Taking place on Tuesday evenings from 7pm to 8.30pm in January and February 2024, our online seminar series will explore 5 topics related to writing practice and craft. Each guest writer will focus on one topic for their seminar and a suggested reading list will be shared in advance of each session.
- Tuesday 30th January: Keith Ridgway on Writing Dialogue
- Tuesday 6th February: Mark O’Connell on Writing Truth and Narrative
- Tuesday 13th February: Mary O’Donoghue on Writing and Re/Vision
- Tuesday 20th February: Sarah Hall on Writing and World-Building
- Tuesday 27th February: Natasha Brown on Experimenting with Form
Writing Dialogue, Keith Ridgway, Tuesday 30th January, 7pm to 8.30pm
Writing dialogue – good dialogue – should be easy. It should be the easiest part of the whole business of writing fiction. It is, after all, the one part of fiction we actually live. We don’t narrate ourselves down the street. We don’t section-break into next month. Our days are not filled with arresting descriptions of the things we see – we just see them. But they are filled with conversations, exchanges, shouts, murmurs, arguments, interjections, jokes, curses, come-ons, threats, evasions and declarations. We are speaking creatures. We are all talk. Why then is good dialogue so elusive? What even is ‘good dialogue’? Join me for conversation about conversation.
Writing Truth and Narrative, Mark O’Connell, Tuesday 6th February, 7pm to 8.30pm
Our task as writers, whether we write fiction or non-fiction, is to try to get to some version of the truth. But humans move always between varying levels of fiction; the stories we tell ourselves count for everything. Fiction and non-fiction are not oppositional, but dialectical; we are all constantly telling stories, consciously or otherwise, and so the stories we tell, and how we choose to tell them, become an ethical matter. This workshop will explore the vexed relationship between truth and fiction, and the problems and opportunities it presents to the writer of non-fiction.
Writing and Re\Vision, Mary O’Donoghue, Tuesday 13th February, 7pm to 8.30pm
In this seminar we will approach writing fiction as various and staged acts of re-vision. Delivered by a writer who is also a fiction editor (AGNI), the seminar will investigate revision as re-envisioning and re-hearing a story. We will examine sites for short-term, impactful renovation within short fiction (for example, re-tuning prose into speech). We will also clad up for the work of larger, structural overhauls. Along the way, we will devise an ethics for re-vision. We will engage a spacious informing sensibility, too: the writer as someone who re-envisions themselves; the writer as shapeshifter.
Writing and World-Building, Sarah Hall, Tuesday 20th November, 7pm to 8.30pm
When opening a book, one of the first coordinates a reader needs is location. Where is the story set and how do the characters interact there? How does the reader experience a fictional place, how is virtual reality created and disbelief suspended? A book’s world relates to its literary form and metrics. It influences character. It transports and grounds the reader. In this seminar we’ll be addressing landscape, history, sensuality and set design, and thinking about how to capture the essence of place, whether inventing a dystopia, an authentic Mars, or simply transferring a familiar location to the page. We will talk about how to build the background for drama and character development, and how place might even be a character itself.
Experimenting with Form, Natasha Brown, Tuesday 27th February, 7pm to 8.30pm
Explore how experiments with form and language can bring another dimension to writing. Through looking at form-defying work from authors such as Meena Kandasamy, Lydia Davis, Claudia Rankine and others, we will examine different approaches to experimentation. And, of course, there will be plenty of opportunities for hands-on literary experiments.
Ticket for All Sessions
Full price: €150 / Unwaged and low income price: €100
Tickets for Individual Sessions
Full price: €35 / Unwaged and low income price: €25
Tickets will go on sale Monday the 8th of January at 1pm Irish time.
The seminars will be conducted through Zoom with a maximum of 30 participants per group. Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please note: The seminars are live events and will not be recorded.
Keith Ridgway is from Dublin. He is the author most recently of A Shock, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. His other novels include Hawthorn & Child, and Animals. His shorter fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Inque, Zoetrope, The Stinging Fly, and others. He has been awarded the Prix Femina Étranger in France and The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. He lives in south London.
Mark O’Connell is a writer from Dublin. His first book, To Be a Machine, won the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize. In 2019, he became the first ever non-fiction writer to win the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. His second book, Notes From an Apocalypse was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize. His most recent book, A Thread of Violence, was published in 2023. He is a contributor to the New York Review of Books, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker.
Mary O’Donoghue grew up in County Clare. Her first short story collection, The Hour After Happy Hour, was published by The Stinging Fly Press in 2023. She has published poetry collections with Salmon Poetry and Dedalus Press and translations in dual-language volumes from Cló Iar-Chonnacht, Bloodaxe Books, and Yale University Press. Her novel Before the House Burns was published by Lilliput Press in 2010. She is senior fiction editor at the US literary magazine AGNI.
Sarah Hall is the author of 6 novels and 3 short story collections. She is the recipient of multiple prizes, has been nominated twice for the Booker, and is the only author to have won the BBC National Short Story Award twice. She is currently Professor of Practice at the University of Cumbria, and has taught creative writing for twenty years.
Natasha Brown is a British novelist. Her debut novel Assembly was shortlisted for awards including the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Orwell Prize for Fiction. Natasha was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2023 and one of the Observer’s Best Debut Novelists in 2021.