“Multitudes” at The Strand Arts Centre

“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 … Read more

“Mayday”, a short story by Lucy Caldwell

As apart of The Pool Short Story Week
Listen to the podcast, or read the story below…

Mayday

Ten days later, the package finally comes. It is a small, brown, padded envelope, her name and address typed on a white label. The postmark is the Netherlands. Inside is a blister pack of tablets, one round and four ovals. No instructions, no warnings, and nothing to identify the sender. She pops out the round tablet there and then, in the hallway, and tries to swallow it down, but her mouth is too dry. She feels it stuck at the back of her throat. She makes it into the kitchen and pours a pint glass of water, drinks the whole thing down. The glass has a dried scum of lace at its neck and the water tastes stale. She can still feel the sensation of the tablet, lodged. There was a fresher, … Read more

Streets Like These: Van Morrison’s influence

Van Morrison’s music is woven deep into the fabric of my childhood. But even more than these clusters of memories, his music seems the very soul of my childhood places

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The memory of a long car journey, coming back over the Craigantlet Hills from a trip to Donaghadee Lighthouse. The dip of the road and the sudden sensation of weightlessness, flying; the lights of the city spread out for you below. The soundtrack in my head is Van Morrison, of course: “Take me back, take me back, take me back / Take me way back, take me way back / Take me way back, take me way back / Take me way, way, way, way, way, way, way back…”

I’m likely remembering not one particular journey. On summer weekends, or special occasions, or most excitingly of all, if my Dad was test-driving a new car, we would drive out of … Read more

Cyprus Avenue, a short story by Lucy Caldwell

cyprus avenue

“December has always been hard, but this year will be the hardest December yet. You will feel yourself struggling to shoulder the weight of it; will want, more keenly than ever, to shrug it off, just this once, just for one year; and you’ll find yourself saying on the phone to your mum: I might not actually be able to get home. The last word will stick in your throat and you’ll hear her hear it, feel your heart beating. Your mum will clear her throat and say nothing, wait for you to say, The flights are so booked up, and, My boss… But the excuses you’ve rehearsed so persuasively in your head die away on your lips. You’ll picture her, standing in the middle of the draughty hallway wearing her padded bodywarmer and scarf because even with the central heating on full-blast she feels the cold too much these … Read more

Irish Times Book Club choice: “Multitudes”

(Published in The Irish Times, Sep 2, 2016)

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Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell is September’s Irish Times Book Club selection. The Belfast author’s short story collection, published by Faber in May, was described by Young Skins author Colin Barrett in The Irish Times as “a lively, humane book, gritty but wholehearted, and it offers an ultimately optimistic, progressive vision for the city of Belfast and the women who come from there, while never forgetting what has come before.

“Caldwell is not a writer who cultivates bleakness for its own sake, and the tone that ultimately prevails throughout Multitudes is one of tentative defiance, of a kind of celebratory bittersweetness and a refusal to finally bow to adversity.

“Set almost entirely in Belfast, featuring a succession of young female protagonists, and ordered in rough accordance with the the narrators’ ages, the stories in Multitudes collectively work as a sort of … Read more

The Glass Shore

Glass-Shore_Art2New Island is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of The Glass Shore: Short Stories by Women Writers from the North of Ireland, edited by Sinéad Gleeson.

Last year saw the publication of The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson. was widely acclaimed and went on to win Best Irish Published Book of the Year 2015 at the Irish Book Awards. More importantly, it sparked lively discussion and debate about the erasure of women writers from literary canon. One question kept arising: where was the equivalent anthology for women writers from the north?

Spanning three centuries, The Glass Shore will feature both writers that are emerging and established, alongside deceased luminaries and forerunners.

The collection will include work from Linda Anderson, Margaret Barrington, Mary Beckett, Caroline Blackwood, Lucy Caldwell, Ethna Carbery, Jan Carson, Evelyn Conlon, Anne Devlin, Martina Devlin, Polly Devlin, … Read more

Multitudes: eleven stories

MultitudeFrom Belfast to London and back again the eleven stories that comprise Caldwell’s first collection explore 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.

Praise for “Multitudes”

‘An underhyped Irish writer? They do exist. Lucy Caldwell … writes an understated, conversational prose that never advertises itself unduly … Multitudes is her debut collection, and it’s brilliant … Like Joyce’s Dubliners, Multitudes begins with stories of childhood, moves on through stories of adolescence, and ends with stories of maturity.’
Kevin Power, Sunday Business Post

‘ The stories in Multitudes collectively work as a sort of kaleidoscopic bildungsroman … a lively, humane book, gritty but wholehearted, and it offers an ultimately optimistic, progressive vision for … Read more