Louth writer chosen for crossborder project

Louth writer chosen for crossborder project

A LOCAL writer has been selected to participate in a new cross-border creative writing project called XBorders.

Tamara O'Connell (right), a journalist living in Castlebellingham, is one of 18 emerging writers chosen from across Ireland for the exciting project.

"I'm delighted to have been picked. We will be working with experts in the field of borders and security to help inform and inspire our writing," said Tamara.

She will be working with cultural theorist Dr Declan Long and security experts Mark Maguire and Eileen Murphy over the next four months. Tamara will learn about contemporary art practice of the ‘Post-Troubles’ period from art critic, lecturer and former Turner Prize judge Dr Declan Long.

International borders will be explored with anthropologist and border security expert Dr Mark Maguire whose research focuses on international migration, biometric security, counter-terrorism and border control. Eileen Murphy, a researcher with the Centre for Innovation Human Systems, School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, will examine the future of biometric border technologies and policies.

XBorders is being run by the Irish Writers Centre (IWC) in Dublin and aims to bring emerging writers together to explore and write about borders through fiction or non-fiction.

"Participants have to attend three seminars in Belfast, Derry and Dublin. I'm really looking forward to the whole process. It's going to be a really interesting experience," said Tamara.

"It's a very topical theme as there has been a lot of public discourse about borders, particularly in relation to immigration."

According to IWC Director Valerie Bistany, Ireland as an island has a long and complex relationship with borders which has been the subject of much great Irish writing.

"Writing is a powerful cultural force and we wanted to bring writers together to explore the idea of our national borders, both literal and metaphorical," said Valerie.

"Whether it be migration, the Troubles, Brexit or interpersonal boundaries, borders are one of the biggest cultural and social issues at the moment - we wanted to help writers to tap into this rich mine of ideas to address this in their writing.”

The participants will also work with writer Maria McManus and Blackstaff Press Managing Editor Patsy Horton. At the end of the process, the writers will produce feature length pieces which will be published on a number of platforms including In/Print journal, an arts journal published by the Dublin School of Creative Arts at Dublin Institute of Technology.

The XBorders seminars are open to the public. The first one of the series with Dr Declan Long is taking place on Saturday, May 6 at 1pm at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Tickets are free and can be booked on

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