ARTS NEWS: West Cork Literary Festival creative writing workshops

6 June 2021
By Mary Bermingham

The West Cork Literary Festival recently announced the first of this year’s creative writing workshops which will take place online in June and July. The adult workshops cost 200 euro per person and will have a maximum of 10 participants. These include Short Story with Louise Kennedy, Crime Writing with Andrea Carter, Memoir/Life-writing with Alexandra Heminsley and Novel Writing with Gavin Corbett. Word Allowed for teenagers aged 14-17 with Dave Lordan and E.R. Murray costs 120 euro and will have up to 12 participants. All workshops will take place on Zoom.

The Short Story workshop with Louise Kennedy will run from Monday 14 to Friday 18 June – 10.30am-12pm and 2- 3.30pm daily. In each session, short stories by two participants will be workshopped by the group and there will also be a focus on an element of short story craft: point of view, structure, place, dialogue, editing. Louise Kennedy is an experienced facilitator and has taught writing at both Queens and Sligo Institute of Technology. In 2019 and 2020 she was shortlisted for both the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and the Irish Short Story of the Year. Her critically acclaimed debut collection, The End of the World is a Cul de Sac, was published in April 2021.

The Crime Writing workshop with Andrea Carter starts on Tuesday 15 June at 7pm and there will be two sessions per week for four weeks for one and a half hours per session. Andrea Carter is the bestselling author of the Inishowen Mysteries, most recently The Body Falls (2020). Her first three books are in development for TV. She has facilitated workshops for Laois Libraries, in Dublin and Donegal, and has written a weekly column on creative writing for Women’s Way magazine.


The Memoir & Life-writing workshop with Alexandra Heminsley starts on Thursday 17 June at 7pm and the first session will last one hour. There will be sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the subsequent four weeks and these will be an hour and a half each. Each session will be themed and topics covered may include finding your voice; motivation and goals; storytelling; identifying and using key moments; journaling – the mental health benefits of writing for oneself alone; boundaries/mental health: self-care in writing about oneself for publication. Alexandra Heminsley is an author, ghostwriter, journalist, broadcaster. Her books include Running Like a Girl, Leap In and Some Body To Love which was published in January 2021.

The Novel Hothouse with Gavin Corbett starts on Tuesday 13 July at 2pm, There will be two one-and-a-half-hour workshops each Tuesday afternoon for five weeks. The workshop is aimed at those with a novel in progress and in the first two weeks the participants will receive feedback on their submitted chapter. The workshop will also discuss the technical aspects of the craft of fiction and novel-writing. Gavin Corbett is the author of three novels and has been writer-in-residence at both Trinity College Dublin and UCD.

A Poetry workshop with Raymond Antrobus will take place in July with details to be announced soon.

West Cork Literary Festival’s acclaimed writing workshop for teenagers (aged 14-17), Words Allowed, returns for the twelfth years with tutors Dave Lordan and Elizabeth Rose Murray. This workshop starts on Friday morning 11 June at 10am and runs for six Fridays on Zoom. Each session will be two and a half hours. The price of this workshop will 120 euro and there will be no more than 12 participants.

Dave and Elizabeth will help participants explore and enjoy their creative imaginations over an intense, fun, inclusive and inspirational week. The workshop is open to young people of all backgrounds, identities and abilities. Dave and Elizabeth are both very experienced in working with young people with special needs. The only requirement is an interest in writing or storytelling of any kind. Dave Lordan is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary poets, essayists and literary thinkers. He is a renowned advocate for community and youth creativity and well-being, working alongside numerous partners in the arts, education, and community sectors on a wide variety of multimedia creativity projects. This is his twelfth year leading WCLF’s teen creativity programme. Elizabeth Rose Murray writes novels for children and young adults and short fiction. Her books include The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (2016 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read for Children), The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2, The Book of Revenge – Nine Lives Trilogy 3 and YA novel Caramel Hearts.

For more information or to book a spot, visit

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