Crossing the Dissour

Crossing the Dissour: a journal about creative process is now live!

A project many months in the making, we are delighted to share the work of some brilliant past Greywood residents, accompanied by their thoughts on how and why their work came into being.

Assembled by Greywood’s Artistic Director Jessica Bonenfant and writer / musician Ryan Mihaly, Crossing the Dissour presents contributions from:

crossing the dissour

Aisling Flynn
Patrick Beurard-Valdoyle & Isabelle Vorle
Gráinne Daly
Orla McAlinden
Emily S. Cooper
Carol Elkovich
Ryan Mihaly & Karolina Zapal
Laura Scheringa
and interviews with Naomi Litvack, Paula Bomer, Margareth Stewart, Mark W. Sasse & E.R. Murray

While the inaugural issue was by invitation, we’ll accept open submissions for our next edition slated for July.

Head on over to and let us know what you think!

Poetry Reading

We are looking forward to the arrival of our first Winter Writing Residency awardee, Emily Cooper, later this month. As I’m sitting in a cafe being bombarded by Christmas music, I suppose we’ll have to admit it is, indeed, winter!

Poetry Reading Web

Emily will share her work with us on Thursday, 29th of November at 7pm. She’ll be joined by poet Kerri Sonnenberg, who was in residence with us this summer – thanks to an Arts Council bursary.

If you’ve been to a reading at Greywood before, you’ll know what a nice way it is to spend the evening. It’s cosy in the library, the audience is friendly, and the atmosphere is warm and relaxed. Besides – it’s free, with wine, beer, coffee & tea available for a small donation. No need to book, just join us on the night. How bad!


Emily S Cooper is a poet from the North West of Ireland who studied at Goldsmiths, London and the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast. She was shortlisted for the Mairtin Crawford Award in 2017 and has been published in The Irish Times, Banshee, Belleville Park Pages and a number of anthologies.

Kerri Sonnenberg is a Cork-based poet originally from Chicago. She is author of the poetry collection The Mudra (Litmus Press, 2004). Earlier this year she was in residence at Greywood working on a second collection with support from the Irish Arts Council. New work is forthcoming in the anthology A Journey Called Home.

Mini-Writers Retreat for Carers

Anouncing the Mini Writing Retreat for Carers

As an American living abroad, Thanksgiving is a tradition I really miss. But that Thanksgiving feeling came early this year. I am in awe of the generosity in the Irish writing community.

Author Rose Servitova, who has stayed with us for a day or two at a time over the last year, approached us about sponsoring a bursary to provide a mini-retreat to two writers who can’t get away for longer due to their duties as carers. And since she put that idea out into the universe, the support has been incredible. Author Kit de Waal is now on board as a co-sponsor, and the support keeps pouring in – namely editing & other author resources.

We’ll be announcing application details shortly, but meanwhile if you or anyone you know who might benefit from a fully-funded 3-day writing retreat, keep your eyes on the residencies tab on our website or on our twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages for the call for applications in the coming weeks.   

— Jessica Bonenfant
Artistic Director

Announcing the 2018 Winter Writing Residency Winners!

First, let me say what a fabulous batch of submissions we received this year – especially from poets. We were planning to award only two week-long residencies this year, but in the end we decided to go with three because the work was just that good! The decision-making process was challenging to say the least.

We would like to say a hearty congratulations to the Winter Writing Residency Award Winners: 

Aisling Flynn for her short story The House Guest 

aisling flynn

Aisling is a writer from Bray in Wicklow. She received her MA in Creative Writing from UCD in 2017. This year she was a finalist in the RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition and Lilliput Press Short Fiction Competition. Her work has appeared on RTÉ Radio 1, the HCE Review and the anthology, Bridges Between. She is currently working on a collection of stories. You can listen to The House Guest on RTE here. 


Geraldine Clarkson for her poems Crenella’s Truth Tower and O Respectability. 

Geraldine Clarkson photo_Greywood Arts

Geraldine Clarkson is from the UK Midlands, with roots in the west of Ireland. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, Ambit, and The Rialto, and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. She has three poetry pamphlets:  Declare  (Shearsman Books, 2016), selected as a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet choice, Dora Incites the Sea-Scribbler to Lament (smith | doorstop, 2016), which was a Laureate’s Choice, and No. 25 (Shearsman Books, 2018). She is a former winner of the Poetry London and Ambit competitions, as well as the Poetry Society Anne Born prize and the Magma Editors’ prize.



Emily S. Cooper for her poems Chateau Marianne and Aunty Winnie’s.

Emily S Cooper is a poet from the North West of Ireland who studied at Goldsmiths, London and the Seamus Heaney Centre in Belfast. She was shortlisted for the Mairtin Crawford Award in 2017 and has been published in The Irish Times, Banshee, Belleville Park Pages and a number of anthologies.


Award decisions were made by the 2017 Winter Writing Residency winners Orla McAlinden, Gráinne Daly, & Mark W. Sasse in conjunction with Greywood Arts, and submissions were read blind.  They all have exciting things like new publications out and a Ph.D. underway, so we would like to thank them for being so generous with their time.

We would also like to acknowledge the great work by the following finalists:


  • Carolyn Ferrucci – Far Rocks
  • Hannah Austin – Your Average Wednesday 
  • Janet Steen – excerpt from the novel You Are Not a Hopeless Case 
  • Helene Montagna – Three Sides of the Knife (play)


  • Lauren Pope – Hinterland, Hijo de Puta, & Chorus
  • Rebecca Timson – Wishbone, Stick Figure, & Swimming 
  • Josh Lefkowitz – A Tiny One, A Modest Revision for Wedding Vows, & Going Electric. 
  • Monika Zobel – Imagine a Place in my Head Bearing Your Name, You Are One of Many Places, &Water, The Worry
  • Lori Kent – Ten Haiku, Cocktail Lessons, & Ice 

Stay tuned to find out when these three wonderful writers will be in residence at Greywood Arts & be sure to come to their readings in our cosy library. What better way to spend a winter’s eve than listening to wonderful words while sipping a cup of tea or glass of wine?


For anyone curious about the gender breakdown, 86% of submitters were assumed to be female and 14% are thought to be male based on names and email profile photos. Of course, this is not a 100% accurate way of gathering data as we have not asked applicants directly how they prefer to be identified, but we want to contribute to an ethos of transparency and dialogue around gender balance in the arts. 

More Than a Number

Artists in support of the women and families affected by the cervical cancer scandal.  moreAn Invitation to Participate
On Saturday August 18th, Standing 4 Women* East Cork and Greywood Arts present a response to the cervical cancer scandal in words, images, music and performance to help raise awareness of the issue, and build support for the movement.

Standing 4 Women* is a grassroots movement formed in response to the delivery of incorrect smear results to 209 – now 221 – women in Ireland and the misdiagnoses leading to the death of 18 women. S4W* works across party lines, and is calling for immediate mandatory open disclosure and the provision of person-centered supports from a multi-disciplinary team for the women and families affected.

Greywood Arts is an artist’s residency and community hub for creativity in Killeagh, East Cork. Inspired by artists’ participation in the Repeal movement, we know art has real power to create change in Ireland.

The Concept
You are invited to respond to the situation as a creative maker. Greywood Arts will provide the space to exhibit, read aloud, sing, speak, perform, present, etc. The structure of the event will be shaped by the participants, but will be supportive and social. You are encouraged to feel deeply, push boundaries, and make your voice heard. Artists of all disciplines and of any gender identity are welcome to contribute.

Some places to start, if you find that helpful:

  • It can be an emotional response.
  • It is also an opportunity for empowerment.
  • Where in your body does this resonate? How does it make you feel?
  • What is the meaning of:
    • Care
    • Respect
    • Fear
    • Bodily Autonomy
    • Transparency
    • Non-knowing
    • Responsibility
    • Loss
    • Honour
    • Scandal
    • Secrecy
    • Presence
    • Justice
    • Protest
  • Women’s health concerns
  • Gender (in)equality
  • The Institution vs the Individual
  • These women are more than a number

To participate, send an expression of interest to Jessica at
Tell us your name, phone number, medium, and any ideas you have by July 22nd.

One year later…

23 artists
20+ events
A huge community art project and the return of the May Sunday festival

We’ve been busy.

Although, it is quality, not quantity, that matters to us.

As we head into year two we are looking back at how our programmes have shaped up. I think it’s only natural to be proud of our successes. We’re already seeing the return of artists for a second residency. We’re making long-term connections with East Cork artists. We’ve begun to build connections with local groups like the Monday Club, History Group, Scouts, Kyle National School, and Foroige.

When we set out, the artist’s residency was the sure thing – the familiar. I’ve been on residencies, I’ve worked in the arts my whole career. I understand the value of time and space to work, undistracted and in an inspiring atmosphere. The challenge was foreseeing the myriad needs of artists across disciplines, making a large old house feel cosy, getting the word out.

Anniversary Fete Poster

What came as a surprise was the depth of engagement we achieved with the local community in year one. It was the unknown for us – how would Killeagh respond? Would they understand what we’re doing here? Would there be a desire to get involved? The answer has been a resounding yes, so much so that community programming is on par with the residency in the hierarchy of our priorities.

We’re eager to keep growing as we find ways to better support the artists who stay with us, and the locals who want to learn about, see, and create art. As we move into year two, we are reflecting on our values, reviewing our business plan, and dreaming big for the future. I’ll write more about that soon.

Meanwhile, we’d like to invite everyone to help us celebrate our first year with an Anniversary Fête on Sunday July 1st from 2pm – 6pm. (free)

2-6:  Art Exhibition featuring photographer and former artist-in-residence Aissa Lopez & Killeagh-based painter Sinéad Ní Chionaola.

Aissa Lopez will exhibit Paper Ghosts, A phenomenology of place, which uses Kodak Brownie box cameras to create direct positive, paper negatives and finished contact prints on fibre paper.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 12.03.29

A Youghal native, Aissa was in residence at Greywood last August, working on a related photography project exploring domestic spaces and the uncanny. Perhaps you saw her work during the open studio?


Sinéad Ní Chionaola is a contemporary Irish landscape artist who uses her experiences of Glenbower Woods and the surrounding ancient lands of her hometown in East Cork to communicate a love of place. She works in series of paintings, and the painting process transforms into its own story – using drips, texture and form. You may be familiar with two of her large paintings hanging in our library, generously on loan to Greywood Arts for the past year.

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 11.51.43

2-4:  Mural Painting & Ice Cream Social for Families  

We will paint a mural on the garden wall at Greywood, using the Ogham alphabet to write Greywood Arts’ basic prinicpal: CREATE with these ancient Celtic symbols. In case of rain, we will work on a large roll of paper inside. Either way, be ready to get messy!

A special thanks to Martha Doyle for helping us plan out the Ogham alaphbet.

4-6:  Short fiction & essay reading by E.R. Murray followed by music & drinks in the library.
Bio_ERMurray_HighRes (1)E. R. Murray writes novels for children and young adults and short fiction and essays for adults. Her novels include the award-winning Nine Lives Trilogy (The Book of LearningThe Book of Shadowsand The Book of Revenge) and Caramel Hearts. Elizabeth will be reading for an adult audience from a selection of recently published essays and short stories. She will also talk about her writing process and publishing journey and answer questions about what it’s like to be a writer. An interactive event suitable for anyone who loves stories.

For more information: 083 845 1750 or

There are so many people who have helped us get to – and through – year one. From our fabulous intern Sam, to myriad volunteers, we should write an entire post about our gratitude.




On Crafting a Novel – Workshop for Writers

Greywood Arts is delighted to host a workshop by January’s writer-in-residence, Margareth Stewart:


Five simple techniques to make it a hit!

23 January, 2018
Tuesday at 7pm

To reserve a place email or ring Jessica at 083.845.1750.


Margareth Stewart is the pen name for Mônica Mastrantonio. Ms. Mastrantonio will share insights into the process of writing her novel, OPEN – Pierre’s Journey after War. She will also detail five techniques to make your novel a hit:

  • daily routine
  • original plot
  • strong characters
  • the element of surprise
  • the voices.

MargarethStewartMônica Mastrantonio holds a PhD in Social Psychology and teaches Social Projects through Literature and Local Stories. She is the editor and publisher of three anthologies: “Whitmanthology”: on Loss and Grief (2016), “Womanthology”: writings on women worldwide (2016), and “The pain that unites us all” (2017). “The 7 sinkers: a view from below” is her book of short stories and “Open” is her debut novel. Her next novel is “Mademoiselle-sur-Seine”/on plaisir & bonne vie. This Zen-mother of three loves life, her tattoos, and dancing. She lives part of her time in South America, Europe and Miami.

OPEN – Pierre’s Journey after War is the story of a man whose young family is killed during aerial bombings of France in WWII. Pierre survives in near despondency, eventually embarking on the vagabond life as his outlet for grief and for time to ponder revenge. Despite suffering continuous reflections of his tragic past, Pierre journeys across continents bestowing kindness to other troubled souls.