Writers unite, you have nothing to lose but your inhibitions!

Writers unite, you have nothing to lose but your inhibitions!

The Irish Embassy, in collaboration with Athens Insider, announces its first-ever Bloomsday creative writing competition in English, open to writers of all ages and nationalities. Bloomsday is marked around the world as a celebration of James Joyce, of course, but also as a celebration of Irish literature, modernist writing and creativity. All entries must tell a story beginning and ending in one single day.

June 16th is Bloomsday, a celebration of the life and work of Irish writer James Joyce, one of the most important writers of the 20th Century. Joyce’s most famous book is “Ulysses”, a seminal work of modernist literature. Although the book is notoriously complex, the story is simple: it is that of one day, 16 June 1904, in the life of the central character, Leopold Bloom. 16 June 1904 was significant for Joyce as it was the day he went on his first date with Nora Barnacle, who later became his wife; nobody knows, when they wake up each morning, how important a day might become… “Ulysses” has a special connection with Greece. The events of the book loosely parallel the major sequences in Homer’s “Odyssey”.

James Joyce with his wife Nora Barnacle

Bloomsday is marked around the world as a celebration of Joyce, of course, but also as a celebration of Irish literature, modernist writing and creativity. The Embassy of Ireland in Athens, in partnership with the Athens Centre, held its first official Bloomsday celebrations in 2019, with a discussion of “Ulysses” and its history, readings, live music and rare early editions of Joyce’s works on display. This year, of course, the festivities will take a different form. It is therefore with great pleasure and excitement that the Embassy, in collaboration with Athens Insider, announces its first ever Bloomsday creative writing competition.

The premise, like that of “Ulysses”, is straightforward: all entries must tell a story beginning and ending in one single day.

A panel of distinguished writers and poets will judge the winning entry, including  Theo Dorgan, the Irish poet, novelist, prose writer, documentary screenwriter, editor, translator and broadcaster with a longstanding connection to and affinity with Greece, and Haris Vlavianos, the Greek poet, academic, editor and translator (including of the Irish poet Michael Longley).

The winning story will be published by Athens Insider online and in its print edition in June. Prizes will also be announced shortly.

Competition rules: 

  • Three categories, with the following word counts:
    • Under 13 Years: 300 words
    • 13-18 Years: 500 words
    • Over 18 Years: 1,500 words
  • Entries exceeding the word count may be disqualified.
  • Stories must be written in English.
  • Entries must be original and previously unpublished.
  • Writers may be of any nationality, living anywhere in the world.
  • Entries must be emailed as word documents (Calibri font, size 12, double spaced) to AthensEmbassyRSVP@dfa.ie by 11:00 Friday 5 June 2020.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.
  • The decision of the judges will be final.

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