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.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001gww8

THE CAST

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.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0012rty?fbclid=IwAR3EgDMEtnUbLFanZPhzJgXuHnmjW4UTyZ5Kz5YIy_XSr39Z8FuCGXDYxb0

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.

Writing History: Dublin Book Festival, Nov 11

Join us as we take a step back in time for an evening of conversation in the beautiful surrounds of the Reading Room in the National Library of Ireland. Writer and playwright Paul McVeigh will be in conversation with three contemporary writers bringing history to life with their most recent novels. Edith (The Lilliput Press) by Martina Devlin is a captivating and insightful novel based on the life of Edith Somerville, a writer struggling to keep her art and spirit alive in the turbulence of 1920s Ireland. The Other Guinness Girl (Hachette) by Emily Hourican is the latest in a fascinating and deeply researched series of books about the glamorous world of the women in the famous Guinness family; a story of love, friendship and ambition set in the turbulent years preceding WWII. A Quiet Tide (New Island) by Marianne Lee is a beautifully crafted fictionalised account of the life of Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist, illuminating her passion and determination in the face of the many obstacles she faced.

Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin has written 11 books and two plays and is an award-winning journalist. She has won a VS Pritchett Prize from the Royal Society of Literature and a Hennessy Literary Award. Martina presents the City of Books podcast for Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and is the first holder of a PhD in literary practice from Trinity College Dublin where she has taught Irish literature.

Emily Hourican

Emily Hourican is a journalist and author. She has written features for the Sunday Independent for fifteen years, as well as Image magazine, Condé Nast Traveler and Woman and Home. She was also editor of The Dubliner Magazine. Emily’s first book, a memoir titled How To (Really) Be A Mother was published in 2013. She is also the author of novels The Privileged, White Villa, The Outsider and The Blamed, as well as two bestselling novels about the Guinness sisters: The Glorious Guinness Girls and The Guinness Girls: A Hint of Scandal. She lives in Dublin with her family.

Marianne Lee

Marianne Lee grew up in Tullamore, Co. Offaly and now lives in Dublin with her husband and two cats. She has a degree in Visual Communications from the National College of Art and Design and an MPhil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin. She works as a designer and copywriter. Her debut novel, A Quiet Tide, a fictionalised account of the life of Ellen Hutchins, Ireland’s first female botanist was shortlisted for the 2021 Kate O’Brien Award, featured on RTÉ Radio One Book on One in spring 2022. Marianne is currently adapting A Quiet Tide for the screen and working on her second novel. @ThisMarianneLee www.mariannelee.ie

Paul McVeigh

Paul’s debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize, The McCrea Literary Award and was shortlisted for many others including the Prix de Roman Cezam. His short stories have appeared in The Art of the Glimpse and Being Various, as well as, on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5, and Sky Arts. His writing has been translated into seven languages.

Bonnie Greer, Finn Kennedy, Stacey Gregg & Me

Arts Council and Royal Society of Literature announce third NI Writers Day

The third NI Writers Day will take place on Monday 26th September 2022 and shine a spotlight on the art of writing for stage and screen, providing a platform for discussion, sharing industry insights and celebrating the work of local writers.

Headed up by esteemed playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, recently announced a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the event will unfold in two sessions. 

The first, an intimate lunchtime writing workshop with Bonnie for 12 playwrights wanting to hone their craft. Participants will have the chance to read one of Bonnie Greer’s latest scripts and hear about her life in theatre, having studied with David Mamet and Elaine Kazan, taught playwriting to students and formerly incarcerated women, and seen her plays performed to great acclaim around the world.

The evening event will feature a panel discussion in the Lyric’s Naughton Studio and is open to the public. 

Chaired by Bonnie Greer, it will celebrate Northern Ireland-born playwrights, who have gained local and international acclaim for their work. The line-up will include writer and theatre director Fionnuala Kennedy whose play, Removed, produced by Prime Cut Productions, in partnership with Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC), won the 2020 Zebbie award for Best Play and is set to tour internationally in 2023. Director and performer Stacy Gregg, will also share their experiences of the industry, having written extensively for television and worked with global broadcasting platforms. Most recently they directed a block of The Baby (Sky/HBO) and wrote and directed the feature film Here Before, which premiered at South by Southwest.

This event marks the third Arts Council and RSL NI Writers Day collaboration and the first in the series to take place live.

Tickets

Tickets for Bonnie Greer’s lunchtime writing workshop are free but numbers are strictly limited. To apply please send a short paragraph about yourself and a two page writing sample to info@rsliterature.org before 5pm on Thursday 15 September. The sample should be a script or a piece of writing relating to performance. You will be contacted the following week as to whether you have a place held in the workshop.

Tickets to the evening event, NI Writers Day 3, can be booked via the Lyric Theatre box office from 1pm on Wednesday 9th August and are priced at £5. Contact the Lyric box office to book your seat on 02890 381 081 or go to: https://lyrictheatre.co.uk/whats-on/royal-society-of-literature-panel-discussion-with-bonnie-greer.

Chairing Darran Anderson & Wendy Erskine Birmingham Lit Fest

Focus on: Northern Ireland –

Darran Anderson & Wendy Erskine

8th October, 8pm Birmingham Rep

Northern Ireland – often overlooked, or dismissed as “troublesome” – has generated some of the best contemporary writing in the English language.

Invited by Guest Curator Paul McVeigh, Darran Anderson and Wendy Erskine are some of the most exciting new literary voices coming out of the nation, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

Come and find out what wonderful fiction you’ve been missing out on, and who you should be looking out for next.

Chaired by Paul McVeigh

About the speakers:

Darran Anderson is an Irish writer living in London. He is the author of Imaginary Cities and Inventory. He has co-edited The Honest Ulsterman3:AM MagazineDogmatika and White Noise. He writes for the likes of the Atlanticfrieze magazine, and Magnum, and has given talks at the V&A, the LSE, the Robin Boyd Foundation and the Venice Biennale.

Wendy Erskine lives in Belfast. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly, Stinging Fly Stories and Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland. She also features in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber and Faber), Winter Papers and on BBC Radio 4.

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*POSTPONED*Panelist on Shared Island Dialogue

Shared Island Dialogue series Arts and Culture on a Shared Island

11.35 – 12.15 MAC, Belfast. Free.

Panel 1: Arts & culture on a shared island – challenges & opportunities

To explore North/South and East/West perspectives, opportunities and challenges in supporting and promoting artists and arts organisations; hear artists and arts organisations’ views on operating on an all-island basis and on deepening cultural interaction exchange on the island of Ireland. Asking – what does a shared island mean for the arts and culture sector?

Panellists

  • –  Maureen Kennelly, Director, Arts Council
  • –  Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • –  Jimmy Fay, Director, Lyric Theatre, Belfast
  • –  Paul McVeigh, Author

For the day’s events click here.