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May 19, 2012

I went to Cavan over the weekend for the 20th Cavan Crystal/Windows Publications National Poetry competition award ceremony and was very pleased to come away with the first prize in the Adults’ category for a poem called St Brendan in Iceland. It was a unique ceremony given the emphasis on children’s categories and it was great to see the pleasure the winners received from being part of the ceremony. It was impressive hearing about the long history of this competition and the whole culture surrounding the Windows publications project during the opening speeches – both Heather Brett and Noel Monahan deserve huge kudos for all the work they’ve put in over the last 20 years. It is clearly a labour of love.

Other bits of news – lovely to receive 2nd prize in the Inktears’ short story competition.

Perhaps the most meaningful thing of late was to be highly commended in the Final Chapters Writing competition for a poem called ‘The Grief Schism.’ The competition, run by the Dying Matters coalition is designed to raise awareness for issues surrounding dying, death and bereavement. The ceremony was held on Wednesday 16th in London, chaired by the legendary Carmen Callil, founder of Virago press. My mother died very suddenly in January this year so I was very much in a place to write about this subject and felt there was something comforting in having a place that was open to receiving that kind of material. One of the keynote quotes attached to the project (derived from Iris Murdoch) really spoke to me – ‘Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved.’ I have found that grief is a game-changer in so many ways, and perhaps the only way through it is by confronting and exploring it. It makes a lot of things difficult, writing included, and so writing about grief itself was perhaps the only way to ensure writing would happen. It’s a very private thing too, but the Final Chapters project is a comfort precisely because it is founded on this idea of sharing a very common, human experience. It was nice to be part of that, despite how raw the experience is.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2012 1:30 pm

    Sorry for your loss, David, and glad your writing is going well. Susan

  2. May 19, 2012 5:12 pm

    I’d forgotten all about Cavan. Many congrats. Great result! Peter

  3. Niamh permalink
    May 19, 2012 7:21 pm

    What did he win now? I always think when I see a post here… Well done as usual, especially for the final chapters commendation.

  4. May 20, 2012 11:15 am

    Thanks all!

  5. May 20, 2012 7:31 pm

    That’s a powerful quote about bereavement, David. I lost my own mother four years ago and started writing while I helped take care of her when she was seriously ill, writing can be so therapeutic.
    Sorry for your loss, that must have been tough. Congrats on your writing successes.

  6. May 20, 2012 8:33 pm

    Thanks Brigid – sorry to hear about your mother.

  7. May 21, 2012 9:35 am

    Congrats on your continuing success David! It’s well deserved.

  8. May 21, 2012 10:50 am

    Thanks Brian. Hope all is well with you.

  9. Connie Roberts permalink
    May 21, 2012 6:20 pm

    My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your mother, David. That Iris Murdoch quote is
    so true…

    Congratulations on all your recent success! When you publish “The Grief Schism”–I’m sure it’ll find a home in the not too distant future–could you let us know where we could read it? Thanks.

  10. May 21, 2012 9:02 pm

    Thanks, Connie. You’re very kind. Hope all is well with you.

    I’ve been told there will be a booklet of the winners and commended sent out this month. I should receive more information soon. Take care.

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