The Limerick Writers' Centre is a non profit organisation established to nurture and support writers, through readings, workshops and publishing.
Limerick has long been famous for its passion for arts, culture and heritage and you only have to look at some of its natives, which include Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt; novelists Kate O’Brien, Michael Curtin and lately Kevin Barry, Donal Ryan, Cristoir O'Floinn and Paul Lynch, as well as poets Michael Hogan, Desmond O’Grady and John Liddy…the list goes on and on, proving that literature and writing is one of the major creative activities that the Treaty City can be proud of. No surprise then that since 2008 the Limerick Writers’ Centre, based in Barrington Street, has been nurturing and supporting a new wave of writers by holding workshops, readings, talks and engaging in publishing activities.Founded by four people who are actively involved in the literary life of the city; Dominic Taylor, Mike Finn, Dermot Petty and Mark Lloyd the centre is run on a voluntary basis with the day to day running in the hands of Dominic Taylor. The board of directors has undergone some changes since these four founding members got together to launch the Writers’ Centre. Since then the board has been joined by Fiona Clark Echlin - a poet playwright and drama teacher and by Jim Burke a poet and a founder member of The Stony Thursday Book, Ireland's longest published poetry journal.Dominic Taylor one of the two original founding members began writing in 2000 and was one of the early organisers of the poetry readings in The White House in Limerick and he still reads there every week. He is currently the event organiser at the LWC and managing editor of their poetry imprint Revival Press.Dermott Petty is a film-maker, originally from Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare he has worked in the US and Ireland. As well as various short films he has produced, directed and wrote a feature film called Man Band.
Workshops have been a central activity of the centre since its inception; there are regular poetry and prose workshops plus screenwriting, memoir and life writing. Literary talks are also a regular activity where literary agents, recently London agent Jo Unwin, revealed the secrets of getting published to a large attendance. Also this year multi award nominated crime novelist Wiliam Ryan (originally from Limerick) conducted a workshop at our centre on developing characters for the novel. Our flagship monthly literary gathering ‘On The Nail’ takes place in The Loft Venue in The Locke Bar, Georges Quay on the first Tuesday of every month and regularly draws a large audience. The gathering comprises of guest readers, a theatre piece and an open-mic for anyone who wishes to read their own work. The LWC is also committed to promoting creativity in music and our 'On the Square' Songwriter Music Sessions take place in The Square Bar, Johns Square every forthnight - Limerick's newest artistic quarter,
Publishing has also played an important part in the life of the centre with a number of major projects completed such as Kemmy’s Limerick Miscellany and Luaithreach Angela, a translation of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes into Irish. Earlier this year we publishe an anthology on Limerick poet Michael Hartnett. Our long running Revival Literary Journal is now in its 28th issue and continues to gather a reputation both national and internationally, the current editor is Noel King. The centre is also always available to give advice to anyone who wants to self-publish. Our most recent book is The Curious Story of the Limerick by Dr Matthew Potter which tells of the connection between Limerick and the five line Limerick verse. The Centre has published 29 titles to date.
One of the most popular activities of the centre has been the peer critique writers’ groups.Once a month writers gather at the centre to critique one another’s work, the groups are divided into prose/fiction and poetry.The success and popularity of these groups have been very encouraging for aspiring writers and one of our members Pat O’Connor won the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition in 2011 and other members have had work published in various journals.
In the summer of 2013 we expanded our 'Bring Your Limericks to Limerick' Competition in association with Campus Life Services in UL and this proved hughly successful, our intention is to continue to develop this into a major summer literary festival for Limerick. Next year also we begin a series of public talks, in association with the Department of English and Literature in Mary Immaculate College, on Great Irish Writers, we start Feb 6th with Dr Desmond Swan on Kavanagh and his epic poem The Great Hunger. The series will continue on a bi-monthly basis.
As awareness of the Centre grows and the range of activities increases more and more people are beginning to use and appreciate the benefits of having a Writers’ Centre in Limerick.The positive feedback it has generated from people like Mary Shanahan from Abbeyfeale, who commenting on a recent workshop she attended with Fiona Clark Echlin said “Fiona, you were inspirational”, this is typical of the response we receive from aspiring writers. Also guest readers at ‘On The Nail’ have been very appreciative of our efforts as guest Eleanor Hooker recently commented “Great night at 'On The Nail' readings in Limerick. Huge thanks to Dominic Taylor and Limerick Writers' Centre for making it possible, left you wanting to hear more! The audience was warm and appreciative and yep, bought books too”.
The Centre receives a small Arts Council grant under the Small Festival and Events Scheme and our long term aim is to become an Arts Council regularly funded organisation. We look forward to playing an active part in Limerick City of Culture 2014.
For anyone wishing to contact the centre the first port of call is our website www.limerickwriterscentre.com or telephone 087 2996409.
Call: 087 2996409