Monday, 29 May 2017


Home from Annaghmakerrig. Real world re-entry is hard. No more fabulously tasty meals and decadent desserts, no more fresh scones and Scrabble, no more Eimear Quinn singing, no more buttercup and lake walks, no more lovely, funny convos with people of wit and wisdom.

The blow is softened, of course, by seeing my kiddies and husband, the cats and the canary, and opening some nice cava to celebrate my new book, which I got to hold for the first time today. Whoop!!

I also pressed send today, after finishing the final re-write on Becoming Belle, at Annaghmakerrig. So, mission accomplished. When the MS is off your hands, you expect major relief and giddy happiness. What you get is a muted 'Oh' from yourself and a minor ache because your beloved characters have flown.

Annaghmakerrig was the perfect mix of hard work and joyful companionship. I am now going to take two whole days off. I plan to read and walk and do little else. After that, it's the start of promo work on Joyride to Jupiter which, of course, I'm looking forward to hugely.

I hope you'll all join me at the launches for Joyride to Jupiter on the 14th and 16th of June, in Dublin and Galway respectively. Full details to follow.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Another gem from Tom Gauld:

I head to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre tomorrow to finish the final rewrite on my novel Becoming Belle, out June 2018. It has been quite a journey with this novel but I am looking at the finish line now, thank the stars. I can't wait to hand it in and get on with other things: mentoring, launching my short story collection Joyride to Jupiter and doing festivals to promote it, starting at Belfast Book Festival on the 8th June. I also can't wait to write something else. The thrill of having time to start either a new novel or concentrate for a bit on short stories. Whoop! Bring. It. On.

Thursday, 4 May 2017


Saturday 27th May 10.30am-1.30pm
Follow up: Saturday 2nd Sept – 10.30am-1.00pm

Are you writing a novel? Join Farmleigh’s Writer-in-Residence, internationally acclaimed author Mia Gallagher, for two intensive morning masterclasses on The Novel. In each session, Mia will address a range of common concerns and difficulties faced by many novelists, both emerging and established. Responding to each participant’s needs, she will share technical and inspirational tools to help you better understand your process, the type of work you are making and how to make it – including the key question of how to complete a first draft. The initial session (May) will identify a set of realisable writing aims for each participant over the summer. In the follow-up masterclass (September), you will be able to share any new challenges, questions and breakthroughs you’ve identified during that time.
Places are free of charge but limited to 12 people, and allocated through a submission process. Priority will be given to writers who are in the middle to late stages of a first draft, or who are already working on their second draft.  Writers who can attend both sessions (May and September) will also be given priority.
To apply: Please email 250 words to by 5pm May 19th. As part of the 250 words, state what you think is the biggest problem you are facing with the novel, and what you would like the masterclass to help you with.

Mia Gallagher is a novelist and performer based in Dublin. She is the author of two acclaimed novels: HellFire (Penguin Ireland, 2006), winner of the Irish Tatler Literature Award (2007), and Beautiful Pictures of the Lost Homeland (New Island, 2016), longlisted for the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Award (UK, 2016) and chosen for the Irish Times Book Club in February 2017. Mia’s essays, reviews and award-winning short fiction have been widely published at home and abroad. She is an experienced editor, mentor and workshop facilitator and relishes working with emerging novelists who are committed to creating long form fiction.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

COVER REVEAL - Joyride to Jupiter

Today I can reveal the cover for Joyride to Jupiter, my new short story collection, out in June, from New Island. It will be released June 12th and there will be two launches:

The Gutter Bookshop, Dublin, 14th June, 6.30pm. Lia Mills will launch.

Rosie McGurran Gallery and Studio, Roundstone, Galway, 16th June - Bloomsday! - time & launcher tbc.

Ta-dah! Floaty woman in sparkly shoes and lots of clouds. I love it! Thanks to Mariel Deegan for a fun, collaborative design process.

Sunday, 16 April 2017


Ground art - Williamsburg Bridge

I really wanted to blog about my trip to New York and my dinner/talk with the fabulous docents from the Morgan Museum (about Emily Dickinson) but outrageously painful tonsils, and jetlag, have had me corpse-like since I got back from NY.

Docent dinner table

And I have proofs to finish (for Joyride to Jupiter), and Becoming Belle to re-write, and a flash paper to write for my upcoming trip to Roma. And I've my Cruinniú na Cásca gig tomorrow, and an Italian exam to study for and essay to complete. So everything is feeling a little overwhelming and full-on and time is not on my side. I worked on my proofs both yesterday and today, though I am sick and it's a bank holiday weekend. I've no choice. If I don't do it, it doesn't get done.

Books acquired in NYC

And this is one of the major drawbacks of being a writer and self-employed: the absolute impossibility for time off. NY was supposed to be a holiday, one that would incorporate a trip to the Morgan to see the Emily exhibition. Then my cousin-in-law, who works at the museum, asked if I would give a talk to her docent colleagues. I LOVE talking about Emily D so yes, I said YES. And we had a gorgeous dinner and they were erudite, funny, sweet people and it was enormous fun. But it was work and work gigs make me anxious and cranky until they are complete. So inevitably, during some of our holiday time, I was a bit wound up.

A trip highlight: the aerial tram across the river from Roosevelt Island

Also my agent and main editor are in NY, so naturally we arranged to have lunch. And we did and we yapped and laughed and made plans for next year's novel (June 2018) and we admired the cover for my forthcoming short story collection which my agent and I had just that morning signed-off on (reveal soon!). I love these people, we get along and we have great fun when we get together but, again, this is work-related stuff (no matter how jolly) and here I was, again, on holiday but allowing work to seep in.

McSorleys - the ale was delicious
I have this vision of a time where I do nothing but sleep, eat and read. Sleep. Eat. Read. It's a dream, a wish, something that can't be reached, I guess. I'm grateful for the life I have built and I'm not moaning about all the joy and privelege that writing brings but sometimes I would just love a day off. Just one day to call my own where I wouldn't do one thing that was work-related. Not one little thing. And, also, that I wouldn't feel guilty about it. Because this is the major problem - I can't seem to give myself a break. If I'm not working I feel guilty because time is so precious. I can't even have tonsillitis in peace :( (Or, I can't let myself...)

Liberty Island from Battery Park

Not wanting to end on a downer, I will apologise for the cheerless post and wish you a very Happy Easter. I hope you all got as much chocolate as I did :)

Friday, 31 March 2017


I broke the 100,000 word mark on my novel today. This is AMAZING to me. I write short. Short poems, short-short stories, all my novels are short. This one - Becoming Belle - was originally a lot shorter but I am on my third (!) re-write for my editors and that process has generated wordage. I keep looking at the word count thingumie at the bottom of the screen and thinking, No!! That's not possible. But here we are, and I have a new deadline of the 31st May, so the novel may get even longer. I'm channelling my inner Tolstoy, clearly. It's tough work, involved and brain-melting and, of course, joyful, in the way that re-working and writing new scenes always is.

So excuse this tumbleweedy blog. This novel re-write, work on my short story collection Joyride to Jupiter (out in June!), plus various trips to Dublin, Italy and, next week, New York, mean I am flat out. Add to that, end of year exams and an essay for the course I'm doing in NUI Galway and you can see why I have been AWOL. (Mountains to Sea was fab, btw - Paula Meehan, Vona Groarke and Geraldine Mitchell are poetry goddesses.)

Anyway, I really dropped by here to mention Cruinniú na Cásca and the event I am taking part in with Fionn Davenport, Mark Geary and Sasha Sykes, 'Experiencing Ireland as an Artist'. We will be in St George's Hall, Dublin Castle at 2pm on Easter Monday, 17th April. Admission is free but tickets must be reserved in advance. See here.

In the meantime I am away to Manhattan to commune with my beloved Emily Dickinson at the Morgan Museum. Can't wait!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Miscarriage essay

My article/essay, first published in the current Ogham Stone Literary Magazine, is up at the Irish Times website here.