Due to unforeseeable circumstances, the autumn events with Selina Guinness and Keith Ridgway have been cancelled. SBA expresses its apologies.
We come to the final part of our autumn 2012 creative writing course programme. Firstly, you’ll have to forgive our best attempt at finding a red-brick building in Paris as our background for a photo of Karl. Karl is leaving Paris for Dublin soon, so we hope to have it all sorted in a week or two.
Secondly, we’ve made an important change to the course. Karl’s course was originally entitled Historical Narrative. After a few weeks of looking at it, we’ve decided the title is a little bit vague, and we’ve also decided that nobody interested in creative writing evening courses wants to spend two hours per week in a course with the word ‘Narrative’ in the title. So we’ve decided to rename it Research and Writing, and we’ve come up with a whole new course description to help clarify exactly what this course is about.
Karl is not only a writer – his most recent essay appears in the current issue of the Dublin Review – he’s a historian and a gifted researcher. And this class is all about bringing his expertise in research and his background in writing to aspiring writers whose current or planned project requires research, or would benefit from research. This can be fiction, an essay, a work of journalism, a memoir, anything.
Often, when starting a work that requires research, we simply don’t know where to begin. Or sometimes we simply want to improve our research methods to make what we write have more depth and complexity. And sometimes we might like to look at interesting things that happen to literature when fact is integrated into narrative – and all the questions of truth and ethics that arise as a result.
If you think this course sounds interesting and would like to contact SBA or Karl with queries, please use our Contact Form to get in touch.
There are still three spaces remaining on Introduction to Fiction and Personal Essay, which starts tomorrow evening, Wednesday, September 19. The course is Some Blind Alleys’s signature creative writing course. The course is taught by Adrian Duncan.
From the course description:
It is not a typical “Beginners’ Creative Writing” course. As with all Some Blind Alleys Workshops, it is not about a person’s “creativity,” and it is not blandly or rigidly about technique, and it is not a How-To-Write course. It is a literature course for writers, or people who would like to try writing.
This course is demanding, time-consuming, and fast-paced, and it’s also – and most importantly – a lot of fun. It’s designed to suit the serious and the not-so-serious. The focus is on basics, common flaws, and learning to read short stories as writers. The goal is to produce a finished story, but more important is that people gain or improve a vocabulary with which to assess their own writing, and better appreciate masterworks.
Selina Guinness will join us as our featured author of the first event in the Some Blind Alleys autumn 2012 events series – Ruin. Her memoir, The Crocodile by the Door, will be published later this month by Penguin Ireland. To read more about the event series, please see our Forthcoming Events page.
The publisher’s synopsis:
Tibradden is a farmhouse in the Dublin mountains, where the city meets the country – or, in other words, where housing estates and golf courses encroach on lands grazed by sheep and cattle. When Selina Guinness and her partner, Colin, both young academics, moved in with Selina’s uncle Charles, an elderly bachelor, they had no idea what the coming years held for them: a crash course in farming, tense discussions with helicopter-borne property developers, human tragedy, and the challenge of dragging a quasi-feudal estate into the twenty-first century. With an eye to the colorful history of the house and to the often troubled history of relations between Ireland’s landed gentry and their tenants and employees, The Crocodile by the Door provides a rich family narrative, a snapshot of the uncertain future facing Irish farmers, a classic property drama and, above all, a moving account of life, labour and loss on a hillside overlooking Dublin.
The Crocodile by the Door is published September 27.
There are still a few spaces remaining on our Narrative Journalism course, which is taught by one of Ireland’s rising stars in long-form journalism, Donald Mahoney. It’s the second Narrative Journalism course Donald has taught for Some Blind Alleys. Donald is a frequent contributor to the Dublin Review, Ireland’s pre-eminent literary journal. He’s got work in issues 42, 45, 46, and another in 48, which is just in bookshops. (That is, considering the publication we’re talking about, one heck of streak.) Some of these pieces are online: you can read ‘Reporting the Crash‘ – about his attempts to portray the ghost estate phenomenon in a way that pleased a UK paper – or ‘Boom Tomb‘ – about the erection of Achillhenge, a massive, circular, concrete structure by property developer Joe McNamara.
Here’s a quote from the latter:
Surely McNamara expected the Mayo County Council to do everything in its power to make sure Achillhenge was not allowed to stand. But even if the High Court was to render it a ‘temporary installation’ (to borrow the language of contemporary art), McNamara had made a mark on the land that would take years and years to cover up. Many on the island doubted that the county council had the logistical and financial ability to remove the structure. I departed feeling that despite the fascinating things it does to and within the landscape, and the public interest it has generated, Achillhenge is first and foremost a monument to its creator. In its disrespect for the law and the environment, it embodies the spirit of feckless development that has crippled Ireland.
Keith Ridgway, one of the finest and most critically acclaimed Irish writers of his generation, is teaching his second course on writing fiction for Some Blind Alleys. It’s a rare opportunity for writers at all levels to work with an experienced and celebrated author at the height of his career. (You can read more about Keith on our SBA Tutors page.)
Like all SBA courses, this is a literature course for aspiring writers. Every week, students will be handed a variety of the world’s best fiction. It’ll be an inspiring adventure through writing that takes risks, and will help aspiring writers better understand and articulate their own visions, as well as better understand what it means to take risks – personal, emotional risks – as a writer.
The course suits those just starting out – people who consider themselves very much novices – and it suits those who have already been writing for a while. It is, like all SBA courses, a course that prioritizes reading. It’s about introducing aspiring writers to books and authors they might never come across otherwise. If you are interested in this course, you needn’t be concerned about the ‘level’ of your writing ability. This course suits all levels. You should, however, know that you love reading fiction, that you enthusiastically engage with the wonders and difficulties of fiction as a reader, and that you want to give writing it a real shot.
You can find an extended course description here.
‘Everything about this vibrant, wonderfully written novel is alive, funny and deeply troubled. It’s brilliantly well done, as is everything in this muted technical tour de force … Read Hawthorn & Child. Better still, read it twice: it’s that real, that good, that true.’ – Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
‘Ridgway’s best compositions can be breathtakingly unpredictable… At his best, Ridgway is unapologetically strange. And the writing is perfectly assured and elegant.’ – Scarlett Thomas, Guardian