New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

A message from Shirley…

Hello and first of all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2018!


As you can see I am getting into the party spirit now – we are having a quietish Christmas but a wilder New Year!  I bought this outfit for a 60s themed party last month – but I have decided it needs to have a Christmas and New Year outing too. Thank you ebay!

So although I am about to take my editor’s hat off until I begin to compile our first Issue of 2018, on the 8th January, I would just like to say  I am so pleased to have had the opportunity of editing The Blue Nib, it has been a wonderful experience and I have loved the feeling that a community of poets and writers is forming around this magazine!

So thanks  to Dave Kavanagh for appointing me as editor and thank you so much to all the contributors, and readers – and onward into 2018!  I am so excited about all the developments we have in store for you!





But back to business –  in “Results – Chapbook Contest – Summer/Autumn 2017”  we have announced the winners and the runners up in the Summer/Autumn 2017 Chapbook Contest. Thank you again to Michael Blackburn, our judge,  for all his hard work in making his selections, and you can read his judge’s comments there.


Our 3 prize winners are all debutantes so this will their first chapbook publication, which is thrilling because our brief is to offer a platform to emerging as well as established writers.


I have also given you all a tantalising glimpse into the winners’ chapbook by publishing a poem from each of the three winning entries. And to pique you further I can give you a hint of the winners’ works.


The first prize winner,  Derek Kannemayer, has given us The Others,  in which he delineates  his characters so precisely, and gives us such sensitive insight into the lives of outsiders. Jackie Gorman’s poetry is intense and mystical, infused with a sense of the natural world as a fierce metaphor. And, like many Irish writers, Christopher Meehan has  a profound and powerful sense of place, which suffuses the poems, alongside powerful imagery and a strong sense of the people, cut through again with otherness.


The runners up  have all their 8 poems published in this issue, so you can read away at those! The five runners up  represent an exciting and varied group of poets. I do hope you enjoy delving into their chapbook submissions and discovering their poems for yourselves.


I have read all the chapbook entries, of course, and some of the poetry in the submissions that were not chosen was too good to leave unrecognised. So I have chosen a selection of poems that resonate with me and I have published these in a special article in this Issue.



And, last but not at all least, we are celebrating our first six months of publishing The Blue Nib. It has been a great success, so thank you to all our readers, our poets and writers, and of course our subscribers. Without you we would not be able to run competitions and  award prizes and publish chapbooks  and  anthologies (and other books that are in the pipeline), so thank you, thank you, thank you!


So to mark our first 6 months, Dave and I have been looking through the Issues from 1 – 18 and we have each chosen stand out poems and put them together in an article in this issue. It was interesting how much overlap there was, so some of the works could have appeared twice.


The selection process is cheating really, because as editor I have chosen all of the poetry since Issue 3 – so all of those issues contain my favourite poetry!  However, there are still certain poems that have gripped me, remained in my thoughts, made me pick them out for all sorts of reasons – for quirkiness,  passion, elegant writing and form.  And there are also those poems that have  just inserted themselves into my consciousness – and won’t go away!


Shirley Bell









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