Welcome to BEYOND New Irish Communities

BEYOND New Irish Communities is a programme to encourage writers of diverse ethnicities to participate in specially curated creative writing workshops. This programme may be of interest to you if you are living on the island of Ireland and:

–         English or Irish is not your first language OR

–         You are Irish from a diverse background OR

–         You are living in direct provision OR

–         You think you might be an ideal participant

–         Or a combination of the above

In short, we are reimagining our decade-old New Irish Communities programme, and throwing the door open widely to writers who wish to learn to write creatively through English and become part of our writers’ community.  Our aim is to widen access to this wonderful network of writers and facilitators in our creative space. We hope the programme will be a valuable space where writers can make connections and create new work together over time. BEYOND New Irish Communities is ideal for beginner and emerging writers. 

How BEYOND New Irish Communities Works?

What do these workshop sessions look like?

In-person curated workshop programme: From Saturday September 23rd at 11am – 1pm we are running weekly sessions in the IWC building on Parnell Square that are facilitated by experienced writers and poets working in different genres and forms.

Online workshop: While the majority of sessions take place in person at the Irish Writers Centre, each fifth session functions as a stand-alone online workshop, where a special guest will share their wisdom and experience, followed by a workshop.

Please note, it is not necessary to have attended any previous BEYOND sessions to join in, but it is necessary to sign up.

Sign up for each BEYOND NIC 2023 session below.

What do we do in these workshop sessions?

Each session lasts two hours and will consist of the following:

• Creative writing exercises

• Close readings

• Group discussion

• Critique and feedback of work

• Recommended reading

We hope that BEYOND NIC will be a valuable space where writers can make connections, learn to write creatively, and perhaps, to work together over time. However, each session functions as a stand-alone workshop, so it is not necessary to have attended any previous BEYOND NIC sessions to drop in at any point.

BEYOND New Irish Communities is kindly supported by Dublin City Council.

A Little Bit of History About New Irish Communities

New Irish Communities (NIC) was founded in 2013 with the aim of providing a creative writing space for all those for whom English was not their first language. It is our longest running programme, underpinning our commitment to diversity and inclusion values. A decade ago, Ireland was a very different place, and it was much harder for those we were trying to welcome to participate in creative writing.  The limitations of living in direct provision, or lack of access to transport, or language difficulties inhibited participation. Nevertheless, we established a small but loyal following from regular participants, with some going on to publish, win places on prestigious writing programmes, and to read publicly at IWC and other events.

Ten years on, with Ireland’s massive leap into positivity with regard to diversity, we felt it was time for our well-loved programme to be evaluated within this new context and to expand its brief to be more inclusive and to reflect the changing face of Irish culture.

In summary, BEYOND NIC keeps all that is good from the old programme and adds more curation, a greater diversity of guest speakers and facilitators, and invites a wider range of participants in this gesture of solidarity to reflect the broader demographic changes happening on this island.  This explains the new name we chose for the reimagined programme, which keeps its historical roots, but goes beyond them.

 

English is not my native tongue, it’s not for many, many more creative practitioners today. So how do we navigate an English-dominated world with our writing explorations?

Sree Sen, Facilitator

At the New Irish Communities, I found guidance and orientation on the ins and outs of writing: how to use the five senses in poetry, the importance of rhythm, imagery and sound. The passing down was kind and patient, respecting the differences and limitations of each participant. However, what I most cherish in the group is the sense of community, and the shared challenge of writing in another language. Each Saturday I stepped into the IWC, I felt I belonged there; that the Irish Writers Centre welcomed and sowed Irishness with its different accents, colours, and backgrounds. So, for those who come from minority groups like me, be sure that the New Irish Communities is the right place for you to become a better writer and to find peers.

Rafael Mendes, New Irish Communities writer

I think that this group is more essential than being published. It is about the atmosphere of community. The connection, the sharing, the love of the craft.

New Irish Communities Writer

It’s the first time my work has received such recognition and I am really happy: to think that six years ago I barely spoke English.

New Irish Communities Writer