‘Sixteen’ on RTE Radio 1

Lovely responses my essay ‘Sixteen’ on RTÉ Radio 1 last night – a rare occasion where I read something myself. Covering education, the Troubles, escaping into the arts, the arts and class, sexuality and returning home.

The essay is from the anthology ‘Impermanence’ commissioned by ⁦⁦Centre Culturel Irlandais, and edited by Nora Hickey M’Sichili & Neil Hegarty published by No Alibis Press. Recordings beautifully produced by Cliodhna Ni Anluain.

There’s a a great chat beforehand and the essay lasts about 20 mins. Click : https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/11512834/

Presenting: Look North! North Belfast Festival Short Story Awards

Date: Feb 24th 5-6pm

Where: Clifton House
Tickets: Free. Register online in advance.

The award is open in 3 categories:

11-14 years – Maximum limit 1,000 words 15-17 years – Maximum limit 2,000 words

Adults (18 years +) – Maximum limit 3,000 words

All genres, fiction or non-fiction, are welcome.

Open to Northern Ireland based writers only.
Only original work not previously published will be accepted. One story per writer.
No fee.
Published authors not eligible.

Hosting Library Event about Bernard MacLaverty

Where: Chichester Library

Tickets: Free. To register contact library with library card.

Feb 24th at 3.30pm – 4.45pm.

This literary discussion will focus on Bernard MacLaverty’s ‘Blank Pages & Other Stories,’ with debate and discussion led by Paul McVeigh.

His collection of twelve extraordinary short stories keep true to MacLaverty’s themes of emotion, the Troubles in Belfast and lived experiences.

In association with Libraries NI

Judging Word Factory Political Short Story Award

Word Factory Political Short Story Award

In memory of Uschi Gatward 

Mentor: Jacob Ross
Judges: Sam JordisonAmy SolisCathy Galvin, and Paul McVeigh
Submission window: 1 March – 31 May 23

[Writers are] there to help make sense of things, to keep notes, to bear witness, to offer a commentary and a critique, to add to the conversation, and to contribute to the permanent record.Uschi Gatward

In partnership with Writing our Legacy and Galley Beggar Press we are delighted to announce an important new mentorship to support a short story writer whose work demonstrates quality of writing with a strong political ethos. This apprenticeship has been created in memory of former Word Factory Apprentice Award winner Uschi Gatward, whose debut collection, English Magic, was published by Galley Beggar Press to critical acclaim in September 2021, the same month Uschi also received a diagnosis of cancer. Uschi’s spare writing style embraces an acute social and political awareness shaped by personal experience and observation. In her writing, and in her support of other writers, she is deeply missed.

Submission link coming soon.

‘Big Man’ shortlisted for Irish Times Theatre Award

I’m delighted that Big Man has been shortlisted for the audience choice prize at The Irish Times Theatre Awards. This one-man-show up against all those big productions with massive budgets from the best theatres and companies in the country.

I’m also over-the-moon that James McFettridge has been shortlisted for Best Lighting.

Thanks to all the team!

If you enjoyed the show you can vote here.

Radio 4: Ten Part Short Story Series

Following on the footsteps of Northern Ireland’s finest like David Parks and Jan Carson (The Last Resort) I was commissioned to write a ten part series of linked short stories. The series is called The Circus and is centred around Cliftonville Circus where 5 roads meet in North Belfast.

“A former working men’s club in North Belfast called ‘The Circus’ has been refurbished and relaunched with an inaugural talent show – and a massive cash prize for the winner! – inspiring the locals to brush up on some old skills. The new owner, a successful London property developer, has promised to bring a bit of the West End to North Belfast. But can the area really change? Can the people? 
Cliftonville Circus is where five roads meet in North Belfast. It is situated in the most deprived part of the city; it is also the most divided. Each road leads to a different area – a different class – a different religion. ‘The Circus’ explores where old Belfast clashes with the new around acceptance, change, class and diversity.”

The first episode is on Jan 8th and is titled The Singer.



Ian Beattie, Ruby Campbell, Maggie Cronin, Michael Condron, Leanne Devlin, Abigail Fitzgibbons, Tony Flynn, Louise Parker, Michael Patrick and Chris Robinson.

PS You can still listen to Daddy Christmas my Radio 4 short story that aired last Christmas Day which is available for the next few days.

The Good Son 3rd Editon
You can buy here

Winner of The Polari First Novel Prize

‘A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.’ Donal Ryan

Raw, funny and endlessly entertaining’. Jonathan Coe

Daddy Christmas Leaves BBC Radio 4 Soon

If you want to get into the Christmas spirit this might help. My story ‘Daddy Christmas’ was the BBC Radio 4 Christmas Day short (and has been available all year) and will come off BBC Sounds soon.

“Spending Christmas Day with his sister and her family, Mark can’t help but think about the child he never had.”

You can listen here.


The Good Son Chosen as Best of Belfast

Book who’s talking:

Belfast-set fiction and non-fiction

Presenting some of the best known texts set in the city — from crime to family life to burgeoning relationships to violent incidents.

Thanks to Belfast Telegraph for choosing The Good Son.

The Good Son 3rd Editon
You can buy here

Winner of The Polari First Novel Prize

‘A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.’ Donal Ryan

Raw, funny and endlessly entertaining’. Jonathan Coe

First Review of Big Man

Wow! ‘Big Man’ is ‘wryly knowing, sensitively compassionate and moving’ ‘clever and considered’ ‘wise, understatedly poetic, often deliciously witty and warmly pointed portrait”timeless’ with praise for actor Tony Flynn, director Patrick O’Reilly and set designer Tracey Lindsay.

You can read the full review in The British Theatre Guide here.