KJ Orr – The Irish Times

KJ Orr interview: ‘I love that the short story can make you really look at things’

‘I liked the idea of the short story as a light box, because it can convey containment and expansion at the same time – the idea of something compressed, yet boundless too’


K J Orr was born in London and grew up in the rural Midlands. Her short fiction has appeared in the Dublin Review, the White Review and Best British Short Stories, been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.

Tell us a bit about the title of your collection. Why Light Box?

I love that the short story can make you look – really look – at things, whether these things are inanimate objects or relationship dynamics. It can put them under a spotlight, put them on pause, but somehow in a very active way, making them vivid, bringing them to life through a close focus that can get lost in longer works. This is one of the reasons that I chose the title Light Box. There were other reasons. Thematically the territory I was drawn to, over and over, had to do with characters being confronted with change – people who were in transition, physically or emotionally, and living on a threshold of some kind. In one of the stories an astronaut uses a light box to help himself adjust to life back on Earth, and so the light box made sense for the collection as an image associated with change.

Head over to The Irish Times to read the full interview.