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On Writing ‘Three Small Stones’

My writing often starts with a memory of an object, place or circumstance that held some meaning for me at the time, but has the potential to turn into something much bigger in fiction. I thought of the game and wondered what would happen if children took it seriously, asked the stones important questions and pinned their hopes on the outcome.

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Online Fiction: ‘Strange Bird’ by Órfhlaith Foyle

He went downstairs, shoved the hamburgers in the oven then turned on the radio. He listened out for the news and when he heard about the woman found dead in her kitchen in somewhat suspicious circumstances. There was evidence of sustained attack but no conclusive evidence of murder. George heard his father fat-creep from the bed to the bathroom. He stared at the sun outside. It looked ordinary. His father was fat-creeping down. One step, two step, three step, four step…then eight then the slow heave of his father’s body along the hallway floor.

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BALANCING ACTS: Gerald Dawe in conversation with Eleanor Doorley

ED: To begin with, I would like to expand on some themes that popped up in your 1992 essay ‘Rights of Passage’ (The World as Province: Selected Prose, 2009) regarding the act of balancing teaching with writing. Can you expand on the relationship between them? GD: Teaching is all about planning as much as anything…

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On Writing ‘The Difference’

Theophilus Kwek They say first impressions are lasting. When ships under the command of Diogo Lopes de Sequeira berthed near Malacca in 1509, they stumbled on a cosmopolitan harbour that had been thronging with traders and travellers for at least a century. According to the Sejarah Melayu (the Malay Annals), the Malaccans – steeped in…

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‘The Difference’ 

Theophilus Kwek ‘People of Melaka came crowding to see what the Franks looked like, and they were all astonished and said, “These are white Bengalis!” Around each Frank was a crowd of Malays: some twisting his beard, some taking off his hat, some grasping his hand…’ – Sejarah Melayu, Ch. 29.    This is how…

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On Writing ‘A Modest Proposal’

Uschi Gatward I was researching a story about surveillance when I came across a below-the-line comment on the Guardian site, appearing after an article by GCHQ in defence of DRIPA (Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act). If you start reading those comments it’s possible you’ll fall down the same internet wormhole I did, but the…

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‘Seamus on the Tube’ by Tony Curtis

Looking away, not looking away – The happenstance of what may change everything; Those standing commuters moving off at Charing Cross For the Bakerloo Line and then your eyes lifting   Above those seated opposite, as one does, to read Between faster Broadband and Las Vegas – “Where your accent is an aphrodisiac,” it says,…

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READ BY THE AUTHOR: ‘Made You Look’ by Valerie Sirr

THE LONELY PRESS is delighted to announce the publication of two new titles in the spring of 2017: The Beautiful Rooms by Valerie Sirr and Ergasy by Chris Cornwell. Today we preview a short story from Sirr’s stunningly accomplished debut collection, the excoriating ‘Made You Look’, read by the author herself. See the site next week…

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The Famous Man by Jo Mazelis

I wrote this story sometime between 1988 and 1990 when I was living in London and working for a number of magazines including City Limits. The subject therefore is very much influenced by the particular atmosphere of London in the late eighties. I sent the story to one competition and one magazine but was unsuccessful both times causing me to shelve it until now.

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‘Phil Says’ by John Freeman

I don’t know if you know, Phil says, they’re mixed,

the wards, and if you’re over sixty you’re in

with the geriatrics. It’s not attractive.

They find you a bed wherever they can.

The widow who lives in the cul-de-sac

in the village under the power lines

he says, was in the maternity unit.

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On Writing ‘For You Are Julia’

C. G. Menon I’d been living in Cambridge a few months before I took my first trip out to the fens. Living in the suburbs of the city itself had been a study in watching movement, in watching change. By contrast, the fens were a study in timelessness. There’s something terribly contemplative about a flat…