In March, I won a bursary of three hundred euro from the Irish Writer’s Union (IWU). I’d love to tell you that it was for a piece of literary excellence but, in fact, it was literally the luck of the draw. The IWU AGM was on 30 March and the bursary goes to whichever member’s name is pulled out of the hat on the day. I presume it’s a virtual hat, shaped like an algorithm.
Good luck is good luck, however, and I was delighted to win the few bob. The money is to be used to aid my writing, of course, and the IWU asks that I write a short piece telling how I spent it.
It didn’t take long to find a way. The Irish Writer’s Centre always have interesting training courses running and I’ve signed up for ‘Fragmenting Experiences, Fragmented Structure’ in May-June, which sounds fascinating. My current novel is based on personal experience so it will be intriguing to explore how to use that creatively. Hopefully, I won’t have to do a total re-write of the book.
As a former trade union activist, I’m a fan of unions and am astonished at how much their membership has fallen off. These days, apparently, companies give their workers shares. That shifts the balance of power for some, but there is still a lot of inequality out there in the workplace. We still need unions. And, quite apart from the importance of being a trade union member, you might win a few shillings to help you on your way to a glorious writing career – it could be you!
For something completely different, Fishamble: The New Play Company is offering a play-writing weekend on 30 April-2 May. In my head, I have two story scenarios, one involving two women, the other, three men. I tried writing a short story about the first but it seemed to me that they would both work better as plays, as they are dialogue-heavy. This may reveal my total ignorance about play-writing, which is why I’ve signed up for the weekend. I have a notion that plays are about physical action, too, so I’m really looking forward to learning what the balance is between words and movement.
It will be interesting to see the age profile of people on this course. I anticipate being the oldest one there, which will be great fun.
We are blessed to live in a country dedicated to the art of writing. Besides the opportunities outlined above, we also have writing.ie. This is a treasure trove of everything you need to know about writing, including courses, events and competitions.
(c) Audrey Mac Cready