Words Ireland hosted a series of nationwide public meetings for professional and practising writers in 2016/17 to hear how writers sustain their careers. After listening to these discussions and reviewing all of the feedback, as well as continuing discussions with our partners at the Arts Council, we’ve responded to writers needs with the following programmes:
Words Ireland National Mentoring Programme: In 2017 we created 11 paying opportunities for professional writers to become mentors. We also gave 11 mentees from around the country the opportunity to develop their writing and work on a particular writing project under the guidance of an experienced writing hand. We partnered with 6 local arts authorities to maximize the number of opportunities and funding available for this programme. Thanks to the arts offices of Leitrim, Limerick, Wexford, Wicklow, Kilkenny and the library service and arts office of DLRCoCo. More info here.
Information and Resources: We partnered with local literature orgs, arts centres, festivals and arts office around the country to provide meaning networking opportunities for writers. Each of the eight Writers Cafés focusses on a different aspect of professional development for writers. An informative document or ‘Guidance sheet’ has been created on each of the eight topics, and in some cases, we’ve also podcasted the events. This means that writers across the country can benefit from the information shared in each of the eight Writers Cafés.
Venues Initiative: we are working with two highly experienced producers under this pilot programme to develop quality, ambitious literature events for the stage. Dani Gill and Siobhán Kane are currently working with the Linenhall, Castlebar and the Backstage Theatre, Longford, to create events for the stage which we will promote as they come up. We’re keen to:
· see more producers and writers apply for Arts Council Touring grants,
· bring more literature events to regional arts centres and theatre stages,
· Increase venue managers’ and directors’ understanding of literature event production and help them to develop literature audiences,
· Share our learning and knowledge with the wider literature community, through a number of documents and events, to support the ambitions of anyone with quality and ambitious ideas for producing or touring word-based events.
We hope to develop and expand this initiative in 2018 and beyond.
WordCon: we are at the early stages of developing a writers’ conference that will take place in Dublin on 25 May 2018. Events will address the practical and creative needs of writers, and include opportunities to meet the staff from a wide range of writing-based organisations, including publishers, agents, booksellers, funders and resource orgs who provide information and employment to writers.