Glad I got my finger out on Friday and paid for the Publishing Day at the Irish Writers’ Centre http://www.writerscentre.ie/ on Saturday. While I know that what I really need to do is work on my novel, I felt the event would do me good. And it did.
Sheila Crowley, agent with Curtis Brown was great. She vibrated with energy and enthusiasm. She pointed out that the British agency welcomed unsolicited submissions, which can be posted online on their website http://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/.
She said a novel set in Dublin didn’t limit it to just an Irish audience, but said she was interested in fiction that had a universal story. Personally, she wanted a story with heart, a story that will make her cry, challenge her, scare her, etc.
Arts journalist and scout Sinead Gleeson was excellent also. She’s a scout with Mulcahy Conway http://www.ma-agency.com/. She said there was a huge appetite for Irish writing in the UK. She felt that no book had yet been written capturing the last ten years of the country – opening there so!
Brendan Barrington, Editor at Penguin Ireland http://www.penguin.ie/, said he, and all editors, were desparate for new talent. Again, encouragingly, he said PI would take unagented submissions.
Belinda McKeon http://www.belindamckeon.com/ was the author and key note speaker. Her story was fascinating. It took her six years to write Solace, incorporating roughly 20 drafts. She confessed to being a bit unstructured and needing deadlines as well as technology to turn off the internet to do her work! She accepted it was hard to write every day, but encouraged us to try and connect in some way every day with our novel, whether writing, scribbling notes or reading it (and reading in general).
Eoin Purcell commissioning editor at New Island Books http://eoinpurcellsblog.com/ was billed as the “Digital Expert”, God help him. He obviously knows his stuff and I try to follow his blog and tweets. Some of it I didn’t quite follow and one woman told him all the techno babble was melting her head and that his talk of bookshops being doomed and writers not making money was depressing her. Being a good humoured sort, he took it very well! He also took loads of questions. His advice on developing a planned online presence was very helpful.
All in all, a great day. Thanks to the writers’ centre (and June who was the MC). I met a few people there and left on a bit of a high. Now to write!