They say that everyone has a story to tell - maybe even "a book in them", if they can discover how to get it out - and in Tyrone and Fermanagh in particular, there are plenty of famous writers to look to for inspiration. In the next few weeks, however, local reading and writing enthusiasts don't have to look backwards for encouragement. Both the Omagh Literary Festival and Fermanagh Live are on hand to provide plenty of inspiration, and the Level 2 course in Creative Writing at South West College is here to provide the mentoring and opportunity to go with it.

Creative writing courses and workshops have grown in popularity in recent years and they are by no means only for people with ambitions of being 1ed writers. Creative writing courses help build confidence, enhance thought clarification, encourage artistic self-expression, grant a better understanding of the mechanics of reading and
writing, as well as teaching empathy and communication skills.

There's never been a better time to explore these courses. Nowadays, when so much emphasis is on a supposed
work-life balance
and good
mental health, a lot of our free time can be focused on ‘switching off’. There’s no doubt this is important, but just as parents would encourage even the youngest of children to engage in activities such as reading and art, rather than simply watching TV, we should encourage ourselves to be active and creative in our spare time. Creative Writing is a perfect example of this.

Omagh Literary Festival Honouring Benedict Kiely

You don't have to look far for writing inspiration this month. One hundred years on from the birth of Benedict Kiely, Omagh Literary Festival is preparing for it's eighteenth year. This year’s Omagh Literary Festival will honour him with a programme that includes one of Ireland's leading contemporary author's, Donal Ryan, in conversation with Irish Times Literary Editor, Martin Doyle; Eamonn Mallie discussing his new book; and Mary Kenny and Omagh’s own Martina Devlin discussing Kiely’s work. There will also be live music as part of the programme, and local writers, be they experienced or just looking to begin, will have the opportunity to learn with a Creative Writing workshop.

Benedict Kiely is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest writers of the twentieth century, having excelled as both a novelist and short story writer. Born in Dromore, he grew up in Omagh and attended the Christian Brothers Grammar School. His impact is undoubted, and it continues to be felt through his own work and the work of others. He had a very distinctive, unique style to his writing and was a mentor for many of Ireland’s leading contemporary writers of today. One such writer, Column McCann said: 'When I started writing in earnest I went to Donnybrook. Ben was a mentor for me . He opened my world.' Sebastian Barry, another award winning writer said: ' Ben Kiely was instrumental in my election to Aosdana in 1989....he is a god in our household.'

Meanwhile Fermanagh Live Arts Festival returns this year with a packed programme of events from October 2 to 10, featuring events such as 'Inside a Writer's Head with Carlo Gebler & Gavin Weston' and the Ulster Poetry Slam Final.

OCN L2 Creative Writing? Wed 7-9, EKN Campus

If these events provide suitable inspiration, South West College is offering a OCN Level 2 course in Creative Writing. The course is designed for anyone with an interest in creative writing: an imagination, the urge to create and the ability to listen to others are all that's required to benefit from the course. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of the creative process, including: Character development, Story structure, Linguistic devices, Exploring genre.

Tutor, Ian Blackford, said: "We promote a relaxed environment where students are encouraged to experiment with their writing and offered the opportunity to share their work with others."

For further information, contact: