2021 CW in Ireland

A four-week, 3 credit immersive creative writing course, the Creative Writing Seminar takes place at the Dublin Global Gateway and the Kylemore Abbey Global Centre. The course features creative writing instruction including discussion of published works, site-specific writing exercises, and workshopping of student work led by Notre Dame faculty. The course also features literary events as well as seminars and master classes led by renowned Irish writers. During the 2016 course, Alice McDermott and Kevin Barry provided master classes to students over the course of the program. The master class instructors during the 2017 course were Niall Williams and Seamus Deane. The master class instructors for the 2018 course were Booker Prize winner John Bainville, world renown playwright Marina Carr and a return visit of acclaimed Irish writer Kevin Barry. The 2018 Workshop also featured guest Peter Fallon poet and publisher of Gallery Press.

Students have time for their own writing and to explore the dynamic urbanism of Dublin and the stunning countryside surrounding Kylemore Abbey. While at Kylemore, students are taken on excursions to complement their coursework and inspire them in their ideas for their final writing assignments. Students engage with the physical settings that inspired the works of W.B. Yeats through their visit to the Yeats and Lady Gregory Heritage Trail, walk the steps of J.M. Synge during their trip to the Aran Islands, and live in Kylemore Abbey.

Award-winning author, Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi, whose 2019 novel, CALL ME ZEBRA, won the PEN/Faulkner and John Gardner Awards in Fiction, will be offering an intensive Master Class on "Style, Intimacy & Setting." 

More information for the Summer 2021 application process can be found hereThe closing date for all applications is February 27, 2021 with an expected decision date of mid-April.

To apply:

  1. Fill out the application form
  2. Email the required documents listed below to kylemore@nd.edu:
  • one letter of recommendation,
  • one 10-20 page writing sample
  • transcript of grades

If you have any questions about the application process or would like more information about the Creative Writing Seminar, please contact us.


2020 CW in Ireland

July 1 (arrival) to July 31, 2021 (departure). Please note that these dates are subject to change.

What exactly do writers mean when they speak about style? How do writers achieve style? How do style and the intimacy between characters operate synergistically in a good story or a novel? And how can setting help to consolidate style and intimacy? In order to arrive at a clear understanding of style (the particular tone and tenor of a piece of writing), intimacy (the dynamic between characters), and setting (the atmosphere, mood and backdrop of a scene), we will be examining work by renown stylists such as Samuel Beckett, Kevin Barry, Sally Rooney, Colin Barrett, James Joyce, Colm Tóibín, Tony Morrison, Virginia Woolf, Roberto Bolaño, James Baldwin, Rachel Cusk, Samanta Schweblin, Italo Calvino, Amir Ahmadi Arian, and Elias Khoury among others.

As part of our conversation on setting, we will examine the impact of ‘mood lighting’ on the atmosphere of a scene, short story or a novel. Light and weather can both influence and convey the internal states of characters, the quality of the intimacy they share, and help to build suspense and infuse the story with propulsive energy. The tone and conditions of a day, a life, an era can be established through changes in the air; light and shadow, cold and frost, darkness, a stubborn sun can all reflect the quality and challenges of a cultural and political moment as well as an individual character’s frame of mind. It is a great tool for rounding out scenes and for mapping the mind and the life of emotions onto the page.

In this class, we will closely examine scenes that use ‘mood lighting’ to enhance and inform style and intimacy. We will also look at a number of paintings that depict weather and conduct exercises in response so that workshop members can practice their hand at writing weather as a tool for bringing characters to life with style. We will also take long walks through the landscape, settle on a rock, and write scenes much the way a painter would open their easel out in the wild and paint. Students will write daily and their work will be workshopped often with the goal to walk away from the class with a more clear understanding of their own voice as writers.