1 February 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Cork County Council’s Library & Arts Service is delivering a new series of free online writing workshops for Spring 2021, designed to support creative writing throughout the county. Six online courses begin in mid-February, catering to a variety of ages and styles including adults, teens, songwriters, crime-writers, fiction and non-fiction. These workshops will continue the success of online workshops and collectives hosted by the Council throughout 2020, to foster creativity in the community for Cork County residents.
‘Three Cords and the Truth’ is the fantastic new song-writing workshop from songwriter, artist, winner of the ‘International Song-Writing Competition’ and “Other Voices” alumnus Jack O’ Rourke. Jack describes the craft of song-writing as “like getting into a cage with a lion – it’s exciting and scary equally. You have to face who you are.” With this course, Jack aims to offer a safe space for eight artists to share songs and ideas.
Billy O’Callaghan will present ‘The Art and Craft of the Short Story’. Billy is the author of three short story collections: “In Exile”, “In Too Deep” and “The Things We Lose and The Things We Leave Behind” as well as the bestselling novel ‘The Dead House’. Billy’s latest short story collection, ‘The Boatman and Other Stories’ was released in January 2020. Billy is the winner of a Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for the short story, and a two-time recipient of the Arts Council of Ireland’s bursary award for literature. Participants will join Billy for six online group sessions that explore the craft of writing short story fiction.
Following the success of multiple collectives and workshops delivered with support from Cork County Council in 2020, the Council’s Writer-in-Residence Poet Matthew Geden returns with ‘One World: Our Environment’. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Matthew in ten online group sessions that explore the world we live in through poetry, looking at classic and contemporary poems that examine aspects of our surroundings including nature poetry, the urban landscape, the weather, climate change and travel. Each workshop will also include class exercises and group critiques of each other’s work.
Also on offer is ‘Travel Writing Workshop 2021’. With over a decade of experience writing for major Irish newspapers and magazines, as well as broadcasting, Conor Power will help participants grasp the basics of how to approach a travel article, some of the secrets of the craft and trade, where travel writing stands today, how to pitch your ideas and how to improve your work. ‘Travel Within 5km of your Home’ will be the theme of the opening sessions and will include collaborative work on travel within 5km of where you live, helping writers to express themselves even within the current constraints.
Crime writer, Alex Barclay will deliver ‘CSI: Cork’, a crime writing workshop for writers of all levels, aimed at inspiring mystery and intrigue. The former journalist will help participants bring out the best of their creativity and share the many tricks he has picked up over the course of her career.
Cork County Council is delighted to present Colin O’ Mahoney’s Prose in the Pandemic aimed at those aged between 14 and 17. This writing course is a broad introduction to writing fiction, covering everything from inspiration and getting started to re-writing and editing your finished stories. Although the workshop will focus on fiction, there will be an emphasis on writing what you know and self-expression, allowing each participant to find their own voice and learn to write the kind of stories that most appeals to them. Writing stories can be a powerful channel for imagination, creativity, and emotion, making this workshop a timely and important offering for young people.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley welcomed the new online workshops saying,
“The changes to life as we know over the past year, and the opportunity it has provided for reflection and sometimes solace, will leave its mark on us all. In the months and years ahead, creativity and storytelling will play a vital role in shaping our understanding of the challenges our community has faced. By providing these workshops, Cork County Council is showing its commitment and support to everyone in the community who wishes to develop their creativity and contribute to our rich cultural heritage. I invite all those who are interested to apply for these wonderful opportunities.”
All workshops are free, but places are limited. Applications are open to people aged 14 to 17 or over 18 depending on the course and limited to those residing in the Cork County administrative area. Participants will be selected by the facilitator and their decision is final. Closing date for applications is Sunday, 7th February 2021.