Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Last week I read 'On Chesil Beach' in one sitting. Because of its name I'd resisted it when it came out in 2007, even when it was shortlisted for the Booker - I am enormously influenced by my like of a title. 'On Chesil Beach' by Ian McEwan - set in the early 1960's, is exquisitely written, short - less than 200 pages with vulnerable, flawed characters experiencing a life-changing dilemma. If you love books and haven't read it - do.

A few days later I'd similar experience with Muriel Barbery's 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog'. Who wants to read a book about a hedgehog?? But after listening to my writer friend Phil Young exhort it's qualities on TV3s Ireland AM, it's top of my to-buy list.

And so we've finished UCD's Adult Education Autumn semester’s writing course - 'The Nuts & Bolts of Writing'. A great group turned up to Carysfort Campus each Wednesday morning. We'd no drop outs and wonderful literary inroads made over the past ten weeks.

For anyone interested in writing and becoming part of another vital, vibrant writing group, we're starting again in the first week in February with 'The Plot Thickens' for 6 weeks and on 16 March for a further 6 weeks there's 'Building Story People - Creating Characters'. Check out either or Do feel free to make contact and to ask all those questions that should be asked before embarking on a writing course.

I try to be available to help emerging writers, to get back to them with answers to their queries as quickly as possible. I vowed that I'd do this when during my time as a freelance, I'd encounter huge difficulties trying to talk to or get an answer from a commissioning agent, producer or publisher - anyone at all who'd answer a query with a modicum of courtesy would have done.

The climate for writing and writers has changed radically over the past decade and even more so in the past few years when funding has been withdrawn or is as scarce as hen’s teeth. As I've said previously unless a writer had something along the lines of a celebrity hook to hang a work of fiction, digital is the way to go.

Other than presenting a cover and manuscript in PDF format, with little effort on my part, my latest novel, 'A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton (1854-1882)' is available digitally on Amazon US and UK. for authors Amazon may not be the easiest site to negotiate but it's worth persevering and putting up your profile on on Author Central.

Enjoy words - be they read or written...