And the winner is…

junefest logo


Actually… you’ll have to wait, I don’t know who the winner is. I’m having a fabulous time reading the entries for the 2017 Junefest Short Story competition run by Newbridge Junefest. This brilliant festival of arts, music, theatre, song and literature is now in its fifth year. Highlights for me this year: Mundy, Wallis Bird, the One Act play festival and of course the ever-popular street festival. Find all the details here

When I attended the inaugural Junefest literary event in Newbridge Library I could never have imagined that five years later I’d be a published prize-winning author, and even further from my mind was the idea of judging other people’s work.

I have still a lovely, rustling sheaf of entries to grade and mark. To the delight of Junefest, and (I hope) to the eventual delight of the entrants, I’ve adopted the spirit of the late great Dr John Yeoman of Writers’ Village who provided every entrant in his competitions with a paragraph or two of feedback and a marking scheme. So often my own work has made a longlist only to miss the shortlist, or a shortlist only to miss the prize and have thought to myself “if only I knew where I went wrong (and right) in that story.

So apologies to Junefest entrants who are wondering what the hold-up is… the shortlist is coming soon. And I’m looking forward to seeing some of you at the Junefest literary event   on Wednesday 7th June in the new town hall. It’ll be a wonderful evening. Just look at that talented bunch below…



Meanwhile spare a thought for me as I am also running the first-ever Irish language event in Junefest, Cór Gael Scoil Chill Dara who, for their sins, have me as their musical director. We’ll be singing in White Water at 1pm on Friday 2nd June, songs from our CD “Ding Dong Dedero” which raised €3,000 for the Jack and Jill Foundation at Christmas, and I’m proud also to be producing, sponsoring and facilitating the first ever Newbridge Big Sing community sing-along on Saturday 17th at 3 pm in the Riverbank Arts Centre.

Right, lets get back to these manuscripts!!!


  1. Good luck with the marking. The last time I marked it was O Level Geography in Belfast! In 1978! But I do think you are generous to comment. What you say can make such a difference to someone ‘starting out’ and I would certainly do the same. The Junefest sounds wonderful. All the best. Anne

  2. Orla: You are a woman of many talents. What is this? She sings too? Reading your words is like watching flower buds opening. Your California fan, Cheryl

    • Started singing a few years ago. I had four children under five years of age, my mother in law had a terminal diagnosis and my dad was deteriorating quite swiftly as well. Singing saved my sanity! Within five years I have done all my non-professional classical singing exams, joined two choirs, founded a children’s choir and been involved in fundraising events which have raised over 50,000 euro for local charities. In September I step down after 3 years the committee of the “big” choir (PRO and treasurer) which had its summer concert two days ago. I never do anything by half.

      Please remember, I’m not in paid employment , so I have to contribute to society somehow !! Lol.

  3. I have finally got around to reading The Accidental Wife. Three stories in and I am loving it. So real and visceral about Northern Ireland. I will post a review on my blog and let you know when it’s up. Good luck with JuneFest. Wish I had entered….next year!!

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