Rathfarnham writer part of new movement

Rathfarnham writer part of new movement

Mary Dennehy

LIVING in the Dublin Mountains, Carolann Copland only started writing ten years ago – and is now at the helm of Ireland’s first awards programme for independent and self-published writers.

With three books under her belt, Carolann, who lives on Killakee Road in Rathfarnham, is part of a new movement in Irish literature which see authors self-publish their own work, a movement which the mother-of-three is working hard to get recognised – encouraging readers, reviewers and the nation to embrace indie-books.

The founder of Carousel Writers’ Centre, Carolann has established The Carousel Aware Prize for Independently Published Authors and despite a busy schedule she took five to speak with The Echo.

LIFE Carolann Copland

 

You started writing at the age of 40, what made you pick up the pen?

My mam knew it was the right time for me and gave me a gentle nudge in the right direction. I’ve always been an avid reader and it felt like the most natural thing to start writing stories. It became addictive and has kept me on a high ever since.

Has writing changed your life?

I turned fifty recently and it’s been an amazing writing journey over the past ten years. I have joined many writing groups and made strong friendships with dedicated writers who are committed to helping themselves and others reach their goals. Opening Carousel Writers’ Centre and watching other writers blossom from there has been a wonderful experience. And then there is the thrill of seeing your published books on the shelves of the book shops.

What have you had published to date?

Summer Triangle was published in October 2013 and Scarred was published in June 2015, both through EmuInk Publishers. A third novel, Mosaic is being penned as we speak.

Any tips for people wanting to writing?

Have faith in your story. Stick your bum to the seat. Write every day for publication or wellbeing. Discipline your time on social media. Involve yourself in creative experiences. Mix with other writers. Love what you do.

What is the most memorable or inspiring book that you have read?

Alice in Wonderland. I am still a fan of all things Alice and continue to take it down and read it when I need inspiration. What a setting! Such amazing characters who say the most wonderful lines such as, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”

You have set up awards for independently/self-published writers, tell us a little about the awards and why you decided to do it?

The Carousel Aware Prize for Independently Published Authors aims to provide a platform to showcase the cream of Irish Self-Published authors, bringing them to the attention of book shops, distributors and the media in Ireland and abroad, with all money raised going to Aware.

The idea came to me in the summer of 2015. Although I had experienced publishing and selling my first novel, it was just as hard to get the book out there the second time around. I fed the idea to a few others and The CAP for Indie Awards as it has come to be known, was born.

Why chose Aware as the charity?

I chose Aware as a charity because I have watched the work that they do with those suffering from mental health problems and am in awe of their achievements. Gerry O’ Brien and Sandra Hogan from Aware headquarters, have been hugely supportive of the project. As part of the initiative, and to focus on the connection between writing and mental health, we will be holding Writing for Wellbeing Workshops and Sponsored Write-athons during the year with all money raised going to Aware.

How important is it for Ireland to recognise self-published authors?

The current international world of publishing is at a very exciting crossroads. The ebook has contributed to a massive increase in readers and authors. Our reading choices are much wider but it can also create a feeling of being swamped. Nationally I think we’re taking things a lot slower. Many Irish authors are saying that they might take the plunge into independent publishing but few are jumping. Self-publishing is changing the face of publishing world wide and I think that Ireland could do with a little nudge to help it along.

Who can enter the competition?

Submissions are invited through http://writingcap.ie/, by all Independently Published, Self-Published and Assisted Published Authors from Ireland’s 32 counties and authors must either have an address in the 32 counties or be in possession of a valid Irish passport.

Do you see the awards opening up opportunities for self-published writers?

The awards will provide recognition for the best that Ireland has to offer from Indie authors. I think that the written word, like every art, needs competition to keep it moving forward. I have read so many brilliant indie-published books over the last few years. I’m loving the choice that readers now have and the competition this gives to traditionally published books.

My own books are independently published using an assisted publishing company, Emu Ink, and this suits me very well. My readers hold me in as high esteem as my traditionally published writing colleagues.

Indie Publishing works for me and I see the CAP for Indie Awards giving self-published authors an opportunity to be read as widely as traditionally published authors, and to become a much recognised and inclusive part of Irish literary society.

For further information visit www.carousel-creates.ie or www.writingcap.ie 

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