Writing School Programme - John O'Connor Writing School
john oconnor, armagh, writing school, masterclass, november, literary events, tutor, writing, events, paul muldoon, muldoon
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Writing School Programme

EARLY BIRD WRITING SCHOOL ‘CLASS PROGRAMME’ OFFER – 15% REDUCTION ON ALL CLASS BOOKINGS MADE BEFORE 15th OCTOBER. LIMITED AVAILABILITY. HURRY!

The school is running a student programme and in parallel, a lively literary arts festival programme. The student programme consists of five courses, one for each discipline, including poetry, fiction, songwriting, stage and screen, and commercial writing. Students receive nine hours of tuition over the three days, with two hours of Masterclass. Masterclasses form an inclusive part of the student writing experience and are not available to be booked separately. Each writing course includes course tuition and masterclass in the chosen subject, plus a Panel discussion and Q and A with  Publishers, as well as Writers’ Rooms. Writers’ Rooms are available for quiet reflection, research, study and writing practice.

 

The series of literary arts events ranges from a special class on blogging by leading style and beauty blogger Sara O’Neill to Armagh’s first ever literary walk conducted by former newspaper editor Eric Villiers. There are 18 events, all covering various aspects of writing, and featuring world-class writers, musicians, actors and poets.

 

All courses begin and end at the same time and class times have been arranged so that students can access many of the other events. There is also excellent evening entertainment, which is sure to be fun, as well as enlightening – of course!

 

We have Bronagh Gallagher and her Band in concert on Thursday evening, which is not to be missed.

 

Then Paul Muldoon’s “Picnic”, staged for the first time outside New York, kicks off on Friday evening at 8.30pm with a wonderful line-up. The following night, the irrepressible stage writers Martin Lynch and Marie Jones will keep us amused and intrigued in an evening of music, conversation, exploration and revelation.

 

The John O’Connor Writing School is a unique chance to access writers and tutors rarely available in this country, all willing to share their professional expertise, experiences and opinions with you.

  • Concession Rate

  • £99.00
    • Classes in chosen genre
    • Masterclass
    • Writers’ Room
    • Publishers’ Panel

    Senior citizens over 65, full time students, under 18s, unwaged


  • Standard Rate

  • £125.00
    • Classes in chosen genre
    • Masterclass
    • Writers’ Room
    • Publishers’ Panel






  • All-inclusive Weekend Day

  • £150.00
    • Classes in chosen genre
    • Masterclass
    • Writers’ Room
    • Publishers’ Panel
    • Entry to all literary festival events before 8pm

  • All-inclusive Weekend

  • £165.00
    • Classes in chosen genre
    • Masterclass
    • Writers’ Room
    • Publishers’ Panel
    • Entry to all literary festival events


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Each of the pricing options displayed above is selectable upon proceeding through the payment process for any of the classes.

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Click to show Writing Course Programme overview

Registration

Friday 4th Nov

Time: 9.00am Registration and welcome reception

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Saturday 5th Nov

Sunday 6th Nov

Poetry

Class: 11.00am-12.30pm

Class: 2.00pm-3.00pm

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Course Tutor: Maria McManus

Class: 9.15am-10.15am

Break: 10.15am

Masterclass: 10.30am-12.30pm with Paul Muldoon

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Class: 9.15am-12.15pm

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Screen & Stage

Class: 11.00am-12.30pm

Class: 2.00pm-3.00pm

Venue: AmmA

Course Tutor: Daragh Carville

Class: 9.15-10.15am

Break: 10.15am

Masterclass: 10.30am-12.30pm with Barry Devlin

Venue: AmmA

Class: 9.15am-12.15pm

Venue: AmmA

Fiction

Class: 11.00am-12.30pm

Class: 2.00pm-3.00pm

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Course Tutor: Bernie McGill

Class: 9.15am-10.15am

Break: 10.15am

Masterclass: 10.30am-12.30pm with Stuart Neville

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Class: 9.15am-12.15pm

Venue: Armagh Public Library

Songwriting

Class: 11.00am-12.30pm

Class: 2.00pm-3.00pm

Venue: Charlemont Arms Hotel

Course Tutor: Peter McVeigh

Class: 9.15am-10.15am

Break: 10.15am

Masterclass: 10.30am-12.30pm with Jim Lockhart

Venue: Charlemont Arms Hotel

Class: 9.15am-12.15pm

Venue: Charlemont Arms Hotel

Commercial Writing

Class: 11.00am-12.30pm

Class: 2.00pm-3.00pm

Venue: AmmA

Course Tutor: Michael O’Neill

Class: 9.15am-10.15am

Break: 10.15am

Masterclass: 10.30am-12.30pm with Geoff Hill

Venue: AmmA

Class: 9.15am-12.15pm

Venue: AmmA

Course Tutor: Joris Minne

Panel of Publishers
(Open to all students)

Time: 3.30-4.30pm

Venue: Uluru

Chair: Adrian Moynes

Writers’ Rooms open:

1.00pm-2.00pm

4.00pm-5.00pm

Venues: Armagh Public Library Long Room, Armagh County Museum or VII Houses Guesthouse




Poetry with Maria McManus

Armagh Public Library

The Poet – Private/Public

 

Maria McManus is a poet and playwright with a substantial track record as an arts trainer and facilitator in creative writing. Her most recent poetry publication is We are Bone (Lagan Press, 2013), and previous poetry includes The Cello Suites (Lagan Press, 2009), which was recorded with an original score composed and played by the cellist Tom Hughes.

 

This series of intensive writing classes is for new and emerging writers of poetry who wish to take bold steps in developing their writing skills, style and poetic voice.

 

The classes will enable you to generate new work and to experiment with ways of sharing poetry in the public space. We have accompanied Maria’s skill and mastery as poet and teacher with that of Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon.

Maria McManus

Poetry Masterclass with Paul Muldoon

Armagh Public Library

Wise Passiveness

 

Paul Muldoon is described as “one of the great poets of the past hundred years, who can be everything in his poems – word-playful, lyrical, hilarious, melancholy. And angry. Only Yeats before him could write with such measured fury.” – Roger Rosenblatt, New York Times Book Review.

 

Most creative writing teachers recommend writing about what we know, usually to the exclusion of writing about what we don’t know.

 

This Masterclass will focus on strategies for developing what Wordsworth referred to as “wise passiveness” and Keats “negative capability” – that quality that goes “to form a Man of Achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean negative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

Songwriting with Peter McVeigh

Charlemont Hotel

How to Find your Inner Lyricist and Musician

 

This songwriting class promises to be an exceptional experience. Peter is one of the best songwriting teachers around. His classes are challenging, lively, and fun. He will take students through the songwriting process, from finding and developing new ideas to writing an inspiring song.

 

Peter will take a close look at the reality of working in the music industry and will help you to consider the merits of developing an independent career and working with publishers. The classes will be enhanced by the outstanding songwriting and musical talent of Jim Lockhart, the Masterclass teacher.

peter Mcveigh
JimLockhartcircle

Songwriting Masterclass with Jim Lockhart

Charlemont Hotel

RTE presenter and producer, musician and writer with Horslips

 

Having earned himself a permanent place in Irish Rock n’ Roll history as a member of the legendary Rock band Horslips, plus an IFTA for his score for Robert Quinn’s 2008 feature film, Cré na Cille, Jim is now a producer and presenter with RTE – and continues to play with Horslips!

The Masterclass session will cast a cold eye on the songwriter’s craft. What makes a successful song tick? Have those factors changed over time? Elements to be looked at include structure, economy, hooks, catharsis, pace, social context, the influence of folk ballads, the frontier with poetry and the sound of the recording. Examples will be analysed and dissected, although no songs will be harmed!

Commercial Writing Module – Three for One

AMMA Centre

Not a day goes past in anyone’s business, work or professional life when they can avoid writing. Whether it’s a brief report, a letter to a supplier, a confirmation of contract or something more creative, like a press release or advertising copy, we need to know what we’re writing about. Three people at the top of their game as advertising copywriter, features writer and public relations expert share the knowledge they have accumulated in a combined 90 years of experience in the commercial field.

 

This is a rare opportunity to learn the fundamentals of commercial writing. Here you will discover how to write good advertising copy, excellent travel and non-fiction features and how to write the ultimate press release.

trio
What Makes Good Advertising Copy? with Michael O’Neill

Friday 4th November: 11.00am-12.30pm and 2.00-3.00pm

Saturday 5th November: 9.15-10.15am

It is a popular misconception that copywriters sit around all day with their feet up waiting for slogans and jingles to pop into their heads and emerge as client-delighting, award-winning advertising gold. These days convincing the media savvy, cynical public to choose one product or brand over another is a complex, rapidly-changing business. So, what does the future hold and how can writers make it pay?

 

Michael is one of Ireland’s leading copywriters. He will take you through the principles of copywriting, how to edit and reduce, visualise, research and how to think in a different space.

Commercial Writing Masterclass with Geoff Hill: How to Go Far in Travel Writing

Saturday 5th November: Masterclass 10:30 – 12:30pm

There are as many travel writers as there are places to visit, but how do you get paid to go on holidays? First of all, you don’t. It’s work. Even though Geoff Hill’s life looks like one long series of vacations paid for by travel agencies and PR firms, it’s more to do with being able to capture a moment or a few days, a site, a location and its people and culture in a short essay or feature. Geoff Hill’s award-winning pieces for the The Sunday Times, The Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph mean this Masterclass is based on a successful track record and full of practical tips on how to be a travel/non-fiction writer.

Media Relations Starts With a Decent Press Release with Joris Minne

Sunday 6th November: 9:15 – 12:15pm

When it comes to everyday business skills, writing a press release should be up there with driving a car and managing your bank account. For small companies, charities and organisations, communicating with stakeholders, funders and supporters should be a priority. But too few of us know how to do it. Who is our audience? What do we need to tell them? How to say it? Find out how to do this, build strong Web presence, and use the Media. Joris teaches the art of writing press releases to students at the University of Ulster and professionals in the private, public and third sectors. Learn this essential skill, how PR works, how to use it effectively, and how to enter the news process.

Daragh Carville

Screen and Stage Writing with Daragh Carville

AMMA Centre

Armagh-born Daragh Carville is a respected playwright and screenwriter. He has won both the Stewart Parker and the Meyer Whitworth Awards for playwriting and currently teaches scriptwriting at Birkbeck, University of London.

 

This is an intensive, craft-based course on writing for stage and screen.

 

With a focus on the practical nuts and boltsof the dramatist’s writing life, Daragh will guide students through the process of creating characters and structuring stories, writing effective dialogue and producing dramatically charged scenes for both stage and screen.

 

Daragh’s writing and teaching talent is matched with that of Masterclass teacher Barry Devlin.

Screen and Stage Masterclass with Barry Devlin.

AMMA Centre

Writing a Series for TV and How to Fail Less Shamefully

 

Barry Devlin, writer and vocalist with the seminal Irish Rock band Horslips has a parallel and successful existence as a screenwriter. He has written for series such as Perfect Scoundrels, Darling Buds Of MayBallykissangel, The Clinic, and on BBC mini-series, Runway One, Soul Survivors, The Signal Box. His film work includes the features, A Man Of No Importance, Spaghetti Slow, Not Afraid, Not Afraid and A Kiss For Jed. His new film with Liam Neeson, The Virgin Of Las Vegas, is due to shoot in December 2016. His major Sunday night BBC Drama series, My Mother And Other Strangers will be on the air this autumn.

 

This class will look at devising, pitching and writing a six-part series for television. Topics will include getting going, choosing subject matter, developing ideas, thumbnail and overview, and fitting tone and writing style to the series. We will look at how to manage block, develop character and story arcs, A B and C threads, know your bible and reality checks! We’ll end with some thoughts on casting, locations and working with a director.

barryDevlin
Bernie McGill author pic

Fiction Writing with Bernie McGill

Armagh Public Library

Between the Lights

 

Bernie McGill was born in Lavey in County Derry in Northern Ireland and is one of the most respected writing tutors in Ireland. She has written for the theatre (The Weather Watchers, The Haunting of Helena Blunden), the novel, The Butterfly Cabinet and a short story collection, Sleepwalkers).

 

Her new novel, The Tailor’s House, will be published by Tinder Press in 2017.

 

Bernie offers one-to-one mentoring through the Irish Writers’ Centre.

 

The Celtic Festival of Samhain traditionally marks the end of the lighter half and the beginning of the darker half of the year. It was believed that at this time, the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through. This series of fiction writing workshops is inspired by the theme of the twilight time of the year. Bernie will use trigger and guided writing exercises to stimulate ideas that help with writing about place, with creating characters, with choosing point of view and with editing your work.

 

Stuart Neville will provide the Masterclass to accompany Bernie’s fiction course.

Fiction Writing Masterclass with Stuart Neville

Armagh Public Library

Stuart Neville’s debut novel, THE TWELVE (published in the USA as The Ghosts of Belfast), won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. He has been shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards as well as the Irish Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year.

 

His fourth novel, Ratlines, about Nazis harboured by the Irish state following WWII, is currently in development for television.

 

This Masterclass will focus on plot and character, and the intersection of both.

 

Stuart Neville will demonstrate that a compulsive plot is not simply a sequence of events, but rather the inevitable consequence of creating strong characters and allowing them to pursue their conflicting desires.

stuart Neville