Interviewed on RTE Radio about The 32 Anthology
dlr LexIcon Library and Cultural Centre, Saturday March 28th, 1.30pm.
As editor, of ‘Belfast Stories’ anthology, I’ve been asked to chair this wonderful event. I do hope some of you can come.
“Chaired by novelist Paul McVeigh, we are pleased to welcome two of Belfast’s most compelling voices, Wendy Erskine and Lucy Caldwell for discussion and readings from Belfast stories. This collection of short fiction presents a composite view of local life which invites us to view Belfast afresh through the imaginations of some of its finest writers. Join us and hear each of our guests pay homage to contemporary Belfast in all its vivacity, multiplicity, and complexity.
Wendy Erskine lives in Belfast. Her debut collection of stories, Sweet Home, was published by The Stinging Fly Press in September 2018. It will be published by Picador in the UK in June 2019. Her stories have also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and on RTÉ Radio One.
Lucy Caldwell is the multi–award winning author of three novels, several stage plays and radio dramas and, most recently, two collections of short stories: Multitudes(Faber, 2016) and Intimacies (forthcoming, Faber, 2020). She is also the editor of Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). Awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Irish Writers’ and Screenwriters’ Guild Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe), the Edge Hill Short Story Prize Readers’ Choice Award, a Fiction Uncovered Award, a K. Blundell Trust Award and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
Two bits of exciting news – ‘The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices’, which I’m editing, has received a huge donation of £3,000 from the wonderful people behind The Spaniard Belfast, Muriel’s Kitchen, Panama Belfast and new owners of The Chester Bar.
“I met Lyra through Anna Burns, the Booker Prize winner, and the three of us had lunch together – three working class Ardoyne authors from three different generations,” he said.
“She told me her book was coming out and I spoke to her about being part of the anthology – that was before her book deal – and then, heartbreakingly, the tragedy happened.
“I recently talked to her publishers, who are bringing out a new book from her next month, and after I explained the back story, they are now giving me an unpublished piece of her writing to include, which is really amazing.”
Please pledge here to help make this book happen: unbound.com/books/32/.
The 32 is launched on the Unbound site. The Bookseller covered the launch here.
Please pledge to read 16 new pieces of work from the best writers in the country and help 16 new writers from working class backgrounds at the same time!
In a recent documentary on BBC Radio 4, novelist Kit de Waal asked ‘where are the working class writers?’ The answer is ‘right here’ in The 32.
Inspired by a shared concern that working class voices are increasingly absent from the pages of books and newspapers, Kit de Waal came together with publishers Unbound to create the hugely successful Common People anthology.
The Observer recently described Kit de Waal’s My Name Is Leon and my novel The Good Son as the ‘exceptional working-class novels from the last few years’ so it seems apt that Kit passes the baton to me to edit The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Voices.
Like Common People, The 32 will be a collection of essays and memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of new and emerging writers from all over the island of Ireland.
These new writers will be selected by an open call and we are working with the Cork World Book Festival, Irish Writers Centre, Munster Literature Centre, and Words Ireland to provide additional support.
Too often, working class writers find that the hurdles they have to leap are higher and harder to cross than for writers from more affluent backgrounds. The 32 will see writers who have made that leap reach back to give a helping hand to those coming up behind.
We read because we want to experience lives and emotions beyond our own, to learn, to see with others’ eyes – without new working class voices, without the vital reflection of real lives, or role models for working class readers and writers, literature will be poorer. We will all be poorer. Pledge for The 32 and join these writers to help to make a difference.
Contributors So Far Include:
Melatu Uche Okorie
Senator Lynne Ruane
Dr Michael Pierse
Please pledge if you can!
Here’s an excellent piece from Lisa Frank of Doire Press in Irish Times Culture on the new anthology we edited called ‘Belfast Stories’.
You can come to the launch at Belfast Book Festival this Sunday 5pm at Crescent Arts Centre.
I’m a wee bit excited to be in two anthologies released this week.
‘Being Various’ is the latest in the Faber series of Irish short story anthologies. Edited by Lucy Caldwell, it contains my new short story ‘The Swimmers’.
The other is ‘Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers’ edited by it de Waal. It has my first piece of memoir called ‘Night of the Hunchback’.
I hope you enjoy them. 🙂
Join Doire Press for the launch of Belfast Stories. It is a collection of short fiction set throughout the neighbourhoods of the city, written by both established and emerging writers, who live in or have a strong connection to Belfast.
The writers in Belfast Stories include: Linda Anderson, Lucy Caldwell, Jan Carson, Wendy Erskine, Jamie Guiney, Peter Hollywood, Caoilinn Hughes, Rosemary Jenkinson, Winnie M Li, Bernie McGill, Michael Nolan, David Park, Glenn Patterson, Ian Sansom, Dawn Watson and Shannon Yee.
The anthology also features photos and background information on each neighbourhood, as well as local listings and a map displaying where each of the stories takes place.
The preface and photos are by Malachi O’Doherty.
This launch event will include readings by some of the writers featured in the anthology, including Jan Carson, Bernie McGill, Dawn Watson and Shannon Yee, among others, and will be launched by Damian Smyth.