SUNDAY MISCELLANY: SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
What's Sunday Miscellany?
Sunday Miscellany, now on air for over 50 years, runs throughout the year every Sunday morning at 9.10am on RTÉ Radio 1, Irish public radio. It is one of the top ten most listened-to programmes in Ireland, with an audience of over 250,000 – and many more who listen overseas and online.
The programme presents short essays and the occasional poem, read on air by their authors and interspersed with complementary music.
The vast majority of what you hear on the programme has been selected from open submission.
What are you looking for?
We accept original, unpublished essays, from new and established writers alike, on a wide range of subjects. Memory, or personal memoir, is a common theme, but we are also interested in reflections on contemporary events and ideas; essays with a historical, or geographic, literary or philosophical theme; comic essays; travel pieces, and more. You can listen to podcasts of previous programmes here
By "unpublished" we mean in any format, including online.
Essays should be 700 to 800 words long. 900 at a push. We won't consider scripts that are much longer or shorter than that.
We also accept poems, which, again, should be unpublished, and self-contained (we prefer poems not to be part of a longer series), and usually of around a minute long.
Please note, we do not include fiction in the programme.
If my script is chosen, will I be asked to record it myself?
Yes: unless in exceptional circumstances, if we are considering your script for broadcast, we will ask you to come into studio to record it under direction. We usually record in our studios in Donnybrook in Dublin, but we have a number of regional studios around Ireland and we sometimes use international studios also.
Should I send audio, so you can hear how my voice sounds?
Not for now -- that can clog up the email, but do let us know if you have any radio experience, or if there's any link online to you speaking, reading or performing. We're very happy to work with first-timers, though.
What format should I send my script in?
It's much easier for us to keep track of email submissions than hard copy ones, but we’ll accept the latter if you can’t access email (see postal address below). The script should be attached as a file (Microsoft Word is ideal, but PDFs acceptable too) and also the text copied into the body of your email.
Please send your submissions to email@example.com with a cover note, providing: a title and one-line description of the script; an indication as to whether it’s suitable to a particular season or date; a line or two about yourself; and your postal address, email address, and phone number. It's in your own interests to put all these details in, in particular geographical location (so we know what studio you might be near) and most importantly, your phone number, as if a recording slot comes up at short notice, we'll prioritise writers we can get hold of quickly.
It’s good to double space the text and make sure that a sentence doesn’t run over from one page to another, which will inevitably lead to page rustles in studio. A large font size is good too: point size 12 or 14.
You should include the word count, page numbers, and your name and contact details on the submission itself as well as on the covering note. Once is sufficient, it's not needed on every page.
The same applies to postal submissions, which should go to: The producer, Sunday Miscellany, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.
May I send multiple submissions?
Yes, but a single email with a few submissions batched together (up to four essays or six poems) is easier for us to keep track of than scattergun submissions in dribs and drabs.
Should I enquire first if you are interested in my idea for a piece, or just send in a complete script?
You can check with us if a subject you plan to write about has been covered recently, but if you are a regular listener, you will probably know this already. In general terms, we’d prefer to see complete scripts.
When will I hear back?
Shortly after we receive your script we will acknowledge it. After that, it’s important to take note that, because of the high number of scripts we receive every week, we only get in touch again if we are considering recording it for broadcast. Scripts remain under consideration for six months. Submissions will not be returned.
You are free to withdraw a submission at any point if we haven’t selected it for broadcast-- for instance, if you want to place it elsewhere.
A once-off payment is made to contributors for scripts recorded for the programme.
If your script is accepted for the programme and is broadcast, that recording becomes the outright property of RTÉ and can be included in podcasts and other repeat broadcasts on the decision of RTÉ without further payment being made to the contributor.
If you don’t select my script for broadcast, will you provide feedback on it anyway, or reasons why it wasn’t chosen?
We’re unfortunately not in a position to do this. We read every script with care and attention, but we don’t have the resources to provide an individual response on all the scripts we can’t use.
Will you edit my script?
Yes, we often edit the scripts we’ve selected, for clarity and flow. We'll discuss any important edits with you: it's a collaborative process. In general though, we will pass on scripts that we think require a significant amount of editing. That includes scripts that are far too long at the submission stage.
If my script is selected, may I pick the music to accompany it?
The producer chooses the music, but suggestions are always welcome.
I'm submitting for the first time: any advice?
It's important that your script be written with the radio listener in mind. Aim for clear, conversational language, even if the ideas are complex. Try not to cram it full of facts and names and details – decide on the core story you are telling and give it a bit of space. The listener has only your voice to guide them through your essay; do they know where they are at all points, or did you skip over something too quickly, losing them?
Make sure the script is in good shape not just in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation (although that is an absolutely basic requirement), but also with regard to elegance of expression. Frisk it for unwieldiness, clunkiness, repetition, for round-the-houses ways of saying things. If you're not sure about this, get someone whose opinion you trust to read it before you submit it.
It’s good to practise reading your essay aloud. Are you tripping over words in places? Have you punctuated it in such a way it’s easy to know where to breathe, or are you running out of breath with some sentences? If so, rewrite those bits.
And a final thing to think about: why this story and why now? Does this story mean something to you, and can you tell it in such a way that it will mean something to other people too? Is it, in some way or another, timely?
Those contact details again:
firstname.lastname@example.org or The producer, Sunday Miscellany, RTÉ Radio 1, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.