Lost Landscapes

Facilitator: Anthony J Quinn

The project takes its inspiration from a quote by Agnes Varda, the Belgian filmmaker, in her film The Beaches of Agnes: “If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes. If we opened me up, we’d find beaches.”

As a writer who has set most of his novels in the border counties of Ireland, I believe that the most resonant stories we have are about the landscapes of home, their features and landmarks, their buildings and the people who populated them, as well as their boundaries and the journeys we took through those landscapes.

Such settings carry personal symbolic meanings, act as metaphors and help us share memories. They evoke associations and stories, and help us create connections across time, place and people.

Through a series of workshops and one-to-one mentoring, I hope to explore with the writers how these landscapes can be employed in our writing, giving a stage or a setting that can be used as a metaphor and to create a mood or feeling in the reader. We will also examine how these settings can create suspense and intrigue in our stories, as well as convey character, and ultimately our unique ways of looking at life.


Aims: The workshops and one-to-one mentoring will help advance the creative career of the participant writers, help them define and understand their voices and sources of inspiration, improve their self-belief and confidence, and help them gain more recognition for their stories.

Methods: The project will use a mixture of creative writing workshops and one-to-one mentoring to connect with as many writers as possible, allowing them to craft, share and exchange their stories and reminiscences.

The project will consist of:

  • Five creative writing workshops via Zoom involving writers from Cavan and Tyrone: 10 hours in total.
  • One-to-one mentoring sessions for ten Cavan-based writers, which will entail a comprehensive, structural edit of their stories, a reader’s report and a one-hour one-to-one meeting with each writer to help facilitate their development as writers.

Outcomes: A public performance with each member reading from their work; a digital volume of edited stories with an introduction ready for print publication; and a website showcasing the works of the writers.

This project is supported by Cavan County Council Arts Office and Social Inclusion Unit.

Please sign up for the workshop by emailing Anthony J Quinn at


Biography of facilitator Anthony J Quinn

Anthony J. Quinn is the internationally acclaimed author of ten novels, mostly in the crime fiction and historical fiction genres. His debut novel Disappeared (Head of Zeus, 2014) was a Daily Mail crime novel of the year and a Sunday Times best novel of the year. It was also shortlisted by the book critics of the Washington Post, the LA Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle for a Strand Critics award in the US, and longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year in the UK.

One of his central literary themes is that there is no such thing as a placeless crime. Although steeped in the conventions of crime fiction, his novels also chart the moods, landscapes and complex social realities of his native Ulster. His latest novel Murder Memoir Murder deploys the conventions of crime fiction and memoir writing to investigate the problems and procedures of storytelling itself, reflected in the fictional detective’s role in piecing together lost, concealed or partial stories about the past.

He has written about fiction academically and critically in numerous news articles and has spoken extensively on this subject at events and festivals in Britain, Ireland and Europe. He lectures in creative writing at Queen’s University Belfast, and has held writer-in-residence posts at Libraries Northern Ireland and in County Cavan. He also teaches creative writing and mentors at the Irish Writers Centre, Dublin, and the Prison Arts Foundation. He is currently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast. He lives in County Tyrone with his wife, Clare, and their four children.



24 Apr 2023


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