5th Year Danielle McLoughlin writes about Dublin Young Authors with Dave Lordan


A number of weeks ago myself and Jenessa Scott began a writing course in The Big Smoke Factory in Dublin. Big smoke is situated at 7 Hatch Street Lower in Dublin 2. A very low key spot, that Jenessa and I thought was very difficult to find. The course starts at 11am but we were out and about walking through Dublin at 10am, we got lost several times, even with a guide from the city centre. We stumbled around Stephan’s green confused with our noses stuck in a map even though we’re both ‘Dubs’ born and bred. After walking around Stephen’s Green four times we eventually came to a road we noticed on the map, followed it and rejoiced to the heavens as we saw a sign saying “Hatch Street Lower” after searching Dublin like a pair of eejets. We had five minutes to spare. We were greeted with a “hello” from Dave Lordan as if we were old mates. Everyone introduced themselves and the workshop began.

The course is run by Dave Lordan who guides young writers’ to be the best they can be. Dave himself is a legend, he’s an amazing writer and an understanding person, he’s non judgemental and fair. Jenessa and I are purposefully avoiding the term teacher as we view Dave as more of a hand that guides us, a friend.

The people (students) taking part in Big Smoke are also extremely nice and respectful to everything we write, they listen calmly and never snigger or insult someone’s writing. We’ve noticed nearly everyone in this course has issues with confidence and fear of judgement, hopefully this will change. We all write in class, and we read our pieces out in class with confidence as we know big smoke has a friendly atmosphere. This progresses our confidence even further which helps us grow as human beings.

I wrote a story on self harm, and no-one shunned it or said it was weird. Big smoke is a very fun place to be. We discovered in one of our visits that Jenessa has an obsession with chickens. She says “Chicken/s” several times a day!

This has been a wonderful experience, we’d like to personally thank Ms O’Reilly, Ms Sloyan, Ms Flynn and our principal Sr. Anne, for choosing our pieces for the scholarship to Big Smoke and also thank Ms Flynn and Sr. Anne for the 300 euro grant to allow us to take part in this phenomenal course, we’ve really learned a lot, and boosted our confidence greatly.

Note on Dublin Young Authors and contact details for Dave Lordan and the Big Smoke Writing Factory

I recently designed and led the Dublin Young Authors workshop for talented teens at the Big Smoke Writing Factory. Participants came from all over Dublin and were interested in and tutored in many approaches to and styles of writing. Above all it is my aim as an artist working with teens to create a non-judgemental space for personal creative expression and exploration. When teens are allowed to say what they want to say in the way that they want to say it their creativity flowers. At the end of our six week workshop programme we held an optional showcase reading which was enjoyed by parents, teachers, librarians and friends.

Dublin Young Authors workshops will kick off again in Spring in the Big Smoke Writing Factory

I am always available to talk/lead a workshop/read from my work for schools and youth groups. Contact me at dlordan@hotmail.com if you are interested in booking me. Here and here  are some photos from other teen writing and performing events that I lead.