‘The Danger and the Glory, Irish Writers on the Art of Writing’ has just been published by Arlen Press. Originally conceived of as a web-based project, this fascinating anthology is the brainchild of academic Hedwig Schwall and the team at the University of Leuven, and has been supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and The European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies. Featuring essays by the likes of Anne Enright, Kevin Barry, Evelyn Conlon and Roddy Doyle, it’s an intriguing read and is sure to open up interesting debate around the nature of inspiration and the mystery of the writing process. I have a story in here titled ‘My Patron Saint.’
Here I am, in total shock, being interviewed by Evelyn O’Rourke after winning the Irish Book Award for Short Story of the Year 2018.
Vanessa Fox-O’Loughlin was also kind enough to write an article about How to Build a Space Rocket (the story is at the end of this page).
We did it!!!!… Against what felt like impossible odds, my wee story ‘How to Build a Space Rocket’ and my brave little narrator Keshika have won the award for Short Story of the Year 2018. The announcement was made at the An Post Irish Book Awards on Tuesday 27th November. I got the shock of my life! It was such a strong shortlist, featuring talented best-selling authors. As far as I can remember, I think I said something like this:
‘I can’t believe this... I didn’t think I’d even be able to attend the awards because I’m due a baby NOW! Earlier in the week, when my editor RM Clarke had asked me if I had a few words I wanted her to read out in case I won, my reply was ‘ah sure, I don’t think we need to worry about that!’ The other stories were all so good. I could never have imagined this…
I’m even more thrilled because my story was published in a really important anthology called The Broken Spiral, which was published last year in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. It’s an anthology about the power of words and the power of stories as a force for healing.
Thanks to my editor Remie Purtill-Clarke for nominating my story for this award, and to our publisher New Island. Also, thanks to my family for their love and support. I’d like to dedicate this award to my little daughter Mary, and to my new baby who is due to arrive very soon (but hopefully not just too soon!). Thank you so much.’
My story ‘How to Build a Space Rocket’ has made the shortlist for the Short Story of the Year Award at the 2018 An Post Book Awards. I really can’t believe it. The story featured in The Broken Spiral (ed R.M Clarke), an anthology published in aid of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. I’m hopeful that this shortlisting will help to promote the anthology and to raise awareness of this incredibly important cause. You can read and vote for your favourite story here.
6am, amidst the morning mayhem today, I received an email with some exciting news. One of my stories has made the long list for the Writing.ie Short Story of the Year. I’m in good company on the long list, alongside well-known and up-and-coming Irish writers. Here’s the long list of 12 selected writers…
Here's an article I wrote for The Irish Times about my experience of being published in The Long Gaze Back, a ground-breaking, award-winning anthology of Irish women's writing...
Back in 2015 one of my stories 'Infinite Landscapes' was selected for inclusion in a very special anthology... This year, The Long Gaze Back, an anthology of short stories by Irish women writers, has been chosen as the book choice for the Dublin One City: One Book festival. I couldn't be happier for all the fantastic women writers involved in this groundbreaking literary project, and for New Island Books.
Throughout the month of April there will be readings and other events to celebrate The Long Gaze Back. The book has been selected as the choice for the Irish Times Book Club, and the Book on One for RTE radio. The event listings are now live on the Dublin One City: One Book website. Here are a few photos from the launch...
I'm delighted to have a short story extract in 'Reading the Future' a new anthology from Hodges & Figgis bookstore in Dublin, which is being published to celebrate their 250th anniversary. Featuring 250 Irish poets, novelists, short story writers and essayists, the book is edited by Alan Hayes and published by Arlen House. Details of the launch to follow in January 2018...
"Trans-genre in contents and including both experienced and newer women writers, this landmark anthology features women writers playing with different modes, forms, and innovations – from magical realism and surrealism to humour and multi-perspective narratives – and celebrates fiction, poetry, drama, essays, life writing, and photography. It considers how much has changed or stayed the same in terms of scope and opportunity for women writers and for women more generally in Northern Irish society (and its diaspora) in the post-Good Friday Agreement era.
Northern Irish women’s writing is going from strength to strength and this anthology captures its current richness and audacity."
Here's Dr Caroline Magennis's fascinating lecture 'Unsettling Intimacy - Northern Irish Short Fiction after the Agreement,' featuring a discussion of 'The Seventh Man.'
The International Rubery Book Award is 'a prestigious international book award seeking the best books by indie writers, self published authors and books published by independent presses, judged by reputable judges. Creative writing is such a key part of life for those who enjoy writing yet it is increasingly difficult to become traditionally published. Through our reputation of finding quality and outstanding books we aim to bring recognition to the works that win and heighten an author's profile. The Rubery Prize is now a well-established name in the publishing world.'
I'm thrilled to have been shortlisted. The judges described Wild Quiet as 'interestingly cosmopolitan'... 'an entertaining and varied collection.'
You can now listen back to the reading I did with Danielle McLaughlin as part of the Dublin City Libraries reader series. In this extract, Danielle reads from the stunning title story of her collection Dinosaurs on Other Planets, and I read from Infinite Landscapes, which appeared in the BGE Book Award winning anthology The Long Gaze Back. Enjoy!
I'm honored to be reading alongside the wonderful short story writer Danielle McLaughlin on Friday 7th April as part of Dublin Central Library's Contemporary Irish Writing Series. The event will take place at the Illac Centre Library at 1pm. Entry is free, but it's advisable to book tickets in advance. You can reserve your place by calling the Central Library on 01 -873 4333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more information here.
'A magnificently astonishing, totally arresting collection'
Wild Quiet was recently reviewed by the wonderful folks at STORGY Magazine (London). You can read their review here.
I also completed an interview with STORGY - probably my most in-depth interview in my writing career so far! They kept me on my toes with some interesting questions. Here's my interview with Ross Jeffery.
'Why do Irish writers set their works abroad?' Wild Quiet features in this brilliant piece by Martin Doyle in the Irish Times. The article features an interactive map, where you can find listings of Irish works set across the globe. That's my reading list sorted for the next decade!
The Times were also kind enough to publish an essay I wrote on the topic of magical realism in Irish fiction. I was interested to explore why Irish writing (and particularly Irish short stories) have traditionally been associated with realism/naturalism for much of the last 50 years. Why have Irish writers been shying away from the fantastic?
Wild Quiet was recently named one of the Irish Times' Favourite Books of 2016. It was selected by the talented short story writer Danielle McLaughlin.
Friday 11th November, 12:15 - 1:00pm, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin
A trio of debut authors will take you on a journey to other realms found within the pages of their new books. Oisín Fagan’s fresh voice blends wit and fury as he reads from his gripping collection of sci-fi tales in Hostages (New Island Books). R.B. Kelly shares a snippet of her futuristic thriller Edge of Heaven (Liberties Press) which questions the ghost in the machine, while Roisín O’Donnell’s collection of short stories in Wild Quiet (New Island Books) examines the hurts and triumphs of being human. These bite-sized lunchtime readings are sure to satisfy every appetite, and will be lead by Jan Carson, the breakthrough author behind Malcolm Orange Disappears(Liberties Press) and more recent book Children’s Children (Liberties Press).
Free entry, but booking is essential.
New Island Books will celebrate the publication of "The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland", with a launch at the Ulster Museum. Patricia Craig, who wrote an introduction to the collection will launch the anthology and contributor Lucy Caldwell will speak. There will also be readings by some of the featured authors. Books will be on sale on the night, thanks to David in No Alibis.
New Island Books will celebrate the publication of "The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland", with a launch at Hodges Figgis bookshop on Wednesday October 5th. Laureate for Irish Fiction Anne Enright will launch the anthology and contributor Martina Devlin will also speak.
Everyone is most welcome to attend the launches. Several of the writers featured in The Glass Shore will be present for book-signings at both launches. Come along, have a chat and help us celebrate this wonderful new anthology. If you'd like to join us, please RSVP to Hannah.Shorten@newisland.ie
I'll be taking to the soapbox on Culture Night to take part in a special event at the Irish Writers' Centre. Each writer has been given the theme; 'into the arms of the neon night...' We each have four minutes to unleash our creations!
7.30pm – 8.30pm: The Soapbox: see well-known and emerging writers take to the platform for some old-school entertainment. Guests include Colin Barrett, Alvy Carragher, Gavin Corbett, Tara Flynn, and Henrietta McKervey.
8th September at 4pm @ Cork Central Library (Grand Parade) - Admission free
I'll be reading alongside Joanna Walsh, author of the short story collection Vertigo. It's a real honour to have been invited to take part in this prestigious literary festival, and I'm extra-excited that it's a festival dedicated to the short story form. I'm looking forward to listening to other short story writers read from and discuss their work. Ben Okri says 'the short story is the hardest form to master, after the sonnet.' I'm always listening out for thoughts and advice from masters of the form, so this festival promises to be a real treat.
You can find the full festival programme here