Cyprus Avenue, a short story by Lucy Caldwell

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“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

“Three Sisters” at the Lyric, Belfast

I don’t know what it is I’m going to do but I’m going to do something. I’m going to be someone. I am! I’m sick of just being me. I’m going to be someone else. Someone better. I’m going to make a difference.

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Chekhov’s masterpiece from 1900 is reset in 1990s Belfast by award-winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell. Three sisters – Orla, Marianne and Erin – dream of a better tomorrow, perhaps even starting a new life in America. All three are dissatisfied with their lots in life for different reasons, but finding the resolve to make the life changes that will bring real happiness is hard. Can they break free, or will they be condemned to a life of unfulfilled ambition?

I don’t know what it is I’m going to do but I’m going to do something. I’m going to be someone. I am! I’m sick of just 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

The many faces of Lucy Caldwell

by Alex Peake-Tomkinson at BookanistaLucy_Caldwell_portrait

Multitudes is the first book of short stories from the prizewinning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell. The collection is eleven stories strong and each of the stories seems to describe a character in peril so that holding one’s breath whilst reading them sometimes feels unavoidable. Caldwell agrees to meet me to discuss the stories and I worry that she might be quite earnest – few people write their first novels at 21, after all. My fears dissipate, however, when she suggests we talk over glasses of wine at a bar in Spitalfields.

The stories in this collection feel quite perilous, as though the characters are on the brink of something that could be dangerous and there is a sense of people waiting for their fate. I guess that’s what it’s like to be a teenage girl, when you lack agency, I suggest.

“Yes, and I … Read more

Dear Baby Mine

dear_baby_mineLucy Caldwell’s new radio drama for BBC Radio 4, Dear Baby Mine, was broadcast in June 2016. The omnibus edition of the drama will be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days.

Synopsis

When Conor is told he has the condition azoospermia and is not producing any sperm, he struggles to come to terms with the implications of his diagnosis. He cannot father his own child. He cannot give his wife Keeley the baby she so desperately longs for. He feels lost, confused, guilty, responsible. All his assumptions and expectations for the future are thrown out of the window.

As both he and Keeley try to come to terms with the fact that Conor cannot father a child naturally and explore the other options available to them they embark on an emotional rollercoaster that will challenge their assumptions, their relationship, and their idea of family.

Listen to the drama Read more

Five Things Right Now: Lucy Caldwell

(chosen for Granta Magazine. See the original article here)

1. Dusty Bluebells documentary

The Northern Irish poet Stephen Connolly, @closeandslow, tweeted a link to this old BBC NI documentary from 1971, and I happened to see the tweet, watch the documentary, and was entranced. It’s about Belfast children and the street songs they sang, the games they played, even as their wider world was disintegrating around them. It took me right back to my childhood, the endless skipping games and cat’s cradles, but even more preciously, it sparked a story, ‘The Ally Ally O’, which is now the first story in my debut collection. (Stephen: if you happen to see this, the pints are on me.)

2. The Architecture Foundation: New Architects 3

Every ten years, the Architecture Foundation selects Britain’s best emerging practices and publishes the result in a glossy hardback. (Think Granta’s Best of Young British … Read more