Call Out for Written Pieces.
Note new closing date for entries is now
midnight on 30th November 2023
Anyone living in Ireland in 1922 – 1923 could be forgiven if they were feeling a little despondent. It was the early years of the Irish Free State and what should have been hopeful and forward-looking time was for many a time of despair.
However, things changed on May 24th, 1923, was when all combatants were commanded to lay down their arms ending the short lived but brutal Irish Civil War.
Brother had fought against brother. Families were torn apart by violence creating a deep bitterness and sense of betrayal which in some cases endured for generations. For many it brought a deep despair, but others saw it as a signpost leading to renewed hope for Ireland’s future.
We would like you to write a monologue written at anytime between May 1923 – May 2023 looking back at life during the Civil War and the beginnings of the Irish Free State through the eyes of someone who is either hopeful for future or in despair at the way that things have turned out. Someone who was alive as the government set about running the newly born Irish Free State.
The speaker can be someone you know of, or they can be entirely fictitious. Someone who was involved militarily in the war or a civilian in an administrative role of some kind. Alternatively they could be an ordinary person watching from the side-lines who simply wanted to get on with life. A person adjusting to a new system with new rules.
The monologues will be used to create a performance of interwoven pieces which give a real and compelling voice to Irish people shaped in some way by the Irish civil war whether these be ‘political’, ‘domestic’ or viewed from the standpoint of the’ impact on mental health’.
Whilst your speakers can be reflecting back they must also be looking forward either with hope or despair at the beginnings of the Irish Free State. The selected monologues will be expected to show a strong authentic voice. The monologue should be written in the first person and be no longer than 300 words.
Many would have experienced only despair at the end of hostilities marked by brutality and betrayal. There were appalling atrocities and many good men were similarly executed on either side of the pro and anti-treaty combats. Charismatic leaders were killed, leaders who might have forged a future Ireland differently.
There were those who would have fought valiantly as comrades during the War of Independence only for them to become mortal enemies during the Civil War. You may wish to capture this perspective in your monologue.
In contrast there would be many who saw the ending of hostilities as a time for hope; a time to build a strong Irish Free State unencumbered by the oppression and interference of British rule. The Anglo-Irish treaty would definitely need urgent revision, some seeing it as a ‘sell out’, a compromise too far but others thought it a vitally pragmatic step on the way to self-governance in a United Ireland.
- Carry out some research that will allow you to provide an historical context. These documents will provide you with some background and direct you to other resources.
- Decide on a character. Who are they? When did they live? What are their circumstances- do they live alone? How are they financially? Do they have any particular characteristics or quirks? How are they connected to memories of the Civil War or the hostilities that proceed it? How are they experiencing life in the new State?
- Choose the context of the monologue. When is this person speaking and why are they choosing to speak now? This will be the basis of the contextual statement that you can write to explain your monologue.
- We would like you to make the context of your piece clear by including some historical references. In order to help you do this we are giving you an extra 50 words outside of your piece so that you can explain who the person was speaking is and why they are speaking now.Here is an example:
The speaker was born in Cork City in 1913 and left Ireland in the 1930s to teach in England; Although seemingly uninterested in politics during her holidays she always attended the anniversary commemorations of the assassination of Michael Collins in 1922 at Béal na Bláth West Cork.
- Write the first draft. Remember that creative writing is about drafting and redrafting so the first thing to do is to have a go. Think of your character. Locate them in a time or place decide why they want to speak now and get writing. Remember no one is going to read your initial drafts except you so you can write what you like. Try and get into your character’s head. What is the main point of what they are trying to say? Is it to have a moan, recall an incident, reveal a long held secret or try and work something out in their head? If you get stuck for ideas then question if your character is interesting enough.
- Even though it is a short piece you will need to have a story line – in simple terms a beginning, middle and end so make sure you have this.
- Read your piece when it is finished and underline all those things you like about the piece. What works? What are you going to include in your subsequent drafts? Repeat this process until you have the completed piece.
- Read your piece aloud. Remember that it is a piece to be acted. A piece that reads well doesn’t always ‘act well’. Think about how your character speaks.
- SUPPORT: Get in touch if you would like some support either with discussing an idea, creating a character, reviewing a piece, your subsequent versions. Email your entries to: email@example.com with For the Attention of Maureen in the subject line and your contact details we will get back to you.
- Finally here is a video that we put together for those unable to access the workshops.
We held a similar competition in 2021, where those who made their home in Great Britain reflected on 100 years of Irish Independence. You might find it helpful to watch the video ‘Looking Back Across the Water’ to see the pieces we selected for filming. Many of them written by first time writers.
RULES FOR ENTRANTS
- The competition is open to anyone over 18 resident in the Great Britain who has a parent, grandparent, or great grandparent who was born and lived in Ireland in the last 100 years. Members of the John Boyle O’Reilly Club Western Massachusetts and the Cyprus Ireland Association.
- Entries must be written in the first person and be no longer than 300 words. An introductory paragraph of 50 words which ‘sits outside the piece’ may also be included.
- The competition is free to enter.
- The name and contact details of the writer must be written on a page separate to the entry.
- Deadline for entries is midnight on 30th November 2023
- All entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Writers of the selected pieces will be notified by 31st December 2023.