Reykjavik, here we come!

We’re delighted to report that MACW graduate, Nora Shychuk, is one of only two applicants – from a field of 700 international submissions – to win a full scholarship to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat, an annual writers’ conference in Reykjavik which takes place next April –  –

This award gives its recipients full funding to participate in the prestigious five-day event which offers writers an immersive experience of Iceland with seminars, lectures and workshops by leading authors in several genres – faculty include Adam Gopnik, Susan Orlean, Barbara Kingsolver, Lauren Groff, Miriam Toews and Paul Murray. 

Nora graduated from the MA in 2016 and her work has already appeared in several literary journals and magazines, including The Lonely Crowd and Pact Press’ Speak and Speak Again anthology, and in Cork’s From The Well Short Story anthology earlier this year.  Nora is an assistant editor for Regal House Publishing and is currently finishing up a short story collection. She lives in New York.

A feast of UCC fiction and poetry

This week sees the launch of three books featuring creative work from faculty and students at UCC.

Author William Wall,  – a doctoral student in the School of English, is the first European winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize for short fiction with his collection, The Islands. The prize, awarded earlier this year, carries a purse of $15,000 as well as publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

The School of English will host a reception to celebrate William’s success on  Thursday, December 7, in the Social Area, Block B, Floor 1, O’Rahilly Building at 5.30pm.

Meanwhile on Friday,  the New Binary Press – – will launch two publications featuring School of English and creative writing faculty. The Elysian: Creative Responses  – edited by Graham Allen and Billy Ramsell – is a volume showcasing artistic responses to Cork’s urban skyline and features poetry from PhD student Kathy D’Arcy,  and short fiction from Associate Director of Creative Writing, Mary Morrissy, adjunct professor Conal Creedon and MACW alumna, Madeleine D’Arcy, as well as contributions from UCC faculty across the disciplines.

Holes Decade 1, is an experimental  long-form poem created on digital media, one line per day and ten years in the making, by Professor of English and poet, Dr Graham Allen. This is Dr Allen’s third publication following The Madhouse System ( 2016) and  The One That Got Away (2014).

The double launch  of The Elsyian and Holes Decade 1 will include readings by Doireann Ni Ghriofa,  Eimear Ryan and Danielle McLaughlin. 

The event takes place at the Granary Theatre, Friday, December 8, at 8pm. (Doors open 7.30pm).  Admission is free and all are welcome.


Winter’s here!

The third edition of the annual arts journal,  Winter Papers, edited by Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith, has just been published.

This year’s Papers features work by Mary Morrissy, associate director of creative writing, William Wall ( PhD candidate in the School of  English),  Eimear McBride, Glenn Patterson, Claire-Louise Bennett, and June Caldwell among others. The trademark cloth-covered, thread-sewn hardback is designed, according to the editors, for aesthetic as much as literary appreciation; it’s a beautiful object, in other words.

The journal has many Cork associations – including Barry himself who worked and lived in Cork for several years.  It is designed by John Foley at Bite! Associates  – – and printed by Waterman Printers – –  both Cork-based.

The journal will be celebrated on a special edition of “Arena”, the RTE arts programme  – – this evening,  Monday, November 13 @ 7pm, featuring editors Kevin Barry and Olivia Smith, along with Sara Baume, Hugh O’Connor, Paul Lynch and Mary Morrissy.


Watching the detectives

Join us for the first of the 2017/18 School of English Reading Series with “Women and Crime” when three of Ireland’s leading crime writers, Julie Parsons, Liz Nugent and Alex Barclay will be reading.  The event takes place on Tuesday, November 14, WW6 @ 7pm.  Admission is free and all are welcome.

The full series details are as follows:

January 30, 2018 – Canadian novelist and poet Jane Urquhart, winner of the Governor General Award and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger.

February 27, 2018  – Roddy Doyle and Rooney Prize winner, E.M Reapy

March 20, 2018  – “Writing Parents” – an evening with literary family biographers Carlo Gebler and Susan Phipps.

April 17, 2018  – Irish-American author Joseph O’Neill, author of Netherland, winner of the 2009 Pen Faulkner Award.



Writers in the picture

Catch up with the doings of creative writing alumni  –  and current faculty –  who’ve been busy writing and publishing this autumn.

Our International Frank O’Connor Short Story Fellow, Marie-Helene Bertino will be reading at Cork’s most entertaining literary event, Fiction at the Friary, curated by writers Madeleine D’Arcy (formerly of this parish) and Danielle McLaughlin, this Sunday, October 29 at 3pm.  Check it out at

Paul Asta, Fulbright scholarship student from last year’s MA, has had a poem published in the  23rd issue of The Adroit Journal

Tadhg Coakley (class of 2015/16) has been writing in the Irish Examiner about his second great love after fiction – sport, that is –  Tadhg’s debut novel in stories, The Glory of That Day, also on a sporting theme, is due from Mercier Press next year.

A story by his classmate, Anna Foley, “The Swallow”, has just been published in The Bohemyth journal – read it here – – following on stories appearing in The Lonely Crowd and The Incubator. Robert Feeney, (also class of 2015/16) has had two pieces of  flash fiction published in FishFood magazine and The Caterpiller (sibling of The Moth journal) aimed at young readers.

Meanwhile,  poet Bridget Sprouls (2013/14) spent her summer writing and illustrating (see above) a children’s novel for 3 to 8-year-olds, All About Trolls at the Train Station.  Although a published poet, Bridget wrote another children’s book for her MA thesis. Regular Kindle users can download this one for free on:…



Whodunnit at UCC?

Three of Ireland’s leading female crime writers, Julie Parsons, Liz Nugent and Alex Barclay will read together in the first event of the School of English’s annual reading series coming up on November 14. The readers represent a 20-year tradition and several generations of Irish crime writing.

Julie Parsons’ first thriller, Mary Mary came out in 1998 and was described by the New York Times as a “first novel of astonishing impact”.  Her sixth novel, The Therapy House, was published earlier this year.

“Julie Parsons was Irish crime fiction before there was Irish crime fiction,” says novelist and critic Declan Hughes. “Before domestic suspense was a thing, before Girls had Gone on Trains or anywhere else, Parsons was writing intelligent, nuanced psychological thrillers under the spell of the two weird sisters of mystery, Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Rendell.”

At a recent event, our second reader Liz Nugent paid tribute to Parsons, saying that her books had “really showed me how to do it”. Nugent’s first novel, Unravelling Oliver, won Crime Fiction Book of the Year when it was published in 2014 and her follow-up, Lying in Wait, won a Richard and Judy Award, and a Listeners Choice award at the Irish Book Awards 2017.

Castletownbere-based Alex Barclay is the author of eight crime thrillers.  Her first novel Darkhouse featuring NYPD detective Joe Lucchesi, appeared in 2005 and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, followed by a sequel, The Caller.

She has written six more books in the Ren Pryce series – Blood Runs Cold, Time of Death, Blood Loss, Harm’s Reach, Killing Ways and The Drowning Child.






Flying the flag for Kinsale

MACW graduate Adrian Wistreich (class of 2014/15), above left, is one of the  driving forces behind Words By Water, Kinsale’s new literary festival which runs October 5 – 8. There’s a strong UCC presence in the inaugural run of the festival with Associate Director of Creative Writing Mary Morrissy reading with Alannah Hopkin, on Friday, October 6 (4pm, The Methodist Church) and newly appointed lecturer in creative writing, poet Leanne O’Sullivan on stage with Theo Dorgan on Sunday, October 8 (2.30pm,The Blue Haven).

PhD candidate, poet and fiction writer Niamh Prior, above right has been busy running a community writing project in five primary schools in Kinsale in association with the festival. She has been working with 5th and 6th class pupils, as well as transition year students, over the past weeks as part of the festival’s community brief.  “It’s important to me that the local community be involved in a literary festival held in the town – especially the next generation of writers, for whom reading and writing is cool, thanks to the work of J.K. Rowling, David Walliams and Michael Murpurgo, to mention a few of their favourite writers,”  Niamh says.

Niamh will also be offering workshops during the festival along with Leanne O’Sullivan and another MACW alumna, fiction writer Madeleine D’Arcy (2013/14).

Some of the young participants in Niamh’s school workshops will have the opportunity to read their work at the festival, joining a host of well-known names including Dermot Bolger, Paul Howard (Ross o’Carroll Kelly) , Billy O’Callaghan, Rita Anne Higgins, Matthew Geden, Sara Baume, Mia Gallagher, Eileen Battersby and Carol Drinkwater. 

For full information go to :

Welcome to new faces

Here in Creative Writing, we’re lucky to have visiting writers every year who add to the diversity and richness of our programme and we’re about to celebrate them!

The Frank O’Connor International Fellowship in the Short Story is awarded annually by Cork City Council through the Munster Literature Centre.  The Fellow offers workshop and mentoring to local writers and teaches a course on the Creative Writing Masters programme. This year it’s Philadelphian writer Marie-Helene Bertino whose debut collection of stories, Safe as Houses, won the 2012 Iowa Short Fiction Award and a Pushcart Prize, and was long-listed for The Story Prize and The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize. Her debut novel, 2 AM at the Cat’s Pajamas, which was nominated a Best Book of 2014 by NPR, is forthcoming from Picador UK.

This year’s UCC’s Writer in Residence  – an annual position, jointly sponsored by the Arts Council –  is Welsh-born short story writer Thomas Morris.  Thomas’s debut collection, We Don’t Know What We’re Doing (Faber, 2015) was chosen as a Book of the Year by The GuardianThe Observer, The SpectatorThe Irish Times, and The Irish Independent. It won the 2016 Wales Book of the Year, The Rhys Davies Trust Fiction Award, and The Somerset Maugham Prize.  Thomas is also a working editor and is currently a contributing editor with The Stinging Fly journal.

We’re also really pleased to announce that UCC alumna, former writer-in-residence and acclaimed west Cork poet Leanne O’Sullivan has been appointed a lecturer in creative writing after several years working with the creative writing programme.

The School of English will host a welcome event for these writers and other new staff, postdoctoral fellows and post-graduate students in the  Staff Common Room, Wednesday, September 27, at 6pm.

Meanwhile in spring 2018, the inaugural International John Montague Fellow in Poetry will be war poet Brian Turner. Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US army. His first book, Here, Bullet, chronicles his time in Iraq.


Writing the self into fiction

Director of Creative Writing, Dr Eibhear Walshe, gave a lecture at Wellesley College, Boston, last week on the subject “Writing Myself – From Biography to Memoir to Fiction.”

Dr Walshe spoke about his writing in these different genres, discussing the link between the forms and the value of life writing as a source and inspiration for creating fiction.

Roll up, roll up!

UCC’s creative writing students and faculty will be all over the Cork International Short Story Festival which begins next week.  Here’s a chance to see what we really do in our spare time!

Our 2017 International Frank O’Connor Fellow,  Marie-Helene Bertino will be giving masterclasses and reading at the festival (Thursday, Sept 14th, 10pm, Firkin Crane) while adjunct professor Conal Creedon and associate creative writing director Mary Morrissy will be reading at an event celebrating UCC’s Quarryman journal – so ably sustained by our English Society, and in particular, Alison Driscoll, whom we’re delighted to have in our incoming MA class this year.

PhD student Fiona Whyte will be reading at the Long Story Short  Journal event ( Thursday, Sept 14th, 4.30pm, Central Library) while her colleague  Laura McKenna  will be participating in the Banshee Journal reading ( Friday, Sept 15th, 2.30pm, Central Library).

Recent MA graduate Tadhg Coakley (and now signed-up author!) will read his winning story in the From the Well anthology (Wednesday, Sept 13th, 4pm, Central Library) and Madeleine D’Arcy, from our inaugural MA course, will read with Danielle McLaughlin (Wednesday, Sept 13, 7.30pm, Nano Nagle Place) followed by a special Fiction at the Friary event which she and Danielle host throughout the year in Cork. Not to be missed!

Finally, our new writer-in-residence Thomas Morris will be participating in the “Short Story: State of the Art” panel discussion (Saturday, Sept 16th, 4.30pm, Firkin Crane)  with Nuala O’Connor, Danielle O’Laughlin and Rob Doyle.

Full programme here: