Following in the footsteps of the likes of playwright John McKenna, poet Jessica Traynor and songwriter Mick Hanley, I am taking up the post of Writer in Residence in my hometown of Carlow, Ireland.
The residency will involve teaching a weekly class, weekly one-on-one consultations with aspiring writers and developing a drama along a local theme. The course is on the fundamentals of dramatic writing, including writing for stage, radio and animation but with a focus on screenwriting.
I have written numerous dramatic pieces based on local events and characters, from the brutal aftermath of the 1798 Rebellion to the mysterious murder of Hollywood director William Desmond Taylor. I have no doubt I will unearth another intriguing tale buried in the town’s past.
The first half of the residency will be conducted remotely, in line with Covid protection restrictions, but the latter half will happen ‘IRL’ in the magnificent 18th-century surroundings of Carlow College, St. Patrick’s.
“St. Pat’s” is the alma mater of the most celebrated rebels Ireland has produced, including leading Young Irelander James Fintan Lalor, legendary Fenian, John O’Leary, Easter Rising martyr, Michael O’Hanrahan, and the instigator of Australia’s Eureka Rebellion, Peter Lalor. Will I be able to tap into that renegade spirit during my sojourn?
The program, supported jointly by the Arts Council of Ireland, Carlow Arts Office, Carlow County Library Service and Carlow College, St. Patrick’s, concludes a three-year cycle with my contribution that runs from September 1st until the end of the year.