‘Queer Love’ Reviewed in The Irish Times

‘Queer Love’ Reviewed in The Irish Times

The Queer Love anthology ‘demonstrates why queer writers excel at writing’ according to poet/professor Sean Hewitt in The Irish Times.

Queer Love seeks to go some way to redress the lack of acknowledgement of the LGBTQI+ community in Irish literary anthologies, with a mixture of established writers of international standing, writers who have been making a splash in recent years and new emerging writers. The anthology has a mixture of previously published stories, newly commissioned work and those entered through our call out. Featuring stories by John Boyne, Emma Donoghue, Mary Dorcey, Neil Hegarty, James Hudson, Emer Lyons, Jamie O’Connell, Colm Tóibín, Declan Toohey, and Shannon Yee.

You can buy it here.

Queer Love Anthology in Irish Times

 “Let’s fill those bookshelves in homes, libraries, and shops with more and more stories of us.”  Click to read the article.

Thanks to Martin Doyle for spreading the word about the ‘Queer Love’ anthology by Southword Editons (Southword Literary Journal / Munster Literature Centre) edited by me. This is an extended version of the foreword with contributions from Shannon Yee and Neil Hegarty. Thanks to the other contributors to the anthology John Boyne, Emma Donoghue, Mary Dorcey, James Hudson, Emer Lyons, Jamie O’Connell, Colm Toibin & Declan Toohey.

Garth Greenwell Interview in Irish Times

After debut success, Garth Greenwell returns to the ‘pit of despair’

To Garth Greenwell, the huge international success of his debut What Belongs to You, “was the biggest surprise of my life”, and he feels “immensely lucky” as “the success of a book has as much to do with chance as anything else”. Its success has allowed him to have a career as a writer and teacher in a way he wasn’t able to in his previous 20 years of writing. He feels relieved, though, that the writing process itself, “the struggle”, just him alone with his notebook and “the pit of doubt and despair”, hasn’t changed. “I wouldn’t know who I would be without it.”

You can read my interview with him about his new novel, Cleanness, in The Irish Times.

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The 32: Call Out in Irish Times

“Are you a new or emerging writer from a working class background? Would you like to be published alongside an Impac Award-winner, a Booker Prize-winner, two Sunday Times Short Story Award-winners, a senator, playwrights and poets? What about a professional development programme with the help of leading publishers and the Irish Writers Centre.”

Read all about it in my article in The Irish Times.

You can apply here.

On Brexit

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.”

And ends…

“…the whole damn place needs a gaying up!”

Head over the read the full text and the rest of the responses.

“I devoured it in a day, but I’ve thought about it for many, many more.”
Bailey’s Prize-winner Lisa McInerney
“A triumph of storytelling. An absolute gem.”
Donal Ryan

 

 

My Christmas Story in The Irish Times

A very short story from me for Christmas in The Irish Times today – ‘Malibu Barbie Christmas’. I hope you enjoy it.

“Síofra wiggles, which is not a good sign as she’s started to wet the bed since the night she told them all to call her Baby Síofra again. Fintain sticks his hand under her bum. Dry as a bone.

“Good girl,” he says, like he’s proper Daddy.

“I’m holding it in for Santa,” says she.”

Head over for a 5 minute read.

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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