie, poets Seamus Heaney, Greg Delanty and Derek Walcott, actors Ralph Richardson and Joan Plowright are among the people Judith has photographed.

In her poem, Breda chose to focus on an image of the late scholar and Printer to Oxford University, Viven Ridler and his wife, the poet Anne Bradby. 

Free Fall

(response to photo of Anne and Vivian Ridler, Oxford 1994)


All week they had been harvesting what they planted,

moving among a labyrinth of fruit bushes and hedges.

Today they are at ease while Sunday sun plays

upon their faces. Anne points heavenwards

as if an English sky could call down Daedalus

to fashion wings and carry them above the limits

of these garden walls; that they might soar together

beyond a telescopic lens to where the earth

lies open, ripe and ready to welcome them in free fall.

Breda Joyce

Publication bonanza!

Students on the MA in creative writing Media module have had a bumper year in terms of publication. Their writing has appeared  - or will shortly - in the Irish Examiner, the Evening Echo, Headstuff website, The Tangerine literary journal, the Holly Bough, as well as on the UCC international student page, and the student blog on the creative writing website – http://creativewritingucc.com - and that’s before the semester has officially ended.

You’ll get a chance to see fictional serials by two of their number, M F Whitney and Siobhan Ryan-Bovey in the Evening Echo come the summer – under the summer soap banner.  Watch out for them in July and August.


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