Article | Author Dacia Maraini at JCU


Renowned Italian author Dacia Maraini presented her latest work Extravagance and Three Other Plays last Tuesday, February 2nd, at JCU’s Guarini Campus.  The plays, originally written, were published by the John Cabot University Press as a dual language volume, with the English Translation by Italian Studies Professor James Schwarten.  Read More


10-15 Feb 2015 | Valentine’s with Shakespeare? Comedy of Errors at Teatro San Genesio (Rome)

Official Flyer. Performance in English by The Rome Savoyards.

Official Flyer. Performance in English by The Rome Savoyards.

From The Rome Savoyards:

One of William Shakespeare’s early play, written presumably between 1589 and 1594, The Comedy of Errors is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play.  Adapted for opera, stage, screen and musical theatre, it tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth, leading to a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities, wrongful beatings, a near-seduction and false accusations of infidelity, theft, madness and demonic possession.

A wonderful classic of the stage, providing some delightful entertainment!

Cast (in order of appearance):
Bruce McGuire, Lydia O’Kane, Lee Archer, Rick Breco, Rishad Noorani, Colin Clay, Ulan Iskakov, Gina Ferrain, Fabiana De Rose, Edwin Tavarez-Valentin, Michael Gilmartin, Carolyn Gouger, Gabrielle Chiararo, Shelagh Stuchbery and with Carla Wiegers

Directions to Teatro San Genesio:
The nearest metro stop to the theatre is Lepanto and from there, it is approximately a 500 metres’ walk. 
Alternatively, the 30, 88, 280, 495, 628 or 180 buses can be used to reach the theatre. 

TED Talks: How to Tell a Story (Series of Six Talks)

TED Talks presents a series of six talks on storytelling given by renown authors: Andrew Stanton (“The clues to a great story“), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (“The danger of a single story“), Isabel Allende (“Tales of passion“), J.J. Abrams (“The mystery box“), Elif Shafak (“The politics of fiction“), and Scott McCloud (“The visual magic of comics“).


Aug-Dec 2014 | Submissions Deadlines: No Entry Fee Contests

Image Found: (University of Guelph, Creative Writing at Guelph), a website dedicated to assisting writers in achieving their goals, has been in operation since 1997. The site provides writers with guidance through articles, video tutorials, reading recommendations, job listings, and contest information.

Certainly, there are many sites that offer as much or more to writers., however, makes a point of sharing creative writing contests (book/fiction/nonfiction/poetry) which only have no entry fee.

In essence, has done the proverbial work of finding the needle in the haystack. So, many thanks to them for having done that work!  It is a time-consuming task searching through hundreds of contests to find the ones that do not even try to break the bank.

So what are some  contests that they have listed?

Click on the name of the contest for details.

(Deadline | Contest Name | First Prize | Genre)


Remember:  If you do not enter, then you cannot win.  So, take a chance!

Happy Writing!

Article | Jennifer Ellis: “The Pros of MFA Programs”

This brief post follows up on the previous one on Fran Mulhern‘s query into the relevance of graduate programs in creative writing.  On her site, author Jennifer Ellis shares 10 reasons (4 major, 6 minor) to attend a graduate program in creative writing.  Again, going on to graduate studies a personal decision that each person must make based upon his or her future goals and present priorities.  Click on the link below to read Ellis’ article.

The Pros of MFA Programs

Don’t have time to read the article?  Well, here is an abbreviated list of the arguments she presents:

  1. You will learn something about craft in an MFA program.
  2. MFA programs allow you to make connections…
  3. MFA programs allow you to focus on your writing.
  4. Many famous and up and coming writers have MFAs.
  5. Some agents have links to MFA programs…
  6. MFA programs can allow you to find yourself in other ways.
  7. MFAs teach you what and how to read…
  8. An MFA could allow you to get a tenure track position teaching…
  9. Your ability to give considered feedback…will improve.
  10. The MFA style has become our culture of writing anyway…

  Agree or Disagree?

Where do you stand on this issue for your writing career?

Article | Irish Times: “Creative writing: what’s the point of an MA?”

Image Found: “Can creative writing be taught? It’s complicated”. Illustration by Dave Donald.

Fran Mulhern, a current creative writing MA student in a university in the northwestern parts of Ireland, recently wrote an article for the Irish Times about his impression (and reservations) of embarking upon the graduate school journey.  His question:  what’s the point of an MA/MFA?

After all, he is spending £6,000 for his degree.

The question arose from the doubts expressed by “current and past MA and MFA students (from different institutions at home and abroad).”

Mulhern argues that he is capable of independent study, and whatever publishing connections that could be made, he doubts would be no more important that the ones that he could make through his friendships.

So, what has he decided to do?  Well, Mulhern has decided to try online courses with the New York-based Gotham Writers (£300 per course) before making a final decision about withdrawing from his MA program.

Maybe Mulhern is correct and MA/MFA programs may be unnecessary for the disciplined student, and that they “breed certain arrogance in favour of literary fiction.”

Although there may be some drawbacks to MA/MFA programs in creative writing, there are also some benefits.  As noted here in previous posts, there are graduate programs in creative writing that offer full and partial scholarships.

Moreover, the MFA degree is considered a terminal degree that allows for its bearer to pursue a career within academia, which is something that Gotham Writers and other such offerings cannot provide.

Whether or not to pursue graduate studies is, of course, a personal choice.  Whatever the decision made, there will always be both benefits and drawbacks–that is nature of the choices we make.  However, Mulhern makes great points about literary fiction and place that it occupies in the world of academia, that that place ought to be shared with that of the academically disregarded mainstream fiction.

Diversity of all forms remains a challenge within academics, and especially so within literature. Mulhern speaks a world of truth when he says:

Literature is the ultimate democratic practice – you can write what you want without fear, and some people will like it and some won’t, and that’s ok. 

 Click on the link below to read the article.

Creative writing: what’s the point of an MA?

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

Planning to work on your manuscript today? Below are the 10 words of wisdom when writing fiction by crime novelist and screenwriter Elmore Leonard. Although, many of these rules have been broken time and again by successful authors, the advice remains tried-and-true!

Leonard was the author of Get Shorty. He died almost one year ago (August 20,2013) at the age of 87.

Happy Writing!

The Daily Post

“I always refer to style as sound,” says Leonard. “The sound of the writing.” Some of Leonard’s suggestions appeared in a 2001 New York Times article that became the basis of his 2007 book, Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Here are those rules in outline form:

  1. Never open a book with the weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said.”
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control!
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Same for places and things.
  10. Leave out the parts readers tend to skip.

These are Leonard’s rules in point form. For context on each rule, check out this piece in the Detroit Free Press.

Source: Open Culture

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Writing Resources | Tumblr’s FYCD: The Writer’s List to End All Lists?

Bloggers spend a great deal of time perusing the internet, researching their topics of interest or (let’s be real) the latest in the way of internet humour.  Of course, I am no exception.

From Pinterest to Tumblr, I am out there looking  for the next tool or resource that can help fellow student writers as well as myself.  With my latest Tumblr find, I believe that I have struck gold with a post by FYCD.

Just to get it out of the way, FYCD stands for “F*** Yeah Character Development”.

Beyond its provocative name, FYCD is a  major writer’s information hub on Tumblr that gathers information character creation, development and writing; and offers valuable tools and resources to its followers and visitors.

So, what did I get my from my visit?  Well, the answer is just below: an exhaustive list of internet resources for writers of all levels. The list covers just about everything, from ergonomics to writing software.

All links have been checked for functionality and edited as needed.  Still, it is a hefty amount of information.  So, take a deep breath and click on a link.

You can thank me later. 🙂

General Tips

Character Development

Female Characters

Tips for Specific Characters


Point of View

Plot, Conflict, Structure and Outline

Setting & Worldbuilding

Creativity Boosters* denotes prompts

Revision & Grammar

Tools & Software

(Original post by–site now defunct).

15 May 2014 | Submissions Deadline: Mason’s Road 9th Issue

Mason’s Road, an educational literary journal, will be ending its call for submissions for its Issue 9 tomorrow, May 15.  The theme on which submissions should be based is TRUTH.  


Submissions are accepted only online and can be in the following genres: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama (stage or screen, art, and craft essays.  Submissions are open to all writers and artists, regardless of level.  If interested, please, see the above link for more details on how to submit. 

Again, the deadline is tomorrow: 15 May 2014

Good luck!

8 – 16 MAR 2014: “A Night Of Women Who Write” Event (International Women’s Day Celebration)


Click on Image for More Details

The English Theatre of Rome, founded in 1996 by Gaby Ford (its director and John Cabot University faculty member), is hosting the event “A Night Of Women Who Write” in celebration of International Women’s Day and their recent reception of The International Centre of Women Playwrights 50/50 Applause Award.

Works presented are by Patricia Gaborik (Down the Aisle), Erin Breznitsky (The Kitchen Table Plays), and JCU Professor Elizabeth Geoghegan (excerpts from The Marco Chronicles: To Rome, without Love).

  • When: Saturday, March 15th & Sunday, March 16th 2014
  • Time: Performances at 5pm & 8pm
  • Where: Teatro Arciliuto, Piazza Montevecchio, 5 (near Piazza Navona)
  • Cost: 15 Euros (general admission)
  • Special Rates: 12 Euros (students, teachers, and senior citizens) | 10 Euros (large groups)

For reservations, please email; or call 06.687.9419; or send an sms to 348.935.5626.