The Writer’s Eye, Short story opps and more

I’m talking about observance, ideas and the special qualities that individual writers can bring to our sense and story making of this world.

As regards writing, finding stories, I do not believe in waiting for the muse, life is out there, stories are everywhere. Creativity often comes about purely by the juxtaposition of material or ideas from two apparently separate spheres of life, helping us to say things anew or with a stronger metaphor. 

You can read the full post Creative Happenstance and the Writer’s Eye here on

Mel Ulm runs a fantastic blog on the short story and is focussing very much on the Irish short story writer. He’s very interested in hearing from up and coming Irish writers in particular, so do get in contact with him through his blog. He’s kindly discussed one of my stories Truth and Silence on The Reading Life.

Lisa Redmond has a new review of my Housewife with a Half-Life on her book blog.

Finally, short story competition deadlines coming up this month include The Bristol Prize.

42 The Meaning of Life…Flash Fiction Writing Competition!

Just 42 words, can you do it?
Just 42 words, can you do it?

To celebrate the e-book launch of Housewife with a Half-Life on May 8th (paperback to follow) and my love of flash fiction I’m running a flash fiction writing competition. Since my space comedy book is a sort of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in Suburbia and because by amazing coincidence(!) my current age is the answer to Douglas Adams’ meaning of life, the universe and everything, the challenge will be as follows:

42 Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything Flash Fiction Competition

Write a flash (short) fiction loosely based around the theme The Meaning of Life (Or the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything)
Write the flash in EXACTLY 42 words.
Enter your entries in the comments below
Deadline: Entries will be accepted until midnight GMT on Sunday 6th May.


First prize: A signed paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life, the fab new Jawbreakers collection of flash fictions for National Flash Fiction day, (I have a story in!) plus a £10 sterling Amazon voucher
Second prize: A signed paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life plus a signed paperback of Rebecca Emin’s New Beginnings
Third Prize: (Yes!) A signed paperback of Housewife with a Half-Life

Edited on Tues: May 1st: If you add a title to your piece the title will not be included in the wordcount. Anyone who has already entered and wants to add a title please retype your entry with the title. Thanks! For those who aren’t very familiar with flash fiction, here are some links to articles I’ve written or been quoted in on the subject of flash fiction.

Intense, Urgent and a Little Bit Explosive‘.

Why flash fiction will last

The wonders of flash fiction

I’m really looking forward to seeing what you come up with! I love flash fiction and know that 42 words will be a (fun) challenge! Please let your friends know about the competition and Good Luck! The winner and runners up will be announced here on the blog at 8.00pm on May 8th at the end of my launch party for Housewife with a Half-Life!

Two Short Story Competitions

Short story writers, here are two short story competitions that you may be interested in with closing dates in the next couple of months. The William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen is due in April, with a 3000 word limit and a 20 euro entrance fee, the Molly Keane award is free to enter, due in March and has a 2000 word limit (tricky those!) Both are postal entry only.


Mitchelstown Literary Society, the organising committee, is pleased to announce that entries are now being accepted for the above Competition; this being the first under this banner.

“This is an ideal opportunity for creative writers to have the standard of their literary efforts appraised. Our short listing adjudicator for the competition is Vincent McDonnell, who is a well known short story writer and has won several prestigious national competitions in recent years. He will select a short list of circa 25 stories.

The final adjudicator will be John MacKenna, whose recent book of short stories, “The River Field”, has received much critical acclaim. If competition, in any facet of life, is the act of testing oneself against, or being judged by, the best then, in this competition, that tenet certainly holds true”.

Each story should contain a maximum of 3000 words and should be submitted, by post only, on or before Friday 29th. April 2011.

The winner will receive the Prize of 2,500 Euro and a Laptop Computer.

Five runners up will receive cash prizes of 200.00 Euro each.

There is an entry fee of 20.00 Euro per entry and each entry must have an official entry form attached.

The names of the winner and runners-up will be posted to the competition website when they become available.

Closing date: Last post Friday 29th. April 2011.

Entries, by post only, to:

Trevor/Bowen International Short Story Competition,

37 Upper Cork Street, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, Ireland



Now in its 14th year, Waterford County Council’s Arts Office is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting entries for the Molly Keane Memorial Creative Writing Award.

The late writer lived, until her death in 1996, in Ardmore, Co. Waterford.  Her first ten novels and four plays were published under the pseudonym M.J. Farrell.  In 1981 ‘Good Behaviour’ became a publishing sensation for which she was short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize.  To celebrate this rich literary life, the County Waterford Arts Office, by kind permission of the Keane family, is inviting entries for a previously unpublished short story to a maximum of 2000 words.  There is no entry fee, no age limit and no restriction on the subject matter.  A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner at a special ceremony during the IMMRAMA Literary Festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in June 2011.

The closing date for receipt of entries is 5pm on Thursday 24th March 2011.

Full details and an entry form can be downloaded from:


or by contacting the Arts Office on 058-41416.