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Brilliance of Brevity with Ethel Rohan & Abroad Writers Conference

Writing.ie | Member Blog

ethel rohan 2015

Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin

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I’m excited to return a second time to teach my ‘Brilliance of Brevity’ writing workshop with Abroad Writers’ Conference in Ireland. This year, the conference will be held in Dublin, at the gorgeous period residence, Butler’s Townhouse, Ballsbridge.

My workshop runs for three afternoons and will cover both short-short fiction and non-fiction. We will read and analyze stories and personal essays, and use their deconstructed skeletons to kickstart our own work. Those students who have repeated my class know I always teach new stories, use new prompts, and focus on new craft elements for every workshop. That keeps the class fresh, energetic, and inspiring for everyone, including me.

This workshop’s focus is on deconstructing the celebrated works of diverse and leading writers of short-short fiction and non-fiction and using those skeletons as foundation–bones that we’ll put the meat back on to create our own body of work. The workshop is ideal for students at all levels and although we’ll focus on short-short writing, my approach is to share everything I know about great storytelling and getting published, regardless of length. We will read and write hard and deep in a safe, fun, and enthusiastic setting.

I’m also excited to offer my students an exciting giveaway. We’ll pull a student’s name from a hat each day of my workshop and those three lucky writers are invited as my guest, free, to attend the Abroad Writers’ Conference banquet dinner at Butler’s Townhouse on any night of their choice, December 12-19th (dinners are filling fast and dates are subject to availability. Currently, Dec. 15th is sold out). Attendees at these dinners include such literary and publishing luminaries as Mary Costello, Medbh McGuckian, John Banville, Kevin Barry, John Boyne, Declan Meade, and more. Literary agent, Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management, New York, will also be in attendance. These dinners promise to be wonderful!

This scrumptious meal will be prepared by Nancy Gerbault, AWC’s Founder & Director, and world-renowned master chef, Michael Ruhlman. Ruhlman is an award-winning chef and writer, and has penned over twenty non-fiction books. He has also starred on several TV culinary shows including, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Cooking Under Fire, and The Next Iron Chef.

There are only five spaces left in this workshop. Join us! If you can’t attend, I’d truly appreciate you sharing and forwarding this information. Just click the handy social media links above to Twitter, Facebook, etc.


“I’m a poet. As far as I know, I’ve always been a poet. It’s the way I’ve chosen to tell my stories. But lately many of those stories have spilled over their boundaries, asking for something more than I’m able to give them. I knew I needed an entry into the intimidating world of fiction, and Ethel Rohan’s flash fiction workshop, during the Aboard Writers Conference in Ireland, was beyond perfect. She was just the guide I needed — she made it easy to realize the parallels between my poetry and longer prose works, and led stimulating group conversations that left me feeling more than capable of not only beginning work in a new genre, but in conquering it. In fact, I’m using two pieces crafted in her workshop as the basis for a new book of short prose pieces. She gave me that much confidence!”

Patricia Smith, National Book Award Finalist, Winner of the 2014 Rebekah Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, and Winner of the Academy of American Poets 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
Ethel Rohan’s first novel, The Kingdom Keeper, will publish from St. Martin’s Press in early 2017. She is also the author of two story collections, Goodnight Nobody and Cut Through the Bone, the former longlisted for The Edge Hill Prize and the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. She wrote, too, the award-winning chapbook Hard to Say (PANK) and the award-winning e-memoir single, Out of Dublin (Shebooks).

Winner of the 2013 Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award, and shortlisted for the CUIRT, Roberts, and Bristol Short Story Prizes, her work has or will appear in The New York TimesWorld Literature TodayPEN America, Tin House Online, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, BREVITY Magazine, and The Rumpus, among many others. She has reviewed books for New York Journal of Booksand elsewhere.

Her most recent work appeared in the anthologies THE LINEUP: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press, 2015); WinesburgIndiana (Indiana University Press, 2015); DRIVEL: Deliciously Bad Writing by Your Favorite Authors (Penguin: Perigee, 2014). She is also a contributor and associate editor to the anthology Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015).

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