Workshops for 2018

Prior booking is essential for Festival Workshops, as places are strictly limited.

To book


With Ruth Padel

Saturday, October 6,

9.30am - 12.30pm

Ruth Padel, an award-winning poet, novelist, and conservationist, will be teaching our 2018 poetry masterclass. 
Ruth was Chair of Judges for the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize and Judge for the 2016 International Man Booker Prize. 
She is a great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin. 


Please bring along one poem. It can be one you have worked on and have had trouble with. Or it could be newly written using the exercise below. 
NOTE: no poem should be longer than one A4 page, to make sure everyone at the workshop has a chance to participate fully.

JOURNEY TO THE UNDERWORLD poem writing exercise - use this if you don't have a poem you've already written to bring along

Interpret this as loosely/creatively as you like, in whatever form/ voice you like. You don’t have to follow this structure at all: it is a frame you can work with if it helps. You could give each of these prompts two lines. But always remember that less is more.
1) You are at the entrance. Maybe an underground car park, a ghost ride, a subway. Give gritty details of what you see, smell, hear, maybe touch
2) You are going in/down to bring someone back. Maybe a (grand) parent, friend, child; someone you didn’t know, an ancestor, an influencer.
3) Don’t say you are afraid but use an image to suggest/ show how frightening it is/ frightened you are
4) You go down. Stairs, escalator, lift, tunnel, rabbit hole. Is it cold, hot? What do you see? What does it feel like? Be as surreal as you like. Think of guardians of the dead in other mythologies.
5) You come up against the ruler(s) of this underworld. What does he /she/ it/they look like? You sing or speak to them, to charm/implore them, about life where you are from, what is good about it, and why the person you are seeking needs to return to it. These lines should bring life, the things about it you love, into this dark.
6) The ruler(s) say(s) you can take this person back, but there are conditions. They don’t have to be those of Orpheus, they can be any you want to make up. But the test will be not to lose heart/hope.
7) You go back upwards with this person following in some way. What happens, what do you see or hear? Are you sure they are there. Were you ever sure they were there? Do you lose them by forgetting the rules? And when you get out, how do you see the life around you now? Has the journey changed you?


With Julian Gough

Saturday, October 6,

9.30am - 12.30pm

Join Julian Gough, experienced author and tutor for the 2018 fiction writing workshop.
Julian has published four novels for adults, three award-winning books for children and has won the BBC National Short Story Award. 

This workshop is suitable for anyone, published or unpublished, who is interested in creative writing.  All ages, abilities, and levels of experience are welcome. 
Please bring writing tools: paper and pen, or a laptop – whatever you are most comfortable using. 
If you have written a piece you would like to work on further at the workshop, feel free to bring it, but you don’t need to.
There will be a couple of enjoyable, and low-pressure, writing exercises. (No-one will be required to read anything to the group!)
In this workshop, Julian will attempt to pass on the most important and useful things he has learned in his writing career. 
The focus will be on helping you write fiction of all kinds: structuring a story; writing it; rewriting it; and finding a home for it once it is done.

Poetry Workshop €40, including lunch after the workshop.

Fiction Workshop €40, including lunch after the workshop.

To book

Payments for the workshops can be made through Paypal using email address: