Shortlisted for Irish Times ‘Legends of the Fall’ competition

The Irish Times have been running a series of stories based around the general subject of the events of the last five years, recession, property crash, bank guarantee etc, under the title Legends of the Fall. It has featured such luminaries of the Irish literature scene as Ann Enright, Colm Tobin etc.

They had an open competition to submit a story to feature as the last in the series in this weekend’s paper. I am delighted to find that my story Vicious Circular has been shortlisted in a group of ten for the competition, and appear on the Irish Times website today here



Longlisted for the RTE Guide/Penguin Ireland short story competition

Learned today that my story Huddled Murders has made the longlist for the RTE Guide/Penguin short story competition. The bad news is that it is a pretty long longlist, with apparently 60 folks receiving the honour, but hey ho, we’ll take what we get. Also getting to attend a special writing workshop being organised in September for longlistees, so looking forward to that.

Published on Five Stop Stories

My story, “Panic Made Stone” received Honorary Mention in the Five Stop Story competition and will be published on their site as well as their iPhone app within the next two weeks here.

Update: Story is now online here:

Broadcast on Arena on RTE Radio

The Arena program on RTE radio is running a series of pieces as a kind of “Creative Writing Class” and each month the public is invited to submit short fiction on a particular theme. I submitted a piece for the February program but heard nothing back so assumed I was out of the race. I was somewhat surprised when I went to listen to the program to find I was one of two stories read out by Dave Lordan. Even better some of the descriptions: “an absolutely brilliant piece of writing, it’s one of the best pieces I’ve got in. When I read it first I liked it, when I read it a second time I loved it, it really blew everybody away who read it including the actors.” “This story illustrates the reason we have fiction.” Very happy indeed. The program is online here

My story starts about 10:23 into the excerpt.

Other good news, though perhaps a little pale in the light of the above, I have a fifth story, “IED” shortlisted by Writers Forum magazine, plus I got an Honourable Mention in the “String-of-10” flash fiction competition on

Writers Forum Magazine

After four shortlistings that failed to make the final cut, I just heard that my story, “My Shadow, At Evening, Rises To Meet Me” has been selected to be published in issue 139. Very much delighted by that. A small step but took a lot of work.images

Take settlers and seamen, tell women with men

Heavy heat pressed him back onto the park bench, seedy sweat making his shirt uncomfortable.

‘I should never have got off the boat.’

‘Yeah, yeah. Tell me about it again, why don’t you. I enjoy listening to it.’

‘The sea never treated us this rough.’

‘Christ’s sake, the sun’s fricking shining, that’s all. It’s not like you’re gonna fall over board and drown.’

‘It’s not the same…’

‘That’s what I’m saying, you gobdaw.’

There was the simplest of breezes coming in off the sea, hot wind, not cooling. Gulls sat on thermals that twisted up from the concrete wharf. Boats rocked gently, salt crusted ropes slapping on masts, rusted applause for a sailor who has turned his back on the sea.

‘We could go home, run a cool bath. Like, if you’re hot and all.’

‘I wanna stay here a bit longer. Looking out there, it… It gives me peace.’

A young couple walked past them, pushing a pram, gazing together at their little piece of miracle, a gift so easily given by some, so cruelly denied by others. Alice turned her head from them, looking north towards the open bars and seafront cafes.

‘Hey,’ she said. ‘Look over there.’

He looked, and immediately tensed. He pulled his feet up, despite the cramped bench, pulled himself into a ball. The cat was black with a white trim at its throat. It wandered along, dawdling as if conscious of the effect it was having. It stopped straight in front of them to lick at its fur, then eventually found something to draw it further down the promenade, away from them.

‘You can relax,’ she said. ‘It’s gone now.’

He uncurled himself slowly, cautiously. If he had been damp before, he was saturated now, and his eyes had shrunk into his head.

‘Home,’ he muttered, pulling him self up onto his skeletal legs.

As Alice stood to follow him she felt a strong pang of guilt, but there was only so much she could take.