Please note that this event is now fully booked.


We are delighted to announce this new initiative in association with dlr Arts Office.

Devised by dlr County Council Emerging Writer-in-Residence Sonya Gildea and The Stinging Fly, The Great Big Giant Short-Story Experiment is a day long, in-depth and interactive exploration of the short story form with writers Wendy Erskine, Sheila Armstrong, Stephen Sexton & Danielle McLaughlin.


“My hope for all of us – writers, poets and readers alike – is that the GBGSSE will be a collective coming together, a shared experience in the solidarity of writing, reading and exploring new work with our four lead writers, and with each other. What we want most is a day that will be relaxed, thought-provoking, inspirational and fun for all.”
Sonya Gildea

Saturday, June 22nd 2024 | 10:30 am – 5.30pm.
The Lexicon Studio Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, A96 H282
Tickets available via Eventbrite | €45/€35

In advance of gathering on June 22nd at The Lexicon Theatre, our four lead writers and all experiment participants are cordially invited to write a short story in 48 hours.

All are welcome to join us and our four lead writers in the experiment.

After you’ve purchased a ticket for the event – and if you wish to write a story – we will be in touch with you to arrange a start time. At the agreed start time, you can expect to receive your set of writing prompts and instructions on how to send us your story.

We hope that everyone signing up for the event will have a go at writing a story even if you’ve never written a story before.

On June 22nd, we will gather to share stories and to discuss the experience of getting our words onto the page.

Please note: Should you decide to submit a story for the experiment, it will need to be submitted no later than Monday June 17th.


Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor from the north-west of Ireland. She is the author of two books, How To Gut A Fish (2022), a collection of short stories, and Falling Animals (2023), a novel. She has over ten years of in-house and freelance editorial experience across genres.

Wendy Erskine is the author of two prize-winning short story collections, Sweet Home and Dance Move, published by The Stinging Fly Press and Picador. For PVA Books, she edited well I just kind of like it, an anthology of writing about art in the home. A frequent broadcaster, she had a show on Soho Radio for Rough Trade Books.  In 2023 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2022 she was Seamus Heaney Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast.  Her non-fiction has appeared widely.  She is a full-time secondary school teacher.

Danielle McLaughlin is the author of the short-story collection, Dinosaurs on Other Planets, and the novel, The Art of Falling, which was shortlisted for the 2022 Dublin Literary Award. She has been Writer in Residence at University College Cork and Visiting Writer Fellow at the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College, Dublin. She has also designed and delivered workshops in Creative Writing for various organisations and festivals and currently mentors a number of emerging writers.

Stephen Sexton’s first book, If All the World and Love Were Young, was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2019. He was awarded the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2020. Cheryl’s Destinies was published in 2021, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.


DLR emerging writer-in-residence (2023-2024) Sonya Gildea is winner of the John McGahern Literature Award and the Cúirt International New Writer’s Fiction Award. Sonya has published in a number of anthologies and journals including: The Stinging Fly, Tolka, The Common, The Cormorant Broadsheet, Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times, New Irish Writingin the Irish Independent, and Howl Journal. Her story ‘A 1000 Hours A Day’ was published as part of Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize top ten longlist; and her story ‘Tobogganing’ was broadcast on Keywords, RTÉ Radio 1. She is recipient of an Arts Council Literature Bursary Award (2023) and a Literature Project Award (2024).