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How to get published - Belfast

Saturday, June 8, 2019 - 09:30 to 16:00
The Open University's Belfast office at 110 Victoria St, Belfast BT1 3GN


We’re pleased to be partnering with Writers and Artists to bring a day of advice on the writing and publishing process. This full-day conference, held in the heart of Belfast, includes talks on various aspects of the writing journey from best-selling authors, a networking lunch and an informative interactive panel discussion with leading literary agents.

If you’re an aspiring writer with a manuscript and ready to submit, or simply at the beginning of your writing journey, don’t miss out on what promises to be a day essential to helping you work towards producing a publishable manuscript.


09.30-10.00: Registration and welcome teas and coffees

10.00-11.00: How to build a narrative with Paul McVeigh

11.00-11.20: Comfort break

11.20-12.20: Researching the story with Garrett Carr 

12.20-13.30: Lunch break (lunch included)

13.30-14.30: Creating your protagonist with Geraldine Quigley

14.30-14.50: Comfort break

14.50-16.00: How to submit your work to agents and independent presses: practical tips from literary agent Nicola Barr and editor Patsy Horton

16.00-17.00: Reception

Speaker profiles

Originally from Belfast, Paul McVeigh founded a theatre company, and wrote and directed plays, one of which was nominated for a BBC Entertainment and Media Award. The company also won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival. He has also written comedy for stand ups, writing shows and toured the comedy festival circuit.

Paul's short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals. His BBC commissioned short story, 'Tickles', aired on Radio 4 earlier this year. In 2014, Paul was invited to read at the International Short Story Conference in Vienna, at the Belfast Book Festival and at the Cork International Short Story Festival. He recently read his work on BBC Radio 5 with David Nicholls. His first novel The Good Son, was published in 2015. 

Paul is also Director of the annual London Short Story Festival and is currently the Deputy Editor of the Word Factory literary salon and blog. 

Garrett Carr is a lecturer in creative writing at Queen’s University Belfast. He has an MA in Art History, an MPhil in Geography and a PhD in Creative Writing.

He has published three young adult novels, THE BADNESS OF BALLYDOG, LOST DOGS and DEEP DEEP DOWN (Simon & Schuster). THE BADNESS OF BALLYDOG was nominated for the UK Literary Association Children’s Book Award and the Lincolnshire Young Reader’s Award. THE RULE OF THE LAND: WALKING IRELAND’S BORDER (Faber & Faber, 2017) is Garrett’s most recent book and was selected for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’

Geraldine Quigley was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1964, the youngest of a family of eleven. She gained a degree in Irish History and Politics at Ulster University as a mature student, in 1993 and worked in retail for many years. She began writing in her late forties and was a mentee on the Penguin Write Now Programme. Music Love Drugs War is her first novel. 

Nicola Barr has been a literary agent at The Bent Agency for over a year now, arriving via a long stint as an agent at Greene & Heaton. Over the years, she has represented many bestselling commercial fiction authors, Richard & Judy bestsellers, award-winning crime fiction and commercial women’s fiction. She also represents thrillers, contemporary YA, literary fiction, and non-fiction that allows for a collective vent. 

Nicola was born and raised in a working-class part of Northern Ireland during the Troubles, then studied at the University of Glasgow. She's actively looking to build on the brilliant Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish writers she already has. She does have a natural tendency to be drawn to working-class voices and regional stories. 

Patsy Horton is the Managing Editor at Blackstaff Press, one of Ireland’s foremost publishers and is a leading publisher of quality Irish books.

Blackstaff receives generous assistance from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to enable it to encourage, support and publish Irish writers and Irish literature. John Hewitt, Paul Durcan and Bernard McLaverty have all graced its list over the years and Glenn Patterson, Patricia Craig, Leesa Harker, Ciaran Carson and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne are just a few of the many writers in its current stable of authors.

Booking & payment

The price for this event is £95.

If you have a discount code for this event, please enter this on the checkout page.

Bookings can be made by either clicking on the 'Book' buttons at the top and bottom of this page, or by calling 0207 631 5985.

Price inclusive of standard VAT.

Please note that this is not a ticketed event, so you don't need to bring anything on the day as your names will be on our guestlist.

Study for an MA in Creative Writing with The Open University

Launched in 2016, our two-year Master’s level course is taught by practising writers and is entirely online, giving students across the world access to workshops, forums and our acclaimed course materials. One of the most exciting aspects of the MA is its flexibility and the way it explores the relationship between genres, offering four distinct strands – fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and scriptwriting.

The Open University's Creative Writing modules and qualifications have attracted over 50,000 students since 2003, and our course materials have been praised by publishers, leading authors, and teachers in other universities. 

For more information about the MA in Creative Writing, click here. For more information on how Creative Writing is taught at The Open University and our undergraduate modules, follow this link. If you are interested in studying for our BA (Hons) English Literature and Creative Writing or BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities (Creative Writing) see our undergraduate degrees.

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