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John Broderick Residency

A partnership between Westmeath County Council and Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon

Writer’s Residency 2018

Westmeath County Council and Arts Council of Ireland


Author John Broderick was born in Connaught Street, Athlone, in 1924. He had 12 novels published in London, the best known being The Pilgrimage (1961). His bestseller was An Apology for Roses (1973), which sold 30,000 copies in the first week of its publication in 1973. Both these novels, along with The Fugitives and The Flood are all set with Athlone as a backdrop.

 He also wrote the internationally renowned The Trial of Fr Dillingham, which was originally published in French in 1974 as Cite Pleine de Reves. He was elected to the Irish Academy of Letters in 1968 and was the winner of its Award for Literature in 1975. After a best-selling start in the sixties, his novels appeared largely ignored after the mid-Seventies. With the publication of a biography by Madeline Kingston (Something in the Head, the Life and Works of John Broderick, Lilliput, 2004) and the re-issuing by Lilliput of two of his finest novels, The Pilgrimage and The Waking of Willie Ryan, John Broderick's literary legacy continues to prosper.

Apart from literature he was an avid supporter of the visual arts and music. His donation of a Paul Henry picture ‘The Eel Weirs at Athlone’ to Athlone Library was hugely significant in the fact that it was the only public art display in Athlone at the time. He was passionate about classical music, evidenced by his substantial donation of recordings to the library for public use and he had a particularly high regard for tenor John McCormack.

He lived most of his life in the town and spent a brief spell in Paris in his younger years (from 1951) where he socialised with Truman Capote and Gore Vidal, before spending the last 8 years of his life in Bath, England where he died in 1989.  

His bequest to the Arts Council of Ireland for “the benefit and advancement of the Arts in Athlone” has come to fruition and in partnership with Westmeath County Council three new artist residences have been agreed and developed for 2018 – 2020 to be located in Athlone. Year 1 will be a writer in residence, Year 2 an artist in residence and Year 3 a musician in residence.

Applications Are Invited From Writers to Apply for the John Broderick Residency 2018

The John Broderick Residency Series, will honour the Athlone writer John Broderick. The series will, on an annual basis increase the awareness of the writer, his works, and his engagement and generosity to the people of Athlone.

The residency is devised in partnership between the Arts Council of Ireland and Westmeath County Arts Office.

Local partners have been sourced for each of the residencies to celebrate the life and works of John Broderick, which include:

  • Athlone Library and County Librarian
  • Athlone Municipal District
  • Offaly Westmeath Music Generation
  • Luan Gallery
  • Abbey Road Artists’ Studios
  • Athlone Arts and Tourism

Residency Details

  • The Residency is open to writers in all genres.
  • The Residency will be on a part-time basis, located in Athlone (10 weeks at 20 hours per week) which will allow time both for the writer’s own work in addition to engagement and interaction with the general public, community groups and more specifically with people interested in writing themselves.
  • As part of this Residency, the successful applicant will be asked to stimulate greater awareness of the works of John Broderick, the art of creative writing, as well as encouraging more opportunities for people to engage with the work of writers. Athlone Library contains a selection of Broderick’s collection of books, gramophone records, discs and tapes as well as artworks bequeathed by Broderick to the library.
  • Applicant writers must demonstrate an ability to mentor emerging writers, young people and those interested in developing their writing skills.
  • It is intended that the writer will have a room available to them in Athlone, for their own writing hours. 
  • Westmeath County Arts Office will provide a fee of €15,000 (inclusive of travel and other expenses) for a 10 week period (dates to be agreed with the successful artist).The payment schedule will be: 1/2 on commencement and 1/2 on completion.  
  • This is a part-time residency, which will require flexible working hours including evenings.

Making an Application

Writers should submit details of previous work as follows:

  • A typed proposal outlining artistic ideas and approaches (two pages); this should include an outline of the benefits of the residency to her/his stage of development as a writer and detailed suggestions for public/schools/community engagement to include a breakdown of proposed time used between own work and public engagement.
  • A typed curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages) with two named referees, one of which should include someone who has previously worked with writer on community engagement opportunities. 
  • Links to previous work such as publications and published articles. Hard copies may be posted, but will not be returned.
  • Description and examples of previous public engagement work.
  • There will be an information session in Athlone Library on the life and works of John Broderick on Friday February 16th at 11.30 a.m. Please email arts@westmeathcoco.ie to confirm your attendance.  


Applications should be emailed on or before close of business Thursday March 1st, 2018 to arts@westmeathcoco.ie

Please ensure that all submitted materials are clearly marked with the writer’s name.    Closing date: 3.00pm on Thursday March 1st, 2018

Selection Criteria

  • Artistic merit of proposal
  • Depth of understanding of the work of John Broderick

•    Quality of previous work including public engagement activities

•    Suitability and relevance of the proposal

•    Quality of proposed public engagement

Selection Process

  • Applicants will be short-listed on the basis of their submissions and short-listed applicants may be invited for interview, approximately 1 - 2 weeks after the deadline for applications.
  • Interview panel will consist of representation from partner organisations, and an established writer.
  • Shortlisted applicants must be available to attend for interview in order to be further considered and travel costs are the applicants own.  The location of the interview will be communicated to the shortlisted applicants.
  • Westmeath County Council and the Arts Council reserve the right not to appoint if the applications received are deemed to be unsuitable. In this instance the right is reserved to pursue a different procurement process.

In advance of the residency the following will be agreed with the successful applicant  

  • Goals, roles and responsibilities between the Writer in residence and the Arts Office
  • Agreed programme of work with appropriate flexibility and responsiveness
  • Administrative support
  • A timetable that balances time for the writer’s own work and other residency commitments as agreed
  • Ongoing review and evaluation; regularity of meetings

Further Information


The Writers Fee of €15,000 is fully inclusive including agreed workshops and public encounters, press activity related to residency, and inclusive of all travel and expenses incurred (including VAT and insurance).

The fee will be paid in two installments.

Non-Vat registered service providers may be liable for Professional Services Withholding Tax. The successful writer will be required to provide Westmeath County Council with a tax clearance certificate and insurance details prior to signing of contracts.

The Arts Office and local partner organization will act as the liaison support between the Writer, the Local Authority and Local Communities to define the work program.

Child Protection

In accordance with the national Child Protection Guidelines Children First, the selected candidate will be required to follow child protection procedures as specified by Westmeath County Council.  The successful candidate will be required to undergo Garda Vetting.


The Writer in residence agrees to keep the Council fully indemnified against all claims howsoever arising and howsoever caused in respect of any damage, loss or injury of any kind or nature, whether arising directly or indirectly from the provision of the residency and to provide evidence of Public Liability insurance which indemnifies Westmeath County Council with a limit of indemnity of €6.5 million.

It is the responsibility of the Writer in residence to ensure that other person(s) not employed by Westmeath County Council, but employed by the Writer in residence to assist them with the residency have adequate Public Liability (€6.5 million) and Employer’s Liability (€13 million) cover which indemnify both Westmeath County Council and the writer.

Freedom of Information

The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997-2003 apply to Westmeath County Council. Applicants should state if any of the information supplied by them is confidential or sensitive and should not be disclosed to a request for information under the aforementioned Act. Applicants should state why they consider the information to be confidential or commercially sensitive.

Prompt Payment

Under the Prompt Payments Accounts Act, the Local Authority is obliged to pay within 15 days, upon receipt of a valid invoice.

Further information is available from:

Miriam Mulrennan or Elizabeth Kerrigan, Westmeath County Council email: arts@westmeathcoco.ie