Lismore Castle

Karen Joy Fowler, Fantasy best describes our modern Bizarre World

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Karen Joy Fowler, author of five novels and two short story collections. Her short story collection, Black Glass, won The World Fantasy Award.  Fowler spent over an hour sharing her wisdom about what makes good sci fi/fantasy.

According to Fowler, many students haven’t read much contemporary sci fi or fantasy, so that when they go to write it, they rely on old tropes and standards to tell their stories.

Fowler is clear that when writing fantasy and science fiction for our contemporary world, it is important, first and foremost, to write good fiction. All standards of fiction writing need to be applied to genre fiction. Genre writers need to be able to do it all: plot, character development, setting, scene, symbolism, as well as create an original new world.

Karen Joy Fowler is very interested in fantasy and sci fi as explored through the short story. She offered several places to read quality work of this variety including: “Eclipse,” an anthology out of Australia, “Fantasy and Science Fiction” magazines, Best Of collections (but she warns, these publications can be agenda driven), “Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet,” Tor.com, and “Turkey City Lexicon,” which discusses in length the pitfalls to avoid when writing sci fi/fantasy.

Fowler says,  fantasy and sci fi do nothing but discuss contemporary issues. Fantasy is a stronger vehicle than ‘realism’ to portray “reality” because the real world is becoming more and more bizarre every day.

Fantasy and science fiction are genres of setting, first and foremost, Fowler asserts. Karen Joy Fowler offered more advice for those of us who work in these genres. When creating ‘evil people,’ keep in mind that most people who do bad things think they are doing something good. Do not promote stereotypes and prejudice. And, possibly most importantly, Fowler urges us to be creative. The future of fantasy and science fiction needs more imagination and fewer world-weary immortals.

Karen will be teaching a workshop that covers Fiction/Historical Fiction and Fantasy at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013.

Patricia Smith was just awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Award

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“Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” has just been awarded the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States last year.

Patricia will be teaching a poetry workshop at Lismore Castle, December 9th – 16th in Ireland.

The Art of Being There: Immersion and Narrative in Nonfiction and Biography by EDWARD HUMES

Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes workshop.

The Art of Being There: Immersion and Narrative in Nonfiction and Biography

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A principal method for accomplishing this feat of turning life into narrative is immersion – the art of insinuating oneself inside a place, process, institution or person’s life, then using first-hand storytelling to reveal character, drama and import. Immersion nonfiction is about getting inside a story, in search of the insights, depth and detail that can imbue nonfiction prose with the same richness seen in great novels, and that can illustrate and expose important issues of culture, society, justice and government through highly dramatic and human narratives. Immersion writing has a storied history in America, dating back to such turn-of-the-century muckrakers as Nellie Bly and her classic “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” and continuing with such modern masters of the craft as Tracy Kidder and John McPhee. Whether your goal is short-form writing or long, 500 words or 50,000, the same approach and skills will serve a writer well.

 

This course will serve as a mini-boot camp for immersion research and narrative building. We’ll use the landscape and rich resources of our workshop setting as fodder for a series of “quick fire” research and writing exercises including:

 

— the sense of a place (treating setting as character)

 

— bringing characters to life

— interviewing 101

— using the historical to inform the present

In class we’ll analyze a series of short readings in a variety of narrative nonfiction genres, including crime, biography, environmental/nature and other specialized topics of interest to the group. We’ll explore in-depth the research methods and techniques for “getting inside,” for developing setting and character, and for building coherent narratives with strong beginnings, middles and ends while remaining true to your source material.

Short-Short Story Contest, judged by ROBERT OLEN BUTLER

 

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Judge: ROBERT OLEN BUTLER–Pulitzer Prize Winner & F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature

 

Three Winning Stories will be published in the 2014 February edition  of:

THE STINGING FLY MAGAZINE

 

How deep can you dive into your imagination? How breathless can you make readers feel? How brief can you make your best stories? Dazzle us with your brilliant brevity and you might just win a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience during that magical month of December with Abroad Writers’ Conference at Ireland’s historic and awe-inspiring Lismore Castle in County Waterford.

 

In 500 words or less write a standout story that seduces us, sings to us, shakes us, grabs us by the throat, or that’s so quiet we have to strain to hear. Any subject and any genre, but whatever you do be interesting and make us care. Take the leap, you just might be about to lose and re-find yourself inside a twelfth-century castle in picturesque, hospitable, and literary-loaded Ireland.

 

1st Prize: Free Admission to award-winning author Ethel Rohan’s 3 Day “Brilliance of Brevity” Workshop*. single room for seven nights, conference & a Celebratory dinner in the castle with Judge, Robert Olen Butler.  Value $1, 085.

 

2nd Prize: A scrumptious full banquet dinner at Lismore Castle with conference luminaries: Robert Olen Butler, Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Gristwood, Mariel Hemingway, Edward Humes, Claire Keegan, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Anne Perry, Michelle Roberts, Ethel Rohan, Alex Shoumatoff, Patricia Smith, Jane Smiley, and Lily Tuck.

 

3rd Prize: A complimentary pass to conference events at Lismore Castle.

Entries Accepted June 1st through July 15th,   Winners Announced August 15th, 2013

$10 Entry Fee: https://abroadwritersconference.submittable.com/submit

For Full Contest Details Visit: http://www.abroadwritersconference.com

For Full Conference Details & Registration Visit: http://www.abroad-crwf.com

*A $500 value to be used in full payment for Ethel Rohan’s “Brilliance of Brevity” 3 day/15 hr. workshop or can be applied as a $500 discount toward a conference package purchase

Mariel Hemingway: Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness

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November 19, 2011, McLean Hospital presented the McLean Award–the hospital’s highest honor–for her commitment to serving as a champion of mental health issues, including suicide prevention. “It’s about overcoming stigmas and giving people the permission to address that this is their life. We’ve just got to get rid of the stigma, and the shame.” Mariel Hemingway
http://youtu.be/oGhCPchPSPw

“Our families are not bad. Mental illness is not separate–it’s a part of me.  It’s now time for me to step into the shoes of helping other people with this journey.” Mariel Hemingway

Every family, even famous ones, have secrets. The Hemingways are no different.

“We were, sort of, the other American family that had this horrible curse,” says Mariel Hemingway. She compared her family to the Kennedys — but the Hemingway curse, she said, is mental illness.

Hemingway, granddaughter of acclaimed author Ernest Hemingway, explores the troubled history of her family in “Running from Crazy,” a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. Barbara Kopple is the director; Oprah Winfrey is the executive producer.

“Knowing that there’s so much suicide and so much mental illness in my family, I’ve always kind of been ‘running from crazy,’ worried that one day I’d wake up and be in the same position,” Mariel Hemingway, 51, said at a support group for families of suicide, as shown in the film.

Mariel will be giving a talk at Lismore Castle about her family history with mental illness.

Sunday December 15th, Mariel Hemingway will be giving a four hour workshop based on her book, Running With Nature.

Running With Nature is a lifestyle, it’s about how to achieve our individual balance in life. How to alleviate depression, relieve stress and boost our daytime energy.

The information contained in her book and workshop is based upon her personal experiences and it’s not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other healthcare provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat any physical condition should be done under the direction of a healthcare professional.

Getting to Know Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard

Getting to Know Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard

By Joan Brunwasser

I grew up with the story of Our Lady of Angels fire all around me. It was more than an event, it was a sunset on the bright stable way people saw their world. That fire blew that neighborhood up. There was no one who didn’t know someone who’d died in OLA. I was struck by how surviving an event could be just as paralyzing as dying in that event — that the survivors were changed forever.

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Trial by Fire, The Backstory of Second Nature

 


me, literally, today by Chris Cohen [photo credit]

My guest today is best-selling author, Jacquelyn Mitchard. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, written in 1999,  was also the first selection of the Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, making for a stellar career kickstart. Welcome to OpEdNews, Jackie.


hardcover book jacket by Jacquelyn Mitchard website

 

JB: I just finished reading Second Nature, a novel based on the 1958 fire that killed 92 children in their Chicago school.  What made you choose this as the backdrop for your book?

JM: That happened when I was a baby, and I grew up with the story of Our Lady of Angels all around me. It was more than an event, it was a sunset on the bright stable way people saw their world. That had been a close-knit, West Side neighborhood, filled with brothers who married sisters and cousins and grew up down the block from each other, who played cards and had dinner together on Sunday nights.

That fire blew that neighborhood up. People didn’t just move to the suburbs; they moved to Miami, to California, as far as they could from that school, because there was no one who didn’t know someone who’d died in OLA. A friend’s older brother died in that fire, and his presence in that house was as real as any of the living children, even those who never knew him. I was struck by how surviving an event could be just as paralyzing as dying in that event — that the survivors were changed forever.

JB: I grew up in Chicago, too, and that fire has haunted us ever since. You chose Sicily Coyne as your central character. At the time of the fire, she’s a 13-year old student. Why a girl and why that particular age, Jackie?

JM: Twelve or thirteen is the time in a girl’s life when she’s at the end of childhood and becoming aware of herself as a woman. It’s when her awareness of her body image is at its most self-critical. She’s not a little kid. Little kids adapt to injury; their awareness of themselves in a wheelchair or having lost hair to chemotherapy or sustaining a wound, those are real, but, if the kid has a reasonably supportive family, those things are tempered by the resilience of being accepted, at the deep heart’s core, for who you are rather than how you look. Sicily had this sense of herself, too.

So in a very real way, she became trapped in a damaged face — that was all anyone could see — and she was screaming, “Hey, look! I’m still me!” The burn itself was a source of both bitterness and toughness, but her sarcasm and bitterness came from being seen, yet unseen. And I’m just very attracted to understanding the psychology of that age of person, which is why the imprint for which I’m the editor -in- chief is a Young Adult imprint. It’s the age of being epic, living a week in an hour, a year in a month, a lifetime in a year.

JB: And, boy, has a lot gone on for Sicily. She’s a woman/child who had to grow up fast because of that fire and losing both of her parents.  Yet, she’s also very unsophisticated and sheltered in many ways. It’s an  odd combination. Can you talk about this?

JM: Like many “sick kids,” Sicily has been both coddled and deprived. Life itself has robbed her of so much; and yet she’s given everything but what she can’t have — the chance to be normal. She has every material advantage and she’s protected from the realities of paying bills and jockeying for social position.

People may whisper about her, but there’s a kind of holy deference for a kid who’s part of a local legend: her prerogatives are in line with her losses. And the aunt who adopted her, Marie, is torn between those two poles, as well — deeply and nearly neurotically protective of Sicily, but also determined to push her into as normal a life as is possible, for Sicily to be “not as good as, but better than.” The reason that some readers found Sicily annoying is that she really never grew up: she’s stopped, an accomplished adolescent but in her reactions and her emotional landscape, still a middle-school kid.

JB: Interesting. I didn’t find Sicily  annoying. I found her situation incredibly and painfully poignant. I admit I’d never really thought about what surviving such an experience might be like before.

JM: Many people thought of her as “spoiled” and “shallow.” Many other readers found her affecting and real. I think it often depends on what you’ve been through in life, and maybe what you’ve been through in books, what you tend to gravitate toward. Sometimes, people just really don’t have a big tolerance for real life in fiction, even though they say they want characters who are “real.” Like take Kinsey Mulhone, in Sue Grafton’s wonderful mysteries. She’s tough, thin, single, smart, and she never gets past the age of about 36. She goes down easy, like a cool drink on a hot day, so the story can gallop off everywhere.


when my last child was born, six years ago by Arty Hitchcock [photo credit]

JB: The Cappadora family was featured in your first book, The Deep End of the Ocean and you bring them back in Second Nature. In fact, we see that Beth Cappadora becomes surprisingly close to Sicily.  Why does using utilizing the reappearance of characters from one book to another seem like a good idea?

JM: With continuing characters, you have to be careful about flaws because unless it’s a very literary novel or the flaws are the point (I’m thinking here of John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany), you have to convince readers to embrace a character who has flaws, because there’s a belief about how you’d react in the same circumstances and that way is usually very positive or even heroic — and that’s exactly how I am too!

You try to think you’d be the best at this. But the psychology in this book is based on real accounts of people who are disfigured, and it affects people in ways that aren’t always attractive. It’s the same way as dealing with depression in another person. Depressed people are sad, and it’s awful that they’re sad, but they sometimes behave in ways that are deeply provocative or upsetting to other people. They’re not fun to be with.

Personally, I thought Sicily was just what she should be, smart and strong but also naive and bewildered, and really able to put up a good front by talking tough. As for the Cappadoras, it wasn’t a marketing decision. So many people, thousands of people, have asked me, what happened to [Beth’s son] Vincent? And I knew that Vincent would not have grown up to be a perfect human being, either, not given his temperament.

I thought, what if Sicily — with this new face which actually would be aesthetically very good, given that this book is set about ten or fifteen years in the future, when face transplants won’t be so uncommon — were to run toward love and fall for just the most attractive, worst possible guy, in the encyclopedia entry about commitment issues for reasons of his own past?

But it was natural, because she already loved Beth, who had documented this whole process [face transplant] because of Sicily’s past, because of the fire and its being the stuff of legend on the West Side of Chicago. Why think up new people to populate a place you already know, if the people who already know are already there, frozen in time, like the game Statue Maker? They were perfectly interesting people.


with son Rob, 1999 by Jill Krementz [photo credit]

JB: Agreed. All that medical information, both about burns and recovery and the whole field of organ transplants, was fascinating. And I found the most compelling images to be Sicily’s prosthetic nose, on the one hand, and her inability to eat properly, a routine task we do daily and take completely for granted. Was it hard to find the right balance between giving enough grisly details to make it real without grossing readers out or turning them off?

JM: Readers still found it grisly! I did an insane amount of research on burn injury and musculature and anatomy. For me, the prosthetic nose was one of the tenderest details, the way she had to take care of it because it was, you know, the Cadillac of prosthetic noses. It was just fascinating, like the way a prosthetic nose, for example, attaches (with magnets!).

I majored in Biology, and, I have nine children, thus, you know, nothing grosses me out. I’d have gone on forever. But yes, had to back off on some of the detail. Burn victims go through an incomprehensible hell — so, by comparison, the face transplant, even though it required, well, removing Sicily’s existing face, was relatively simple compared with the fifteen surgeries she’d had to try to mend the tissue on her face. In real life, that would have been more like thirty surgeries, each more appalling than the last.

JB: Magnets? Yikes! What a concept. The book is very steeped in firefighter culture and lore. It sounded very authentic to me. How did you accomplish that? Did you get to ride around with them?

JM: Oh, yes I did! I spent two weeks with the gallant ladies and gents at Madison Wisconsin’s Southside Station 6, and they taught me with generosity and detail. Firefighters in a number of cities surrounding Chicago also answered my questions. You know, there is no better job on earth than theirs. Indeed, they could get badly hurt; they could die. But who can do what they do, deny instinct for the greater good, as they do?

Despite danger, there is such intense training, minute attention to safety and detail, that tragedies such as what happened to Jamie Coyne are almost unknown. But authentically, if they happen, they happen in those kind of gruesome old buildings where fire can’t escape. My pal Eric used to be an English teacher before he became a firefighter, and he told me, “You know, you admire police. They lay it right down every day. But when the police show up, people grumble. When we show up, everybody cheers. Here come the Marines!” They’re just so cool. I guess they know it, but can you blame them?


my favorite, my ‘Wuthering Heights’ picture by James Schnepf [photo credit]

JB: Lucky you! Thank you, Jackie. Let’s take a break here.

When we return for the conclusion of our interview, we’ll talk about the time she called Buckingham Palace, how she juggles her writing and her family of nine children, and her quirky ambition now that she’s no longer afraid of heights. Please join us! 

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Mitchard’s website

Submitters Website: http://www.opednews.com/author/author79.html

Submitters Bio:

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of transparency and the ability to accurately check and authenticate the vote cast, these systems can alter election results and therefore are simply antithetical to democratic principles and functioning. Since the pivotal 2004 Presidential election, Joan has come to see the connection between a broken election system, a dysfunctional, corporate media and a total lack of campaign finance reform. This has led her to enlarge the parameters of her writing to include interviews with whistle-blowers and articulate others who give a view quite different from that presented by the mainstream media. She also turns the spotlight on activists and ordinary folks who are striving to make a difference, to clean up and improve their corner of the world. By focusing on these intrepid individuals, she gives hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be turned off and alienated. She also interviews people in the arts in all their variations – authors, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights, and artists. Why? The bottom line: without art and inspiration, we lose one of the best parts of ourselves. And we’re all in this together. If Joan can keep even one of her fellow citizens going another day, she considers her job well done. Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005. Her articles also appear at Huffington Post, RepublicMedia.TV and Scoop.co.nz.

MARIEL HEMINGWAY will join Abroad Writers’ Conference at Lismore Castle

TRAVELERS ADVANTAGE MARIEL HEMINGWAY

 

MARIEL HEMINGWAY

Academy Award nominee Mariel Hemingway is an internationally known actress, model, writer, talk show host will be joining Abroad Writers’ Conference at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013.

Mariel will be joining our panel discussing Stretching the Truth in Historical Fiction. As the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and an actress, Mariel has a first hand experience of spins of truth. Joining her in this discussion group are: Tudor Historian, Sarah Gristwood; Booker finalist and Historical fiction author, Michele Roberts; and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jane Smiley.

At our conference, Mariel will also be presenting her new documentary film, Running From Crazy. This thought provoking and powerful personal journey documents her family history and gives her  to answers to the mental health struggles within the family, 7 family members committed suicide including her sister, father and grandfather.

On Sunday, December 15th, Mariel will be teaching a workshop on Healthy living. She’ll be discussing her latest book, Running With Nature.   Running with Nature is her jouney back to balance, it’s a guide to finding your true self in nature, health and emotional wealth.

As the granddaughter of illustrious author, Ernest Hemingway, Mariel was always destined to be well-known and publicly recognized. However, at the young age of 13, Mariel became famous in her own right when she made her silver screen debut in “Lipstick”. Four years later her work in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” earned her an Oscar nomination. She has since made 30 films and numerous television appearances in series and as a host of several environmental and humanitarian documentaries.

Now at the age of 51, Mariel is the mother of two daughters, Dree 25 and Langley 23. For over 25 years, she has been pursuing her passion for yoga and health and is now seen as a voice of holistic and balanced health and well- being. As part of that role she has leads wellness retreats all over America, sharing her insights about movement, silence, nutrition, and home. In 2003, she published her powerful bestselling memoir, Finding My Balance. A truly insightful and inspiring story, of her life’s journey through the eyes of yoga and meditation. Mariel’s second book called “Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out” (Harper Collins San Francisco 2007), is a how-to guide to finding ones balance and health through self-empowering lifestyle techniques and is a huge success for Mariel and especially for those whom incorporate her inspiring advice. Her 2009 book is a gluten free, sugar free, cookbook called Mariel’s Kitchen.

Mariel’s passion is her love of the outdoors…connecting with nature and becoming younger through food breath exercise and nature. She has partnered with Robert Williams, an eco adventurer whose life has been dedicated to adventure, healing and nature in a new book and lifestyle company called The WillingWay book launch date March 12, 2013. They are traveling all over the country sharing what they know about anti aging, connecting in nature, having fun and feeling great.

Mariel is also outspoken in her advocacy for mental health.

Check out what Mariel’s up to-

Her Latest Blogs: http://runningwithnature.com/blog/

As Curator for OPEN SKY: http://www.opensky.com

In her documentary, Running From Crazy: https://www.facebook.com/RunningFromCrazy

On Twitter @MarielHemingway

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariel-Hemingway-Official-Fan-Page/115100505194946

ROBERT OLEN BUTLER won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award

253346_10200258442478168_2101508810_nROBERT OLEN BUTLER just won, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature.

He says, “Grateful to say I’ve won the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, from the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. I’m the 17th, after such folks as William Styron, John Barth, Joyce Carol Oates, E. L. Doctorow, Norman Mailer, John Updike, Edward Albee, Grace Paley. The award will be announced May 7 at a preview of the new movie of The Great Gatsby.”

Robert will be teaching a workshop at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013.

 

Authors teaching at Lismore Castle

 

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Meet our instructors who’ll teach workshops/lectures at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013.

Robert Olen Butler

ROBERT OLEN BUTLER — Pulitzer Prize Winner and F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature

 

Robert Olen Butler has published twelve novels—The Alleys of EdenSun Dogs,Countrymen of BonesOn Distant GroundWabashThe DeuceThey WhisperThe Deep Green SeaMr. SpacemanFair WarningHell and (forthcoming this August) A Small Hotel—and six volumes of short fiction—Tabloid Dreams, Had a Good TimeSeverance, IntercourseWeegee Stories, and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Butler has published a volume of his lectures on the creative process, From Where You Dream, edited with an introduction by Janet Burroway.

A recipient of both a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant, he also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and has received two Pushcart Prizes. His stories have appeared widely in such publications as The New YorkerEsquireHarper’sThe Atlantic MonthlyGQZoetropeThe Paris ReviewThe Hudson ReviewThe Virginia Quarterly ReviewPloughshares, and The Sewanee Review. They have also been chosen for inclusion in four annual editions of The Best American Short Stories, eight annual editions ofNew Stories from the South, several other major annual anthologies, and numerous college literature textbooks from such publishers as Simon & Schuster, Norton, Viking, Little Brown & Co., Houghton Mifflin, Oxford University Press, Prentice Hall, and Bedford/St.Martin and most recently in The New Granta Book of the American Short Story, edited by Richard Ford.

His works have been translated into nineteen languages, including Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Polish, Japanese, Serbian, Farsi, Czech, Estonian, and Greek. He was also a charter recipient of the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award given by the Vietnam Veterans of America for “outstanding contributions to American culture by a Vietnam veteran.” Over the past fifteen years he has lectured in universities, appeared at conferences, and met with writers groups in 17 countries as a Literary Envoy for the U. S. State Department.

Since 1995 he has written feature-length screenplays for New Regency, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, Universal Pictures, Baldwin Entertainment Group (for Robert Redford), and two teleplays for HBO. Typical of Hollywood, none of these movies he was hired to write ever made it to the screen.

He is a Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor holding the Michael Shaara Chair in Creative Writing at Florida State University. Under the auspices of the FSU website, in the fall of 2001, he did something no other writer has ever done, before or since: he revealed his writing process in full, in real time, in a webcast that observed him in seventeen two-hour sessions write a literary short story from its first inspiration to its final polished form. He also gave a running commentary on his artistic choices and spent a half-hour in each episode answering the emailed questions of his live viewers. The whole series is a very popular download on iTunes under the title “Inside Creative Writing.”

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the State University of New York system. 

 

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KAREN JOY FOWLER–PEN/FAULKNER finalist, World Fantasy Award winner

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. The Jane Austen Book Club spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was aNew York Times Notable Book. Fowler’s previous novel, Sister Noon, was a finalist for the 2001 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Her debut novel, Sarah Canary, was a New York Times Notable Book, as was her second novel, The Sweetheart Season. In addition, Sarah Canary won the Commonwealth medal for best first novel by a Californian, and was listed for the Irish Times International Fiction Prize as well as the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize. Fowler’s short story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award in 1999, and her collection What I Didn’t See won the World Fantasy Award in 2011. Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children and five grandchildren, live in Santa Cruz, California.

She is the co-founder of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award and the current president of the Clarion Foundation (also known as Clarion San Diego).

“No contemporary writer creates characters more appealing, or examines them with greater acuity and forgiveness, than she does.”
—Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

“What strikes one first is the voice: robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected and never boring. Here is a novelist who absolutely comprehends the pleasures of imagination and transformation.”
—Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review

“An astonishing narrative voice, at once lyric and ironic, satiric and nostalgic…Fowler can tell stories that engage and enchant.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

 Sarah Gristwood

SARAH GRISTWOOD –Best-Selling Tudor Biographer

Sarah Gristwood is a best-selling Tudor biographer, former film journalist, and commentator on royal affairs.

 

Sarah Gristwood began work as a journalist, writing at first about the theatre as well as general features on everything from gun control to Giorgio Armani. But increasingly she found herself specialising in film interviews – Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro; Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney. She has appeared in most of the UK’s leading newspapers – The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph (Daily and Sunday) – and magazines from Cosmopolitan to Country Living and Sight and Sound to The New Statesman.

Turning to history she wrote two bestselling Tudor biographies, Arbella: England’s Lost Queen and Elizabeth and Leicester; and the eighteenth century story Perdita: Royal Mistress, Writer, Romantic which was selected as Radio 4 Book of the Week. Presenting and contributing to several radio and tv documentaries, she also published a book on iconic dresses, Fabulous Frocks (with Jane Eastoe); and a 50th anniversary companion to the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as well as collaborating with Tracy Borman, Alison Weir and Kate Williams on The Ring and the Crown (Hutchinson), a book on the history of royal weddings. 2011 also saw the publication of her first historical novel, The Girl in the Mirror (HarperCollins). In September 2012 she brought out a new non-fiction book – Blood Sisters: the hidden lives of the women behind the Wars of the Roses (HarperPress).

A regular media commentator on royal and historical affairs, Sarah was one of the team providing Radio 4’s live coverage of the royal wedding; and also spoke on the Queen’s Jubilee for Sky News and for Woman’s Hour.

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EDWARD HUMES — Pulitzer Prize Winner

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, Edward Humes’ latest book is Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash (Avery Books, April 2012). His other books include Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Wal-Mart’s Green Revolution, the PEN Award-winning No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year In the Life of Juvenile Court, the bestseller Mississippi Mud, and Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion and the Battle for America’s Soul.


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CLAIRE KEEGAN–Rooney Prize for Irish Fiction

Since her first book was published in 1999, Claire Keegan has accumulated nearly a dozen prizes, and accolades from writers such as Richard Ford and Hilary Mantel. But the form she works in – the short story – has always been something of a specialist taste. Keegan, who has published two collections of stories (Antarctica and, in 2007, Walk the Blue Fields) and now one long story, Foster which was published in the New Yorker.

Claire Keegan was born in 1968 and grew up on a farm in Wicklow. Her first collection of short stories, Antarctica, was completed in 1998. It announced her as an exceptionally gifted and versatile writer of contemporary fiction and was awarded the Rooney Prize for Literature. Her second short story collection,Walk the Blue Fields, was published to enormous critical acclaim in 2007 and won her the 2008 Edge Hill Prize for Short Stories. Claire Keegan lives in County Wexford, Ireland.

Keegan has won the William Trevor Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Olive Cook Award and the Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award 2009. Other awards include The Hugh Leonard Bursary, The Macaulay Fellowship,The Martin Healy Prize, The Kilkenny Prize and The Tom Gallon Award. Twice was Keegan the recipient of the Francis MacManus Award. She was also a Wingate Scholar. She was a visiting professor at Villanova University in 2008. She is a member of Aosdána.

JACQUELYN MITCHARD — Best Selling Author and Editor-in-Chief of Merit Press

Mitchard’s book, ‘The Deep End of the Ocean’ was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and named one of the most influential books of the past 25 years by USA today.

Mitchard is the author of 24 novels and books of non-fiction for adults, young adults, and children, including ‘The Deep End of the Ocean,’ the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, named by USA Today as one of the most influential books of the past 25 years. A longtime journalist and teacher, Mitchard is a faculty fellow at Southern New Hampshire University, and a contributing writer for Parade Magazine and More magazine, among others.

 

Merit Press Books, an imprint solely for young adult titles. The imprint joins the company’s current fiction lines – including Tyrus BooksPrologue Books, and Crimson Romance. F+W plans the release of five original Young Adult titles through the remainder of the 2012, as well as twelve titles planned for 2013. Other imprints currently are under development and will be announced in coming months. F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services offering a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, e-commerce, education, video, and more. The Company’s fiction strategy aligns with the overall F+W mission to meet the needs of its communities in all forms, creating an exceptional consumer experience.

“The mission of the line is to provide an abundance of intensely readable, highly suspenseful and unforgettable fiction for readers aged thirteen and up, with a particular emphasis on strong, savvy, female heroes rising to conquer sometimes stunning challenges thrown at them by a very real contemporary world,” said Karen Cooper, Publisher. “We knew we needed expert guidance for the creation and growth of the line. Jacquelyn is the ideal partner for this new initiative, and we are thrilled to work with her.”

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MICHELE ROBERTS–Man Booker Finalist

Michèle Roberts is the author of twelve highly acclaimed novels, including The Looking Glass and Daughters of the House which won the WHSmith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her memoir Paper Houseswas BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week in June 2007. She has also published poetry and short stories, most recently collected in Mud- stories of sex and love (2010). Half-English and half-French, Michèle Roberts lives in London and in the Mayenne, France. She is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
 Michèle Roberts is one of those writers descended perhaps as much from Monet and Debussy as Virginia Woolf or Keats… To read a book by her is to savour colour, sound, taste, texture and touch as never before. The Times

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ETHEL ROHAN–Short Story Award winner

Ethel Rohan was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and now lives in San Francisco. She is the award-winning author of two story collections,  Goodnight Nobody (2013) and Cut Through the Bone (2010), the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. She is also the author of a chapbook, Hard to Say, PANK, 2011.

Her work has or will appear in The New York TimesWorld Literature TodayTin House Online, The Irish TimesThe Stinging FlySouthword Journal, and The Rumpus, among many others. She received her MFA from Mills College, CA, and is a reviewer for New York Journal of Books and member of the San Francisco Writers’ Grottoand PEN America. Visit her at ethelrohan.com.

 

 

 

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ALEX  SHOUMATOFF–Contributing Editor Vanity Fair

Alex Shoumatoff first broke into the pages of Vanity Fair in 1986, with a piece on the murder of Dian Fossey, an American zoologist who was fighting for the survival of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Since then he has written dozens of pieces for the magazine, many of them from the world’s most remote and inaccessible places, including the Amazon and Tibet. The author of 10 books, he founded Dispatches from the Vanishing World in 2001. The site, which is read each month by people from more than 90 countries, is dedicated to raising consciousness about the world’s fast-disappearing natural and cultural diversity, and to promoting the societal transformation that needs to happen if the planet’s life-support systems are to remain viable much longer. A guitar player and songwriter since the 1960s, Shoumatoff is finally releasing his first CD, Suitcase on the Loose, a bag of tunes written over the last 38 years.

JANE SMILEY – Pulitzer Prize Winner and F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature

Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained an A.B. in literature atVassar College (1971), then earned an MA at the University of Iowa (1975), M.F.A. (1976) andPh.D. from the University of Iowa. [1]While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996 she was a professor of English at Iowa State University,[1] teaching undergraduate and graduate creative writing workshops, and continuing to teach there even after relocating to California.

Smiley published her first novel, Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare‘s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script, produced for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists. Her essay “Feminism Meets the Free Market” was included in the 2006 anthology Mommy Wars  by Washington Post writer Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster‘s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu‘s The Tale of Genji to 21st-century American women’s literature.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She participates in the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in association with UCLA. Smiley chaired the judges’ panel for the prestigious Man Booker International Prize in 2009.

 

PATRICIA SMITH – National Book Award finalist in Poetry, Winner of 2 Pushcart Awards

Called “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” Patricia Smith is a renaissance artist of unmistakable signature, recognized as a force in the fields of poetry, playwriting, fiction, performance and creative collaboration.

She is the author of six critically-acknowledged volumes of poetry, includingShoulda Been Jimi SavannahBlood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist, andTeahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series winner (all from Coffee House Press), Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk (both from Zoland Books),Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha), just released in a special 20th anniversary edition. She is editor of the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir, coming in November 2012 from Akashic Books.

Her other books include Africans in America (Harcourt Brace), a companion volume to the groundbreaking four-part PBS history series, and the children’s book, Janna and the Kings, a Lee & Low Books New Voices Award winner.

Patricia’s work has appeared in Poetry (including the journal’s 100th anniversary edition), The Paris ReviewGrantaTin HouseTriQuarterlypoemmemoirstory,EcotoneAble Muse and many other journals, and in dozens of groundbreaking anthologies–including Best American PoetryBest American EssaysVillanelles,Killer Verse–Poems of Mayhem and MurderAmerican Tensions–Literary Identity and the Search for Justice, and 100 Best African American Poems. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, for her poems “The Way Pilots Walk” and “Laugh Your Troubles Away!” In the summer of 2012, she was awarded a fellowship to the prestigious McDowell Colony, where she worked in a studio once occupied by James Baldwin.

Recognized as one of the world’s most formidable performers, Patricia has read her work at venues round the world, including the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Urban Voices in South Africa, Rotterdam’s Poetry International Festival, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. In the U.S., she’s performed at the National Book Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Dodge Poetry Festival, Bumbershoot, the Folger Shakespeare Library and St. Mark’s Poetry Project, sharing the stage with noted writers such as Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates, Allen Ginsberg, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, Galway Kinnell and “Lord of the Rings” star Viggo Morgensen. She has collaborated with Boston stalwart Philip Pemberton (currently lead vocalist of Roomful of Blues) and the blues band Bop Thunderous, and as an occasional vocalist with the stellar improvisational jazz groups Paradigm Shift and Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble. Patricia is a four-time national individual champion of the notorious and wildly popular Poetry Slam, the most successful competitor in slam history. She was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”

Recordings of Patricia’s work can be found on the CD “Always in the Head” as well as in the compilations “Grand Slam,” “A Snake in the Heart” “By Someone’s Good Graces” and “Lip.” A short film of her performing the poem “Undertaker,” produced by Tied to the Tracks Films, won awards at the Sundance and San Francisco Film Festivals and earned a prestigious Cable Ace Award as part of the Lifetime Network’s first annual Women’s Film Festival. As a budding voiceover artist, she was the radio voice of the Oil of Olay Total Effects product line.

The book Blood Dazzler was the basis for a dance/theater production which sold out a week-long series of performances at New York’s Harlem Stage. The Play Company in New York City produced “Professional Suicide,” a one-woman show that got its start while Smith was writer-in-residence at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and a selection of Patricia’s poetry was also produced as a one-woman play by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott and performed at both Boston University Playwrights Theater and the historic Trinidad Theater Workshop. Another play, based on Life According to Motown, was staged by Company One Theater in Hartford, Ct., and reviewed favorably in The New York Times.

An accomplished and sought-after instructor of poetry, performance and creative writing, Smith appears often at creative conferences and residencies, customizes workshops for all age groups and is available for intensive individual instruction. She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.

 

 

LILY TUCK — National Book Award Winner

Lily Tuck (born Oct. 10, 1938) is an American novelist and short story writer whose novelThe News from Paraguay won the 2004 National Book Award for Fiction. Her novel Siam was nominated for the 2000 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. She has published four other novels, a collection of short stories, and a biography of Italian novelist Elsa Morante .

An American citizen born in Paris, Tuck now divides her time between New York City andMaine; she has also lived in Thailand and (during her childhood) Uruguay and Peru. Tuck has stated that “living in other countries has given me a different perspective as a writer. It has heightened my sense of dislocation and rootlessness. … I think this feeling is reflected in my characters, most of them women whose lives are changed by either a physical displacement or a loss of some kind”.

 

Daily Schedule

December 9th:

12:00 – 3:00 workshop

5:00 – 8:00  Lectures

8:00          Dinner in castle

December 10th – 15th

7:30 – 10:30  Workshops

10:45 – 1:45  Workshops

2:00 – 5:00   Workshops

5:00 – 8:00   Lectures/Readings and festivities

8:00           Castle Dinner

December 16th

7:30 – 10:30  Workshops

 

Workshops dates and times are list by groups.

Group 1, 2, 3, 4….3 hour/5 days

Group 5…………… 8 hours/2 days with lunch break

 

Group 1

Dates/time: 12/09 @ 11:00-2:00, 12/10-12 @7:30-10:30, 12/14 @2:00-5:00

Robert Olen Butler–fiction

Patricia Smith–poetry

Group 2

Dates/time: 12/09 @2:00-5:00, 12/10-12 @10:30-1:30, 12/13 @2:00-5:00

Michele Roberts–fiction, historical fiction

Alex Shoumatoff–non fiction, memoir, biography

Group 3

Dates/time: 12/12 @2:00-5:00, 12/13-16 @7:30-10:30

Jane Smiley–fiction

Sarah Gristwood–Historical Fiction

Group 4

Dates/time: 12/10-11 @2:00-5:00, 12/13-15 @10:45-1:45

Lily Tuck–fiction

Edward Humes–non fiction, biography, memoir

Group 5

Dates/time: 12/14-15 @ 8:00 – 5:00 with a one hour lunch break

Jacquelyn Mitchard–fiction, memoir and YA

 

History of Lismore Castle

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Lismore is possibly the most spectacular castle in Ireland. It’s situated high above the Blackwater River with views of rolling, wooded hills and the Knockmealdown Mountains and beyond. It’s no wonder this site has been occupied for centuries before the first castle was ever built. There was almost certainly a settlement here before Lismore Abbey was built in the 7th century, as the Irish name of the site, Lios Mhor, means big fort. They abbey was an important ecclesiastical center and
seat for learning up to the time of King Henry II who is reputed to have stayed here in 1171.

In 1185, Henry’s son, Prince John, made his first expedition to Ireland. During this visit he came to Lismore and ordered the construction of a “castellum”, a detached fort or fortlet used as a watch tower or signal station. And when John became King of England he handed the castle over to the church and it was used as a Bishop’s Palace until 1589, when it was leased to Sir Walter Raleigh, who later purchased it. When Raleigh was imprisoned for High Treason in 1602, he was forced to sell Lismore Castle, along with 42,000 acres, for £1500 to Richard Boyle, who became the first Earl of Cork, often referred to as the “first colonial millionaire.”

When Boyle came to Ireland in 1588 he had little more than twenty-seven pounds in his pocket, but proceeded to make his fortune from a number of endeavors, including iron-smelting and linen-weaving industries, as well as being appointed to various government positions. Oliver Cromwell is reported to have said of Richard Boyle, ‘If there had been an Earl of Cork in every province it would have been impossible for the Irish to have raised a rebellion.’

Upon purchasing Lismore, Boyle made it his primary residence and set about to transform the simple keep into a magnificent residence. Boyle is responsible for the layout of the estate as it’s seen today, which included the addition of a castellated outer wall, the Riding Gate, an impressive courtyard and additional apartments. Inside, the apartments were lavishly decorated with fretwork plaster ceilings and hanging tapestries of embroidered silk and velvet. Also within the walls of Lismore, Boyle also built a remarkable family, which included fifteen children, seven girls and eight boys.

Sixth son, another Richard, known as Richard “the Rich,” was born in 1612. In August 1624, at just eleven years and ten months of age, he was knighted. He then set forth on a Grand Tour with an annual allowance of £1500…roughly £743,000 in today’s money. That’s quite a sum for a twelve year old.

Under the command of Lord Castlehaven, the castle was sacked during the Cromwellian War when forces stormed through Lismore in 1645. When the castle descended to Richard Jr., he became the 2nd Earl of Cork and also held the titles of 1st Earl of Burlington, Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland, Viscount Boyle of Kinalmeaky, Baron of Bandon Bridge and the 1st Baron Clifford of Lanesborough in York England. Upon taking possession, Richard set about to make the castle habitable again, but neither he or his successors lived in the castle again, having moved to Youghal in County Cork.

The first Earl must have been very proud of his surviving progeny. His daughters entered into wealthy marriages, and of his surviving sons, two others made names for themselves in Irish and British history. Along with the sixth son’s accomplishments, the eleventh son, Roger (named for his first brother who died at 9 years of age) was a noted British soldier and statesman. He was created Baron of Broghill in 1627, fought in the Irish Confederate Wars, subsequently becoming known for his antagonism toward Irish Catholics and their political aspirations. In 1660 he became the first Earl of Orrery. Roger was also a noted playwright and writer on 17th century warfare.

As well, the first Earl’s fourteenth child, Robert, was born in 1627. He became an Irish theologian, natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, inventor and gentleman scientists who was noted for his works in physics and chemistry. Robert was best known for the formulation of Boyle’s Law, one of several gas laws and a special case of the ideal gas law. He is regarded today as the Father of Modern Chemistry. Among his works, the 1661 publication of The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry.

The Boyle’s owned many properties, including Chiswick House, Burlington House, Bolton abbey and Londesborough Hall, until 1753 when they were acquired by the Cavendish family. Daughter of the 4th Earl of Cork, Lady Charlotte Boyle, married William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire and future Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland. These properties were part of Charlotte’s dowry. Their son, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, carried out improvements and restorations at Lismore, which included the stunning arched bridge over the River Blackwater in 1775, the year preceding the American Revolution.

The Sixth Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish, was known as the Bachelor Duke and is largely responsible for the castle’s present appearance, which has been described as a “fashionable quasi-feudal ultra-regal fortress,” including using Derbyshire stone from England. Of all of the Boyle estates, Lismore was always the Duke’s favorite. His love of the estate grew into a passion and dedicated much of his time to the preservation and updating of the estate. The Duke was a favorite patron of Charles Dickens, William Thackeray and Joseph Paxton, the latter who joined the Duke’s estate as an under gardener in 1823. They became great friends over the years, the Duke often consulting with Paxton before making any changes to the castle. Paxton was a botanist, inventor, engineer, architect, town planner and railway promoter, as well as an organizer in the Crimean War who went onto become a Liberal member of Parliament. Tsar Nicholas the first of Russia knighted Paxton in 1844 and later knighted once more in 1851 by Queen Victoria. In that same year, Paxton designed London’s Crystal Palace, which was subsequently in a fire in 1936. Paxton’s Tower at Lismore more is a stunning memorial to the influence he had on the appearance of the castle today.

During the last great restoration of the 1850s, the Duke hired J.G.Crace of London, a leading maker of Gothic Revival furniture, to transform the ruins of the chapel in the old Bishop’s Palace into a medieval-style banqueting hall that included a huge stained glass window, choir stalls and Gothic stenciling on the walls and roof timbers. The chimney piece was exhibited at the Medieval Court of the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 before being installed at Lismore.

Following the Bachelor Duke’s passing, Adele Astaire married Lord Charles Cavendish, son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, and lived in the castle until the Duke’s death in 1944. She then returned to America, but she continued to return to Lismore for a month every summer, often traveling with her famous dancing brother Fred. She continued to use the castle until her own death in 1981.

Lismore is still owned by the Dukes of Devonshire, but it’s only lived in part of the year. The present duke is Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish, the 12th Duke of Devonshire who was born in 1944, and currently lives on the family’s Bolton Abbey estate in England. His son, William Burlington, maintains an apartment in the castle and converted the derelict west wing in 2006. It’s now open as an art gallery.

The incredible gardens at Lismore Castle are open to the public. They’re divided into two very different sections. The Upper Garden is a stunning example of a 17th century walled garden. It was first constructed in 1605 by Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork. The outer wall and terraces remain intact, though plantings have changed to suit those living in the castle. Visitors will see espaliers of fruit trees, herb beds and vegetable plots along with stunning flowers, which are cut and brought into the house.

The Lower Garden was mostly designed in the 19th century for the sixth Duke of Devonshire. This is an informal garden with shrubs, trees and lawns. The Yew Avenue dates back to perhaps the 17th century, if not earlier when the Bishop’s Palace was still occupied.

Both gardens are set within seven acres within the castle walls. Visitors enter through the Riding Gate. The Lower Garden is to the right. The Upper Garden is accessed by crossing the gatehouse and exiting on the other side of the main driveway into the estate.

December 9 – 16, 2013, Abroad Writers’ Conference will be holding a conference at Lismore Castle. authors joining us are: Pulitzer Prize Winners, Robert Olen Butler, Edward Humes, Jane Smiley and Junot Diaz; National Book Award winner, Lily Tuck; Best Selling Authors, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Alex Shoumatoff and others to be announced.