Sean O'Reilly - The Stinging Fly and the Irish Writers Centre

The Stinging Fly Fiction Workshop* with Sean O'Reilly

Starts: Mon 23 Sept 2019
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 21 Weeks + 4 One-Days
Cost: €1,500/€1,450 Members
Deadline: Wed 14 Aug 2019

This workshop, led by acclaimed novelist and short story writer Sean O'Reilly, is for writers working on either a collection of short stories or a novel. It will meet once a week over a six-month period (Sept 2019 - Mar 2020). At each meeting, two participants will present their work-in-progress to the rest of the group for close scrutiny. On four Saturdays during the period, there will be a series of specialist talks on issues around the process of writing and the imagination. A maximum of ten places will be offered on the basis of work submitted by Wednesday 14 Aug, 2019. Participating writers will receive free IWC membership for the duration of the course. 
Sean O’Reilly is the author of two short-story collections, Curfew and Other Stories and Levitation, and three novels Love and SleepThe Swing of Things and Watermark. He is a member of Aosdána.
*See for application details. 
The Stinging Fly at the Irish Writers Centre Dublin
Here's What Former Stinging Fly Workshop Attendees Thought:

I highly recommend this workshop. The act of submitting and reading participants’ work interwoven with Sean’s ruminations on narrative voice, dramatic tension, character triangles, scene setting and action created a unique blend of the practical and theoretical. I found the interaction and peer learning on the course challenging but valuable, elevating my writing from the personal to the public. The one-to-one was frank and informative. The workshop is not for the faint-hearted. It shouldn’t be.” —Dermot Blighe

The Stinging Fly 6-month fiction workshop is a game-changer; challenging, exhilarating, and unforgettable, it completely alters the way you read and write fiction, and from personal experience of undertaking many courses, this was far superior and more intense than a Masters in Creative Writing. Sean O’Reilly is a brilliant teacher, he gives forensic care to the text, pushing participants to demand more from their story, to plough deeper into the potential of language, structure and meaning. At the end of the course I had completed a short story collection I was proud of that went on to be critically acclaimed. If I could Groundhog Day this course, I’d do it again and again for every book. Magic.” —June Caldwell

I had no experience at all of creative writing courses. I wondered if the six-month Fiction Workshop would involve high formalist dissection of technique or individuals opining on their ‘art’. No: I found it to be people round a table, talking about stories for two hours a week. It was, however, talking about stories with Sean O’Reilly in charge, which meant that the interrogation of work was careful and stringent, and the discussion frank, engaging and often totally exhilarating. All writing, whatever the form or genre, was treated with absolute seriousness. Sean’s remarkable generosity and unfailing ability to identify precisely why a story did or (more frequently) didn’t work meant that my own writing got a lot better. Simple as that. Was it the best six months I can remember? Yeah, probably.” —Wendy Erskine

I did the six-month Stinging Fly workshop in 2017/2018 and the teaching was fantastic. Sean has a unique way of engaging with each piece of work. He is totally committed to the text, drawing on his own instincts and a wealth of literary references as he encourages students to investigate—and push—their writing. The course helped me to see my work afresh.” —Joanne Hayden

I thought the workshop was life-changing. I started (typically, I suspect) thinking that I was grappling with some intractable technical problem. I was preoccupied with isolated images and sentences. By the end of the course I was dealing with voice, drama, form—all the things that I’d been afraid of tackling. Sean is a remarkable teacher and a brilliant reader. He has the gift of finding what is best in his student’s work and encouraging it.” —Daniel Shiryan