BOOK LAUNCH: A Little Unsteadily Into Light 

A New Short Story in Dementia-Inspired Anthology

Launch invitation:

  • Please join us on Wednesday 31st August, 6:30pm to celebrate the launch of an exciting new collection of dementia-inspired fiction edited by Jan Carson and Jane Lugea.
  • Readings from Chris Wright and Paul McVeigh
  • Location: Senate Room, Lanyon Building, Queen’s University of Belfast, BT7 1NN
  • RSVP at link below, queries to info@newisland.ie

About the book:

To live with dementia is to develop extraordinary and various new ways of being – linguistically, cognitively and practically. The storyteller operates similarly, using words and ideas creatively to reveal a slightly different perspective of the world.

In this anthology of fourteen new short stories, commissioned by Jan Carson and Jane Lugea, some of the best contemporary writers from Ireland and the UK powerfully and poignantly explore the depths and breadth of the real dementia experience, traversing age, ethnicity, class and gender, sex and consent. Each writer’s story is drawn from their own personal experience of dementia and told with outrageous and dark humour, empathy and startling insight. Here are heroes and villains, tricksters and saints, mothers, fathers, lovers, friends, characters whose past has overshadowed their present and characters who are making a huge impact on the world they currently find themselves in. They might have dementia, but dementia is only a small part of who they are. They will challenge, frustrate, inspire and humble you.

Above all, these brilliant pieces of short fiction disrupt the perceived notions of what dementia is and, in their diversity, honesty and authenticity begin to normalise an illness that affects so many and break down the stigma endured by those living with it every day.

Featuring new fiction by:

Suad Aldarra, Caleb Azumah Nelson, Jan Carson, Elaine Feeney, Oona Frawley, Sinéad Gleeson, Anna Jean Hughes, Caleb Klaces, Naomi Krüger, Henrietta McKervey, Paul McVeigh, Mary Morrissy, Nuala O’Connor, Chris Wright.

Copies will be available on the night or you can order here: newisland.ie/fiction/a-little-unsteadily

Find out more about the AHRC-funded research project based at Queen’s University Belfast, from which this anthology has emerged: http://www.blogs.qub.ac.uk/dementiafiction/

Link here.

That Killer First Page at Birmingham Lit Fest

That Killer First Page – with Paul McVeigh

8th October, 10am-12noon, The Exchange.

“Short stories are where a lot of writers start, and short story competitions are enormously valuable to an emerging writer.

You’ll find out what competition judges and journal editors look for in a short story and how to avoid the rejection pile. In a form where every word counts, get tips on staying focused on your story and where to start the action.

You’ll also look at submission opportunities; how to find them and where you should be sending your stories.

Paul McVeigh is co-founder of London Short Story Festival and Associate Director at Word Factory. He’s been a reader and judge for national and international literary competitions and prizes. He had also edited four anthologies and reviews for the Irish Times and the TLS.”

Book here.

You can still listen to my short story ‘Dady Christmas’ on BBC Radio 4 here.

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

Abridged Extract from Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook

This is an abridged extract from my article in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2023, discussing what I has learned about the world of short stories.

“In the rush for publication, writing for radio is often forgotten, and the irony is that radio is probably the largest commissioner of short stories in the UK and Ireland. Put BBC Radio 4 Short Story in your search bar and you will find a treasure trove of recordings read by our greatest performers.”

Click here for full extract.

You can still listen to my short story ‘Dady Christmas’ on BBC Radio 4 here.

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

Chairing Wendy Erskine & Bernie McGill at JHISS ’22

Celebrating the Short Story with Wendy Erskine & Bernie McGill

in conversation with …Paul McVeigh

Wednesday 27th July at 1.30pm Market Theatre, Armagh.

Wendy Erskine’s first collection, Sweet Home, (2018) was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize and the Republic of Consciousness Prize, and won the 2020 Butler Literary Award. In her new collection, Dance Move, we meet characters who are looking to wrest control of their lives, only to find themselves defined by moments in their past. In these stories – as in real life – the funny, the tender and the devastating go hand in hand.

“Truly magnificent. These stories buzz with life and verve and humour. A collection that reminds us how glorious the short story can be.” Danielle McLaughlin

Bernie McGill

Bernie McGill has written two novels, The Butterfly Cabinet and The Watch House, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Irish/European Union Prize for Literature, a collection of short stories, Sleepwalkers, and two plays, The Weather Watchers, and The Haunting of Helena Blunden. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for numerous awards and is anthologised widely. Her latest collection of short stories is This Train is For, published by
No Alibis, June 2022.

“[Bernie] McGill writes about life, love and telegraphy with a poet’s clarity.” The Sunday Times

For the full festival programme go here.

You can still listen to my short story ‘Dady Christmas’ on BBC Radio 4 here.

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

Teaching at Listowel

3 Day Workshop: Short Story with Paul McVeigh


Date and time

Thu, 2 June – Sat, 4 June 2022

09:00 – 12:30 IST

You can check out the website here and ticket link below.

‘Paul will share what first readers, editors and judges look for in a short story and discuss how to get your story published.

Paul will discuss how to get your story onto that shortlist and how to avoid the rejection pile. Paul will take you behind the scenes of anthologies, competitions and journals, explaining the psychology of the decision-making process and the importance of ‘That Killer First Page’. He will highlight the essential ingredients to create that crucial story opening. In a form and genre where every word counts, you will get tips on staying focused on your story and where to start the action; you will also get clues on when to stop. You will write an opening and get feedback on that. You will look at submission opportunities; how to find them and where you should be sending your stories.

Paul McVeigh’s short stories have been read on BBC Radio 3, 4 & 5 and performed on Sky Arts TV. They have also appeared in many publications including Faber’s ‘Being Various: New Irish Short Stories’, ‘The Art of the Glimpse’, The Irish Times, The London Magazine and The Stinging Fly. ‘Hollow’ was shortlisted for Irish Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2017 and he was longlisted in 2021.’

His debut novel ‘The Good Son’ won The Polari First Novel Prize and his work has been translated into seven languages. He reviews for The Irish Times and the TLS. 

Paul has edited the Southword Journal, the ‘Belfast Stories’ anthology from Doire Press (2019) and is the editor of ‘Queer Love’ and ‘The 32′, which includes new work from Roddy Doyle, Kevin Barry and Danielle McLaughlin.

He is associate director of Word Factory ‘the UK’s national organisation for excellence in the short story The Guardian and is co-founder and Director of the London Short Story Festival. Paul has judged many international literary competitions including The Dylan Thomas Prize, The Edge Hill Short Story Prize, The Sean O’Faolin Short Story Prize and currently the V. S. Pritchard Prize for the Royal Society of Literature. He is presently head of Literature for the Arts Council of NI.

This workshop has sold out in Adelaide, Armagh, Bath, Belfast, Brighton, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kuala Lumpur, Lancaster, Listowel, London, Melbourne, Salisbury, Singapore, Ubud and West Cork.’

You can listen to one of my stories on BBC Sounds for all of 2022 – ‘Daddy Christmas’

Chairing Lucy Caldwell & Jan Carson at Cork Short Story Festival

Lucy Caldwell & Jan Carson in conversation with Paul McVeigh

caldwell

Oct 16th 7pm   Book Ticket

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.”

Buy Intimacies (Faber and Faber) and visit the writer’s website.

carson

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.

Buy The Last Resort (Doubleday Ireland) and visit the writer’s website.

mcveigh

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.

Buy The Good Son from Salt Publishing and visit the writer’s website.