Lucy Caldwell is among the authors selected for the new anthology, The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story, “a literary treasure trove” of “30 great short stories published in the last 20 years”,.
The anthology has been edited and curated Philip Hensher who – following on from two-volume collection The Penguin Book of the British Short Story published in 2015 – has returned to the archive, reading hundreds of “contemporary” short stories to make his selection.
The other writers whose stories have been included are Kazuo Ishiguro, Ali Smith, A L Kennedy, Tessa Hadley, Graham Swift, Jane Gardam, Neil Gaiman, Martin Amis, China Mieville, Peter Hobbs, Thomas Morris, David Rose, David Szalay, Rose Tremain, Helen Oyeyemi, Leone Ross, Helen Simpson, Will Self, James Kelman, Lucy Wood, Hilary Mantel, Eley Williams, Sarah Hall, Mark Haddon and Helen Dunmore.
The Penguin Book of the Contemporary British Short Story will be published by Allen Lane on 4th October 2018 as a £20 hardback.
Living Room Theatre, a boutique Equity company of New York professionals entering its seventh season that concentrates on classics (Chekhov, Shaw, Strindberg) is presenting the U.S. première of Lucy Caldwell’s Irish adaptation of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” set in Belfast in the 1990s at the end of the Troubles directed by Christopher McCann.
The cast includes Monique Vukovic as Orla, Oona Roche as Erin, Hannah Beck as Marianne, Allen McCullough as Vershinin and Kirk Jackson as Uncle Beattie and is playing through Aug. 18 at Living Room Theatre in North Bennington.
Discussing the production, Director Chris McCann, a founding member of the company, emphasized that Caldwell’s play was not just a simple rewrite of Chekov.
“Though these different circumstances inform the actors, and ultimately audiences, in substantial ways, `Three Sisters’ is not about the time and locale,” McCann said. “Rather, it’s about the people within the time and locale hoping to live normal lives, with expectations that change and dreams that go unrealized,”
(see a full review at the Berkshire Eagle)
More theatre Talk interviewed the cast of Three Sisters. Click below to listen to it
“The acting in this play is superb top to bottom, and I would be remiss if I didn’t single out the sisters themselves. Vukovic, Beck and Roche absolutely grasped the cross-generational dynamics at play in Caldwell’s version, taking the very different but also powerful female leads, and making them planets about which the rest of the cast beautifully orbited.
In addition, LRT co-founder McCullough, as well as Wadsworth and Jackson, provided three radically different, but intensely effective, testosterone balances to this story’s equation.
There is so much to this play, and discerning audience members will need a bit of time at the start to digest all of the characters entering the scene of Erin’s birthday party. Once oriented though, Caldwell’s tapestry welcomes and drapes you.”
Lucy Caldwell has been made of fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as part of the “40 Under 40 initiative” chosen to bring a diverse set of fresh fellows into the society, reflecting the ‘bold expressiveness’ of a new generation in institution that has been ‘overwhelmingly’ white and male.
Nearly 200 years after it was founded, the venerable Royal Society of Literature is stepping away from its “overwhelmingly white, male, metropolitan and middle class” history, with the appointment of 40 new writing fellows under the age of 40, ranging from the award-winning Jamaican poet Kei Miller to the bestselling English novelist Sarah Perry.
The RSL’s 40 Under 40 initiative saw publishers, literary agents, theatres and author organisations put forward an array of names to a panel of RSL fellows, who were looking to honour “the achievements of Britain’s younger writers” with the selection of a new generation of fellows. Prior to the initiative, only three of the 523 fellows were under 40, with none under 30 and the average age being 70.
The 40 names they chose were almost three-quarters female, with 30% from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; names range from novelist Jenn Ashworth to poet Sarah Howe, playwright and poet Sabrina Mahfouz and feminist writer Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project.
“We want the pulse of the RSL to keep time with the efflorescing, irrepressible, bold expressiveness of what writers are writing now,” said the society’s president Marina Warner, announcing the new appointments.
Author and critic Blake Morrison, who sat on the nominating panel, said he and his fellow judges had found a wealth of young literary talent in Britain. “For much of its history, the RSL has been overwhelmingly white, male, metropolitan and middle class. But literary culture is changing rapidly and our choices reflect that,” he added.
The society was founded in 1820. Its fellows, who have to be nominated and seconded by existing fellows, have in the past included names from Thomas Hardy to Henry James. New fellows sign the RSL roll book using either TS Eliot’s or Byron’s pen. This year, George Eliot’s pen has been added in a small first for women writers.
Northern Irish novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell, one of the new recruits, said that when she left primary school in 1992, she was given a copy of Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss “by teachers who were convinced I’d be a writer”.
“I don’t know if any of us would have imagined that one day I’d be writing my name alongside famous writers with George Eliot’s own pen,” she said. “It is a great honour to be elected to the RSL as one of the 40 Under 40 fellows; an honour that belongs too to the teachers, libraries and house full of books that encouraged me at such an early age and set me on my way.”
Lucy’s collection of short stories, Multitudes, is on the shortlist for the prestigious Edge Hill Short Story Prize, which was announced on June 13. Five collections made the shortlist from a longlist of forty-one, four of them debut collections.
Prize organiser Ailsa Cox, the world’s first Professor of Short Fiction at Edge Hill University, said: “What an amazing line-up this is. All five writers are rising stars, and you’re going to hear a lot more of them in the future. In each of these collections, you’ll find passion, wit and intelligence, and above all a way of working with language that is unique to the short story form.”
The winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced at an exclusive Short Story Prize event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the 26th August, to be hosted by the university in the famous Spiegeltent. The event will be attended by the shortlisted authors and judges
Lucy Caldwell’s new play for radio, “Mayday”, premieres on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, June 12. After broadcast, it will be available for a time on BBC iPlayer. For more information, and to listen, click here.
Coralie is a nineteen year old student. It’s the morning of the 30th April and she had just taken a Mifepristone pill, the first stage of a medical abortion. As she waits the 24 hours until she is due to take the second set of pills which will complete the procedure, she relates and reflects on the events and circumstances which brought her to this moment.
Set in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK in which the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply, Mayday takes us into the mind of an increasingly isolated, conflicted, and terrified young woman who, having ordered the drugs online – illegally – fears that she, and anyone she might confide in, could face prosecution and jail if her actions are discovered.
Starring Eileen O’Higgins (Brooklyn, My Mother and Other Strangers) as Coralie, the cast also includes Anthony Boyle (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Sophie Robinson (Rebellion, Fifteen) and Imogen Doel (The Importance of Being Earnest, Whisper). Production is by Heather Larmour.
“Beautifully crafted, and so finely balanced that she holds the reader right up against the tender humanity of her characters.” – Eimear McBride
The Strand is delighted to welcome the novelist and playwright, Lucy Caldwell, who hails from East Belfast, to launch her latest publication and first collection of shorts ‘Multitudes’. Glenn Patterson, another local literary talent, will be in conversation with Lucy, before she reads from the title short.
Lucy is an established and celebrated young novelist and playwright of our time. Her accolades to date include receiving the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and being shortlisted as Irish Novelist of the Year in 2013, as well as receiving the George Devine Award and the Imison Award for her stage and radio plays. She often draws on her own Belfast up-bringing to inform her work and Multitudes is no exception.
Multitudes’ eleven stories take you from Belfast to London and back, exploring the many facets of growing up – the pain and the heartache, the tenderness and the joy, the fleeting and the formative – or ‘the drunkenness of things being various’. Stories of longing and belonging, they culminate with the heart-wrenching and unforgettable title story.