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

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.


The Icewoman cometh!

The Arctic Circle Barquentine ship in full sail. . . . Photograph: Barbara Puttnam

PhD candidate Maeve Bancroft has won a place on the prestigious Arctic Circle residency programme - http://www.thearcticcircle.org  - which takes the form of a month-long expedition on a Tall Ship to sail the waters of Svlabard, an Arctic archipelago just 10 degrees latitude from the North Pole.  Participants will also get the chance to go ashore with guides.

The voyage will bring together international artists of all disciplines, as well as scientists, architects, and educators. The aim is to provide a shared experience for the participants to develop professionally through fieldwork and research, interdisciplinary collaborations, exhibit opportunities, and public and classroom engagement.

The residency also allows participants to pursue personal projects and create new work on board.

Maeve’s PhD project is an historical novel about the Famine Irish who fled to Canada and charts a sea voyage to Grosse Ile in severe weather conditions with icebergs and plunging temperatures, much like those encountered in the Arctic. Maeve's creative practice is informed by "walking the land" of her characters trying to replicate their experiences - to that end, she has walked many of the Famine trails in Ireland.  The Arctic adventure will give her an extreme psycho-geographic experience that will no doubt inform her writing.  Maeve will join the ship in September 2019.

Meanwhile, we're proud to announce that one of our MA students, M F Whitney, right, has been shortlisted  - out of over 700 entries - for the 2018 Fish Short Memoir prize, in association with the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry upcoming in July.  http://www.westcorkmusic.ie/literaryfestival/.   


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