We love the wonderful community that makes up the Irish Writers Centre (IWC) and we are delighted that so many of you attended and took part in our events, programmes and courses this year. As 2023 draws to a close, the IWC team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, facilitators, writers, partners, funders, board members, ambassadors and everyone who has supported us. In this blog, we provide a small snapshot of our jam-packed year, capturing some of our favourite moments of 2023. Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh!

Audience listen to a reading at the Members’ Christmas Party. (December 2023)


357 Writers Took Part in 20 Development Programmes

This year, Irish Writers Centre put on 20 programmes to provide sustained support for writers to develop their craft. Our programmes offer a variety of supports, including: mentoring, (national and international) residencies, bursaries, teaching and performance opportunities.

Thank you to all those who participated and supported our 2023 programmes. Here is a run-down of all 20 programmes: Novel Fair, National Mentoring Programme, One-to-one Mentoring, Member / Mentor Duo Programme, Blue Mountains (Australia) Residency, Lamplight International Residency, Cill Rialaig Residency, Jack Harte Bursary, Lacuna Bursary, Young Writer Delegates (x3), Evolution Programme, BEYOND New Irish Writers Communities, Northern Soul Roadshow, Supports Schemes for Northern Ireland Writers, Course Bursaries for Irish Language Writers, Writing for a Change: Climate Writing Group, Writing the Earth, and Foundation Programme.

Young Writers Delegates Programme 

The Young Writer Delegates Programme is an opportunity for writers aged 18-24 to be part of Ireland’s leading literary festivals. This year, our delegates attended Belfast Book Festival, Cuírt International Festival of Literature, and West Cork Literary Festival.


This year’s Irish Writers Centre/Belfast Book Festival Young Writer Delegates: Caleb McKeever, Fatoumata Gandega, Sarah McMahon and Cian Dunne. (June 2023)


The National Mentoring Programme

The National Mentoring Programme provides writers with sustained professional mentorship with an experienced writer. Following a national call out in February, 37 writers were selected for the programme this year.

Brendan Mac Evilly, National Mentoring Programme Coordinator meets Fíona Scarlett, former NMP mentee at the Irish Writers Centre. (November 2023)


“The seriousness that my mentor took the [National Mentoring] Programme and me as a writer was unbelievably honouring and validating. I came away with two new pieces of work, and more importantly, belief I can write”– Alan O’Rourke, NMP Mentee 2023


Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair 

This year’s Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair, an annual competition that gives twelve up-and-coming writers the opportunity to pitch their novels to top publishers and literary agents, took place over two days in February 2023.

Our 12 Novel Fair winners meeting with publishers and literary agents from far and wide. (February 2023)


“Novel Fair has changed my life and catapulted me into the literary world in a way that would have taken some time on my own. That’s if I would have broken in at all.” – Lauren Mackenzie, author of The Couples (John Murray, 2023)


Writing for a Change: Climate Writing Group 

This year, we have seven online sessions of Writing for a Change: Climate Writing Group. These sessions were hosted by authors Lynn Buckle and Kerri ní Dochartaigh and featured an incredible line-up of guest writers and NGOs including Robert Macfarlane, Anja Murray, Milkweed Editions, Climate Ambassadors Ireland, and Hedgerows Ireland.


Host Lynn Buckle talks to author Tom Comitta and Hedgerows Ireland’s Katie Smirnova (September 2023)


1,259 Writers Took Part in our Creative Writing Courses

This year, we programmed 119 courses for writers at every stage of their career. We provide a range of in-person and online courses including novel writing, short story, poetry, and creative non-fiction. For the first time, we launched Meridian, a series of creative and professional development activities for career writers.


Author Kevin Curran facilitates a taster course at our Autumn Open Day (August 2023)


“Things changed for me when I did a course with David Butler at the Irish Writers Centre in 2017. It was such a positive experience. I loved the peer feedback. It gave me the confidence to submit my stories to competitions and to enter my novel Jove Laughed into the Novel Fair.” – Aingeala Flannery, author of The Amusements (published with Penguin 2020)


1,580 People Came to our Events

We programmed online and in-person events throughout the year; our events include regular bilingual Takin’ the Mic readings, open days, Nollaig na mBan, information sessions offering practical guidance for writers, and more.

Programming Officer Betty Stenson with Lisa Nic an Bhreithimh and Disha Bose at the Irish Writers Centre Bilingual Takin’ the Mic, International Literature Festival Dublin (May 2023)


IWC Director Valerie Bistany introduces a panel on the influence of Irish folklore and on world literature at Autumn Open Day (August 2023)


Writing the Earth scientists, writers and programme facilitators at Pearse Street Library, Dublin (August 2023)


Programming Officer Betty Stenson introduces previous Novel Fair winners at Culture Night (September 2023)


Writers (and former Novel Fair winners!) Olivia Fitzsimons and Sue Divin at the Members’ Christmas Party (December 2023)


IWC Director Valerie Bistany and IWC Ambassador and Booker Prize winner Anne Enright at the Members’ Christmas Party (December 2023)


Thank you to all our Partners and Funders!

Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Foras na Gaeilge, Words Ireland, Dublin City Council, Dublin Book Festival, International Literary Festival Dublin, University of Galway, Varuna, The National Writers’ House, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Greywood Arts, Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, Quebec Writers’ Federation: Max Margles, Marian Keyes, West Cork Literary Festival, Belfast Book Festival, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Kildare Libraries, Kildare Readers Festival, Waterford Libraries, iCRAG, Hugh Lane Gallery, Age & Opportunity, An Post Book Awards, Poetry Ireland, Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown Arts Office and Libraries, Dublin City Libraries, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, Fingal Arts, Galway City Arts Office, Kildare Arts Service, Kilkenny Arts Office, Limerick City & County Arts Office, Mayo Arts Office, Meath Arts Office, Offaly County Arts Office, Roscommon Arts Centre, Sligo County Council, South Dublin Arts Office, The Source Arts Centre, Tipperary, Wexford Arts Office, Wicklow Arts Office, Westmeath Arts Office, Embassy of Colombia in Ireland, American College Dublin and Kylemore Global Centre.


A special thanks to our main funder, the Arts Council.