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Compass Lines is a writers’ exchange project aiming to establish links between writers and communities in the North and South of Ireland, while additionally examining relationships between the East and West of these islands, through workshops, public discussions, and the commissioning of new collaborative writing.

Compass Lines Irish Writers Centre

Compass Lines aims to encourage artistic fusion and integrate a sometimes fragmented audience, geographically and otherwise, through the strategy of combining writers with various concerns and backgrounds. Eschewing their comfort zones and usual patterns of working presents a diversion and a challenge to the writers, and a way of instigating discussions about ideas of process and place that reside in contemporary writing and which are often ignored through traditional views of literature.

Developed by poet, editor and curator Christodoulos Makris in collaboration with the Irish Writers Centre as producing organisation, and with the participation of the Crescent Arts Centre as partner venue, Compass Lines will comprise a series of enterprises, alternately in Dublin and in Belfast, each with the participation of two writers – one with connections to the north of Ireland and one to the south.

Each enterprise consists of three strands:

1/ Community Connection: the writers visit an organisation or group in the hosting city to conduct workshops. By prior arrangement.

2/ Discussion: a moderated public event during which the writers will discuss their practice, focusing on process, craft, dissemination etc. The event will include readings and scope for Q & A sessions. Public, details below.

3/ New Writing: specially-commissioned collaborative writing to be published as an individual limited edition pamphlet. Available exclusively with entry to the public discussion.


Compass Lines #1
Karl Whitney & Philip Terry
Wednesday 2 March 2016, 7.30pm, Irish Writers Centre, Dublin

Karl Whitney is a writer of non-fiction whose first book, Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin was published by Penguin in 2014. In 2013 he received the John Heygate award for travel writing. He has a BA in English and History from University College Dublin, an MA in Modernism from University of East Anglia, and a PhD in History from University College Dublin. He is a Research Associate at the UCD Humanities Institute.

Philip Terry is currently Director of the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Essex. Among his books are the lipogrammatic novel The Book of Bachelors, the edited story collection Ovid Metamorphosed, a translation of Raymond Queneau’s last book of poems Elementary Morality, and the poetry volumes OulipoemsOulipoems 2Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and Advanced Immorality. His novel tapestry was shortlisted for the 2013 Goldsmith’s Prize. Dante’s Inferno, which relocates Dante’s action to current day Essex, was published in 2014, as well as a translation of Georges Perec’s I Remember.


DAYSby Philip Terry & Karl Whitney, was commissioned by Christodoulos Makris and published by the Irish Writers Centre on 2 March 2016.


On the evening of Tuesday 1 March, Karl Whitney visited Malahide public library to lead a writing workshop with title 'Writing About Place', co-organised with Fingal Libraries; and Philip Terry delivered a workshop on 'Poetry and Oulipo' for students at the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies, Mater Dei Institute.


Miriam Gamble & Nerys Williams
Wednesday 11 May 2016, 7.30pm, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Miriam Gamble is from Belfast, but now lives in Edinburgh. Her collections are The Squirrels Are Dead (2010), which won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011, and Pirate Music (2014), both published by Bloodaxe.

Originally from West Wales, Nerys Williams lectures in American Literature at University College, Dublin and is a Fulbright Alumnus of UC Berkeley. She has published poems and essays widely and is the author of A Guide to Contemporary Poetry (Edinburgh UP, 2011) and a study of contemporary American poetics, Reading Error (Peter Lang, 2007). Her first volume, Sound Archive (Seren, 2011), was shortlisted for the Felix Denis (Forward) prize and won the Rupert and Eithne Strong first volume prize in 2012. She is the current holder of the Poetry Ireland Ted McNulty Poetry Prize.


City of Two Suns, by Miriam Gamble & Nerys Williams, was commissioned by Christodoulos Makris and published by the Irish Writers Centre on 11 May 2016.


On the afternoon of Wednesday 11 May 2016 Miriam Gamble and Nerys Williams conducted a joint workshop entitled 'memory / the future' at the Crescent Arts Centre, attended by a composite of members of existing writers' groups in Belfast.


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