An interview with Lisa McInerney

Author and academic Tim Groenland talks to our incoming editor Lisa McInerney about reading submissions, the magazine’s editorial process, and keeping up with an ever-changing publishing landscape.

Interview 18th May 2023

This So-Called Writing Life

A series of essays reflecting on craft, process, and the pains and pleasures of writing and publishing. Kevin Doherty begins the series, with more essays to follow in the coming months. Introduction by Series Editor, Olivia Fitzsimons.

Essay 29th March 2023

Anamnesis

‘I have a habit of telling stories too fast, expecting a coherent narrative to spring up from a few words flimsily strung together on a string. The problem is words words words. The more neatly I arrange them, the more they lose their flavour.’

Fiction 1st March 2023

Not Any Old Hundred Years

‘I remember my uncle cutting his toe nails with a razor blade. I remember my father drunk from Sunday to Sunday. There has to be a monument to the failures as well.’

Fiction 2nd February 2023

What Gets Us Through | 2022

As the year ends, we asked more of our editors, writers and collaborators to write about something that has made a significant impact on them over the past while.

Blog Post 31st December 2022

Happiness

‘Something always came down like a guillotine to split her life in two, so that on one side was happiness, and on the other, the present.’

Fiction 14th December 2022

Tomahawk

‘This was in Montpellier, in 2012. He was a legionnaire from Birmingham; his reclaimed name was Roger, and he was the most intelligent murderer I have ever met.’

Fiction 9th November 2022

Attempted Rescues: Notes on Writing

‘We are many selves, and often these selves have rival needs. Some kind of truce must be established, if the work is to get written.’

Essay 2nd November 2022

[Cue happiness]

‘In the hours and days after seeing Eugene, I was particularly bad: sobbing uncontrollably, vomiting, roaring into the hell’s bells of night. I prayed for typhus, Asiatic cholera, plain old consumption, anything that would do the job for me. I had no way to impart how terrible and terrified I felt except to write it down.’

Fiction 5th October 2022

Chemistry Read

‘Her husband was asleep beside her, snoring gently, and she lay, breathing shallowly, planning her next move.’ 

Fiction 7th September 2022

Fetishes 

‘Marcello's not a guy who likes used underwear, old shoes or bare feet. He’s a perfectionist, or maybe just a hypocrite.’

Fiction 10th August 2022

Chop Wood, Carry Water

‘Rejection, back when I’d just started sending out stories, felt crushing. It sat upon me like a physical thing, squat and heavy.’

Essay 28th July 2022

On Rejection

'I got through it, not by talking, or thinking my way out, but by feeling. At one point over that painful weekend, my gut in knots, I realised: if I can feel this, I can get through anything.'

Essay

Always Rather Risk

'I received detailed rejections last year from editors who had requested over ten pages of my work. I have rewritten a specific story for a journal on the editor’s advice and it was still not accepted. None of this means I am a failure, or a bad writer.'

Essay

An Industry of Rejection

'There were times when I loved a book and felt in my bones that I could publish it well, only to bring it to a meeting and find that my colleagues didn’t feel the same.'

Essay

Do Better

‘Writers have an advantage in this process: vulnerable as we are to the judgment of the world, we are also instinctively aware of the strength of an inner place, from which our best work always comes.’

Essay

Unfailing

‘I am the person and writer I am because I failed at a previous incarnation of life. Like most actors, I accumulated countless rejections and humiliations, surpassing in number my accomplishments.’

Essay

Notes on rejection

A series of short essays reflecting on the experience of rejection. Contributors: Danielle McLaughlin, Jill Crawford, Neil Hegarty, Angelique Tran Van Sang, Anna Walsh, Mia Gallagher, with an introduction by Thomas Morris.

Essay

Sleep Watchers

‘Over Zoom one night, a therapist tucks her dark hair behind her ears and introduces herself as Maeve. They are about the same age, in their late thirties. She doesn’t ask about Orla’s childhood, or root around for scars. She says, Tell me what’s happening.’

Fiction 17th June 2022

Emer O’Hanlon wins inaugural Stinging Fly/FBA Fiction Prize

O'Hanlon's winning story, 'Diana in a lonely place' was published in our Summer 2021 issue.

News 18th May 2022

Notes on resilience

"It hurts to struggle, to reach for things that you might not yet be able to meet... When will I be enough? All I can do is keep writing, keep meeting my ideas and my words with an openness that I encourage in others and struggle to find in myself."

Essay 4th May 2022

Plaster

‘I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t shower, I couldn’t call my friends. Everyone has had a time like this—when they look in the mirror and, sure enough, an unknown animal stares back.’

Fiction 7th April 2022

Butcher’s Dozen

Sean O'Reilly on the reissue of Thomas Kinsella's ‘Butcher's Dozen’ to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday: “a timely reminder that the past has to be fought for and poetry is not beyond lending a hand.”

Criticism Essay 25th January 2022

What Gets Us Through

As a new year begins, we asked some of our editors, writers and contributors to write about something that has made a significant impact on them over the past while.

Blog Post 5th January 2022

Harlow

"His mother had a choice between keeping the monkey or having the baby. She told the story often, in company, with a roll of her eyes and a helpless grin, as if this was the sore spot, the branching crossroads where her life had gone wrong. "

Fiction 4th November 2021

Respawn

'You talk and talk until you run out of breath and still when you get home there are things you wish you had said. Just once I would like to wake before myself and see what I am with my eyes closed.'

Fiction 6th October 2021

St Alban’s Drive

‘Your mother’s on the radio,’ she said, ‘being racist.’ This had surprised me; the radio bit. My mother had an aversion to talk radio.

Fiction 1st September 2021

Any Holidays?

"They wore travel outfits, comfy and subtle. Tiny shorts and big hoodies in creamy colours. Shorts said: actual holiday. Hoodies said: chill, not like the other young ones going away, flashing bikinis at baggage claim."

Fiction 12th August 2021

Peter and Jane

'Sometimes I long for home, but not home as it is now, home back then. Back when it was nice. When the sun was always out, and we could play all day out of doors. Before I had to be a woman.'

Fiction 7th July 2021

Graceland

A story from Philip Ó Ceallaigh's upcoming collection.

Fiction 5th May 2021

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