The Writer CV & the Hamely Tongue…

Having supposedly eradicated my feelings of doubt about the fairly descriptive opening to my book and replacing it with a more active sequence, the week since has been filled with wondering whether I should have left well enough alone! Does anyone else find this when they make major changes to their work? They love it at the start and then doubt sets in once again and you think that maybe you should have let it be…

I’ve been telling myself this is just what everyone experiences when they restyle their writing and whilst I’m still sure that my changes were needed, given what publishers and agents seem to be saying about what they look for in children’s fiction, it might just be taking a little longer to embrace the change!

My pitch letters complete and my synopsis pretty much there (see next week for an update on that one!), I thought I had it all sorted.

I hadn’t.

It turns out that some publishers also request a Writer’s CV to accompany the pitch letter, the synopsis and the chapters, so just another little detour on the road to submission! Different from a regular CV, the writer version requires, understandably, writing related material only. My headings are therefore as follows:

  • A short writer’s biography
  • A comments section i.e. other people’s views on my writing
  • Awards and achievements
  • Published work
  • Related education
  • Work experience

I’ve found varying information about this type of CV, which some say should accompany every submission, but only one of the publishers I was thinking of submitting to has requested it so I don’t think I’ll be sending it to everyone. Back to the drawing board then, if only temporarily!

CV and submissions aside… I met last week with Ulster Scots poet and BBC Ulster radio broadcaster/TV presenter, Wilson Burgess, for a catch-up on his latest book, ‘An Anthology of Ulster Scots Poems’.

ImageHaving gotten to know Wilson over the past few years whilst working at the Chronicle, he can always be relied upon for a humorous insight into his writing world and he is infectious with his enthusiasm for pushing on and getting your work out there. Indeed, he constantly recounts his own good fortune in securing gigs and public appearances through word of mouth and bumping into the ‘right people’ at the right time. All very encouraging!

His new book will launch next month and follows on from other poetry collections, with some of his work now on the Queen’s University Belfast reading list for students. This year, Wilson also won first prize in the Ulster Scots section of the Frances Browne Multilingual Poetry Competition (just one of his many awards!), so he is certainly having a good year so far and is always a pleasure to chat to.

Wilson’s third poetry collection combines a mixture of the modern and the traditional and has been endorsed by Dr Frank Ferguson, Director of the Ulster-Scots Poetry Project at Coleraine’s University of Ulster.

“The book exemplifies the strengths of Ulster-Scots for poetic expression in two main ways,” said the academic. “Firstly, the Hamely Tongue provides a window on the world of past times. It assuredly connects to that landscape of the past because nothing can capture the moment of locale and vanished times as well as the rhythms and cadences of local speech.”  

John Killen, Librarian at the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, added that Wilson’s latest anthology was “a gem” and harked back to the works of Burns, Orr and Herbison in the 18th and 19th centuries and to Marshall, Hewitt, Rowley, Hayward and Piper in the 20th.

With that said, I await eagerly my own copy from the man himself!

Just one more thing for this week… If you’re into writing short stories, check out the RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition.


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