Drowning, not waving

longstory short

This is the eerily apt photograph chosen by editor Jennifer Matthews to go with my story, Love Child, which appears as this month’s story in Long Story, Short, an online literary journal coming out of Cork, devoted to the longer short form.  The story is from my recently published collection, Prosperity Drive –  and without giving too much away – concerns a young woman, Julia Fortune,  who contemplates suicide on the balcony of a hotel in New York on Christmas Eve.  Craig Niederberger  took the photograph, and when you read the story you’ll see how that flimsy pink netting dress blowing in the wind captures the essence of Julia Fortune’s predicament, as well as being a poignant image in its own right.

“She rose and went into the bathroom. She opened the cabinet – she was cut in two by the gashed mirror – and fished out her nail scissors. She went back into the room and picked up her passport. She opened it to the half-way point and began to hack through its pages until only the covers remained. She gathered up the shredded remains, put them in the wastebasket and stepped out once more on to the balcony. Sheltering the flame with her hand, she struck a match and set fire to the contents. Her past flared briefly, singed and then shrivelled into charred blackness. Smudges of it escaped and danced briefly in the frosty air, mingling with the hot clouds of her own breath. If anyone could see her, they would think her crazy – or a jumper. A naked woman on a balcony going up in flames. She didn’t care. . .” 

Prosperity Drive gets its Cork baptism on April 23 during Cork World Book Festival.  See full details of the festival and the launch on: Festival.http://triskelartscentre.ie/events/3220/a-celebration-of-new-books/

In the meantime, the story can be read at LongStory, Short on http://longstoryshort.squarespace.com/love-child





A poet in the family


Time for some family bragging.  Julie juliem3Morrissy, right,  – my niece, as it happens – was one of several poets taking part in the Poetry Ireland Introductions series at the Irish Writers’ Centre on Tuesday, as part of the International Literature Festival.  The other readers included Eamon MacUidhir (who used to be Eddie Maguire, my colleague at the Irish Press, a million years ago!) Simon Lewis, Jennifer Matthews and Michael Naghten Shanks.  Julie’s been published in The Honest Ulsterman, The Dalhousie Review and Dear John, among others  And she’s just been shortlisted for the Melita Hume Prize – for a full collection by a poet under 35.  Julie did a Masters in Creative Writing at UCD and is about to take up a place on the PhD programme at the University of Ulster. Lucky them!

There were several memorable moments during the reading – Eamon MacUidhir’s fornicating snails on the underside of a bridge after Hurricane Charlie or Jennifer Matthews’ hilarious investigation of graffiti in Skyscrapers are Gay but I’m sticking with Julie’s glorious tribute to that most humble of kitchen implements, the euphonious mandolin slicer.

Julie will be reading on the Poetry Programme, RTE radio, this Saturday at 7.30pm.