A podcast of me interviewing Kit de Waal for Birmingham Literature Festival was released November 5th. We talk writing, why short stories are harder than novels, growing up working class and poor, and keeping writing despite rejections and bad feedback. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Look out for it coming this October.
“The Good Son is a work of genius from a splendid writer.”
Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Olen Butler
“A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.” Donal Ryan
RTE Podcast: That Killer First Page
You can hear me talk about ‘That Killer First Page‘ on RTE Arena in this 10-minute podcast.
If you’d like to take my class, the next session is at Stockholm Writers Festival in May.
I’ll also be talking about my novel The Good Son, and giving a talk on using social media as a writer.
Hope to see some of you there.
The Art of Border Living Podcasts
The short story podcasts inspired by the border in Ireland and the WW1 centenary are now available to listen to online. They feature new writing by me, Garrett Carr, Claire Louise Bennett, Nuala O’ Connor and Women’s Fiction Prize-winner Kamila Shamsie.
The stories were commissioned by Verbal Arts and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
You can listen to the stories here.
A unique listen-in-the-dark experience launching short story podcasts inspired by the border in Ireland, which feature new writing by Kamila Shamsie, Claire Louise Bennett, Nuala O’ Connor, Paul McVeigh and Garrett Carr, commissioned by Verbal and 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
The evening will also feature a new creative audio documentary about the impact of WW1 on what would soon become the borderlands of Ireland, produced by the award-winning broadcaster Peter Curran.
Actor Eleanor Methven will read a selection of acclaimed Irish poetry on these themes throughout the evening, before a Q&A with some of the artists and writers including Garrett Carr, Nuala O’Connor and Paul McVeigh.
Podcast: Can Literature Solve Poverty
Last week I did an event at the LSE for the Royal Society of Literature with academic Dr Aaron Reeves and novelist Kit de Waal. We read from our work and talked about literature and working class lives. You can listen to it here.
Recently I did an interview with writer Caroline Donohue and you can listen to it as of today. Caroline asked excellent questions and we had a great chat – I talk far too much! Here’s what Caroline says on her site. I hope you enjoy it.
Paul McVeigh wrote a story in an afternoon that took twenty years.
How is that possible? We gather images over time, trying to figure out how they fit together. Paul had pieces of a story that didn’t quite fit until suddenly, they did. And then the story came out almost all at once in a single sitting. How do you know when it’s time to write a story? And how do you know when to give up on an idea? These are questions that have plagued so many writers and my clients. Paul was the perfect person to discuss them with. Having written fiction, theater, comedy, and a writing teacher himself, Paul has a breadth of experience and a sensitivity to this topic that will blow you away. His debut novel, The Good Son won countless awards and becomes a favorite of everyone who reads it.
This conversation was both deep and funny, an incredible dive into the places where writing comes from and how to know when you’ve got a story that won’t let you go. This promises to be one you’ll listen to more than once. I have been waiting and waiting to share this one! I’m so glad it’s time for you to hear it.
Discussed in Episode 69 with Paul McVeigh:
- Turning the original short story into the novel The Good Son | Mentioned: Article about the process on Paul’s blog
- How ideas evolve into stories
- Getting clear about what is meant and how people often say things to cover up what they mean
- Writing for the stage and what it taught Paul about dialog
- Why you’re bananas if you don’t keep a notebook
- The elements of the story Paul wrote in an afternoon after pondering for 20 years
- Collecting three distinct elements to build a story
- Creating a story that is the duration of a hug
- Stephen Johnson’s spark file
- Why good writing is never wasted
- Paul is waiting for this ability to match his intention
- Being a risk-taker as well as a writer
- The real question: What will possibly go wrong if I give it a try?
- Making friends with the best writers and how this will help your own work
- Connecting by going in with an offer, not with an ask
- Find writers who are better from you and learn from them
- How working with actors helped him find meaning behind the dialogue
- Turning the short story into a novel
- Writing with a child as protagonist
- How writing about the Troubles in Ireland forced Paul to relive that time
- Going deep with your writing so it becomes more universal
- Learning to look back with kindness and forgiveness
- The importance of intention in writing
- Basking in having completed the book.
Last night the first part of John Kelly’s new radio series, The Reading List, was aired. Eimear McBride, Bailey’s Prize-winning author of ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’, and myself, discuss the Anaïs Nin classic ‘A Spy in the House of Love’.
You can listen here – The Reading List with John Kelly
Here’s what they say on the RTE website:
‘A Spy in the House of Love’ by Anaïs Nin.
“Writers Eimear McBride and Paul McVeigh discuss Nin’s 1954 novella, the story of Sabina and her pursuit of pleasure through her relationships with four very different men.”
Happy St Patrick’s Day! I hope you have a good one. I’ll be spending tonight celebrating at the sold out City Reads event – it’s going to be fun.
If you fancy hearing an Irish accent on St Patrick’s Day…
I spent the afternoon on the ‘What’s The Craic’ show on Radio Reverb. It was a great chat about the process of writing The Good Son and the issues in the novel.
I also chose a couple of songs. I hope you like it.
I was asked by book blogger (and writer) Simon Savidge to take part in a podcast interview for his wonderful ‘You Wrote The Book’ site. There are interviews with excellent writers on there: Carys Davies, Helen MacDonald and Val McDermid. It was a real honour to be asked.
I’ll warn you I’m not the most inarticulate of men. I should stick to writing things down.
Simon asks great questions and you might enjoy listening to me stutter and stumble as I try to answer. Here you go.