Visiting Ardoyne Library


I’ll be returning to Ardoyne Library during Book Week NI. This library was where I would hide from the streets of Ardoyne – the bullies and The Troubles. It’s where I indulged my love for books, as we had none in our house, and I don’t know what I would have done without it! Come along if you can.


Winner of ‘McCrea Literary Award​’

Winner of ‘McCrea Literary Award’

I am delighted to have been awarded the McCrea Literary Award 2018/19 for my short stories. I won the award previously for my debut novel The Good Son. The award is given biannually by the University of Ulster. Have a great day!


“I devoured it in a day, but I’ve thought about it for many, many more.”
Bailey’s Prize-winner Lisa McInerney
“A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.”
Donal Ryan


New Work in ‘Smashing It’


Use Code SMASHINGIT50 for 50% discount but HURRY


Buy Here

I’ve written a new short story for this anthology ‘All Eyes On Me’. Featuring writing, lyrics and images by Riz Ahmed, Malorie Blackman, Salena Godden, Kerry Hudson, Maxine Peake and Wiley to name just a few.

About the anthology…

Working-class artists are hugely under-represented in the arts industries, facing extra challenges from unpaid work to prejudice, though they make up a third of the British population. How can we break this cycle of inequality?

Smashing It celebrates the achievements of working-class artists in Britain, from the global takeover of Grime musicians to the literary powerhouses pushing representative narratives, also showcasing their works. Offering guidance and inspiration, leading musicians, playwrights, visual artists, filmmakers and writers share how they overcame obstacles, from the financial to the philosophical, to make it in the arts.

An essential read, Smashing It will empower those who will be a part of tomorrow’s bigger picture.


About the Editor

Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian playwright, poet and screenwriter. Sabrina has been the Sky Arts Academy Scholar for Poetry, Leverhulme Playwright in Residence and Associate Artist at Bush Theatre, and she was named one of the inaugural 40 under 40 Royal Society of Literature fellows in 2018. The editor of the Guardian Book of the Year, The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, Mahfouz’s writing has also been published in The Good Immigrant and Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic.


Podcast: Me & George Saunders

How Short is a Short Story?

This event was recorded at BBC 3’s Free Thinking Festival with Jenn Ashworth and Kirsty Logan last year and you can listen to (and download) an edited version of that here. It was a highlight of my career to share a stage with one of my writing heroes – George Saunders. It also has an interview with Geroge included.

You can read an interview I did with George while there, in The Irish Times.

George and me BBC 3

Watch me on Sky Arts

It seems this has been the year of scaring the bejesus out of myself (see recording the BBC show on the novel).  The Sky Arts Arts 50  was one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever done. I was commissioned to write a short story set in the future (a first for me), having to learn the story (I managed mostly), perform it live at the Barbican Centre in front of an audience and having that recorded and shown on Sky Arts television… yikes!

I watched it for the first time this week – it took me a few months to build up the courage to watch myself.

Here’s a little on what the piece is about…

“With four counties out of a six county state voting Remain and a ruling party that was pro-Leave, Brexit was the final straw for a people kept stuck within boundaries and tribalism by its politicians, who regularly ignored their rights and votes. In Paul’s imagined future Northern Ireland’s forward-thinking people look back at the whole idea of nationalism as a barely-believable thing of the past.”

You can watch me perform the story here.


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Me & Kit de Waal at Durham Book Festival

Common People Celebration

Durham Book Festival

6th October

If you’re near Durham this should be a wonderful event. Please come along. I have a piece in the anthology called ‘Night of the Hunchback’.

Common People” is a collection of essays, poems and memoir, which celebrate the depth and texture of working-class life. The collection brings together established and emerging writers who redefine what it means to be working-class.

At this special event we’ll gather a selection of the contributors in the Miners’ Hall – Durham’s own  ‘pitman’s parliament’ – to read from their work and discuss their experiences as working-class writers. We’ll also be premiering a short film from emerging Durham writer, Louise Powell, inspired by her childhood experiences at Easington dog track.

Kit de Waal is the author of My Name is Leon and The Trick to Time and the editor of Common People. Kit and Louise will be joined by emerging writers Adam Sharp and Jodie Russian-Red and acclaimed author Paul McVeigh, whose novel The Good Son won the Polari Prize.

Chaired by John Mitchinson, Unbound



‘Best Short Story Collections of 2019’

‘Being Various’ Best Short Story Collections of 2019

in The Independent

Great news for ‘Being Various: New Irish Short Stories’ edited by Lucy Caldwell, published by Faber & Faber which is one of the 10 Best Short Story Collections of 2019 according to The Independent.

“Our roundup features the best short story collections released so far this year. We were looking for works which felt of the moment but whose shine wouldn’t fade years from now – writing we felt could be described as modern classics.”

And what’s more, they said: “if you are looking for variety – or a range of voices and themes in one book, we’d suggest plumping for “Being Various” in which all of the stories are truly outstanding pieces of fiction in completely different ways.’

Brilliant news for editor Lucy Caldwell in particular.

I was delighted to read I was one of only a handful of stories they picked out alongside Yan Ge,  Daniell McLaughlin, Louise O’Neill and Sally Rooney.

“Each story jolts you far from the previous one. “The Swimmers” (written by me) is a queasy, uncomfortable read given that the narrator is the young, naïve son of a paedophile who drives young boys to their swimming lessons in a smelly old bus.”