Interview w/ BBC National Short Story Award

On the day of the ceremony on BBC Radio 4 Front Row I go behind the scenes of the BBC National Short Story Award with one of its founders and BBC Radio Books Editor Di Speirs. Find out all you need to know about the judging process in Irish Times Culture.

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/behind-the-scenes-at-the-bbc-national-short-story-award-1.3644969

“Over the last few years I’ve worked with a number of literary awards and prizes, and it’s been an education. The behind-the-scenes processes have varied quite significantly. To illustrate with one example; for the £30,000 International Dylan Thomas Prize we read the longlist of twelve books then re-read our chosen shortlist of six, for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize we didn’t read the longlist only the five collections on the shortlist, for the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Prize I was the only judge and reader, tackling around 750 short stories.

This year I was asked to be an ambassador for the BBC National Short Story Award. I first worked with the award a few years back for an event at the London Short Story Festival, which I co-founded and programmed. Now in its 13th year, the award has become a landmark on the short story landscape in the UK and internationally. I have long been a fan of their excellent website, for podcasts and recordings of previous winners and specially commissioned short stories from the best writers in the form. On that note, a little known astonishing fact, BBC Radio 4 is the world’s biggest single commissioner of short stories, attracting audiences of over a million listeners to short fiction.

Due to its unique and powerful position, at times, questions are asked about access to the BBC’s short story feast. As I watched the twitter reaction to the news of the fifth all-female shortlist and the issues raised re its selection process, I realised there were some questions even I had about the way the award worked.

I used my role as ambassador to gain an interview with Di Speirs, founding judge of the award and BBC’s editor of books, who has gone into detail about every step of the judging process, and shares her love for the short story form.”

Head here to read the interview. image.jpg

Interviewing Kit de Waal in Belfast

Kit De Waal: The Trick To Time

Date Thursday 13 September 2018
Time 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Price£8 | £6

with Paul McVeigh

I’m delighted to be working with Kit de Waal again. We read together at a festival in Morges and for the Royal Society of Literature in London. I’ve also interviewed her for The Irish Times. This time I’ll be interviewing her live in Belfast. Here’s the blurb…

The Crescent is delighted to welcome to Belfast, the author of the Costa shortlisted and Irish Novel of the Year award winning novel, My Name is Leon, Kit De Waal for a Belfast Book Festival Fringe event. She is joining us to discuss her latest novel, The Trick To Time; an unforgettable love story.

Birmingham, 1972. Mona is a young Irish girl in a big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in town, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a dizzying love affair, a whirlwind marriage, an unexpected pregnancy – before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.

Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?

The Trick to Time is an unforgettable tale of grief, longing, and a love that lasts a lifetime.

‘Weaving tragedy and joy, big themes and the minutiae of life, this is a love story to take on the classics’ – Emerald Street

Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the 60’s and 70’s. Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.

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Kit and me read together at a festival in  Morges

 

Read My 2 George Saunders Interviews

Congratulations to George Saunders on winning the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

I’ve been lucky enough to have interviewed George twice and was especially honoured to share the stage with him this year at the BBC 3 Free Thinking Festival.

My first interview with him was on the day he won The Folio Prize and the second time was recently on a promotional tour of the UK and Ireland for the release of his award-winning novel.

I hope you enjoy them.

 

George Saunders

Credit: Paul McVeigh – taken in London before his Folio Prize win

 

 

 

 

Cork Short Story Festival 2017

Cork International Short Story Festival 2017

It’s no secret how much I love Cork and the Cork International Short Story Festival. Every year Patrick Cotter brings together the best short story writers from all over the world to celebrate the form. This year is no exception with Carlo Gebler, Claire Keegan, David Means among many. There are films, panel events, workshops and interviews by Rob Doyle, Tom Morris, Sinead Gleeson and me!

I’m involved in three events this year. I’m chairing events with Carlo Gebler & Alannah Hopkin and Alan McMonagle & Billy O’Callaghan. This year I had the honour of judging the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition and I will giving the prize to the winner at a special ceremony on Friday.

 

Sinead me and CLB at COrk SS F 2016

Last year at CSSF with Sinead Gleeson and Claire-Louise Bennett

 

My events:

1. Alannah Hopkin & Carlo Gébler Readings by two Irish writers, moderated by Paul McVeigh.

14th September at 8.30pm Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon Admission: €5

Alannah Hopkin is a novelist, travel writer and critic from Kinsale, Co Cork. She has published two novels (Hamish Hamilton, London); other books include West Cork, the People & the Place (The Collins Press, Cork). Her stories have appeared in the London Magazine and The Cork Literary Review. The Dogs of Inishere (Dalkey Archive Press) is her first story collection.

Carlo Gébler was born Dublin in 1954, the eldest son of writer parents, Ernest Gébler and Edna O’Brien. His recent publications from New Island are The Projectionist: The Story of Ernest Gébler, The Wing Orderly’s Tales, and The Innocent of Falkland Road. He teaches at Trinity and is a member of Aosdána.

 

2. The Seán Ó Faoláin Prizegiving With a reading by the 2017 winner and prize presentation by judge Paul McVeigh.

15th September at 4pm Cork Central Library (Grand Parade) Admission: FREE

Louise Nealon is a twenty-six year old writer from Co. Kildare. She studied English literature in Trinity College Dublin, and then completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast in 2016. She currently lives on her family’s farm where she divides her time between reading, writing and milking cows. She will be reading her prizewinning story, ‘What Feminism Is’, at this event.

The Sean O’Faolain Prize is awarded to the best single story entered in competition from anywhere in the world. The first prize is €2000. The winner also receives a week’s residency at the Anam Cara artist retreat in West Cork and publication of their winning story in Southword. The winner, if they choose to travel to Cork for this event, also receives accommodation with meals for the duration of the festival and entry into all events. This occasion is an opportunity to hear the winning story and the judge’s citation from Paul McVeigh. The competition is now closed, and the winning and shortlisted stories have been announced on our competitions page.

 

3. Alan McMonagle & Billy O’Callaghan Readings by two Irish writers, moderated by Paul McVeigh.

15th September at 8.30pm Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon Admission: €5

Alan McMonagle has written for radio and published two collections of short stories, Liar Liar (Wordsonthestreet, 2008) and Psychotic Episodes (Arlen House, 2013), both of which were nominated for the Frank O’Connor Award. In November 2015, he signed a two-book deal with Picador, and in March 2017, Ithaca, his debut novel was published and immediately nominated for the Desmond Elliott Award for first novels. He lives in Galway.

Billy O’Callaghan, from Cork, is the author of three short story collections: In Exile (2008) and In Too Deep (2009), both published by Mercier Press, and The Things We Lose, the Things We Leave Behind (2013), published by New Island Books, which won the 2013 Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Award for Short Story of the Year, and which has been selected as Cork’s ‘One City, One Book’ for 2017. His first novel, The Dead House, was published by O’Brien Press/Brandon Books in May 2017. A novella, A Death in the Family, will be published in late 2017 as a Ploughshares Solo.

I hope to see some of you there.