Deadline - midnight on Friday.

Gerry McCullough has written five novels and had around 30 short stories and several poems and articles published in a number of magazines, books, online publications and broadcast on BBC radio.

In 2005 she received the Cuirt Award for New Writing from Galway Arts Centre, (judged by Helon Habila, Nigeria), for her story, 'Primroses', which was published in their Annual. In 2008 she was shortlisted for the Brian Moore Award in Belfast. Her story, 'The Greatest Gift of All', was one of 24 included in the 'People's Friend 2008 Annual'.

In Sept 2009 her story, 'Giving Up', was commended in the Se├ín O’Faolain Short Story Competition, Cork - (Munster Literature Centre). Now, this same story is to be included in an anthology to be published next year by The Stinging Fly Press, Dublin.

The first part (24,000 words) of Gerry's book, 'Belfast Girls', is available to read on which you can join read the book, back it, comment, and watch it move up the ratings!

When a book reaches the highest level it is guaranteed to be read by the publisher, Harper Collins, with the possibility then of a publishing deal! It works like an online 'slush-pile', with YOU as the reader.

'Belfast Girls' is  Number five tonight on the HarperCollins (publishers) website:

Help it stay in the top 5  for two more days by registering on the site and 'Backing' the book. The top 5 books at midnight on 30th April will be read by HarperCollins, with the possibility of a publishing deal resulting.

If you have not already done so, please
  1. Register (simple) on,
  2. Search for 'Belfast Girls' and click on it -
  3. Then click on 'Back the book'

UPDATE Sat 1st May - The book was selected for review by HarperCollins" - Authonomy Editors Desk -

Crime writers interrogated on the Beeb tonight.

Two of Northern Irelands favourite radio dj's present  what is called an eclectic mash-up of all things art in Northern Ireland, in a programme entitled Art Space. Tonight's programme, on BBC 1 @ 11:00pm includes...
Donna Legge investigating  the murky world of crime fiction in Northern Ireland.
To help her with her enquires she met Dr Andrew Pepper, a lecturer in English and crime fiction at Queens University.
Donna also interrogated local author Stuart Neville, whose debut novel The Twelve has been optioned for a movie deal and was shortlisted for the LA Times book prize 2010.
Joining her too in the interview room was Brian McGilloway the writer responsible for the critically acclaimed Inspector Devlin series who was shortlisted in 2007 for the CWA New Gold Dagger award and whose books have been optioned for TV.

Check out Verbal this week!

For all you Norn Iron folk, Verbal Magazine is in the Derry Journal on Tuesday 27th April, Belfast News on Thursday 29th April and Newsletter on Friday 30th April 2010.
This month Verbal speaks to Edna O’Brien on the 50th anniversary of Country Girls – her debut novel which, despite being banned in Ireland on its release, cemented her reputation as one of the most important writers of her generation.
As if one literary luminary wasn’t enough, they also chat to poet and novelist, Ciaran Carson on the links between his writing and traditional music. An interview with the award winning Nigerian-born writer Petina Gappah and a feature by Canadian-born Chris Nikkel looks at how
immigrant writers are changing the face of Irish (and British) society and literature. Plus Marcus Sedgwick, the master of historical fiction for children, took time out from his appearance at the Children’s Books Ireland conference to speak to us about his award winning fiction.
Their opinion piece this month comes from Mike Faulkner, author of two books documenting his life on an uninhabited Island on Stangford Lough. Recently shortlisted for the inaugural Author Blog Awards - Mike explains the difficulties of online marketing when you’re reliant on a generator for electricity…

Ausubo Press Responds to Death Threats Against Anthony McIntyre

If tweets were more than 240 characters I'd have tweeted...
Ausubo Press  the publishing company that compiled the best essays and articles of Northern Irish author Dr. Anthony McIntyre in the book Good Friday: The Death of Irish Republicanism responds to death threats against him

A deal has been signed.

Bookseller.Com report that
Award-winning Northern Irish playwright and novelist  Lucy Caldwell has been signed up by Faber in a two-book deal for her first novels. Angus Cargill bought world rights from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Caldwell is already published on the Faber drama list. Cargill described it as a "hugely impressive piece of narrative fiction, which becomes a devastating and compelling look at this woman's loss of faith". Faber will publish early spring 2011.

For a good cause...

Camille’s Appeal is the children’s brain tumour charity specifically focused on the support and welfare of children under the age of five.

Under current treatments, children are likely to undergo three treatments in an attempt to cure them of this horrific illness, all of which have a devastating effect on the bodies of these small children. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy will in many cases leave the child with disabilities making an independent life very difficult.

Camille’s Appeal wants to help these wonderful children and their families get as close to a normal life as possible. The focus of the charity is to work closely with the NHS to ensure that each and every child is given the maximum amount of care to lower the risk of disability and to create and improve rehabilitation care across the United Kingdom.
Claire Allan the 'chick lit' author from L/Derry is trying to raise some support for CAMILLE'S APPEAL.On her blog she's posted that she's...
decided to give one lucky reader the chance to make a cameo appearance in my new book 'It's Got to Be Perfect' for a donation to the appeal.
This is how it is going to work. 
The highest bidder by the end of this month will win the prize.

They can feature in the book themselves, or nominate a family member or friend to appear in the book.

Their name will appear in the book which will be published by Poolbeg Press at the end of September 2010.

The winner will receive a mention in the acknowledgements of the book along with a plug for Camille's Appeal. They will also received a signed copy of the book for them and/or their chosen special guest star.

This is a very worthwhile cause - and this is a great present for people who perhaps struggle to find that perfect present for the person who has everything.

To enter: Please contact me at

PLEASE NOTE: It's Got to be Perfect is a romatic comedy novel for adults - and does contain some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature - please bear this is mind when you are thinking of who you would like to nominate - as perhaps your great Auntie Mable wouldn't be so keen!
There'a also the opportunity to read Chapter One of It's Got to Be Perfect due for release in October 2010 - just click on this LINK.

Growing up in Belfast.

It's strange having two books just published about boys growing up in Belfast, one growing up in the Upper Shankill and another  in Falls Road area of Belfast. Both books about what it was like growing up in Belfast in the 70's & 80's.
A book which opens with...I was born on Tuesday 10 May 1966. I died the same day. Relatives hugged and cried... would certainly be a temptation book lovers would find hard to resist, a book they'd just have to read.The book  Where Are You Really From? tells the story of Tim Brannigan...

Born into a devoutly Catholic Belfast family, Peggy Brannigan was devastated when she became pregnant as a result of an extra-marital affair with a black junior doctor. Unwilling to have an abortion or to have the baby adopted, Peggy came up with an audacious plan to keep her child.
When Tim was born hospital staff smuggled him into St Joseph’s Baby Home and told the rest of the Brannigan family that the baby had been stillborn. One year later, Peggy adopted Tim and brought him to live with her family in the Falls Road area of Belfast. It was 1967.
Told here for the first time, this is Tim’s extraordinary story, describing in vivid detail what it was like growing up black in Belfast during the turbulent 1970s and 80s, his five-year stint as a republican prisoner, his coming to terms with the true circumstances surrounding his birth, and his desperate attempts to trace the father who abandoned him.
Where Are You Really From? is a fascinating and powerful memoir about oneman’s struggle to establish his own identity and a moving tribute to the woman who risked everything to keep her son. Source - Blackstaff Press
It's fasciniating to read articles and listen to podcasts about this book. There's also an opportunity to hear Tim Brannigan @ the 11th Cathedral Quarter  Arts Festival  [Friday 7 May 1.00pm - The Black Box] Tickets available here.

An event/programme with Tony Macaulay and Tim Brannigan talking about their childhood would be interesting to see sometime, hint hint folks.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Launched last night,  Paperboy’- a memoir of a Belfast childhood, is another book to add to [yours and] my reading list.This book is written by Tony Macaulay,a broadcaster and community development and conflict resolution consultant from Northern Ireland.The blurb for the book reads...

It’s Belfast, 1975, and a 12-year-old boy wearing Brut aftershave has just been appointed paperboy to the Upper Shankill by Oul’ Mac.

The smell of Tayto cheese and onion crisps is on his breath, and the aroma of fresh fish suppers and burning double-decker busses is in the air. It is the era of platform shoes and parallel trousers, and Paperboy is taking guitar lessons with Mr Rowing so he can play along to the Bay City Rollers.

Belfast in the seventies is like the newspapers he delivers: everything is black and white, albeit Orange and Green. There are bombings and killings on the evening news, but Paperboy is more interested in Doctor Who and Top of the Pops, bonfires and outer space, and of course, Sharon Burgess.

It is a time of hate and conflict, but Paperboy’s only battles are with acne, dentistry and the wee hoods out to rob his paper money. The streets are ruled by the IRA and the UDA, but Paperboy is under the spell of a less threatening acronym: ABBA.

There are secrets at school and dangers on the streets, but Paperboy is happy, so he is. He is a good paperboy. He delivers.
Tony's been busy the last day or two. The launch, videod by Mr Ulster...

On the Nolan Show [podcasts]

And, Tony's just announced the news that...
The film rights for 'Paperboy' have been snapped up by Titian Red Pictures. They plan to make the book into an international feature film!
I'm looking forward to reading the book as my wee Ma was born on the 'Road' and because of that I seem to have an affinity with the Shankill and want to keep updated on all that's gone on there.


Sunday, 18 April 2010 12-5 @ the Black Box

Inspired by the crafty resourcefulness of the Black Market and a cult tv-show about a dusty bookshop and a taciturn, alcoholic Irishman, trans in association with the Black Market, present a new, grass-roots book fair.With a cacophony of stalls manned by book-sellers, zine writers and literary enthusiasts and an afternoon of word-based entertainment, Black Books is a revival and a celebration of the multiplicities of language and printed word.Stalls will include new and secondhand books, zines, rare books & antiquities, comicbooks, magazines, papers and children’s literature.Come enjoy a laid-back Sunday afternoon, and have a hoke through some dusty old books sitting side-by- side with cutting edge writing from both the local and international avant-garde.Tea and tales in the cafe all day: books, bean bags and storytelling.Tea and Tales brings you stories by some of the best authors of children’s contemporary fiction read on-the-hour by renowned storytellers. Children and parents can choose to listen to the stories read on the hour or simply relax on some bean bags in a quiet comfy area and choose something to read for themselves.Perhaps most importantly there will be a fine selection of word-based games in the cafe including Scrabble, Boggle and the Black Books favourite, BANANAGRAMS!
more info @ Black Books April -facebook

That's lovely !

I think it's nice to see a book written by someone I know, because they might just drop a copy in the post to me.It's even better when an ex creative writing tutor of mine has her first book published. I had the privilege of being in a creative writing class in Limavady which was facilitated by Bernie McGill. Bernie's book The Butterfly Cabinet is due to be published later this year. I'm looking forward to reading the book as Bernie heard so much of what I attempted to write. I couldn't resist but write a short poem at the end of the series of classes that highlighted two words she said after she'd heard my attempts at writing.We both read the poem out at the last class. I'll share it here...
"That's lovely" a poem for two narrators
1st narrator
On the 2nd of October 2008
I arrived before eleven. It's rude to be late.
The creative writing class started
and we all said who we were
and what we liked writing
and what we wanted to learn.
Over the weeks the lessons were varied
and some of the homework's even seemed quite scary.
Like writing iambic stress patterns and spells and incantations.
When I couldn't do them I was full of frustration.
When my words all connected and everything flowed
and I felt like what I'd written was worth it's weight in gold.
Yes, when that happened the words I wanted to hear.
Just two words, which I'll always hold dear
2nd narrator -(words spoken slowly and sweetly)
"That's lovely"

I'm sure Bernie's book will be lovely and thanks to CultureNI here's an extract read by Bernie herself.Enjoy...

Vote for these Northern Irish authors

It's ladies first. For MAD Blog of the Year award in the Funniest Blog category, the author of books like Jumping in Puddles and Feels Like Maybe, yer women who has popularised the use of the word 'feck' in local literary circles. Yer woman who spells her surname Allan not Allen, who else could it be but Claire Allan. Her blog is found HERE and the voting booth over here in the corner. She needs your votes, she  once won a basket of fruit in a raffle in school but someone had loaned her the 10p for the ticket so she had to give them the grapes (aka the best bit).

VOTE FAULKNER! No we're not going back in time and I'm not encouraging people to vote for any political party but I am encouraging you to vote for Michael Faulkner. Michael is author of The Blue Cabin: Living by the Tides on Islandmore and Still on the Sound: A Seasonal Look at Island Life and blogs @ ISLAND LIFE: The Blue Cabin Blog and tweets @TheBlueCabin Michael is a finalist in the Author Blog Awards which aim to honour the best blogs by both published and unpublished writers. They will recognise the writers who use their blogs to connect with readers in the most imaginative, engaging and inspiring ways. At the same time they hope to attract new audiences to these blogs and help readers find out more about the authors they love, and new authors too.Vote for Michael here.

Spinetingler promote and enhance the profile of talented emerging writers using the forum of electronic publishing and  two Northern Irish authors names appear in the 2010 Spinetingler Award list. They are Stuart Neville for The Ghosts of Belfast in the Best Novel: New Voice category and Adrian McKinty for Fifty Grand in  the Rising Star category.Vote for them here.

In other news Sam Millar has four of his books listed in the top ten Dark Fiction Picked By Amazon Readers Well done Sam!

The tweet read...

another book in the 'news' soon -'Duplicity and Deception: Policing the Twilight Zone of the Troubles' by Alan Simpson

Finucane detective 'could have caught killers'

The retired RUC Detective, Alan Simpson, made the claim in a book entitled Duplicity and Deception...

Book 'is not attack on RUC'

The retired detective superintendent was in Belfast yesterday for the launch of his book Duplicity and Deception: Policing the Twilight Zone of the Troubles ...

Troops Out Movement Latest News

The retired RUC Detective, Alan Simpson, made the claim in a book entitled Duplicity and Deception, which is due to be published on Thursday. ..

The Irish World : news : (Irish News)

Simpson makes the claims in his controversial new book “Duplicity and Deceptionwhich is due to be published this week. ... Alan Simpson rose to the rank of detective superintendent in the RUC and was the deputy head of the CID for ...
I'm sure there'll be more soon. Watch this space!

The bookworm's noticed...

Image via Wikipedia
Oxford University Press has recently published a book entitled  'The European Convention on Human Rights and the Conflict in Northern Ireland . The book provides the first comprehensive account of the role played by the European Convention on Human Rights during the conflict in Northern Ireland from 1968. Topics examined in the book include the right to life, the right not to be ill-treated, the right to liberty, the right to a fair trial, the right to a private life, the right to freedom of belief, the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right not to be discriminated against.

Former Antrim footballer, Paul Darby who is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Sports Studies at the University of Ulster in Belfast, has written what's been described as a brilliantly researched work and insightful account of the history of Gaelic Games in America entitled, “Gaelic Games,Nationalism and the Irish Diaspora in the United States”  He focuses on New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, showing the breadth of the Irish experience and how the GAA interacted with the wider Irish community differently in each city.

For those of you into horror.James Gracey, who blogs Behind the Couch  has written a book entilted Dario Argento examining  the work of Dario Argento one of horror cinemas most significant pioneers.

Over at the Poetry Foundation Brian Turner interviews Sinead Morrissey, who's latest collection (Through the Square Window) was awarded the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.

The first Northern Ireland Drewett Book Award has been won by Derek Landy's The Faceless Ones (Skulduggery Pleasant), the third Skulduggery Pleasant book.

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You’re So Fit

If like me you've overindulged over the last few days we should be reading and acting on what's written in Your So Fit , written by  Ciaran Woods a Certified Personal Trainer and Natural Bodybuilder from Maghera. It's claimed: for women trying to lose pounds of unwanted body fat and develop that toned shapely look or a man interested in building rock-hard muscle onto your frame,that all the information you need to get started and continue to make visible improvements on your body is contained within the pages of this book


I think it's great that so many authors now have their own websites, facebook/bebo pages and twitter accounts.On Ciaran Woods website he's listed a few Motovational Tips which I thought I'd share, they include...
  • Having faith in yourself is absolutely essential if you want to succeed...
  • Desire is something you must possess is you are to continually follow through with the process of getting into top shape...
  • Without a definite goal you are going nowhere, you have to analyse yourself and decide what it is exactly you are trying to achieve and then construct a plan of how you are going to get from where you are now to where you want to be...
On Ciaran's old Bebo page his Inspirational quote is..
Life is like a book with many different chapters, some tell of tragedy, others of triumph. Some chapters are dull and ordinary, others intense and exciting. The key to being a success in life is to never stop on a difficult page, to never quit on a tough chapter. Champions have the courage to keep turning the pages because they know a better chapter lies ahead.
Judging by the amount of hints and tips on his website it looks like this book could well be the ultimate guide to perfecting your body.