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Really Useful Links: Writing Courses

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Paul FitzSimons

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I am, on occasion, asked when I first realised that I wanted to write. The answer is always the same – it started on a writing course. There might have been gurglings of ideas floating around my head before then but it was definitely that introduction to creative writing in the VEC in Naas that really got me going.

We are a country of writers and this is demonstrated by the abundance of writing courses that are available to us, from short stories and poetry to novel, screenplay and feature writing,

The first place I point anyone looking for a course is, in fact, writing.ie. Together with the Inkwell Group, a wide variety of part-time and distance courses is offered, as well as notification of residential, children’s-writing and other writing courses run by others.

As the name suggests, the Irish Writers Centre is the one-stop-shop for all-things-writing in this country and it has, at any given time, a number of courses on its calendar.  Currently featuring is a fiction-writing course with novelist and journalist Ian Sansom and one on playwriting with Jimmy Murphy. These are both actually happening this weekend 23rd March at the Writers’ Centre on Parnell Square.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Big Smoke Writing Factory. Clearly aware of the demand for writing education in Dublin, they run morning, evening and weekend classes covering the gamut of writing specialties, from ‘Writing Flash Fiction’ to ‘Structuring your Story’. They’re also running hour-long workshops on Monday evenings over the next few months where writers can just drop in if they need any help with any element of their writing. An ingenious idea, it has to be said.

A number of the universities around the country also recognise the importance of creative writing. For example, the Oscar Wilde Centre, part of Trinity College, offers a One Year Masters in Creative Writing, which is intended for students who are seriously committed to writing, are practising or prospective authors and who wish to develop their writing within the framework of a university. Actually, the deadline for this is the end of March so no time to waste of you want to apply.

If you’re more of a ‘get-away-from-it-all’ kind of writer, one of the retreat-workshops at the Anam Cara might be just the thing. There are a few of these workshops happening over the summer, including one entitled ‘Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers’.

For all the budding screenwriters out there who want to learn the craft of writing a movie, it’s definitely worth visiting Filmbase, the Filmmakers Resource Centre in Temple Bar. As part of their film-training service, they offer introduction-to and advanced screen-writing courses with renowned screenwriters including Lindsay Sedgwick and Stephen Walsh.

And if you want to take your film-writing to ‘the next level’, there’s always the Masters in Scriptwriting which NUI Galway offer. Similar to the Trinity College Creative Writing course mentioned above, this is a post-graduate Masters and definitely will help elevate your writing to the standard that’ll get you noticed.

Ireland, in general, has an excellent night-course infrastructure and creative writing makes up a significant part of it. Many of the VEC schools and further education institutes (such as Dun Laoghaire and Ballyfermot) around the country offer excellent eight- and ten-week writing courses. As well as the institutes’ own websites, most of these courses are listed on nightcourses.com, all of which means that finding your next evening course in creative-writing couldn’t be easier.

“Knowledge is never wasted.” – My Dad.

Dedicated To Writing

The Irish Writers Centre provides a broad range of creative writing workshops and courses.

“The Irish Writers’ Centre has long been a hub of literary activity, supporting established and aspiring writers throughout Ireland from its base at the heart of Dublin’s cultural quarter.”



Smoke Without Fire.

The Big Smoke Writing Factory are clearly aware of the demand for writing education in the capital.

“Run by writers for writers, we provide a platform for writers to not only improve their work, but to share it with others.”



I Have Nothing To Declare But My Genius.

The Oscar Wilde Centre offers a One Year Masters in Creative Writing, the first Master’s programme in creative writing in an Irish university.

“The course is intended for students who are seriously committed to writing, are practising, or prospective authors and who wish to develop their writing within the framework of a university course and in the context of an Irish literary milieu.”



Get Away From It All.

Anam Cara is an Irish retreat for writers and artists overlooking Coulagh Bay in Cork.

“High on a heather-covered hillside awaits Anam Cara, a tranquil spot set apart to nurture and to provide sanctuary for those who create.”



Write That Script.

Filmbase offers a wide variety of courses in writing for the big- and small-screen.

“Filmbase is a not-for-profit resource centre where filmmakers can network, hire filmmaking equipment, take training courses and receive support and information about working within the Irish film industry.”



Write That Script – A Masters

NUI Galway offers a Post-Grad Masters in Scriptwriting.

“This programme offers training in screenplay writing, integrated with courses in film theory and analysis, supported by regular film screenings and workshops.”



Do It Part-Time.

Nightcourses.com is Ireland’s online resource for part time course and includes many creative writing courses.

“Ireland’s Largest Part-time Course Finder and lists Thousands of part-time courses available from Ireland’s largest course database.”



…Or Do It At Home.

Inkwell Group provide excellent range of online on-demand writing courses.

“Inkwell workshops are intensive one day workshops developed with the needs of new writers at the forefront.”



About the author

(c) Paul FitzSimons

Paul FitzSimons is a screenwriter and novelist and has written the novel ‘Burning Matches’ and a number of scripts for film and TV. He has worked as a storyline writer on RTE’s ‘Fair City’. His short stories are published in ‘Who Brought The Biscuits’ by The Naas Harbour Writers. Paul likes crime thrillers, good coffee and Cadbury’s chocolate. He doesn’t like country-and-western music or people who don’t indicate on roundabouts.

Paul also runs the Script Editing service Paul | The | Editor.


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