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30 under 30: Innovation and Talent from Wordlegs

Writing.ie | Magazine | News for Writers
30under30 wordlegs

By Elizabeth Reapy

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Wordlegs is an exceptional website that fosters and publishes new writing talent. Editor Elizabeth Reapy told writing.ie what wordlegs is all about, and about their latest venture, a print edition of 30 under 30 in association with Doire Press:

In early 2010, I founded wordlegs.com with Cathal Sherlock to showcase young and emerging Irish writing talent. We also wanted to bring people back to reading fiction and poetry by offering it to them online. We hoped that by having an easy to navigate website with top quality content, people would be interested in reading creative writing more often.

Since its inception, our team has grown to six and we now work with a poetry editor, web developer, events manager and social media intern. We’re not a funded journal but we’ve released 12 issues. We’ve been nominated for two Irish Web Awards; Best Web Only Publication and Most Beautiful Site in Ireland. We’ve collaborated with podcasts.ie and scored an Irish and global no.1 on the i-Tunes Literature Charts with these podcasts. (www.podcasts.ie/wordlegs) We’ve had readings in The Conrad, we’ve created two ebooks which we launched to big crowds in the Roisin Dubh and The Bankers; we started an emerging writers’ group in Dublin which meets every Tuesday and we’ve just hosted our first weekend-long and completely free Shore Writers’ Festival in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. (www.facebook.com/shorewritersfestival) It was at this festival, we first launched our print book ’30 under 30: A Selection of Short Fiction by Thirty Young Irish Writers’ in association with Doire Press.

This book and all of our ventures, have come from a determined place, from seeing that there’s an audience for younger writers in Ireland and that if we support each other and believe in our ideas, we can get a whole lot done. ’30 under 30’ was a follow-up project to our ebooks. John Walsh of Doire Press had taken note of the work we were doing at wordlegs and when he read an interview I did here, he contacted me. I was on a working holiday visa in Australia at the time.

Trying to be an effective and professional editor and backpacker simultaneously was a bizarre experience. Being in a different timezone to Ireland and having unpredictable internet access as I moved around Australia created a lot of challenges. Sometimes I felt I was going to lose focus but Doire Press were very supportive, as were the other 29 writers and we’re all really proud of the final product.

‘The writing here is assured and gritty, and its urgency matches the feckless slide of many young lives. The contemporary Irish short story is more than safe in the hands of the writers in this anthology.’ – Nuala Ní Chonchúir

The writers featured are ambitious and I was already aware of their talents from their submissions to wordlegs.com over the years. We’re now delighted to have an artifact featuring people at the beginning of their literary careers and John Walsh says the book is sure to become a ‘collector’s item.’

‘…Throughout this gritty anthology there’s a persistent whimsy, romanticism and fierceness that speaks to an Irish spirit still full of its ancient promise.’ – Ethel Rohan

I think the recession and its consequences have shaped some of the pieces and similar themes tie the stories together – a strong one being identity, trying to find a sense of one’s self in this chaotic world, though I guess that could be representative of our age group. The pieces are varied in their style, content and use of story conventions.

Different people have different favourite stories from ’30 under 30’ and I think this makes it a very exciting read. You have to think about why something is your favourite, why it has moved you to defend it if someone has chosen some other piece as theirs.

We’re having two more launches this week, which will be big celebrations for us. We’re celebrating the Irish short story, the new Post Celtic Tiger era in art and the brilliant Irish literary community which has always inspired, supported and welcomed us.

The book contains short fiction by:

Alan Bennett, Neil J. Burns, Graham Connors, Ash Corristine, Elaine Cosgrove, Cal Doyle, Andrew Fox, Joe Galvin, Craig Gibson, Ciara Gillan, Louise Hegarty, Joe Jennings, Ferdia Lennon, Kealan McGuinness, Lucy Montague Moffatt, Mark Noonan, Kerrie O’Brien, Maeve O’Brien, Fiona O’Hea, Noel O’Regan, Bernard O’Rourke, James O’Sullivan, James Patterson, Richard Purcell, EM Reapy, Niall Ruddy, Michael Naghten Shanks, Stephen James Smith, Alice Walsh and Shane Ward.

Our launch dates – to which everyone is welcome:

Monday 12th November – Crane Bar, Galway at 6.30pm

Thursday 15th November – Workman’s Club at 8pm

You can pick up you copy of Wordlegs 30 under 30 Price €12 here: http://doirepress.com/BUY.html

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