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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nuala Ní Chonchúir

With barely a day off from school over Halloween, I entered into the second half of the semester to discover another cool and exciting part of my creative writing course. For the remainder of this semester I will get to meet several very talented Irish writers. Yeah!

Seeing as I am not allowed to write any kind of a personal review of the visiting writer for my school report - it has to be 'report on the content, respond to the visits etc.' I am using my WiseBlog so that you can get the WiseREADreview on who they are, what they write and whether or not you should all be breaking down the doors to your local rag shop to buy their stuff.

Let's start with the lovely and talented Nuala Ní Chonchúir. Born (1970) and raised in Dublin and well educated (BA in Irish, Trinity College; MA in Translation Studies, Dublin City University), Nuala is a full time writer and poet now residing in the lovely town of Ballinasloe, County Galway (only a few minutes out the road from me).

It was fantastic to sit and listen to her story. A mother of three (one being a brand new one) she did not sugar coat the life of a writer in Ireland. She gave a realistic impression of what her life is like as a full time writer in Ireland with everything from salary earned to still waiting to get paid a year later for an appearance stateside! I got the vibe afterwards that some of my younger classmates felt a little disillusioned by her visit. They are still so young and believe that they are the next J.K. Rowling. They have visions of enormous book advances filling their bank accounts upon writing the first chapter of their novellas! Gawd - life has embittered me, hasn't it!

Nuala spoke of the difficulties of being your own PR person. Having to constantly be selling your self and asking someone to 'give her a gig'. I suppose I can equate this to owning your own business and constantly striving to keep customers coming in the door!

Nuala has already published two collections of short fiction and also two poetry collections. Her most recent book is a short story collection Nude.

There were several points I made note of during my time with her. The ones that stand out in my mind and certainly something for any young aspiring writer to adhere to can be pinpointed right here:

  • If you want to write short fiction/poetry etc.- start reading short fiction/poetry etc.
  • Claim your space and make time to write (with three young children under foot - she is sooooooooooo my hero right now!)
  • BE VISIBLE! Read the literary rags. See what they print, then start submitting your work. Enter competitions. This builds up your 'writing CV'.
  • Your 'Writers Name' - is it the right name for you? Do you need to change it? OK - here I am lucky! When I married I changed my name so Móna Wise it is!
  • Think carefully about titles.
  • Show - don't Tell. You are going to see a lot of this, because this is the phrase used most frequently by all our teachers to date.
  • Last and by no means least - WRITE. Write in the morning, write in the afternoon, write at night. Carry a notebook with you everywhere you go.

We did not get to read a sample of her work during class so I cannot comment on what I think about her style etc. but I will be checking out her new book as soon as we get it at school.

This was the first of our 'visiting writers' to NUIG. Stay tuned for the next one!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today,




Hey Wise Móna
Thanks for the report!!
And I'm sorry for disillusioning the younger members of the class. Maybe one of them is indeed the next JK Rowling!!
I wish you all the best of luck in your careers; it was my pleasure to talk to you all. Nuala x

WiseMóna said...

@ Nuala - It was great to start off the Visiting Writers Series with you! I was so happy to listen to you talk about the reality of the job. No need to apologise for how the young ones felt :-) in time they will have more understanding that everything will not be handed to them on a silver platter. Back to the homework - John loaded us up today!

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