Athlone is to have its second writer in residence programme, a gift from one of the town’s most distinguished writers, the late John Broderick. In a partnership between the Arts Council and Westmeath County Council, the application process is now open through Westmeath Arts Office, with a closing date of 11 April 2019.
The inaugural John Broderick Writer in Residence in 2018 was awarded to Annemarie Ni Churreáin, who completed her residency in February 2019. The writer conducted a series of workshops and mentoring sessions with adults and in schools and held public sessions based on the works of John Broderick and new writings that emerged from the opportunity.
The residency afforded the writer time and space to develop and research new poetry and to plan a US reading tour of recent work and her award winning debut collection Bloodroot.
“During the residency I took an in-depth tour of the Hill of Uisneach with local tour guide Ruth Illingford and began work on a series of new poems including a long-length poem titled ‘Noah’s Daughter’. I was also inspired to commence work on a new bog-body poem titled ‘The Turf-Cutter Speaks’ which was recently letter-press printed by The Salvage Press at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Dublin,” commented Annmarie Ni Churreáin on the residency.
On the impact of the residency a teacher commented, “The creative writing tasks which followed the readings were immensely engaging for all my students. I, too, found them hugely beneficial in an inspirational capacity, making me reconsider my own approaches to writing. I have since written a series of poems, seven so far”.
Local writers remarked:
“I found the sessions most encouraging. I had never read any of John Broderick’s works though I had heard of him. The sessions were revealing and I left wanting to read his books and find out more about him” - Janice Dobbie
“It has been a transformative experience for me and will stay with me and in my writing for a long time. Even just the normalisation of an art form for someone like me who left school without a Leaving Cert, emigrated to UK, factory worked, and then went back to education at 30 is a really important engagement tool.” - Rory Duffy
In a statement, the Arts Council said “the author bequeathed monies to the Arts Council with the intention they would be for; '...the benefit and assistance and advancement of the arts in Athlone’. The writer in residence programme will be supported to achieve the intent of the bequest. The value of the residency to the writer is €15,000 and Westmeath County Council is committed to the series in partnership with the Arts Council and we look forward to continuing our relationship on this series over the coming years”
If you are a writer interested in applying please see https://www.westmeathcoco.ie/johnbroderickresidency or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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