Birr Writers Residency: Offaly County Council
Tin Jug Studio and Offaly County Council have announced the winning recipients of the 2015 Birr Writers Residency, as Kate Newman, Grainne Tobin, Breda Joy and Cherry Smyth. Delighted with the quality and quantity of writers applying for only the second year of this bursary, the organizers said it was a difficult to select writers this year, focusing their process on how clearly applicants expressed their desire to make the best use of the opportunity alongside evidence of need and current projects.
The recipients will each spend a week in the Georgian heritage town of Birr later this year with no caveat to do anything other than concentrate on the time for their own needs. Last year’s inaugural residency was taken up by Mary Russell, Iggy McGovern and Orflaith Foyle, the latter commenting that:
“This was a great opportunity to write in such evocative and inspirations surroundings… your time was utterly your own at this residency. It actually resembled a retreat. There were no caveats and the attention and care of the writers was superb.”
“We were really encouraged by this feedback, that we were offering something new for writers” says host Rosalind Fanning, “and we are very much looking forward to welcoming this year’s recipients to Birr and to continuing with the opportunity.”
More about the 2015 Birr Writers Residency Recipients
Breda Joy has published two books through Mercier Press and is progressing her third novel. From Kerry, Breda holds a Masters in Philosophy in Creative Writing from Trinity College, she was shortlisted for the RTE Penguin Short Story Award and the Francis MacManus Short Story Competition and was winner in the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Award.
Gráinne Tobin has published four poetry books and has featured in several anthology’s. Based in Newcastle Co. Down, she has won the Segora Poetry Competition (France), Dying Matters Competition for Anthology and the Observer Poetry Competition. She has been shortlisted for North West Words Donegal Creameries Poetry Competition, Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Competition and the Word Pool Poetry Competition.
Kate Newman is from Donegal and has published four books of poetry. She was appointed a Junior Fellow at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University, Belfast where she compiled and published the Dictionary of Ulster Biography (1993). She has been writer in residence for several organizations and has facilitated creative writing programmes with adults in over five hundred schools. She also established the Summer Palace Press which has published 45 titles. She has won the Listowel single poem competition, the Allingham Prize, the James Prize, the Roundyhouse Swansea Prize and has been shortlisted for the UK National Poetry Competition.
Cherry Smyth is a lecturer at Greenwich University. Now based in London she is originally from Antrim. She has published three poetry collections, a novel and a book on visual art. She has achieved numerous awards including the Royal Literary Fellowship (London), Arts Council Writing Award and the Raymond Williams Publishing Prize.