BOOOOOK OUT!

Folks, it’s official, my short story collection The Proverb Zoo is out in the world. Free. Well, you know, as in released. Unchained. You actually have to pay for it. You can do that here, from the good people of The Penny Dreadful. And you should, too.

There are 15 stories in it, a world war, an IKEA, a cut-off leg, dogs and cats in several forms, a whale, at least one miracle, three planes and a donkey, a shipwreck, some cuts and bruises… oh, and a few people too.

I was delighted to launch it last week in Cork’s Waterstone’s and Dublin’s Books Upstairs, and I look forward to the next time I get to share it with readers in person.

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(Me with a look I call “confused happiness”)

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THE PROVERB ZOO: book launches in Cork and Dublin

Good citizens of Ireland! I’m delighted to announce that my short story collection The Proverb Zoo will be launched in just over a week, with the great folks of The Penny Dreadful Press.

There will be one in Cork on Tuesday 8th May, at 6.30 in Waterstone’s. (See here for the Facebook event page)

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Aaand also one in Dublin, or “the big smokey apple of lights”, as no one ever called it. It will be in the magnificent Books Upstairs, on Thursday 10th May at 6.30. (See here for Facebook event page).

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If you can come to either (or both!), it’d be great to see you there. I’m both super excited and pooping myself about it, so if not for the stories come for the bemused Armel.

 

 

A FRANCO-IRISH HISTORY OF CRUELTY: an essay up at Threshold

I have a piece up at Threshold (a great resource for short story writers / lovers, by the way).

It’s a cross-reading of Kevin Barry’s ‘A Cruelty’ and Guy de Maupassant’s ‘Le Crime au Père Boniface’, two short stories that have stayed with me long after I read them, and that have plenty in common. Both feature men whose innocence make them ill-adapted to the world around them, and who’ll fall prey to their fellow men’s cruelty.

There’s some personal (hopefully) relevant anecdotes peppering the piece as well, so this really is a hybrid bit of writing. Hope you like it.

 

Depressing numbers for short story writers

This article by Chris Power in the Guardian looks at the so-called “renaissance of the short story” that article after article (often in the Guardian itself, ironically I would say if irony wasn’t such a quaint concept):

In 2017, almost 50% more short story collections were sold than in the previous year. It was the best year for short stories since 2010. Booksellers are reporting a surge in popularity for the form, commentators note publishers are buying more collections and issuing them with greater care and enthusiasm; in December the newcomer Kristen Roupenian cut five- and seven-figure deals in the UK and US after her New Yorker story “Cat Person” went viral. 

Alright, sounds great, but Power takes a closer look:

if we aren’t living through a renaissance of the short story, how to explain those booming sales figures? Let’s break them down. Collections by Tom Hanks, one of the world’s biggest film stars, and Jojo Moyes, one of its bestselling authors, represent 22% of that total: £1.3m in sales.

Have a good day.

The Proverb Zoo – a short story collection, out May 2018

I am very truly delighted to say that my short story collection The Proverb Zoo will be published this May in Ireland by The Penny Dreadful Press.  There even was an official announcement and everything, so it’s real.

The book collects fifteen short stories, a good number of which have been published in magazines (in I think something like five different countries!) over the last few year. Those stories vary in length (three of them must be a couple of pages long, while others are definitely on the chunky side) and styles. There are minute miracles, shipwrecks, gameshows, IKEAs, kite-flying, severed legs… now, now*. Enough. I just hope it’s a Zoo you’ll want to visit. Spend time with those beasts.

Exact date of publication is yet to be announced, and for those of you in Ireland,  there WILL be a launch, and you’re all invited.

The Proverb Zoo Cover

*This is my sales pitch. I am new at this.

Unsung Stories open to submissions

Unsung Stories

London-based publisher Unsung Stories are open to submission until February 26th. They’re looking for speculative fiction, and accept novels as well as “sets of novellas or novelettes, interlinked short fictions and the like”.

If you’ve read their books, you’ll know they have quite a relaxed approach to genre,  and publish authors who merrily write across the borders of fantasy, science fiction and whatever other categories of the fantastic and weird you might come up with. (They’ve published a noir sci-fi novel in verse, so you see what I mean.)

They’re well worth checking out even if you’re don’t have a manuscript looking for a home. I’d recommend in particular You Will Grow Into Them, a collection of dark and weird short stories by Malcolm Devlin, and Aliya Whiteley‘s The Arrival of Missives.

A Slow, Unstoppable Devouring of Everything

I have a story up at Necessary Fiction called “A Slow, Unstoppable Devouring of Everything“, and I’m pretty proud of it.

Necessary Fiction is one of the best online literary magazines, and one that’s been around for quite a while too. Apart from fiction, they have book reviews and a very interesting Research Notes section in which authors talk about the work behind their book. Founding editor Steve Himmer‘s own writing is worth seeking out, and you should follow him on Twitter, if you’re into that kind of thing, for great bookish thoughts and recommendations.