While working together as freelancers for Words Ireland, Dani Gill and Brendan Mac Evilly discovered a shared passion for creating more paid opportunities for writers, and for driving literary innovation led by the needs of writers and the wider arts sector. As writers themselves, they know the challenges first hand and as curators and producers they have learned from their journeys and want to share that experience with others.
Match in the Dark was born of a shared desire to offer professional development and partnership connections to writers and literary producers seeking to develop new projects, publications, events and tours. It will also advocate for writers needs within the literary sector – particularly around writers' pay and working conditions – and will develop practical documents, public campaigns and reports in regard to these issues.
The name is inspired by a Virginia Woolf quote:
"The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.” —Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse
Change starts with a spark. Ideas and innovation emerge from questions that arise that require an answer. Match in the Dark is a solutions orientated practice that welcomes the exploration of nuance and complexity to arrive at a new destination.
Dani Gill is a curator, producer, writer and educator, based in the west of Ireland. Since 2009 Dani has worked with organisations in the Arts including: Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway Theatre Festival, Decadent Theatre Company, Ennis Book Club Festival, Creative Ireland, Words Ireland, as well as county councils, arts centres and venues nationwide. Dani is interested in audience engagement, outreach, cross art-form collaborations, poetry advocacy and writer supports. She is the Director of The Lighthouse Project, a site specific literary innovation that involves writers and other artists responding to lighthouses and communities around Ireland.
Dani is a published poet. Her debut collection After Love (Salmon Poetry) was made into a dance theatre piece that premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival in 2021. She also writes fiction and occasional feature pieces for The Irish Times.
Brendan is the author of At Swim: A Book About the Sea (Collins Press). He has published stories, essays and articles in the Stinging Fly, The Honest, The Irish Times, Guardian, Sunday Times, We Are Dublin, Books Ireland, Lithub.com and The Dublin Inquirer, among others. His fiction is represented by Ludo Cinelli at the Eve White Literary Agency, London.
Brendan has over 15 years experience in publishing and literature, having worked for Publishing Ireland, the Stinging Fly, Oxford University Press, the Irish Writers Centre, and most recently freelance at Words Ireland. After college, he set up and directed CreativeCareers.ie before selling it on in 2016. Currently, he runs Holy Show arts magazine and production company, which he founded and edits. He also runs the National Mentoring Programme on behalf of the Irish Writers Centre.