Free online course from the grandmother of all creative writing courses – the University of Iowa


The very first creative writing workshops were pioneered at the University of Iowa in the 1930s and they still have a mighty reputation today.

They are now offering a free open online course to explore Walt Whitman’s writings on the American Civil War,  looking at how writing and image can be used to examine war, conflict, trauma, and reconciliation – in Whitman’s time and today.

American civil war-80541_640

Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster is open to everyone and they mean everyone. Erxperienced writers and absolute beginners can apply, people who are already experts in Walt Whitman and those who have never heard of the 19th century American poet are welcome.

That’s not all, the International Department at Iowa promise:

Participants who are nonnative speakers of English, new to online learning, and/or new to writing are encouraged to join this new international community. Our community moderators will actively support…

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Creative writing workshops with Billy O Callaghan

Billy O’ Callaghan, writer in residence at Cork County libraries, will do a series of workshops in Bandon library open to all. The first one will be April 16th at 11am. After that Billy will …

Source: Creative writing workshops with Billy O Callaghan

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A Lapse of Concentration

Episode #44

Winner of the Kenny/Naughton Short Story Award and the Golden Pen Short Story Award as well as a runner up for numerous others, Mary Rose McCarthy’s voice is beautiful, wise, and rich. We discuss her writing as well as her view of the world in this episode, after she reads her stirringly painful story.

Listen to “A Lapse of Concentration” by Mary Rose McCarthy

Having gone round in circles living in London, Sierra Leone and Dublin, Mary Rose McCarthy is now back where she started in West Cork. She writes in an attempt to make sense of the world.



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A New Year. A Thought

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on the mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Essays: First and Second Series as excerpted in Meditations on Nature, MeditaBockety Teddy for Alicetions on Silence

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A Difference of Opinion

Delighted my story,  ‘A Difference of Opinion’ is published in the Christmas Edition of Ireland’s Own Magazine out today.

Initially a longer version was submitted to the Holly Bough but it didn’t make it into this year’s issue.

So I tore it to pieces, shortened it, put it back together and sent it out into the world again.

The message:  keep on keeping on, plodding on.

Happy writing.


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Sometimes I knit

This blog has been quiet over the last number of weeks. People have wondered why. When I mention knitting they stare in open mouthed disbelief.  Sometimes I write.  Sometimes I knit. Both require patience, following a pattern or idea, ripping back and starting over. One is practice for the other. So here is smidgen of proof. That yes I do knit.


Bockety Teddy for Alice



Happy writing.

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The Other Stories

Sadly this blog has been neglected for the last number of weeks. And like most of us can’t really say where the time has gone.  However there is a little gem of good news to share:

The Other Stories is a platform for writers to share original work of any genre. The podcast is fully produced and scored with original music. Some time ago I submitted a story to them and was delighted when founder and host Ilana Masad accepted it.
A few evenings ago thoroughly enjoyed reading my story ‘A Lapse of Concentration’ and afterwards chatting to Ilana Masad about it. All this via Skype and all recorded for the podcast. When it is aired will let you know as you can listen in anywhere in the world, via the website or subscribe on iTunes.  Will be in a couple of months time.  Am looking forward to hearing the music that will accompany the story.  Meantime you can listen to other episodes on 

And as always keep on keeping on.

Happy writing.

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