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Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020

Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature are delighted to support Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe as she receives one of 23 one-to-one mentoring from professional writer-mentors over the coming year from Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020.

We look forward to working with her over the next year. Congratulations!!

Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe is a poet, pacifist and fabulist. She is the founder of the P[l]ay It Forward Fellowships, poetry editor at Skein Press, and co-editor of a forthcoming commemorative anthology with The Ireland Chair of Poetry. 

Essays and features appear in T Qatar: The New York Times Style Magazine, TED News, Doha News, Dissident Voice, Culture Unplugged and The New Indian Express, among others. Poems are widely published or forthcoming, most recently in Banshee, Poetry Ireland Review, Rattle, The Irish Times, The Stinging Fly, and Winter Papers. She has been commissioned to create work for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture celebrations by Poetry Ireland, the Rio 2016 Olympic Truce by the Qatar Olympic Committee, and the Shine Your Light campaign with RTÉ. 

The recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award in Literature (2019/20) from the Arts Council of Ireland, Nidhi currently also serves as a Global Peace Ambassador with the Institute for Economics & Peace. Her work has been awarded the Jaipur BookMark First Book Club Award (2018) for a novel-in-progress, inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Prize (2019), highly commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award (2019) for best unpublished first collection, selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series (2020), and twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her first book of poetry is forthcoming in Autumn 2021.


New Episode – City of Books Podcast with Richard Ford


Richard Ford is listing his failures. He wanted to be a lawyer in the US Marines. That didn’t work out. He wanted to be “a lawyer, period”. That didn’t work out. He became a writer – that certainly counts as a success for the Pulitzer Prize winner.

Even so, between novels and short story collections he sometimes imagined he was through with fiction. There had to be other jobs he could do, he thought.

But he kept going, he tells Martina Devlin in the City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature. And that’s been the case for half a century.

Although when he’s between books, he claims to “flounce” around meeting people for lunch, travelling and generally finding reasons not to work.

Today, Ford is the elder statesman of American letters, and notched up a string of awards. But he has strong Irish links, as is readily apparent in his latest work Sorry for Your Trouble. It’s a short story collection with an elegiac tone, shot through with Irish characters and places.

Ford, whose forebears emigrated to the US from Co Cavan, has written eight novels, a memoir about his parents and four short story collections. Books includes Canada and The Sportswriter. In addition, he has shared his insights as writer in residence at Trinity College Dublin.

Sorry For Your Trouble is published by Bloomsbury.




Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme 2020

Congratulations to the 23 writers who will receive one-to-one mentoring from professional writer-mentors over the coming year.

We at Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries are delighted to support Words Ireland in their National Mentoring Programme 2020.

The 23 writers were announced today, 7th July! A full list of can be found HERE 

Here’s a bit more about one of the lucky recipients Triona Campbell. We look forward to working with her in the future.

Photo: Michael Donnelly

Triona Campbell is an award-winning television producer who has been creating content for kids and young adults for over two decades.  To date, she has garnered two International EMMY nominations and two Kidscreen awards for her work in this area. Currently, she is producing “Gamer Mode”, a TV series on video games and technology for RTE.  She can also be found asking questions on the upcoming RTE podcast “Gamer mode parents edition: Raising Digital Natives”.

A graduate of Trinity College’s Drama department Triona got her first break in the arts working backstage at the Olympia panto with Twink and Dustin (she is THAT old, and she has been a Panto addict ever since). Alongside working in film and television, she spent time developing story ideas at a monthly children’s writers’ group at the Irish Writers Centre,  and, dipped her toes in further by taking several of Sarah Webb’s writing for children courses. In 2019, Triona decided to do the Masters in Creative writing at the Oscar Wilde Centre in Trinity and left it wholly smitten by Children’s/YA writing.

Her first work as a writer was a radio drama/podcast series for kids “YOUNG PIRATE QUEEN” based on the fictional adventures of a young Grace O’Malley.  The series created by Triona is in postproduction, was produced remotely during the COVID 19 lockdown and is due to air online and on RTE Radio Jnr in September 2020.

In between writing and creating television, she also writes short pieces on Instagram @storyrealms (where she tests out new material and book ideas). She is currently working on her Debut Novel, “PLAY”, a high concept thriller set in the world of Video Games. She is delighted and grateful for the support of Words Ireland, National Mentoring Programme 2020, Dublin City Centre mentorship supported by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries in developing this work.

For updates and more information see



A City as a Writers’s Workplace Online Photo Exhibition

The International online exhibition “A City as a Writer’s Workplace” brought together 100 photographs and texts from writers and artists from around the world. The exhibition, organized by Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature is presented in English and Russian.

The idea of the exhibition is to collect photographs and short texts telling about those places in the city where the authors like to write. The project helps to understand the writer’s relationship with a city and allows authors of different countries to know more about each other’s work. Photos are also supplemented with links to writers’ websites so that readers can familiarize themselves with the author’s texts. Initially, applications were only accepted from the UNESCO Literary Cities Network members, but authors from other cities also showed interest in the project, so the organizers expanded the exhibition.

“The online exposition includes photos from different parts of the world: Europe, Australia, Russia, New Zealand, the USA, Israel, the UK, South Korea, China, South Africa, and India. It is very curious to explore how the working conditions of the authors are changing today: some write at home at the desk, in a cafe or a garden, others sketch poems right on their smartphones, ride a bike or look for solitude in the writer’s residency. Some writers are inspired by the colours and sounds of the city. It turns out that many authors still write by hand. The Coronavirus has made changes in the writers’ work, and they told us about it in their texts. Authors miss the places to which the pandemic has closed access,” said Gala Uzryutova, an author of the idea and the exhibition curator, the “Ulyanovsk UNESCO City of Literature” program coordinator, poet, and writer.

View the exhibition

Christine Dwyer Hickey and Sinéad Gleeson win Dalkey Literary Awards

Congratulations to Christine Dwyer Hickey who has won the inaugural Dalkey Literary Award – Novel of the Year – for her latest novel The Narrow Land (Atlantic Books) Sponsored by Zurich, the award was announced by Dalkey Book Festival on Saturday night. Christine also won the 2020 William Scott Prize for Historical Fiction last week for the same book! Christine’s 2004 novel Tatty (New Island Books) is our 2020 Dublin One City One Book choice.

Sinéad Gleeson won the Emerging Writer Award for her debut collection Constellations: Reflections from Life (Picador Books). Sinéad has also been shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize in the Biography section. The James Tait Black Prizes are awarded by the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. The prizes are Britain’s longest-running literary awards.

Edna O’Brien has been shortlisted for the same prize in the fiction category for her latest novel Girl – which recently won the Kerry Group Novel of the Year Award. 

More details on the Dalkey Literary Awards here 

You can also find the winners video announcements here:


New Episode City of Books Podcast with Liz Nugent

Domestic noir doyenne Liz Nugent’s work has been enthused over by Graham Norton, who describes her latest hit Our Little Cruelties as part rollercoaster, part maze.
In this interview for the City of Books podcast with Martina Devlin, Liz talks about coping with pain stemming from a childhood brain haemorrhage, and overcoming challenges large and small – such as typing all her work one handed: “Shakespeare wrote all his plays one-
handed with a feather,” she says.
She also reveals the identity of her favourite fictional antihero (clue: he’s sexy but mean), why she finds it easier to write male characters, and unravels her eclectic career path to becoming a bestselling author of four domestic noir bestsellers.
More about Liz’s books here:

City of Books is sponsored by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Council, in association with the Museum of Literature Ireland (MOLI).

Available where ever you get your podcasts!!


Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust Opens Call for Submissions to Special Commemorative Anthology


The Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust is delighted to be able to invite submissions to an anthology of original poems, essays and reflections by emerging poets in response to the work of creative mentors, to celebrate the work of the Ireland Chair of Poetry.

The Ireland Chair of Poetry was established in 1998, to commemorate the awarding of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature to Seamus Heaney and, more widely, as a way to permanently mark and recognise Ireland’s extraordinary literary achievements. As we approach the 25th anniversary of Heaney’s Nobel Prize win, we look to mark the occasion by honouring the contribution and legacy of writers like Seamus Heaney, the Chairs of Poetry and their peers, among a new generation of poets emerging in the literary landscape.

Conceived and edited by the awardees of the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Award 2019, Mícheál McCann, Summer Meline, Marcella L.A. Prince and Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, the editors wish to recognise this tradition and celebrate the unique and formative relationships that exist between new writers and their creative mentors. We hope, through this anthology, to spark an intergenerational dialogue by bridging established, well-known names in Irish literature with newfound, diverse voices, and illuminate the literary heritage, traditions, themes and resonances unfolding in contemporary Irish poetry.

We invite new/emerging poets to respond to this call by submitting work inspired by a mentor who has had a tangible, direct or indirect, impact on their life, work, imagination, themes, style and/or practice. This can take the form of either:

— an original poem, inspired by one of a mentor’s poems/collections/oeuvre, including a short note (250 words) on why the work/poet that inspired it is particularly meaningful to you; or

— a personal or critical reflection, essay, letter or other form of print media engaging with some aspect of a mentor’s practice, process, creative or critical thought in the form of lectures, talks, archival materials and/or personal interaction or correspondences.

The submission and eligibility guidelines are available to download by clicking here.

The equality, diversity and inclusion form is available to download by clicking here.

The submission window is open from Wednesday May 6th and will close at midnight on Monday July 6th.

To submit please email your work with a brief covering letter and a short biography (80 words) to: 

All queries should be directed to:

New Episode – City of Books Podcast with Colum McCann

Described as a once-in-a-generation novel, Colum McCann’s latest book is something he calls a hybrid: “It does blur the line between fiction and non-fiction but it’s honest,” he says.

In an interview with the City of Books podcast, the multi-award-winning writer talks about his hope that the book, Apeirogon, may contribute to peace in the West Bank because it makes space for both the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. It fictionalises the true story of two fathers, an Israeli and a Palestinian, who each lose a child in the conflict.

Elsewhere in the interview, Colum admits he can’t write poetry but is drawn to it, talks about writers he has known including Frank McCourt, and describes it felt to sit in the classroom as a teacher read aloud from one of his father’s children’s books about a young soccer star called Georgie Goode – modelled on George Best. He also reads from his novel.

City of Books is supported by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries in association with MOLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland. It is produced and presented by Martina Devlin.

:: Apeirogon is published by Bloomsbury


James and Nora: Portrait of a Marriage by Edna O’Brien

RTE Radio One will broadcast a half hour programme to coincide with the publication of Edna O’Brien’s new book James and Nora: Portrait of Joyce’s Marriage. The  novel which was first published in America in 1981 has been republished by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.  In it, Edna O’Brien paints a miniature portrait of an artist, idealist, insurgent and filled with a secret loneliness. In Nora hew as to find accomplice, collaborator and muse.

James and Nora – a reading by Edna O’Brien will be aired on RTE Radio One at 6.30pm on Saturday 13th June 2020. The book will be published on Bloomsday – 16th June.