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Reading from The Watch House by Bernie McGill at the Old Church Centre, Cushendun

Old Church Centre, Cushendun 1 Church Lane, Cushendun, United Kingdom

As part of Culture Month, Cushendun Old Church Centre is hosting an afternoon of readings with author Bernie McGill, inspired by the North Antrim coast. Bernie McGill's novel The Watch House is set on Rathlin Island at the time of the Marconi telegraphy experiments in 1898. A pair of strangers arrives from the mainland, laden with mysterious radio equipment, and the islanders are full of dread. For native Nuala Byrne, abandoned by her family for the New World and trapped by a prudent marriage to the island’s ageing tailor, the prospects for adventure are bleak. But when she is sent to cook for Marconi’s men and is enlisted, by the Italian engineer Gabriel, as an apprentice operator, she becomes enthralled by the world of knowledge that he brings from beyond her own narrow horizons. As Nuala’s friendship with Gabriel deepens, she realises that her deal with the tailor was a bargain she should never have struck. Praise for The Watch House: ‘McGill writes about life, love and telegraphy with a poet’s clarity’ The Sunday Times ‘The Watch House, set on Rathlin Island at the turn of the 20th century, awash in old rituals and impending transformations, in loyalties and enmities and […]


Reading Round at Coleraine Library

Coleraine Library Queen Street, Coleraine, United Kingdom

What is a Reading Round group?  Reading Round is a unique type of reading group that differs in a number of ways from traditional-style book groups. Each group is run by a published author who has worked for at least two years in the Royal Literary Fund’s Fellowship scheme. Reading Round is funded by the Royal Literary Fund and is free for members to join. Where and When will it happen? The Reading Round group will meet in the Meeting Room at Coleraine Library starting again in September 2022. Provisional dates (28th September 2022 through to 7th June 2023) to be confirmed. What’s involved? Each week the group listens to a different piece, or pieces, of writing read aloud by the Group Lector. The piece might be a story or a poem though it might also be a speech, memoir or piece of narrative non-fiction. The group then discusses the piece(s) at some length to really try to get under the skin of the text: What effects does it have on us as we read? How does it achieve those effects? Guided by a Lector, the group considers the text in detail, looking at tone, choice of words, viewpoint, the effect of a certain image […]


Creative Writing Workshop with Bernie McGill at FLive Festival, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen 97 Dublin Rd, Enniskillen, United Kingdom

Harness the power of your imagination and creative writing skills and join Bernie McGill for a 2-hour writing workshop as part of FLive Festival at the Ardhowen Theatre Studio, Enniskillen. This will be a practical workshop on the everyday craft of writing with the aim of sparking ideas for new work. Prompts and exercises will be used. Bernie McGill is the author of two novels: The Watch House (nominated for the Ireland European Union Prize for Literature in 2019) and The Butterfly Cabinet (named by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes as his novel of the year in 2012). Her first collection of stories, Sleepwalkers, was shortlisted for the prestigious Edge Hill Prize in 2014. Her new short story collection, This Train is For*, was published in June 2022 by No Alibis Press. Bernie was Writing Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund (RLF) at Queen’s University, Belfast from 2018 to 2020. She is an Associate Fellow of the RLF and works as a Lector (for Reading Round at Coleraine Library) and Writing Facilitator for the organisation, and is a Writing Mentor with the Irish Writers’ Centre. She lives with her family in Portstewart. Book online for the Creative Writing Workshop on the FLive Festival website. *Bernie will be […]


FLive Book Club with Bernie McGill and This Train is For at Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen 97 Dublin Rd, Enniskillen, United Kingdom

Whether you are an avid reader and in a book club, or have no time to read and are simply looking for inspiration then come and join us for the FLive Book Club at the Ardhowen Theatre Studio, Enniskillen. To take part read Bernie McGill’s newly published collection of stories, This Train is For (released by No Alibis Press on 1st June 2022), within your book club or individually, then buy a ticket for the FLive Book Club and come and chat with Bernie*. Book online for FLive Book Club on the FLive Festival website. *Bernie will facilitate a Creative Writing Workshop at the Ardhowen Theatre Studio from 10 am - 12 noon on Saturday 8th October. Full details and booking on the FLive Festival website.   Praise for This Train is For: ‘This Train is For portrays the complexities of the heart with sensitivity and acute psychological insight. Rendered in the most perfect prose, Bernie McGill presents lives in physical and emotional transit, uncertain of the journey’s destination, understanding that sometimes the most important moments in our lives involve travelling not forward, but to moments we thought we had left long behind.’ David Park ‘Bernie McGill is one of the most […]


In Conversation with novelists Nuala O’Connor and Martina Devlin at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy

Seamus Heaney HomePlace 45 Main Street, Bellaghy, United Kingdom

Join writers Nuala O'Connor and Martina Devlin for a discussion about their historical fiction novels based on the lives of real people. Nuala O’Connor’s novel Nora tells the story of Nora Barnacle, one of the world’s most famous muses, bringing her out from behind the shadow of James Joyce. Nora was named a Top 10 2021 historical novel by the New York Times and was the One Dublin One Book choice for 2022. Martina Devlin’s new novel Edith: A Novel is set during the War of Independence and focuses on Edith Somerville, who was one-half of Irish writing sensation Somerville and Ross. Writing with her cousin Violet Martin, she produced some of Ireland’s most celebrated literary works, such as The Real Charlotte in 1894 and The Irish RM stories, which have stayed in print for more than a century. Nuala and Martina will be in conversation with novelist Bernie McGill to explore historical fiction, responsibility to the past and the celebration of fascinating women. Book via Seamus Heaney HomePlace.


Book Week NI Author Panel: John Self hosts Bernie McGill and Wendy Erskine

Chichester Library 109 Salisbury Avenue, Belfast

*This event is now available to view online. Renowned international literary critic John Self will host a panel with authors Bernie McGill and Wendy Erskine to discuss their recent short story collections This Train Is For and Dance Move, and the importance of the short story genre. Bernie McGill is the author of two novels, The Watch House, (2017, Tinder Press), nominated for the Ireland/European Prize for Literature, and The Butterfly Cabinet, (2011, Headline Review), and one previous short story collection Sleepwalkers, (2013, Whittrick Press), shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her short fiction has been nominated for numerous awards and in 2008 she won the Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Award in the USA. Her work has been anthologised in award-winning collections including The Long Gaze Back, The Glass Shore, Her Other Language, The Danger & the Glory, Belfast Stories, and Female Lines. She has been the recipient of numerous Arts Council of Northern Ireland Awards, and is a former Writing Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast. She now works as a Lector and Associate Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund, and offers One-to-one mentoring via the Irish Writers’ Centre. This Train is For was published […]


Flex Your Writing Muscles

Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre Burn Road, Cookstown, United Kingdom

Have you always wanted to write but didn’t know where to start? Or have you been writing for a while and find yourself in need of a little creative workout? This workshop, led by author Bernie McGill, aims to flex your writing muscles through exercises, prompts and suggestions that will help to strengthen your writing practice and develop your work in a new direction. All levels of experience welcome, from seasoned writers to first-timers, poets and fiction writers alike. The workshop will be fully participative with participants taking part in writing exercises and sharing their work with other group members. Come with writing materials, prepared to write. There will be a short break for lunch (please bring your own). Suitable for 16y + Bernie McGill is the author of two novels: The Watch House (nominated for the Ireland European Prize for Literature in 2019) and The Butterfly Cabinet (named by Julian Fellowes as his novel of the year in 2012). Her collection of short stories, Sleepwalkers, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize in 2014. Her new collection, This Train is For was published by No Alibis Press in 2022. Book for this workshop on the Burnavon website.


Focus on Short Fiction with Bernie McGill at the John Hewitt International Summer School 2023

Market Place Theatre, Armagh Market Street, Armagh, Armagh, United Kingdom

A hands-on, fully participative writing workout that allows you to explore the writing of short fiction, to consider where your strengths as a writer lie and who you’re writing for. Wherever you are on your writing journey, from beginners who are not sure how to proceed, to more experienced writers open to new ways of working, this course will offer exercises and prompts that will help to develop your work in new directions, within a community of fellow writers. Come with an open mind, prepared to write. Bernie McGill is the author of two novels (The Watch House and The Butterfly Cabinet) and two short story collections (This Train is For and Sleepwalkers). Her work has been widely anthologised and has been produced by BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. She is an Associate Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund. These workshops at the John Hewitt International Summer School in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, run on Monday 24th, Tuesday 25th & Thursday 27th July 2023 from 2.45pm - 4.45pm. Participants should attend all three workshop sessions. Spaces are limited - advance booking is essential. Book this workshop at the Market Place Theatre Box Office. Full information on events and workshops […]


FREE Writing and Walking Workshop at Artlink Fort Dunree, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

Artlink Fort Dunree Fort Dunree, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland

10.30am-1pm Sunday 12th November 2023 Join writer Bernie McGill for a writing workshop that takes inspiration from the history and natural environment of the site at Fort Dunree that overlooks Lough Swilly and the North Atlantic. This workshop will offer prompts and writing exercises to initiate ideas and will use as inspiration the works-in-progress in the Saldanha Gallery, created by the artists and makers who have been working in response to the Sea Change project. We will also use as inspiration the work of writers from across these islands who have written in response to the sea. Participants will have the opportunity (weather permitting) to explore the site and to write in response to their surroundings at Fort Dunree. Dress for the weather and in comfortable walking shoes and bring writing materials, preferably a hardback notebook (or equivalent) for note-taking outdoors. This is a free workshop but numbers are limited. To book email Initiated through partnership work with ARTLINK Fort Dunree during 2023, Sea Change offered three Causeway-based artists and three Donegal-based artists the unique opportunity to work collaboratively to explore our shared cultural heritage of living and working along this stunning island coastline - from the creative inspiration […]


(SOLD OUT) Between the Lights: Writing Workshop with Bernie McGill at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy

Seamus Heaney HomePlace 45 Main Street, Bellaghy, United Kingdom

The Celtic festival of Samhain traditionally marks the end of the lighter half and the beginning of the darker half of the year. It was believed that at this time, the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through. As we head into the darker weeks of the year you are invited to join us for a half-day writing workshop around the theme of passing between the lights. This will be a practical workshop on the everyday craft of writing with the aim of sparking ideas for new work. Open to all from experienced writers to first-timers, poets and prosers alike. Come with writing materials, prepared to write. Bernie McGill’s latest publication is the short story collection This Train is For, long listed in July 2023 for the prestigious Edge Hill Prize, published by and available from No Alibis Press. Bernie is author of The Butterfly Cabinet, The Watch House and the short story collection Sleepwalkers (shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize in 2014). She is an experienced facilitator and mentor and an Associate Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund. Book this workshop on the Seamus Heaney HomePlace website* Full programme of events at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Autumn/Winter 2023. *Please note this workshop is now sold […]