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 www.greywoodarts.org 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
  • Ruby D. Jones – 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 create@greywoodarts.org
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 create@greywoodarts.org

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 create@greywoodarts.org 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.



Sometimes a day away is all you need…

Quiet. Fresh perspective. Giving yourself permission to put aside the quotidien and mundane for a brief period of focus. IMG_9290-T

Many residency programs have a one week minimum, and some even prefer you visit for a full month. But we believe every project is different, and each artist’s circumstances are unique. Work and family commitments, limited budgets, or scheduling a diverse group of collaborators can make extended work periods less viable. So when we have the availability, we don’t mind if you come for just a few nights.  You know what your process requires!


While the movement and visual art studios will be closed for winter this year until we sort out better heating, we have the library (pictured below, with piano) available as workspace for musicians from January onward. The writer’s den (pictured above) is currently available from the 18-29 March, and then again from 8 April onwards.


Applications for summer 2018 are starting to roll in, so if you’re thinking about applying do get in touch! Application information can be found on our Programs page.

DAWG Crazy

On Saturday we are delighted to be hosting a Christmas Market in aid of one of our favourite charities: Cork Dog Action Welfare Group, aka Cork DAWG. The people behind the scenes, all volunteers, work tremendously hard to rescue and re-home so many dogs. The dogs, it goes with out saying, are pretty fabulous, too!

DAWG Chrismtas Fair WEB

We’ll also be happy to collect any donations of tinned food for the shelter dogs on the day.

So this is Miya.

She was our first foster dog in 2016. Or rather, a “foster fail”, as she is still here with us, and we are her forever home.  She’s a dalmatian, likely crossed with a pointer or setter of some kind. Dalmatians used to run alongside carriages to protect them – she is fast!

To be honest, we knew there was a chance we would keep her as soon as we applied to foster – she looked so much like Elvis – our rescue from Monaghan Pound. The black patches over their eyes, the spots! But we weren’t sure how having two dogs would be…

Pets Miya Elvis

It turns out two was just the right number. Elvis, a Llewellyn (English) Setter, is full of energy and stays outside all day. It’s great for him to have a companion in the fields – and on the sofa!

Pets Elvis sofa

In 2017, once the dust from renovations had settled, we decided to foster with DAWG again:

  • Tucker, an 8 yr old Staffie
  • Rogue, the gentlest old shepard, was with us two months.
  • Casey, a young staffie
  • Otto, a darling ‘ol collie
  • Velma & Lulu, sister American Bulldogs
  • And Roy, a gunshy German Shorthaired Pointer.

Oh, Roy. I named him after Roy Orbison (or maybe Roy Rogers?)  He fell off the sofa four times the first week. He has loads of spots. There’s not a bit of badness in him. And now, Roy is number three – he’ll be staying on an joining the madness here at Greywood. ❤

Fostering is a fantastic experience. Yes, it can require time, and patience. Yes, there are times when the dogs made me want to tear my hair out. But the looks on their faces when you are kind to them, when you give them love, it’s just too precious. Fosterers receive great support from the rescue, who takes care of all the medical expenses. You can do it as often as you like, and there is no pressure when you’re not available, or if the dog isn’t the right fit for your situation. People often say they’ll get too attached if they foster – as you see it can happen. But really, you know when it’s right. It felt right to keep Roy. Far more often, you meet a family that is the perfect match, and you can see how both the dog and humans will be so happy together. It just feels right! Even if it is hard to say goodbye.

If I’ve convinced you, you can apply to foster with DAWG here.

Or maybe you want to see the cute faces available to adopt?

Can’t have a dog? You can sponsor one who needs special care.

If you’re in East Cork, come along Saturday night. It will be a lovely, relaxing time to sip mulled wine, listen to some live music, and start your holiday shopping!

Winter Writing Residency Competition Winners!

Greywood Arts Writers ResidencyGreywood Arts is delighted to announce the winners of the Winter Writing Residency Competition!

It was a tremendously difficult decision to select only one work from each category – short stories, poems, and plays. It was truly a pleasure to read work by a diverse and talented pool of writers. We look forward to making the writing competition a regular opportunity to win a week-long residency.

We offer a hearty congratulations and warm welcome to:

Gráinne Daly for her poems To Lady and to Tramp, Tomb Raiders, & Slievemore Cemetary

Orla McAlinden for her short story A Sliver of the Moon

Mark W. Sasse for his play The Last Bastion

Each writer will be in residence at Greywood Arts for one week in March or April. The prize includes accommodation and workspace overlooking the Dissour River. At the end of the week, each author is invited to read their work to the community. We can’t wait to see what they do!

You can learn more about them here:

IMG_0112Gráinne Daly is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and most recently University College Dublin where she graduated with a first class MA in Creative Writing. She was recently shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize, Maeve Binchy UCD Travel Award 2017 and Robert Monteith Poetry Prize. Her work came third place in the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Prize and was recently published in Southword Magazine and Pocket Change Journal. A recipient of the South Dublin County Council Artist’s Bursary 2016, Gráinne is currently working on her debut novel and a collection of poetry. Her work is due to appear in an Anthology entitled ‘Letters to my Ex’, and ‘Bridges Between’, which is a collection of new International writing by recent UCD graduates.

She intends to use her time at Greywoods Arts to edit her novel, a crime thriller that sees boundaries crossed between white collar crime and a cartel feud in Dublin. She will also progress her growing poetry collection. Gráinne likes to work on both projects simultaneously, as she finds the poetry is a refuge that helps her restore balance to everything else.


Orla McAlinden is a Pushcart Prize nominee, the Cecil Day Lewis emerging writer 2016, and winner of the BGEIBA Irish Short Story of the Year award. Her debut collection The Accidental Wife won the 2014 Eludia Award from Sowilo Press in Philadelphia, and was published in July 2016.

During March 2017, The Accidental Wife was the chosen text for the inaugural Armagh Big Read hosted by Libraries NI. The Accidental Wife was also chosen as the BBC Radio Ulster Nolan Show bookclub choice July 2017.

Other publications include, The Fish Anthology, The Chattahoochee Review, A New Ulster, The Ilanot Review and others. Orla is working on a forthcoming Famine novel The Flight of the Wren set in Kildare, and a second Northern Irish story collection, Full of Grace.

Orla is delighted to be attending the Greywood Arts retreat and will spend the week polishing the stories in Full of Grace, as well as beginning research for a new novel to be set in contemporary Dublin.

The Accidental Wife at http://amzn.to/2csjFX2

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Mark W. Sasse: I’m thrilled to be coming to Greywood Arts for the Winter Writing Residency. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I’ve been mainly living overseas for the past 20+ years. I taught English in Vietnam, history & drama in Malaysia, and I’m currently teaching theatre arts in Saudi Arabia. Oh yes, I also write! I’m a playwright and novelist. My plays have been performed in New York, Australia, & Malaysia. I’ve published five novels and am set to release book one of my brand new trilogy. It’s currently being considered for a Kindle Press contract. You can read an exclusive excerpt HERE!

For my residency at Greywood Arts, I have three play-writing projects I’m eager to work on. First, I want to finish an historical play I started recently related to the Nat Turner slave uprising in 1831. Second, I have a new show to write tentatively entitled “Love is…” which will be performed by my new drama troupe, The Sun & Sand Players, in January 2019. Lastly, I have a mostly written play about the cultural clash between religion and gay marriage which has been sitting on the back burner for a number of years. It’s time to get it finished. Knowing me, I’ll probably have some more ideas before I make it to Ireland. Can’t wait. I’m grateful to Greywood Arts for the opportunity.  – Mark W Sasse







Creative Killeagh to Launch Oct 31st!


We have some seriously exciting news to share with you: Greywood Arts initiated a project called Creative Killeagh, and we’ve received the necessary funding to make it happen!

Creative Killeagh is a series of arts workshops, performances, and events for the Killeagh-Inch community leading up to May Sunday 2018.

The program includes:

  • Two Artist-in-the-Community Residencies here at Greywood Arts.
  • A large-scale community project developed in collaboration with local groups. The community project draws on the history of Killeagh’s May Sunday Festival and the village’s stunning Glenbower Wood.
  • May Sunday festivities on 6th May, 2018.

Creative Killeagh is the only East Cork recipient of the competitive Cork County Council Creative Communities grant!

J and mayor

With Cork County Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley at the awards ceremony.

Their generous support of €13,000 will bring at least five different artists to Killeagh to work with people in the village, and will help fund the May Sunday event. The project has also received €1,000 from Creative Ireland for the first artist residency. Initiated by Greywood Arts, the project will be shaped in partnership with community groups including the Killeagh-Inch Community Council, Inch Fóroige, and local volunteers.

Creative Killeagh launches on Halloween at 8PM and all are welcome to the celebration. There will be traditional Halloween games and treats, a performance, and the Creative Killeagh programme will be announcsed. Head to the brand new website, creativekilleagh.ie for more information.

Creative Killeagh kicks off next week with W O O D S H O P, the brainchild of Irish artist Léann Herlihy. W O O D S H O P is a collaborative art project that explores craft and social values. Motivated by the materials, skills, and practices of Killeagh’s former sawmills, Léann will lead craftsmanship workshops, give an artist talk, and create a performance.

Untitled 3



You can find details here on http://www.creativekilleagh.ie

The remainder of 2017 will yield a period of research by the Collaborative Community Arts Project team: Lisa Cahill (movement/education), Carol Anne Connolly (visual arts/community projects), and Kara Sweeney (photography/film). The new year will bring more workshops, events, and artist-in-residence Sara French. The project culminates on May Sunday (6th May), historically an important festival date for Killeagh. Traditionally, May Sunday was the only day villagers were invited up into the then private Glenbower Wood. The festival continued until 2001 and is much missed by many locals.


We believe you have to make the kind of community you want to live in, and we want Killeagh to be invigorated with creativity. It’s important that we listen to our neighbours, discover what people desire here, and what they are missing – like the May Sunday festivities.