»If I had been born at the top of my street, behind the corrugated-iron border, I would have been British. Incredible to think. My whole idea of myself, the attachments made to a culture, heritage, religion, nationalism and politics are all an accident of birth. I was one street away from being born my ‘enemy’« writes Paul McVeigh, Belfast born novelist and author of ‘The Good Son’.
Lucy Caldwell is the author of two short story collections, several stage plays and radio dramas, and four novels, including the forthcoming These Days (Faber, March 2022). She is also the editor of Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber, 2019). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Fellow of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her most recent collection Intimacies was described by Kevin Barry as “A tremendous collection. Precise and beautifully controlled fictions but with strange, wild energies pulsing along just below their surface,” and by Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee as “Heart-stoppingly good.” She was named by the Sunday Times as “one of Ireland’s most essential writers.”
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator based in Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim, followed by a short-story collection, Children’s Children(2016), and two flash fiction anthologies, Postcard Stories (2017) and Postcard Stories 2 (2020). Her second novel, The Fire Starters (2019), won the EU Prize for Literature and was shortlisted for the Dalkey Novel of the Year Award. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She has won the Harper’s Bazaar short-story competition and has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize. She specializes in running arts projects and events with older people, especially those living with dementia.
Paul McVeigh‘s debut novel, The Good Son, won The Polari First Novel Prize and The McCrea Literary Award and was shortlisted for many others including the Prix du Roman Cezam in France. His short stories have been read on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5 and on Sky Arts. They have appeared in print in journals such as The Stinging Fly, and numerous anthologies including Faber’s Being Various: New Irish Short Stories and The Art of the Glimpse. He is associate director of Word Factory, ‘the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story’ (The Guardian), and he co-founded the London Short Story Festival. He was co-editor of the Belfast Storiesanthology and was fiction editor at Southword Journal. He edited The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working Class Writers, which includes new work by Kevin Barry, Roddy Doyle and Lisa McInerney.
Did you know that Northern Ireland is the only region in the UK that has no writer development agency? It meant working class writers from NI couldn’t apply to be part of Kit de Waal’s ‘Common People’ anthology. ‘The 32’ anthology is here to redress this. Please pledge.
A collection of Irish authors have responded to Brexit in the Irish Times today. Mine begins…
“One positive thing for Northern Ireland is that Brexit has actually made it visible. Mostly it feels like a little desert island and we jump up and down trying to get the attention of passing aircraft.”
Congratulations Toby Binder on ‘Wee Muckers’ becoming huge photo features in The Guardian and now The Washington Post – where my introduction is quoted: “poverty, political strife and living in fear was what we had in common. And the Troubles has become this hugely enveloping, shared experience that binds those generations as much as it divides”.
I’m coming home to Northern Ireland for the Aperture Festival 29th July to August 2nd in Ballycastle. I’ll be giving a reading Sat night. I’m taking part in some panels and giving a class there on Saturday 1st on creative writing.
That Killer First Page has sold out in Melbourne, London and Cork. The course helps writers get an insight into what competition judges and editors look for in a short story. This year I’m judging 3 competitions in UK and Ireland.
Social Media for Writers gives my personal experience of using social media and blogging to create and grow a public profile and to generate paid work. My blog is getting 40,000 hits a month and has had over 900,000 visitors.