Writing School Programme - John O'Connor Writing School
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Writing School Programme

Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th November 2017

There are no borders, and no boundaries where good writing is concerned’. John O’Connor.

Details & Timetable

Registration & Lord Mayor’s Welcome

9.00am – 11.00am

Venue: Armagh Robinson Library, 43 Abbey Street

Courses Available

Poetry, Fiction, Playwriting, Screenwriting and Songwriting.

Industry Talks

Each course will benefit from an ‘Industry Talk’ with a respected writer in their field. The Industry Talk is part of the course content.

Note: A small number of places will be available to the public at these talks. Admission is free, but places will be allocated at the venue, on a first come, first served, basis.

Course Times (same for all courses)

Friday 3rd November

11.15am – 2.45pm

Please bring a packed lunch

 

Saturday 4th & 5th November

9.00am – 12.30pm

Course Venues

Venue for Playwriting, Screenwriting and Songwriting: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Venue for Poetry and Fiction: Milford House Collection, 3 Victoria Street.

Poetry with Lemn Sissay

Venue: Milford House Collection, 3 Victoria Street

Friday 3rd November 11.15am–2.45pm

Saturday 4th November 9.30am –12.30pm

Sunday 5th November 9.30am –12.30pm

(Includes industry talk)

‘Release Your Imagination and Enhance Your Poetry Skills.’

 

How to write a poem. How to read a poem on stage. How to release your imagination and find unique angles and terms to enhance your poem. How to be a poet. Poetry as the spider on the World Wide Web. How to live as a writer …

 

All this and more, in Lemn Sissay’s writing course. A weekend of laughter and learning.

 

Lemn Sissay MBE is the author of several books of poetry. He was the official poet for the London Olympics and The FA Cup 2015. He is Chancellor of theUniversity of Manchester.

 

Sissay’s installation poem what if was exhibited at The Royal Academy alongside Tracey Emin and Antony Gormley. His 21st century poem was released on the multi-million award-winning album, Leftism by Leftfield. A violin concerto performed at The BBC by Viktoria Mullova was inspired by Lemn Sissay’s poem, Advice For The Living.

 

‘Reach for the top of the tree and you may get to the first branch, but reach for the stars and you’ll get to the top of the tree. My primary aim is to inspire and be inspired’. (Lemn Sissay)

 

There is only one Lemn Sissay in the world! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to work with him.

Poetry Industry Talk with Kate Newmann & Joan Newmann

Venue: Milford House Collection, 3 Victoria Street

Saturday 4th November 11.30am –12.30pm

Joan Newmann, along with Seamus Heaney, Stewart Parker and James Simmons, began in the Philip Hobsbaum Belfast Group in the 1960s. She is the recipient of the Criobh na hEigse for services to poetry. She has published three collections and is cofounder of the Summer Palace Press.

 

Kate Newmann, has written four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Grim [Arlen House 2015]. In 2016 she collated Nearness of Ice, interviews with the surviving veterans from the Arctic Convoys, and is cofounder of the Summer Palace Press.

Fiction with Martina Devlin

Venue: Milford House Collection, 3 Victoria Street

Friday 3rd November 11.15am–2.45pm

Saturday 4th November 9.30am –12.30pm

Sunday 5th November 9.30am –12.30pm

(Includes industry talk)

‘If Not Now, Then When?’

 

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write but never found the time. Maybe lack of confidence has been the problem. Or you don’t know what kind of book to write.

 

This weekend workshop with Martina Devlin will deal with some of the nuts and bolts of the craft in an interactive way, including:

 

  • How to build character
  • The importance of dialogue
  • Beginnings and endings
  • Why plot matters
  • Setting
  • Structure

 

You won’t have a novel at the end of it – but you should have a clearer idea about how to press on with writing one.

Omagh-born Martina Devlin is a best-selling author and newspaper columnist. She has written nine books, ranging from historical fiction to memoir. Her novels include About Sisterland, The House Where It Happened and Ship of Dreams. Prizes include the VS Pritchett Prize and a Hennessy Literary Award. She has been shortlisted three times for the Irish Book Awards. She writes for the Irish Independent and is vice-chair of the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Fiction Industry Talk with Robert McCrum

Venue: Milford House Collection, 3 Victoria Street

Saturday 4th November 11.30am –12.30pm

Robert McCrum was Editor-in-Chief of Faber & Faber from 1980–1986, where he published such writers as Kazuo Ishiguro, Milan Kundera, Marilynne Robinson, and Hanif Kureishi.

 

His account of his stroke, My Year Off (1998), is in its third edition as a Picador Classic. His last book Every Third Thought has just been published. (August 2017).

 

He is now Associate Editor with The Observer (UK).

Playwriting with Jo Egan

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Friday 3rd November 11.15am–2.45pm

Saturday 4th November 9.30am –12.30pm

Sunday 5th November 9.30am –12.30pm

(Includes industry talk)

‘Learn the Basic Rules of Playwriting – and When to Break Them!’

 

Jo Egan is an experienced writer, producer and director. She holds an MFA in Playwriting, was creative producer with KABOSH and is now Artistic Director with Macha Productions in Belfast. She works as a dramaturg.

 

Jo will take you through the basic rules of playwriting – and then teach you how to break them!

 

‘Over the course of the weekend sessions we will explore the basic principles that inform script creation for theatre. We will examine the use of time, action, ritual and memory.’

 

The course will consist of short, written experiments that offer insight and can be used beyond the life of the classes. Participants are asked to bring an idea, concept or theme they have been considering or a 600-word segment of a work in progress.

 

Note: Please do not bring completed scripts due to time constraints on the class.

Playwriting Industry Talk with Conall Morrison & Paul Bosco McEneaney

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Saturday 4th November 11.30am –12.30pm

Paul Bosco McEneaney is from Armagh, and is the founder and Artistic Director of Cahoots NI Theatre Company. The winner of many prestigious awards, he has worked on productions ranging from Shakespeare in the open air to West End musicals. He is director of the recent Broadway hit, Nivelli’s War.

 

Conall Morrison is from Armagh and a Dublin-based director and writer. He has worked extensively for companies such as the Abbey Theatre, the Lyric Theatre (Belfast), Storytellers Theatre Company (Dublin), and Bickerstaff (Kilkenny). He has also worked at the Royal National Theatre, London.

Screenwriting with Deirdre Cartmill

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Friday 3rd November 11.15am–2.45pm

Saturday 4th November 9.30am –12.30pm

Sunday 5th November 9.30am –12.30pm

(Includes industry talk)

’What’s The Story? A Guide To Screenwriting’

 

Screenplays form the starting point for most dramatic films. They are core to the art of great filmmaking. All of the tender romance, gripping action and unforgettable lines begin at the screenwriter’s desk.

 

This course is suitable both for beginners and emerging screenwriters who want to add depth to their work and take their scripts to another level. We will focus primarily on TV and film, and many of the tools and insights can be adapted for radio and stage.

 

You will learn to create and develop characters that leap off the page, focus on structure, setting, format, write strong dialogue, how to avoid common mistakes, and write a great pitch to get your work commissioned.

 

What are you waiting for?

 

Deirdre Cartmill is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and poet. She has written for TV, short film, radio and theatre. She spent two years as a scriptwriter and storywriter on RTE’s flagship drama, Fair City. She worked as a script editor with the BBC for 8 years. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and is an experienced writing mentor and facilitator.

Screenwriting Industry Talk with Barry Devlin

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Saturday 4th November 11.30am –12.30pm

As well as being singer and bass player with the unforgettable Celtic Rock band, Horslips, Barry Devlin has directed numerous documentaries and pop videos – mainly for U2, Pride, Bad and Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, but also for artists like Clannad, Michael Flatley, Gerry Rafferty, River City People and Hothouse Flowers.

 

As a screenwriter for TV he has worked on many hit series such as Perfect Scoundrels, Darling Buds Of May, Ballykissangel and The Clinic.

 

His film work includes Lapsed Catholics, All Things Bright And Beautiful, A Man Of No Importance, Spaghetti Slow, Not Afraid, Not Afraid and A Kiss For Jed, as writer. He was IFTA nominated for best script for his major Sunday night BBC Drama series, My Mother And Other Strangers.

Songwriting with Gareth Dunlop

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Friday 3rd November 11.15am–2.45pm

Saturday 4th November 9.30am –12.30pm

Sunday 5th November 9.30am –12.30pm

(Includes industry talk)

‘Explore Aspects and Approach to Songwriting’

 

Over the past eight years award-winning songwriter Gareth Dunlop has seen his songs placed in hit TV shows including One Tree Hill, House, Nashville, Cougar Town, and in the major motion pictures, Safe Haven and Best Of Me. The Northern Ireland native is a regular visitor to Nashville TN where he has worked alongside hit songwriters and artists including Mike Reid and John Oates.

 

Dunlop has toured with artists such as Stereophonics, Ryan Sheridan and Kim Richey, and has played shows alongside Van Morrison, Snow Patrol and Jools Holland to name a few.

 

In this intensive weekend course, Gareth will explore aspects of songwriting such as ‘writing to brief’ which was key to having his work placed in over sixty TV and film applications including adverts, trailers, TV shows and major motion pictures. Gareth will look at different approaches to songwriting and the importance of scene and character as well as lyric, melody and harmony. He will think about the importance of emotive expression in the craft, and consider how to co-write.

 

Students will learn about the business of songwriting from publishing to copyright protection, royalties, licensing and catalogue administration.

 

The format will be open, encouraging and interactive to accommodate all levels of ability. Students will have the opportunity to have their work critiqued.

Songwriting Industry Talk with Jim Lockhart.

Venue: AmmA Centre, Market Street.

Saturday 4th November 11.30am –12.30pm

Having earned himself a permanent place in Irish Rock’n’Roll history as a member and creative force with the legendary Celtic Rock pioneers, Horslips, plus an IFTA nomination along the way for his score for Robert Quinn’s 2008 feature film, Cré na Cille, Jim Lockhart is now a producer and presenter with RTE.

 

He features regularly on music and arts programmes on RTE Radio 1 – and continues to play with Horslips.