Hier Soir, Demain Soir


scene from "Hier Soir, Demain Soir" © J Louis FernandezHier Soir, Demain Soir (Last Night, Tomorrow Night), a commission by the Comédie de Valence, was presented at the Festival Ambivalence(s) in May-June 2012 as part of group of pieces by five playwrights called Une Chambre en ville. The monologue, performed by Mireille Mossé, was translated by Séverine Magois and and directed by Claire Semet

A middle-aged woman enters her hotel room fiercely determined. Her mind is made up; everything has been planned with the utmost care. But it’s not so easy to take one’s leave…

View the Threatrical trailer

All The Beggars Riding


All The Beggars Riding book coverThe latest novel by Lucy Caldwell, “All the Beggars Riding”, published by Faber & Faber on February 7, was serialised on Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4 in March 2013, and chosen as both Irish Waterstone’s Book of the Month and Eason’s Bookclub Choice.


If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. (Trad.)

When Lara was twelve, and her younger brother Alfie eight, their father died in a helicopter crash. A prominent plastic surgeon, and Irishman, he had honed his skills on the bomb victims of the Troubles. But the family grew up used to him being absent: he only came to London for two weekends a month to work at the Harley Street Clinic, where he met their mother years before, and they only once went on a family holiday together, to Spain, where their mother cried and their father lost his temper and left early.

Because home, for their father, wasn’t Earls Court: it was Belfast, where he led his other life . . . Narrated by Lara, nearing forty and nursing her dying mother, All the Beggars Riding is the heartbreaking portrait of a woman confronting her past.


“…the heartbreaking portrait of a woman confronting and trying to make sense of her past. While the story is gripping and raw, the structure is the most interesting thing about Caldwell’s creation – the book itself the talisman that anchors us in actuality. It’s a novel about writing, about telling other people’s stories as well as our own. […] Lyrical, involving and in a way upsetting…” (read the review)
Irish Independent

“All the Beggars Riding” … is often moving, and it succeeds at allowing us a peek at other, believable, fully realised lives. (read the review)
The Guardian

Listen to Lucy discussing “All the Beggars Riding”

Notes to Future Self


Scene from Notes To Future Self“Judy’s my mom. It’s an understatement to say she’s a bit of a hippy. I mean who else but a New Ager calls their baby ‘Philosophy Rainbow’? I try to go by ‘Sophie’.”

Sophie and Calliope have never been to school. Their mum ran away from home when she was seventeen to join the New Age movement and the girls have been raised in Goa, San Francisco and Morroco at a series of ashrams, communes and impromptu raves.

Then one day Sophie gets ill and the family has to return to Birmingham. Sophie and Calliope are introduced to a strange new world where meditation and tree-hugging are replaced with Maths homework and television. They’re also introduced to Daphne: the grandmother that the girls have never met. And it’s against this bewildering new backdrop – the normality she’s always longed for – that Sophie must come to terms with her own mortality.

Caldwell… is one of those few playwrights who uses sentiment neither out of intellectual weakness nor emotional cowardice but as a glowing affirmation. These 75 minutes are about three women, each of whom is negotiating a new existence of her own, and at the centre a girl facing the end of life almost before she understands what it is […] a multi-levelled awareness of what life and death may mean to each of us
★★★★☆ Financial Times (more)

[A] brave, beautiful and quite extraordinary play
The Stage

Cast & Creative

  • Philosophy Rainbow (Sophie): Imogen Doel
  • Daphne: Jane Lowe
  • Judy: Amanda Ryan
  • Calliope: Jayne Wisener
  • Director: Rachel Kavanaugh
  • Designer: Colin Richmond
  • Lighting Designer: Simon Bond
  • Composer: Catherine James
  • Sound Designer: Dan Hoole
  • Associate Director: Robert Shaw Cameron
  • Casting Director: Alison Solomon
  • Dramaturg: Caroline Jester

Notes To Future Self by Lucy Caldwell premiered March 2011 at Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company.

BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama“Notes to Future Self” on Radio 4

Lucy Caldwell’s play “Notes to Future Self”, which premiered last year at Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as the Afternoon Play at 2.15 on Tuesday 30th October. Lucy herself abridged and adapted the play, and it was recorded in Belfast with the original cast and is produced and directed by Heather Larmour.

The play is no longer available on the BBC iPlayer catch-up service but details of the programme can be found here.


The Meeting Point


The Meeting Point book coverWhen Euan and Ruth set off with their young daughter to live in Bahrain, it is meant to be an experience and adventure they will cherish. But on the night they arrive, Ruth discovers the truth behind the missionary work Euan has planned and feels her world start to crumble. Far from home, and with events spiralling towards war in nearby Iraq, she starts to question her faith – in Euan, in their marriage and in all she has held dear.

With Euan so often away, she is confined to their guarded compound with her neighbours and, in particular, Noor, a troubled teenager recently returned to Bahrain to live with her father. Confronted by temptations and doubt, each must make choices that could change all of their lives for ever. Compelling, passionate and deeply resonant, The Meeting Point is a novel about idealism and innocence, about the unexpected turns life can take and the dangers and chances that await us.

Lucy Caldwell’s haunting second novel… is compulsively readable. Its technical accomplishment, incrementally raising suspense, involving us in its characters’ desires and designs, attests to Caldwell’s skills as a playwright.
Stevie Davies, The Guardian(read more)

‘a beautifully written novel that manages to address the momentous subjects of love and loss, and faith and betrayal, with a calm and quiet grace.’
Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times. (read more)

‘Beautifully written, The Meeting Point is a passionate, sensitive exploration of the lies that make family life possible and the compromises contained in every expression of love’
Kate Williams, Financial Times(read more)

‘[a] beautifully controlled and finely crafted work…’
Ross Gilfillan, Daily Mail (read more)

‘The Meeting Point is a skilful piece of craftsmanship with an emotional charge that is both cathartic and moving. It will stay with you.’
Freya McClelland , Independent (read more)

The Furthest Distance


Lucy Caldwell’s novella, The Furthest Distance, was published on 27th November 2009 by Netherlea Press, the first in a series of novellas written about journeys within Ireland.


Summer 1978, and five-year-old Brooklyn is on her first trip to Northern Ireland. Her daddy’s happy to be going home. Her mommy’s not: she’s dreading going back to the place she’s tried her whole life to leave behind. The one thing they agree on is that the train journey from Belfast to Derry is the most beautiful you’ll ever make.

Just past Castlerock the train thunders between cliff and rocky shore and waves break right up against the tracks. The long journey is almost worth it for those moments alone, they tell her. But for Brooklyn, destined to spend intermittent summers travelling the same route with her mother’s frustrated feminism and her father’s unfulfilled dreams for stardom, the point of a journey is simply its destination. Until the day when a brief encounter sends her own life in a new direction…

The Furthest Distance is a sad, funny, moving meditation on the journeys we make and on how, finally, the furthest distances we travel are those between people.

Where They Were Missed


Where They Were Missed book cover“The back yard of Saorise and Daisy’s house can be a perilous place: boys from down the road leave unwelcome ‘presents’ at the gate, the girls’ father comes home late with a swollen jaw, and they have to rush indoors and shut the windows tight when marchers pass, even on the hottest day of the year. And while there is respite to be had at Antonini’s Ice Cream Parlour and in their mother’s bedtime stories, the walls of the house cannot protect this family for ever, and when a tragedy occurs at its heart the fragile ties that bind them together begin to break apart.

Ten years later in rural Ireland, Saoirse is building a new life for herself. She is dreaming again: of her prom night, of her future, and of the wayward but handsome Johnny Mahon. But, as she learns to her cost, she has still not fully escaped the fallout of that unforgettable Belfast summer a decade before. As her past, present and future become inextricably tangled, Saoirse is forced to confront her family’s demons, if she is ever to begin a new life of her own.

Where They Were Missed is a heartbreaking story of domestic tragedy and the loneliness of suffering. In a world where everyday violence taps on the surface of people’s lives, Lucy Caldwell evokes the pain of an incomprehensible loss, as she charts a young girl’s search for forgiveness.

Where They Were Missed was published by Viking in March 2006. It was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Waverton Good Read Award.

Praise for Where They Were Missed

Where They Were Missed is a work of the highest order: unsettling, unflinching, but finally uplifting. Lucy Caldwell’s touch is both fresh and assured. Here is a literary star in the making.
Glenn Patterson

A debut reminiscent of Ian McEwan’s The Cement Garden and Trezza Azzopardi’s The Hiding Place.

I can think of few novels written by an author in her early twenties which are as accomplished as this one.
David Pierce, Irish Studies Around The World

It is difficult to do justice to the remarkable nature of this novel, so searing in its presentation of naked sorrow and so moving in the heroine’s courage.

An assured and arresting tale… A heartbreaking and evocative story… A refreshingly different novel about the Northern tragedy and its ongoing effects on ordinary people.
Rowena Walsh, Irish Independent

A spirited work, for all its sadness, and written with insight and economy.
Patricia Craig, TLS

Excellent… all too believable.
Ireland on Sunday