In our Northern Ireland Writers Day 2 evening panel discussion, in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), we celebrated some of the finest Northern Irish writers working across form and genre today. Led by RSL Fellow Lucy Caldwell, sci-fi novelist Ian McDonald, Irish language children’s writer Máire Zepf, performance poet Abby Oliveira, and crime writer Steve Cavanagh discussed their work, routes into writing and the Northern Irish literary scene.
“The second-person narrator, when done badly, is the form of narrator that irritates me the most”: Lucy Caldwell on how to use “you” in fiction
Lucy talks to Tom Suthcliffe on Front Row about her short story “All the People were Mean and Bad”, winner of the BBC Short Story Prize. You can hear the full story in a recording here.
Doreen Bates is a truly remarkable woman: ahead of and unvanquished by her time.
Born in Plymouth in 1906, she was posted to Belfast as a Tax Inspector in 1941, where she survived the Belfast Blitz, documenting it meticulously for the Mass Observation project, as “Diarist 5245”, and in her own private journals.
A selection of Doreen’s diaries were published by Viking in 2016 as Diary of a Wartime Affair, and deserve to take their place as one of the essential chronicles of the twentieth century. Brimming with soul, passion, candour and wit, they are an extraordinary read, giving a vivid insight into the life of a woman unvanquished by her time. Edited in an act of great love and generosity by her children, they detail the minutiae of her daily life in the 1930s and 40s, in love with her married boss.
In this event, Lucy Caldwell will be in conversation with Dr Margaret Esiri, daughter and editor of Doreen Bates. Lucy will talk of encountering Doreen Bates in the course of her research into the Belfast Blitz, and of writing her as a character into the forthcoming novel, and Margaret will talk of her memories of her mother, of how her mother’s unconventional life shaped her own, and about editing the diaries. Lucy and Margaret will present extracts from the diaries, including exclusive, unpublished extracts from Doreen’s struggles as a single mother to twins during the wartime years, and discuss the extent to which the societal pressures and issues Doreen faced are still relevant to women today, for both Margaret’s generation and Lucy’s, in the balancing act of working motherhood.
Lucy discusses her new collection Intimacies on RTE Radio 1’s “Arena”
Elizabeth Day talks to Lisa McInerney and Lucy Caldwell, two young writers born in the same year from different side of the Irish border. 100 years since partition, they discuss how a literary culture once defined by exile and sectarian identities is being reconfigured in exciting new ways today. (listen at the BBC)
Book List – Sunday 23 May and Thursday 27 May
The Rules of Revelation by Lisa McInerney
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
Being Various: New Irish Short Stories: Edited by Lucy Caldwell
Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell
Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
A Belfast Woman by Mary Beckett
A Literary Woman by Mark Beckett
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Book Parts: Edited by Dennis Duncan and Adam Smyth
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne
Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill
Because They Wanted To by Mary Gaitskill
Two Girls, Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Jan Carson, Lucy Caldwell, Adrian Duncan, Louise Kennedy & John Patrick McHugh discuss their recent collections of stories as part of the West Cork Literary Festival