• West Cork Literary Festival 8-15 July 2022

Writer’s Residencies in Ireland

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other words for smoke

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Getting paid for what you love is a big bonus and residencies for writers aim to do just that, to cultivate your writing, to give you space but also for you to give back through workshops, mentoring and classes. There are a broad number right across the country – we’ve come up with a few here to get you thinking.

Most residencies are open to published writers, and the more experience you’ve had working with the public and giving workshops the better. Education and Training Boards (ETBs) recruit Writers in Residence at various times for schools under their remit, so check your local arts office for details of residencies in your area. Also look at Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools scheme which part funds registered writers for school visits.

Sarah Griffin, author of the critically acclaimed Other Words For Smoke and Spare and Found Parts,  explains her experience:

‘Between 2017-18, I was writer in residence at Maynooth University, then, in the summer of 2018 until the end of this month, I have been the writer in residence in the DLR Lexicon. The experience of applying for these roles is on one hand quite difficult: quantifying your worth as a writer into letters, application forms, CVs is truly mortifying at times, but ultimately, a real exercise in vision and focus. Why do you do what you do? What can you offer, as an artist and a practitioner and a facilitator to an institution? These are big questions to be asked, but in my experience, ones that focus the parts of you that require focus. During my time at the Lexicon, I have grown more as an artist and professional than during any period of my working life.

My time in the library gave me a sense of focus and purpose and belonging – something I sorely missed when hammering out books from the little side room in my house, or my kitchen table, going days upon days without speaking to anyone other than my husband and the ladies who work in the coffee shop around the corner. Freelancing can be poison for your mental health if you don’t have a balance of human interaction – it’s very easy to fall off the edge of the world and into a manuscript with very little way back up into the wider world. I love the solitude of my job – I’ve been full-time writing since 2015 – but at times it can be too lonely, too silent. Operating from a community hub like a library or university connects writers to the world in a way that sometimes can, in my experience, be lost. I found being in residence a truly holistic time that pulled into focus why I do what I do. I wrote very almost all of my third novel, and an entire novella during my time at the Lexicon, looking out at the ocean from my desk – and sometimes, in the winter, looking out at the night, long after the building had closed.
Teaching within a university structure or a community is a real joy, also – being able to share texts that I have found valuable and hothouse the work of folks who may not otherwise pursue writing has really been an eye-opening experience: the intimacy of a workshop environment is something to be treasured. I read quite widely, so bringing poems and essays from all corners I’ve read from to students and inviting them to respond in their own voices and experience is a marvelous thing. Seeing the same group week after week gave me a huge sense of belonging, which I don’t think I’d ever had in my professional life before.
I would hugely recommend anyone pursuing a full-time writing life to position themselves, if they can, within an institution or library. The sense of belonging and purpose changed my practice, and changed my life. I’m thankful for it in a way that I find difficult to express: how can you capture exactly what it is to have your life changed by one good year, by an ecosystem of librarians and writers from the community? In a heartbeat, I would tell anyone to take a residency. A roof over your head to make the work, a coral reef to swim in.’

County Council, Institutional & Festival Residencies for Writers in Ireland:

Áras Éanna, Innis Oírr – No deadline given

Artist In Residence- Civic Theatre, Tallaght – No deadline given

Birr Writers Residency Week

dlrLexIcon / DLRCOCO Writer in Residence Annual Residency, deadline end of April.

Dromineer-Nenagh Literary Festival Writer in Residence

Heinrich Böll Cottage, Dugort Achill – Annual deadline at end of September.

2019 John McGahern Award for Literature

The John McGahern Joint Writer In Residency, St Patrick’s College and Dublin City University – No deadline given.

MAKE Residency, Tyrone Guthrie Centre – Annual deadline of December for the following year.

Writer / Screenwriter in Residence – Maynooth Univeristy Department of English – Deadline early May.

Meath County Council Call for Writer-in-Residence

Artist In Residence- Civic Theatre, Tallaght – No deadline given

Tyrone Guthrie Centre – Applications considered on an ongoing basis.

Tyrone Guthrie Centre International Residency Exchanges – Exchange programmes organized annually for Australia, Germany and the USA. Annual deadline of 30th September.

UCD School of English, Drama & Film – A writer-in-residence is appointed for the second semester by the university in conjunction with the Arts Council

Visiting Writer Fellow, Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin – Spring application.

When applying, take your time to complete the application form properly – and give yourself plenty of time to get it delivered. Some organisations want it in triplicate in hard copy and you can’t deliver that at midnight on the day of the deadline, so read the terms and conditions and submission procedure carefully.

Some residencies will look for creative ideas that you might have for your time with the institution of organisation, think about who their target users are – what ages are they, what might their needs be? An anthology isn’t the solution to everything, consider setting up a blog that can continue after you have left, or how you could create a reader’s day or drop in clinic. Be creative!

On all applications you will need to detail your experience, outline your writing CV. You can get help online with that from services like Craft Resumes online services but take time over it – do they need a short bio that gives an overview of your accomplishments or the full detail of where you went to school? All authors should spend time crafting their bio, for their blog, Amazon author page, social media etc. readers like to know a bit about the authors background and it’s vital for festival and event programmers to get an idea about who you are before they approach you.

About the author

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