Louise Phillips: a flash interview

Louise Phillips

1. Your new thriller The Hiding Game is your fifth novel. Did you attend writing courses
before your first book was published and if so what do you think you learned from them?

The first ever creative writing course I attended was with poet and short story writer, Eileen Casey. I hadn’t written for over twenty years, but once I stepped back into this glorious world of writing, I asked myself immediately why I ever let it go. I attended quite a few writing courses prior to the publication of my first novel, and I learned something unique in every one of them. I don’t think a writer ever stops learning, which is why I am such an advocate of writing courses, not only because they expand your knowledge, but you also get to meet other like-minded individuals, fellow writers, passionate about their craft.

2. Crime Fiction clearly involves a lot of research. Could you tell us about some of the
challenges you've faced getting facts right?

As a writer of crime fiction, I often find myself in unique situations because of research,
whether it’s chatting with an off-duty hostage negotiator, a psychologist, or eavesdropping on suspicious characters in fast food restaurants. The first challenge is, how do you get the information you need to give your story the authenticity it deserves. I tend to research a lot online before I ever set up any face-to- face meetings. There is no point asking a professional, whether it’s a detective or a hypnotist, a question you can answer yourself. Use your time with them wisely and prepare an outline of the areas you want to cover during your meeting. Also, be careful not to lose yourself too much in research to the detriment of writing that story. Some people think you should research before you write, others say, do it after you have completed the first draft. I tend to do a bit of both. I research enough to get me into the story, and then I continue the research while writing, depending where the story takes me. I enjoy this aspect of writing, and I particularly love how research can open your mind to so many ideas, inspiring story twists, fresh plot points, and so much more.

3. I know that many of your students have secured publishing deals. That must be very

My writing courses are very focused, and for me, they are a little bit like writing a good
novel, everything included in the course has to have earned its place. Since I started giving writing courses a few years back, the number of my students who have gone on to secure publishing deals is well into double figures, including International Bestsellers Jax Miller and Patricia Gibney. Put simply, I love working with people who are passionate about writing, whether it is their first step into writing, or they are adding a fresh element of knowledge to their craft. If you attend any of my courses, my role as the facilitator is to help you become the best writer you can be. Whenever I hear of one of my students securing a publishing deal, it’s both gratifying and humbling to know I have helped someone, in whatever small way, to achieve their dream.

Louise is facilitating our Crime Fiction workshop on Sunday 29th September in St Cronan’s BNS 10.00-12.00. Book your place by emailing €10.

Simon Lewis: a flash interview


1. Your first poetry collection “Jewtown”, published by Doire press, was inspired not only by your own Jewish background, but by an interest in those immigrants who had fled their countries to form the Irish Jewish community. Could you tell us a little about that?

Oisin Fagan: A flash interview

Oisin headshot 19 hires


1. Your recently-released novel “Nobber” was referred to in an Irish Times review as “14th-century bawdiness and Irish noir whimsy.” And in the Guardian as “a grisly, gross-out slice of medieval life and death” Do you think either of those are fair descriptions of the book? And if not, how would you describe it?

I enjoy those descriptions you mentioned, and I also enjoy the variation in different people’s summaries of it. To be honest, I’m happy that people are describing it in any way at all. I describe it as a story about a change that happens in a small town over the course of a few hours.

2. Nobber is set in 1348. Did you get bogged down at all in historical fact during the writing process?

I didn’t get bogged down at all. A certain kind of attention to period and difference and detail can be poisonous to a story, I feel. Edward Gibbon once said something like you could tell the Koran was a genuine document because there were no camels in it. That strikes me as true. I learned as much as I could about what peasants and aristocrats believed at that time, and what peasants had to put up with from the different forces in society and then I estranged myself from any previously-held conception of medieval people and treated them like they were my brothers or sisters, which they are. I made the Gaels up because most records pertaining to them were destroyed in the Civil War or pulped in World War I.

3. What, if anything, do you have in common with your protagonist Osprey De Flunkl?

We both want more and we both are of Norman extraction.
Thanks a million for the fun questions.
Oisin Fagan is taking part in our event Strangers in a Strange Land along with authors Mary Costello and Nuala O’ Connor.
Sunday 29th September in Bray Town Hall @ 1pm.

Bray Literary Lecture in partnership with The Stinging Fly

Entitled: “Practive, Process, Product”, this year’s Bray Literary Lecture in partnership with The Stinging Fly will see author Mia Gallagher offer her advice and expertise to both potential and professional writers.

Saturday 28th September @ 11.30am in Bray Town Hall.

“Practice, Process, Product”

Are you a scribbler? An author? An artist? An amateur? A beginner? A professional practitioner? Is writing your vocation? Your hobby? Your job? Your career? Your books, poems or stories? Or just what you do?

In this talk Mia Gallagher will be exploring writing through three lenses: writing as practice, writing as process and writing as product. She will look at the overlaps and differences between the three perspectives, and will try to identify how, and when, each may best support ‘good’ writing. She’ll discuss how confusing these perspectives can create problems for the writer and she’ll finish by exploring strategies which have helped her to navigate some of these problems in her own practice.


Author Application for BLF 2019

Hi All,

We will be accepting author applications to participate in BLF 2019 from 1-31st March.

In order to apply, please complete and submit the following application form:

It would be helpful to mention any themes in your work.

Those who took part in the 2018 festival are not eligible to apply this year.

With many thanks and best of luck,

Tanya and the team.

What’s Hot in Irish Writing?

Don’t miss our headlining event next Friday 28th Sept @ 8pm. Tickets can be booked directly from the Mermaid Arts Centre: €10/8 concession.

David Butler will interview former fiction laureate Anne Enright. And then lead a panel discussion with award-winning writers Paul Lynch and Danielle McLaughlin and leading publishers Arlen House and The Stinging Fly. A unique insight into the world of publishing from both sides of the fence!

Open for Author Applications

We are currently accepting applications from authors/poets who would like to read at our next festival taking place Friday 28th – Sunday 30th September 2018. Applications will be accepted from May 1st – 31st. Applications sent outside this period will not be considered.

Many thanks for your interest. We hope to bring you a weekend filled with readings, Q&A’s, writing workshops, music, and professional development talks for writers.
Best wishes,
Tanya & the team.

Buy Tickets now!

Hi All,

For our opening event of 2018: WHAT’S HOT IN IRISH WRITING, featuring writers: Anne Enright, Paul Lynch and Danielle McLaughlin alongside publishers: Alan Hayes and Declan Meade, you can book tickets through the Mermaid Arts Centre. €10/8 concession.

All other events are €5 and are pay-at-the-door on a first-come-first-served basis.

Day Passes are €15 and Wkend passes €25. If you would like to purchase one of these, you can pay me at the first event you go to and I will issue you with a wristband.

Day and Weekend are for Saturday and Sunday only – and do not include workshops, which are €10. Booking for workshops is essential:, and you can pay your facilitator on the day!

If you wish to reserve places for the Joyce Musical Soiree, please email:

Any other questions, just drop me an email!

warm wishes,