Butlers Townhouse, Dublin, Ireland 

December 10 – 17, 2016  


John Banville

John Banville







Irish author, Kevin Barry

Irish author, Kevin Barry




JOHN BANVILLE — 2005 MAN BOOKER PRIZE for The Sea and shortlisted in 1989, 2011 Franze Kafka Prize2013 Irish Book Awards (Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award) and Austrian State Prize for European Literature,  2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature

KEVIN BARRY — 2015 Goldsmiths Prize, IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and ROONEY PRIZE for Irish Literature

MARK DOTY–2008 National Book Award for Poetry, 1995 T.S. ELIOT PRIZE

NOEL DUFFY — Shortlisted Strong Award for best debut collection by an Irish author

SARAH GRISTWOOD–Bestselling Tudor Biographer and Regular Media Commentator on Royal Affairs

DEBORAH HENRY–Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012


SINEAD MORRISSEY — 2013 T.S. ELLIOT PRIZE for her fifth collection Parallax.

JOSIP NOVAKOVICH — 2013 Finalist for the Man Booker International Prize, 3 time winner of Pushcart Prize

MICHELE ROBERTS — Shortlisted twice for the MAN BOOKER PRIZE, 1992 for Daughters of the House and 2012 for Ignorance

MICHAEL RUHLMAN –Chef, James Beard Award winning author of 20 books, co-wrote 4 books w/THOMAS KELLER


DELTA WILLIS – Travel writer & nature writer. Published in Audubon, Natural History, Fodor’s


LITERARY AGENT JEFF KLEINMAN will also be joining us for the week. Jeff will have private sessions with participants who have manuscripts.



$2,250 for a shared twin room — we will do our best to match you with a perfect roommate.

$3,250 for a single room

Includes–Your choice of taking as many workshops as you want, room for 7 nights at Butlers Townhouse or Ariel House, 7 Full Irish Breakfast, Nightly Readings and Events.


Michael Ruhlman

Michael Ruhlman

Dinners are extra. Food is a very special part of our writers’ salon. Participants will join authors in the Dinning Room for a fabulous Four Course Dinner with French Wine.  Dinner is prepared by chef Nancy Gerbault and celebrity chef Michael Ruhlman. Price is $75.00 per night.




Author Class Date Time Room

KEVIN BARRY  FICTION Dec. 16TH   11:00 – 5:00 Ariel House dinning room

MARK DOTY POETRY Dec. 14 – 16 1:15 – 5:00 Office Room

NOEL DUFFY POETRY Dec. 15 – 16 10:00 – 5:00 Office Room

SARAH GRISTWOOD Historical Fiction Dec. 11 – 16 11:00 – 1:00 Ariel House

DEBORAH HENRY Connecting With Your Readers Dec. 11 – 17 9:00 – 11:00 LB

JACQUELYN MITCHARD Full MS Edit Dec. 13 – 16  1:15 – 5:00 Dinning Room at Butlers

SINEAD MORRISSEY POETRY Dec. 10 – 11 10:00 – 5:00 Office Room

JOSIP NOVAKOVICH FICTION Dec. 12 – 14 9:00 – 1:00 Office Room

MICHELE ROBERTS FICTION Dec. 10 – 12 1:15 – 5:00 Dinning Room at Butlers

MICHAEL RUHLMAN & DELTA WILLIS Travel & Food Dec. 13 – 18 10:00 – 1:00 LB

GABRIELLE SELZ MEMOIR Dec. 13 – 15 1:15 – 5:00 Ariel House


Workshop description

markdotyMark Doty

In Mark’s workshop, you will receive constructive feedback on a poem in progress (30 line maximum) or a new poem written to the day’s assignment. He will help you identify your poem’s virtues and offer suggestions to strengthen its weaknesses. Since you already know the basics, he will encourage you to push your boundaries by taking imaginative and linguistic risks so you can make breakthroughs in your poetry.


Noel-Duffy-smallNOEL DUFFY

Noel Duffy was born in Dublin in 1971 and studied Experimental Physics at Trinity College, Dublin. After a brief period in research he turned to writing and went on to co-edit (with Theo Dorgan) Watching the River Flow: A Century in Irish Poetry (Poetry Ireland, 1999).

He was the winner in 2003 of the START Chapbook Prize for Poetry for his collection, The Silence After , and also won The Firewords Poetry Award (Galway City Council) in 2005. A play, The Rainstorm, was produced for the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2006. His work has appeared widely in Ireland and the UK (including Poetry Ireland Review, The Financial Times and The Irish Times) as well as in the US, Belgium, Argentina and South Africa. His poetry has also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany and Today with Pat Kenny. He has been a recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Bursary for Literature in 2003 and 2012. His debut collection In the Library of Lost Objects was shortlisted for the 2012 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish Poet

Noel holds an MA in Writing from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and has taught creative writing there as well as at the Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, and scriptwriting at the Dublin Business School, Film & Media Department.

Gravity’s Angel

This workshop is aimed at those who have already written poetry and would like to explore in more depth both the general strategies that can applied to approaching subject matter and the more technical aspects of how the music of the poem can be used to ‘enact’ the meaning of the work. The morning sessions will be devoted to exploring certain key concepts using examples from poems as the basis for discussion among the participants, the spirit of which will be far more interactive than didactic. The afternoon sessions will be given over to work-shopping individual poems put forward by members of the group. The main thing is that there will be a relaxed ambiance through both morning and afternoon session and that we all enjoy it!

DeborahHenryAuthorPhotoDEBORAH HENRY

Deborah Henry attended American College in Paris and graduated cum laude from Boston University with a minor in French language and literature. She received her MFA at Fairfield University. 

Deborah Henry has been an expert guest on radio shows across America including CBS, FOX, Clear Channel, SiriusXM and Pacifica Public Radio Networks as well as on NBC, FOX and CBS television in top markets nationally.She is is graduate of the MFA program at Fairfield University. First-class novelists, including Pulitzer Prize Winner Robert Olen Butler, have provided endorsements for her debut

Workshop Description: Connecting With Your Readers

We will discuss in three part sections the myriad ways we can find our niche and connect with our readers in the digital age.

Part One: Four to Six months before publication date.

Part Two: Before and After Launch Date.

Part Three: After initial launch and onward – How to build a wider audience.

Throughout the three segments, we will have Q & A which will be organic to the flow of discussion as we share the journey — including utilizing traditional and social media skills to land an agent, an editor, a publisher, blurbs and much more as well as how to build a global writing community with ever increasing innovative marketing models.


Open only to six students, #1 New York Times Bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard (‘The Deep End of the Ocean’) will host a full-manuscript intensive critique. Each student will receive advance digital copies of the other writers’ manuscripts and, at Lismore Castle, Mitchard will lead a full half-day session on each completed book of fiction or creative non-fiction. Admission to this class is based on individual manuscript potential, and application must be made well in advance of the conference in order to assure that the extra demands of a full-book seminar can be met. Mitchard also will provide a written critique with editing and revision suggestions to each participant. Contact conference organizer Nancy Gerbault for guidelines and specifics.

Jacquelyn Mitchard has written nine novels for adults, including several New York Times bestsellers and several that have enjoyed critical acclaim, recently winning Great Britain’s People Are Talking prize and, in 2002, named to the short list for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She has written seven novels for Young Adults as well, and five children’s books, a memoir, Mother Less Child and a collection of essays, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship. Her essays also have been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. Her reportage on educational issues facing American Indian children won the Hampton and Maggie Awards for Public Service Journalism. Mitchard’s work as part of Shadow Show, the anthology of short stories honoring her mentor, Ray Bradbury, currently is nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Audie Awards. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, later adapted for a feature film by Michelle Pfeiffer. Mitchard is the editor in chief and co-creator of Merit Press, a new realistic YA Fiction imprint. A Chicago native, Mitchard grew up the daughter of a plumber and a hardware store clerk who met as rodeo riders. A member of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe, she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. Mitchard taught Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction at Fairfield University and was the first Faculty Fellow at Southern New Hampshire University. Her upcoming YA novel, What We Lost in the Dark, will be published in January by Soho Teen. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children.


Raised in Belfast, she was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where she took BA and PhD degrees, and won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1990. She has published four collections of poetry: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2001), The State of the Prisons (2005), and Through the Square Window (2009), the second, third and fourth of which were shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. After periods living in Japan and New Zealand she now lives in Belfast, where she has been writer-in-residence at Queen’s University, Belfast and currently lectures.

Her collection, The State of the Prisons, was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award in 2006. The same collection won the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize in 2005. In November 2007, she received a Lannan Foundation Fellowship for “distinctive literary merit and for demonstrating potential for continued outstanding work”. Her poem “Through the Square Window” won first prize in the 2007 British National Poetry Competition. Her collection, Through the Square Window, won the Poetry Now Award for 2010.

In 2013 Morrissey won the T.S. Eliot Prize for her fifth collection Parallax.The chair of the judging panel, Ian Duhig, remarked that the collection was ‘politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language, her book is as many-angled and any-angled as its title suggests.’



Josip Novakovich will be teaching a Fiction/Nonfiction Workshop for us in Dublin.

Josip Novakovich emigrated from Croatia to the United States at the age of 20, and recently to Canada at the age of 53. He has published a novel, April Fool’s Day (in ten languages), a novella in three forms, Three Deaths, and story collection (Infidelities: Stories of War and Lust, Yolk and Salvation and Other Disasters) and three collections of narrative essays as well as two books of practical criticism, including Fiction Writers Workshop.
His work was anthologized inBest American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize collection and O. Henry Prize Stories. He received the Whiting Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Ingram Merrill Award and an American Book Award, and in 2013 he was a Man Booker Internatinal Award Finalist.
Novakovich has been a writing fellow of the New York Public Library and has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Die Freie Universitaet in Berlin, Penn State and now Concordia University in Montreal.
This fall, Esplanade Books will publish his most recent collection of stories in Canada. He is revising a novel, Rubble of Bubles, and putting together another story collection, New and Selected.

Workshop Description:

The Art of the Microforms

A Multi-genre course, concentrating on the short forms, from a short paragraph to vignettes up to approximately 1500 words. The boundaries between narrative poems, lyrical essay, and flash fiction are frequently arbitrary, so let’s not worry about the definition of what we do in the short form, and play. The definition can come later.

Course Objective: To play with words in order to come up with good moments.

Come to class with several short pieces for us to give you constructive feedback now how to revise and improve.

The class time will be divided among the following activities:

Critiquing your work constructively.
Analyzing published paradigms of short form writing.
Sketching and writing vignettes from prompts and assignments.
Even in the short form, the elements of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction can be at play productively, so we will concentrate on plotting stories from the basic motives. Man is his desire, sid Aristoteles. We’ll sketch several stories based on primary motives, desire and fear.

Paradigms of microforms to be discussed and covered:

Examples of quick writing
Grace Paley, Robert Coover

2. Myths, Parables

Story of Jonah, Prodigal Son. Tolstoy’s, Three Parables. Johann Peter Hebe, Man is a Strange Creature.

3. Fables and Fairy Tales

Aesop, Brothers Grimm

4. Short-Shorts

Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Hemingway

5. Flash Fiction

Lydia Davis, Jonathan Wilson, Diane Williams, Dave Eggers

6. Absurdist and Surrealist Stories

Etgar Keret, Daniil Kharms, Dino Buzzati, Aimee Bender

7. The Lyrical Essay

Death of the Moth, Virginia Woolf

8. Very Short Essay, True Story

Mikhail Iossel, Why…, JN, “Ice”

9 Story as one scene:

The Use of Force by William Carlos William. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/force.html

10. Prose Poems

Sandra Cisneros, Monkey Garden

Reading list:


Prodigal Son: http://www.allaboutjesurchrist.org/parable-of-the-prodigal-son-faq.htm

Story of Jonah: http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1704.htm

Johann Peter Hebel: http://www.amazon.ca/The-Treasure-Chest-Unexpected-Reunion/dp/1870352432 and http://johnshaplin.blogspot.ca/2011/07/two-stories-by-johann-peter-hebel.html

Tolstoy, Three Parables: http://www.nonresistance.org/docs_pdf/Tolstoy/Three_Prables.pdf

Aesop’s Fable: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21/21-h.htm#link2H_4_0001

Brothers Grimm, Fairy Tales: http://www.pit.edu/~dash/grimm001.html

Franz Kafka Short Shorts: http://franzkafkastories.com/shortStories.php?story_jd=kafka_passers_by

Dino Buzzati, Falling Girl: https://docs.google.com/document/edit?id=1tb7kGoJ3mhPONLIMeWj7ugYJGpJtILy3C5o2uHCQj4k

Lydia Davis: http://www.conjunctions.com/archives/c24-Id.htm

Aimee Bender: http://www.missourireview.com/anthology/we-content/uploads/2011/10/theremembererwithmaterials.pdf

JN: http://www.thebluemoon.com/4/spr99prevnovakovich.html

Mikhail Iossel: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/why-why-why and http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/mouse.html

Daniil Kharms: http://www.sevaj.dk/kharms/kharmseng.htm

John Cheever, Reunion: http://www.puffchrissy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/REUNION.pdf

Ernest Hemingway, A Very Short Story: http://records.viu.ca/~lanes/english/hemingway/veryshort.htm

Robert Coover: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/03/14/going-for-a-beer

Diane Williams: http://www.brooklynrail.org/2005/11/fiction/stories

Eudora Welty: http://grammar.about.com/od/shortpassagesforanalysis/a/Weltyteacher07.htm

Virginia Woolf: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4c/content/cat_020/Woolf_DeathoftheMoth.pdf

Jonathan Wilson: http://www.esquire.com/fiction/napkin-project/wilson-napkin-fiction

Etgar Keret: http://www.theguardian.com/books/interactive/2012/feb/23/unzipping-etgar-keret-short-story

Grace Paley: http://www2.southeastern.edu/Academics/Faculty/scraig/paley.html and http://biblioklept.org/2014/03/08/wants-grace-paley/ and http://radashort.blogspot.ca/2008/06/mather-by-grace-paley.html

Dave Eggers: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2005/jun/11/shortshortstories.fiction

Kurt Vonnegut: http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html


1546299_576299465772196_588697435_nMICHELE ROBERTS

Michele Roberts is an English writer of mixed French-English background, the author of numerous highly acclaimed novels, dramas, poems, short stories and essays. She examines the nature of love and the female identity, based on her experience as a woman, of two cultures – French and English, and, later, comparing women through history blurring time, paces, and identities. This way she attempts to re-write the history and to imagine what the future might have been in the light of different historical events. Inspired by the Feminist Movement, she is deeply concerned with the identity of women, but not only the way society view it. She pictures the women as a productive and successful member of society, but also as an individual in search for true self, regardless of social restrains. Her heroines are “whole”, individuals who recognize and live in peace with their own contradictions and differences. They love, interrogate the nature of love, sexuality and explore the possibility of sharing the experience in more than one-way, symbolically representing a conflict between the public and the private, and modes associated with masculinity and femininity.
One of the most significant themes in her work is the mother-daughter relationship. Her style uniquely combines fantasies and myths, described in classical and religious language.
She was Poetry Editor for Spare Rib (1974) and City Limits magazine (1981), formed a writers’ collective (with Sara Maitland, Michelene Wandor and Zoe Fairbairns) as a feminist activist with the Women’s Liberation Movement, serves as a Chair of the British Council literature advisory panel, and is a regular book reviewer and broadcaster (contributor to “Night Waves” and “Woman’s Hour”), as well as a strong literary translation supporter.
She won the Gay News Literary Award 1978 for “Piece of the Night”, the W.H.Smith Literary Award 1993 for “Daughters of the House.” Michele Roberts is Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


One of the pieces of advice I offer in the morning workshop to students tackling writer’s block is to have something delicious to eat. Another tip is to practise automatic writing. Given a phrase, you then write non-stop for three minutes, whatever comes up, without censoring. A good way to get the juices flowing is to begin with “I hate” or “I am disgusted by . . .” Hate and disgust are helpful energies and provoke original writing.”

None of us gets nostalgic about school dinners, do we? From primary school, I remember fatty mutton in greasy gravy. Rice pudding, tapioca pudding, semolina pudding, macaroni in warmish sweetened milk. Slimy and disgusting. At secondary school, a convent, the nuns’ speciality was carrots boiled to a pulp, tasting of soap. Slimy. Or spinach, bitter and sour and, yes, slimy. Too close in texture and appearance to spit and sick, to all those bodily wastes we shun, which the feminist author Julia Kristeva calls “the abject”. Giving an abstract name to wanting to throw up helps keep it at bay. Kristeva refers somewhere to “those currents of bodily feeling we call emotion”. In the writing workshop, we begin by translating abstract words like bliss and desire and contentment into sensual, physical images.



3 Day Memoir Intensive

The American essayist and poet, Kenneth Rexroth wrote, “Against the ruin of the world, there is only one defense: The creative act.” Memoir is a creative act, one that marks the intersection of truth and storytelling.

Whether writing personal essay-length pieces or a book, this workshop will show you how to best tell the stories from your life.Together, we will analyze methods for creating a narrative through imaginative reconstruction. Participants will be asked to submit a 2,500-word sample—a stand-alone essay or an excerpt.

After introductions, we will begin with a series of essential questions that will guide us in clarifying and defining our projects. The answers are meant to be flexible, opening us up to an ongoing process that will help illuminate our material and choices as we progress.

Over the course of our three days together, each writer’s work will be work- shopped in a safe, honest environment. The whole group will help the writer identify what is unique and exciting in their work, as well as what might be getting in their way. If you are embarking on something new, it is okay to submit a skeletal description. We will then focus on helping you sketch and fill out your memoir project.

We will emphasize issues of craft with discussions on:

 Prologue: How to hook readers, set up the stakes and foreshadow the arc of the story.

 Structure: How to shape through Conflict and Turning Points.

 Character/Dialogue: Making characters dimensional through desire and contrast.

 Desire Line: Ask yourself, “What did I want more than anything else? What is my underlying question, my underlying want?” Create a desire line. It’s all about wanting.

 Writing the personal outward and within the context of history.

 Setting/Place: Creating setting, mood and emotion of place.

 Emotional authenticity

 Theme and how to weave it in so that it informs all the aspects of the story.

 Revision and its various stages.

 The Business/The Writing Life


unnamedmichaelTRAVEL & FOOD WRITING




MICHAEL RUHLMAN wrote more than twenty books, mostly about food and cooking, half with chefs, some non-food non-fiction, and a lot of opinions here on the fundamental importance of food and cooking to our families, our communities, our world. He

Michael co-authored four cookbooks with celebrity chef, Thomas Keller, of the French Laundry. He was a contributor to the Alinea Cookbook with chef, Grant Achatz’s tour de force on the new cuisine. He wrote Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing.

Michael has been on several television shows, “Cooking Under Fire” on PBS, a judge on “Next Iron Chef” and “Iron Chef America”. He has also been a featured guest on Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”–Las Vegas and Cleveland episodes.

Michael is a James Beard Award Winning Cookbook writer. List of some of his books: How to Braise, How to Roast, Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient, Ruhlman’s Twenty, Ration: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing, The Book of Schmaltz, The Elements of Cooking: Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen, Salumi, Books about Chefs and Professional Cooks, The Reach of a Chef: Professional Cooking in the Age of Celebrity, The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute of America, A Return to Cooking with Eric Ripert, Michael Symon’s Live to Cook, Ad Hoc at Home, Bouchon, The French Laundry Cookbook, Under Pressure.

DELTA WILLIS A member of The Explorers Club, Delta Willis profiled Richard Leakey for The Hominid Gang and has written for Adventure Travel, Audubon, Diversion, Outside, People and The New York Times. A former publicist for the National Audubon Society and Earthwatch, she tracked lions in Kenya. She is currently writing My Boat in the City, about living onboard her houseboat at New York’s 79th St. Boat Basin, base camp for journeys to Africa, Australia, China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
In the footsteps of James Joyce, we’ll become flaneurs, discovering the streets and tastes that inspired him.

Willis will teach the first 3 days on travel writing, then chef MICHAEL RUHLMAN, will lead the group. A James Beard award-winning author of 20 books including 4 co-authored with chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world,


In the footsteps of James Joyce, we’ll become flaneurs, discovering the streets, alleys and voices that inspired Joyce to employ Homer’s Odyssey. “I always write about Dublin,” Joyce explained; “because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”
In a shrinking universe, we’ll focus on how your travel reports can tap readers’ hunger for discovery (including themselves) gain insights from other cultures, and travel frugally and sustainably. Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown challenges us to taste a region with our senses, and taps the power of video in storytelling, which demands at least one visit to a classic pub with music. We’ll seek new ways to cover a popular destination, revisit adventure travel in the age of Siri, and discuss how to profile, or become, a modern-day explorer or digital nomad. How To Pitch your stories to editors, and other industry tips will be one day’s workshop, but most classes will focus on feedback to your submissions, how to discover the particular that is universal, and finding mentors beyond Joyce to follow.