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. 

Latest News

Conal Creedon is new writer-in-residence

Conal Creedon 1The Cork novelist, playwright and film documentary maker, Conal Creedon, has been appointed as UCC’s Writer in Residence for 2016/17.  His novels include Pancho and Lefty Ride Out (1995), Passion Play (1999), Second City Trilogy (2007) and most recently, The Immortal Deed of Michael O’Leary.

His play, The Cure, will be produced in New York next month during the first Irish New York Theatre Festival. His other stage work includes The Trial Of Jesus (2000), Glory Be To The Father (2002), After Luke (2005) and When I Was God (2005). His plays have won two Irish National Business To Arts Awards and have been shortlisted for the Irish Times Theatre Awards. Productions of his plays have also won awards at the 2009 and 2013 Irish New York Theatre Awards.

Creedon has written over 60 hours of radio drama ─ broadcast on RTÉ, Lyric FM, BBC, BBC Radio 4 & BBC World Service – and his work has represented Ireland in the BBC World Service World Play Radio Drama Competition.

He has also produced, written and directed a number of film documentaries: The Burning of Cork, The Guns Remained Silent Rebel Cork,  If it’s Spiced Beef, and The Boys of Fairhill.  Flynnie: The Man Who Walked Like Shakespeare was shortlisted for Focal International Documentary Awards UK London.

He is currently working on two novels. His website is at http://www.conalcreedon.com/

While at UCC, he will teach on the MA in Creative Writing and offer workshops to students and the wider community.



Our ambassador in the New Yorker!

bridget sproulsWe're very proud to announce that Bridget Sprouls, a graduate of the inaugural MA in Creative Writing (2013/14), has just had a poem, "Scout", published in the prestigious New Yorker magazine. Bridget studied under west Cork poet Leanne O'Sullivan, who leads the poetry component of our MA and has just been staffed on our programme.

The versatile Bridget completed her MA dissertation in fiction with an excerpt from a children's novel, which she has since completed. You can read Bridget's poem at: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/29/scout-by-bridget-sprouls

Cork's very own Eastenders

Mark kelleher with Associate Director of Creative Writing, Mary Morrissy. Photogrpah: Dennis Scannel

Mark Kelleher with Associate Director of Creative Writing, Mary Morrissy. Photograph: Denis Scannell

Forget Eastenders and Corrie! Turn to the Evening Echo instead where Mark Kelleher's "Scattered" is into its second week in the newspaper's summer soap slot.  Mark, who's completing his MA Creative Writing dissertation at the moment, was commissioned to write the 12-episode soap on the strength of a three-episode pilot he submitted as part of a new - and hopefully continuing - association between the Writing for Media module (EN 6057) and Examiner publications.

Eight students pitched soap ideas as part of their final portfolio for the module.  Features editor of the Echo, John Dolan, and his deputy, Elaine Duggan, made the final decision on which soap idea they would commission on the strength of these submissions.

After much deliberation, John said they went for Mark's entry, whose hero is a Cork street cleaner.

"We loved the strong Cork city setting for the story, and the excellent descriptive style throughout. The story gripped us from the start with its fine blend of dark topics and light moods and after introducing us to Timmy Riordan, the plot swiftly took us on unexpected turns. The subject matter of male suicide is very topical and very serious and if the story can touch local people who have had, or will have, an experience of this, directly or indirectly, it may well do some good."

In an interview in the Echo to coincide with the start of the soap on August 8, Mark described the process of writing: “I thought it would be interesting to write from the perspective of a street sweeper who probably encounters a lot of situations. . . through this work.”

“The protagonist is Timmy Riordan, a failed writer. He took up work as a street sweeper as research for his novel. But ten years have passed and he’s still sweeping the streets and hasn’t written anything. In the story, Timmy encounters young men (including his brother) in a lorry who are meeting up in secret to talk about how depressed they are and what is causing it. This inspires Timmy to go off and actually start writing."

You can catch up with Mark's soap on the Echo website - http://www.eveningecho.ie/.  It runs until Saturday.



iYeats prize for Niamh Prior

niamh hawkswell

PhD creative writing student Niamh Prior, second from right above,  has just been announced as the winner of the iYeats poetry competition sponsored by the Hawk's Well Theatre Sligo in conjunction with the Yeats International Summer School.  Niamh's entry "Lagan" was described by judges Moya Cannon and Colin Dardis  as a "deeply mysterious poem, surreal and, at times, even playful, but carrying huge emotional ballast".

There is a strong narrative thread, sustained by finely textured, sensuous language and a skilled use of imagery, the judges went on.  "The speaker’s combination of detachment and tenderness allows us to accompany the writer on a journey to the depths and back."

A second poem of Niamh's - "Practising" - was highly commended by the judges.

An awards ceremony took place at the Hawk's Well Theatre in Sligo on July 27 where the winners read their work to an audience of Yeats international Summer School students. Niamh's poem was displayed, poster-size, in the theatre lobby along with past winners. FullSizeRenderFirst place carries a cash prize of E500. Niamh is a versatile writer, who completed her Masters in Creative Writing at UCC majoring in poetry - "Lagan" was one of the poems from that thesis - but whose PhD thesis is in fiction.

The annual online iYeats competition (www.hawkswell.com/iyeats/poetry  - is an international poetry event which has won a prestigious reputation for the calibre of both entrants and judges since its inception in 2009.

Meanwhile,  MA student Mark Kelleher's soap opera, "Scattered", commissioned by the Evening Echo is set to begin online at http://www.eveningecho.ie/ and in the newspaper on August 8 and will run for 12 days.

The soap opera project was part of the Writing for Media module of the MA, led by Associate Director of Creative Writing, Mary Morrissy.  Nine students  submitted soap opera proposals and Mark emerged the winner, with PhD  candidate Fiona Whyte as runner-up with "Legacy", a version of which will appear in the forthcoming edition of The Holly Bough. Another runner-up, Kelly Warburton, placed her soap "Pure Awkward" on the online website Headstuff. http://www.headstuff.org





Reading the Knitting Map


The Knitting Map, currently on exhibition at The Glucksman Gallery, Cork, is the work of Associate Director of the MA in Creative Writing, Jools Gilson. In this article, she writes about the media controversy surrounding the work, which is also part of the exhibition. See the full article here. The exhibition at the Glucksman runs until July 5th.

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