Writing Beyond the Pale

22nd November 2021

Writing Beyond the Pale
Wednesday 24th November 11am-1pm
Online event

Dear writers, Dublin might often seem to ’steal the limelight’ in terms of the focus of attention for all things writerly! However, this is far from the reality with a host of talent and production taking place across the country.

This online ‘in-conversation’ event brings together a panel of speakers who highlight the challenges and rewards of writing for writers based outside our capital city. The seminar is moderated by WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson.

The WGI would like to encourage all members to attend this event, and would especially welcome participation from any member who belongs to a group which may be underrepresented within society on the grounds of gender, race, disability, religious belief, age, socio-economic or other factors.

The WGI gratefully acknowledges the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for this event.

Topic: Writing Beyond the Pale
Time: Nov 24, 2021 11:00 AM

Members, please check your email for an invitation link

Meet the Panel:

Siobhán Ní Ghadhra

Siobhán Ní Ghadhra is a two-time EMMY Award Winner and has numerous credits for both animation and live-action productions throughout her career.  She began her career at Roger Corman’s Irish film studios in 1998. She was later appointed Head of Production at Telegael and Chief Operating Officer prior to leaving to establish Danú Media in 2014.  She is currently Executive Producer on Ros na Rún, one of Ireland’s’ longest running TV drama series. Other recent credits include Executive Producer on Fir Bolg for TG4.  She was also Executive Producer on the feature film “Sanctuary”, which won the award for Best First Irish Feature Film at Galway Film Fleadh.

She is a current member of the Board of TG4, and also Chair of the Creative Europe Desk in Galway.  She also sits on the board of the Blue Teapot Theatre Company, Galway Film Centre and the External Strategy Board for NUIG.  Siobhán was a Board member of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from 2010 – 2015.

Sarah Dillon

With fifteen years of experience in the screen industry, Sarah Dillon was appointed the Development Manager of the Western Region Audiovisual Producers Fund (WRAP Fund) in April 2018. As the regional fund for the West of Ireland, it provides production investment on commercial terms to support film, television, animation and games. Recent successes include BAFTA and IFTA nominated Calm With Horses, box office hit Two By Two: Overboard! and internationally successful TV drama Smother. Prior to that, Sarah held the position of Production & Development Executive at Screen Ireland (formerly Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board), responsible for managing the slate of funded projects across feature film, television, animation and documentary.

Oonagh Kearney

Oonagh Kearney is an IFTA-nominated and award-winning writer and director of nine short films, one TV pilot and one feature doc, supported by Screen Ireland, RTE, TG4, BRITDOC, Arts Council of Ireland and the Wellcome Trust.

In 2017, Oonagh took part in the BBC Drama Writers Room, and wrote and directed her first TV pilot ON THE HEMLINE as part of the RTE Storyland Scheme, now in development with RTE as the TV series NOTIONS. An alumna of the Apulia TV Writers Experience, Torino TV Series Lab, Berlinale Talents, the EWA Screenwriters Residency, the Athena Screenwriters Lab, Sources 2, and most recently UGC Writers Campus at Series Mania, Oonagh has three feature films in development as a writer-director, two with Screen Ireland and one with the Arts Council. Most recently, she worked as 2nd Unit Director to Dearbhla Walsh on an Apple TV series. Oonagh is represented by Jasmine Daines Pilgrem at Lisa Richards Creatives.


10th November 2021

On a cold, crisp Wednesday evening (3rd November) the WGI celebrated their annual awards at Dublin’s Sugar Club. Invitees even arrived early. Alongside our nominees, guests included representatives from RTE, the Abbey Theatre and producers of the nominated works.

Before handing out the gongs for the best scripts on screen, stage & radio, written and produced in 2020, the Cáca Milis cabaret belted out crowd-pleasers until the arrival of the eternally sprightly Senator David Norris, who kicked-off the business end of the evening with an effervescent delivery of a punchy script by John Lynch. Co-presenter was WGI Chair, Jennifer Davidson who included a moving tribute to writer Maeve Ingoldsby in the closing moments. As ever, the event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the ICLA and the BAI.

Jennifer Davidson said; The 2021 Zebbie Award Ceremony was a long overdue night of celebration & good cheer for the Writers Guild of Ireland. After 19 months of virtual events, getting to celebrate writers & writing in person was a joy. Our warmest congratulations to all the nominees and Zebbie winners. It’s clear from the calibre of talent in the room that Irish writing is going from strength to strength.

Best Animation Script (Joint Winners)
Angela’s Christmas Wish by Damien O’Connor
Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese, Episode 50 by Emma Hogan

Best Television Drama Script
Normal People Episode 3 by Sally Rooney
(for a script written by Sally Rooney & Alice Birch)

Best Short Film Script
Ballast by Jesse Gilbert

Best Feature Film Script
Wolfwalkers by Will Collins

Best Radio Script
Stuck by Sharon Mannion

Best Continuing Drama Script
Fair City Series 31, Episode 22 by Senta Rich

Best Theatre Script
What I (Don’t) Know About Autism by Jody O’Neill

Commissioners’ Briefing Online Seminar

26th October 2021

Commissioners’ Briefing
Wednesday, October 27th, 2.00 – 4.00pm
Online seminar open to all WGI members

Members are invited to join us for a panel discussion with commissioning editors from RTÉ, TG4, BBC NI and Virgin Media to chat about all things commissioning.

What objectives and criteria do commissioners have for drama submissions and are there best practice approaches that you should be aware of?

For this online seminar some senior names in the business give advice and tips and answer your questions.

Participating commissioners include -

  • Sam Atwell, Development Executive, Drama, RTÉ
  • Deirbhile Ní Churraighín, Commissioning Editor, TG4
  • Eddie Doyle, Senior Head of Content Commissioning, BBC Northern Ireland
  • Colin Pauser-Cowman, Commissioning Lead, Virgin Media Television

We’d like to encourage members who belong to any group that may be underrepresented within society on the grounds of gender, race, disability, socio-economic or any other factors, to join this seminar.

All members have been sent an invitation by email.

The WGI gratefully acknowledges the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland for this event.

Sam Atwell – Development Executive, Drama, RTÉ

Coming from a land down under, Sam started his career as an actor and then went on to write and direct theatre and television. He had four Sydney seasons of his play, Bondi Dreaming and cut his teeth working across the acting, writing and directing departments at Seven’s Home and Away for over a decade. He then made the jump to Ireland to direct Fair City for RTÉ before serving as the Series Consultant and producing the show’s script and story for four years. Sam was also the Story Editor for JAM media before another stint directing Fair City. He is now the Development Executive for RTÉ Drama and is relishing the brave new world.

Deirbhile Ní Churraighín – Commissioning and Acquisitions Editor, TG4

Deirbhile is commissioning editor for drama including Ros na Rún the channel’s flagship soap.  Deirbhile relishes the latest TG4 challenge, along with her colleague Máire Ní Chonláin, of working with the independent sector, the Irish Film Board and the BAI in the development of Cine4. Two feature films per year, in the Irish language, will be produced, 8 in all at the end of the current scheme.

She is also currently overseeing various new series including Beidh Aonach Amárach, visiting the agricultural summer shows and the characters who make it all happen,  and Ceithre Ráithe sna Déise, a year in the life of the Co. Waterford Gaeltacht, An Rinn.

Deirbhile Ní Churraighín came to TG4 from the independent sector where worked as a presenter and researcher.

Having presented various shows for the channel she moved to acquisitions in 2000, having responsibility for all acquisitions other than children’s content.

During this time she developed various brands to strengthen the visibility of the acquired content, including the highly successful Fíorscéal.

Eddie Doyle – Senior Head of Content Commissioning, BBC NI

Eddie is responsible for BBC Northern Ireland’s Commissioning Department. He commissions local and Network content, drives Nations-to-Network commissioning strategy, and established BBC NI’s successful partnership scheme with BBC Three and Northern Ireland Screen.

Previously, he worked at RTÉ in Dublin, where he commissioned The Young Offenders and Mrs Browns Boys, and launched and ran the investigative documentary strand Prime Time Investigates.

Eddie is from Belfast. He joined BBC NI in February 2018, to run in-house production, and was appointed to his current position in September 2019. He studied Law at Trinity College Dublin, has a Masters in Journalism from Dublin City University, and Diplomas in Strategy & Innovation from the Irish Management Institute. He has worked in print journalism, TV production and commissioning across multiple genres in the UK and Ireland, and received Ireland’s TV Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his work in Afghanistan.

Colin Pauser-Cowman – Commissioning Lead, Virgin Media Television

Colin heads up commissioning in VMTV for TV Drama and Factual. Over his 30-year career he has moved between scripted and non-scripted many times, starting his career as an AD and coordinator for a host of feature films and TV dramas then moving into factual and entertainment TV production on hundreds of hours of prime time format successes domestically and internationally. He was the MD of Paradise Pictures in Dublin for 13 years, taking the leap to freelance Executive Producer and Development Consultant in 2010 for many of Ireland’s top production Companies.

Colin headed up development for both scripted and non-scripted genres in VMTV for 2 years, before launching his consultancy. He recently returned to VMTV to take up the commissioning lead role where is now working on a slate of originated drama and factual projects, along with being the channel executive producer for delivering series.

Theatre Forum’s Seminar ‘Open Forum’

18th October 2021

WGI contributed to Theatre Forum’s seminar ‘Open Forum’ today in which artists and representative Organisations discussed the need to create sustainable incomes for artists. Watch their presentation that shows how scandalously underpaid artists are:

Theatre Forum Pay & Conditions Research 2019-2020.mp4 from Theatre Forum on Vimeo.

Watch: All About Agents

13th October 2021

On 7th October 2021, WGI Chair Jennifer Davidson moderated an online seminar ’All About Agents’, in which three UK-based literary agents discussed securing representation, how agents can help your career and how the relationship between a writer and their agent works in practice.

WGI would like to thank the BAI for supporting the event and Peter MacFarlane, Kelly Knatchbull and Giles Smart for their participation.

You can watch the recording: