Irish literary bursary awards clinic

Ireland offers bursaries to artists of varying walks of life. Last night I went to a clinic on Writing Your Bursary, which had some interesting information, like, they had €867K worth of applicants last year and were able to fund about €80K’s worth of them. o.O I’m not clear on whether that was for the full year or for each half of the year, but I think it was for the full year.

They have somewhere around 150 applicants per funding period and fund about 15 of them. There were 30 of us in the class, so I figured at best only half of us could get a bursary. o.O again :)

They don’t expect a detailed budget and they’re not looking to see the intimate details of your finances, which I hadn’t known. I’d kind of assumed they were after the intimate details.

They don’t expect the first part of a work in progress to be submitted, but rather, basically, the best bit. Which I thought was interesting, since that’s certainly not how you submit to a publisher. It was, we were told, REALLY HELPFUL to submit a synopsis along with your work in progress, which there is no indication of on the website, and indeed the last time I applied they were very clear about 10 Pages and Ten Pages Only. But they said “pshhhh,” more or less, about that, and that nine pages or twelve, whatever showcases the piece the best, is what should be submitted, and a synopsis is very very helpful.

Overall I had the impression that they’re looking for pretty plain language, not really dressing up your proposal in flowery language or anything.

The applications are reviewed by a jury of peers, usually a novelist, a poet, an editor and perhaps somebody else, who review the short list (which is determined by the Arts Council themselves, and tends to be about 1/3rd of the original # of applicants). The jury is given the mission statement and the work in progress to read ahead of time, and then see the CVs and any other supplemental material on the day. Applicants are advised to keep it simple, because the WiP and the CV were by far the most important factors.

They generally split the applications into Emerging and Established writers. Emerging writers are generally encouraged to apply for and very rarely granted more than €3K, whereas the Established writers are more likely to get the larger grants.

It was certainly interesting, and I’m glad I went! I shall be putting my proposal together this weekend. :)

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