Roisin Agnew and her Gutsy Collective – Guts

December 2, 2014 – Culture

Guts is a new writing collective that we’ve been quietly lusting after for a while now, and SBK Fox finally got a chance to have a word in the ear of Roisin Agnew, the woman behind it.


Roisin, you’re a lovable mistress of print and rogue journalist, could you in your own words tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Italian-Irish, I’m 25, I’m sort of a journalist-writer, and I just got one of my wisdom teeth. Every year for the past three years I’ve had plans to leave Dublin, but something has always come up, so now I’ve been living her for almost 7 years. But that’s why I don’t have a dog and I don’t have a driving licence. Right now I work on the online newsdesk in The Irish Times.

What is Guts? Do you need “Guts” to take part? Where did you get the name from? 

So Guts is a collection of confessional writing and personal essays. It’s about highly personal and private stories written by people from different walks of life, that we hope tickle people’s curiosity and appetite for good stories. Maybe you need guts. Yeh no, you sort of do.  But probably you just need to be a bit feckless.

I wanted to do something that would place writing at the centre, and make it feel exciting, but that was for people who are also into illustration, good design and blogging culture. There didn’t seem to have been anything that combined these things, and it felt like writing had become the stuffiest, greyest art form around. I got the name from my boyfriend impersonating me talking about writing and literary journals, saying that ‘people should have some balls! Some guts!’ So Guts stuck. We could’ve called the magazine Balls on the other hand.

Eithne's Teenage Cycle

Where did you acquire your army of creatives for the publication? What kind of topics do you plan on covering? 

I approached people because I’d worked with them, or because I admired them, or because they were my friends, or because I felt they were suited to a particular theme and Issue. I really wanted Mick Minogue to do the first issue, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, because he’s got a naturally sappy and romantic vein running through him. I also wanted him because his work crosses a few disciplines, so we thought it would be a good way to showcase what we want to do with Guts. I’ve been really lucky that people have been so up for it  – it wouldn’t have happened had all these people not said yes as soon as I asked them.

 I come up with the themes and titles for each issue much to everyone’s dismay (bar the 5th theme which is going to be picked by a backer on Kickstarter) The first issue is called The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter, and it’s about heartbreak and bust-ups. The second issue is from a Pee Wee Herman quote, I Know You Are, But What Am I? It’s an intentionally misphrased existential question, so the issue is about feelings of alienation and not belonging. Aran Quinn is doing the illustrations on that. The third is called Blow Smoke And Hard Candy, and it’s about drugs – new drugs, addcition and recreational use. Steve McCarthy is doing the illustrations on that one.

 I guess the thing is to get writers to throw their full arsenal of tricks and fancies at a theme and either create works of fiction or explore writing about themselves in an imaginative and creative way through all of these themes that I imagine everyone has an insight into.

Neil Watkins ( She better be Great.. )

When will you be sending your first issue to print? And where will you be able to pick up a copy once its released. 

Our first issue is out on December 11th. We’re available online at IMMA, Project Arts Centre, The Library Project, The Fumbally, Fallon & Byrne, The Winding Stair, Article, Tamp & Stitch, Indigo & Cloth, a few others, and online at our website (that’s coming soon) and at This Greedy Pig. It costs €5 for the first issue.

We will also be selling it at the Christmas Flea Market on the 12th-14th of December.


How can one get involved/ support the project.

We’re totally flabbergasted by the response to our Kickstarter, We made our target in 4 days, and it was so surprising. And we still have two weeks to go!

We’re looking to raise 6 K now. With the current 4 K we can cover the costs of printing for almost 3 issues. But we have not extra money to create events around each issue, which was kind of a huge side of our vision for Guts. We want to bring in events, parties, talks, gigs, into the themes and stories we’re telling. So if we get 6 K we can see ourselves managing to print 3 issues and do an event per issue. Which means we won’t have to worry about money for another 6 months.


People can support us on our Kickstarter and they can email us queries at

Words: SBK Fox