From Criticism

So, Did This Really Happen to You? / Catherine McNamara

Truth and Fiction in Story-Telling When I was a young, confused graphic design student, in the long-ago days of collage and drawing boards, I remember train rides across Sydney to art college. I remember the obsessions of a late, damaged teenagehood involving the death of a child, years of classical piano, Tchaikovsky LPs, warped discotheques…

On Writing ‘The Words He Said’ / Elizabeth Baines

Elizabeth Baines reads an extract from her short story, ‘The Words He Said’, published in Issue Twelve. See the site tomorrow for Elizabeth’s short essay on the composition of the story. Listen to Elizabeth read an extract from the story here. ‘The Words He Said’ is a story about the years-long consequences of a single…

Writing ‘Plainsong’ / Mark Blayney

Mark Blayney discusses ‘Plainsong’, his new short story in Issue Twelve. My friend Dennis is obsessed with building a model of St Paul’s Cathedral out of matchsticks. This might seem a rather pointless endeavour, but think about your own obsessions, if you have any. I’ll wager they’re not too closely aligned to reason or logic.…

Writing ‘A Prolonged Kiss’ / Jonathan Gibbs

Jonathan Gibbs discusses his short story in Issue 12. You can listen to Jonathan read the opening of the story here. ‘A Prolonged Kiss’ is a story that was a long time coming. It grew out of an idea that I’d had many years ago, when, in my twenties, I was a theatre reviewer for…

Responsive Literary Writing in Two Acts / Hisham Bustani

Hisham Bustani discusses the creative process behind his two poems in Issue Twelve of The Lonely Crowd.   Act I We met in front of the closed door of a martial arts training centre, in a drab building located in the heart of what was (at that time) a haven for well-off Iraqis who fled…

Writing ‘Goosey’ / Cath Barton

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’ is the oft-quoted opening line of L P Hartley’s novel The Go-Between. Before checking the quote I wrote it as ‘The past is another country’ and then found that I am far from being the first to make that mistake. Our memories are unreliable and apt to deceive us; indeed, they are remade every time we call them to mind, so multiplying the possibilities of distortion. In ‘Goosey’ I explore ways in which the past can hold us hostage and the means by which we can escape its tyranny. As befits the form of the short story, the dramas faced by my central character, Rodney, are small in scale, but none the less real or challenging: his mother has died and he has to sort through her affairs, including photographs of his life in the theatre, which evoke for him other loves and losses. ‘Goosey’ is the story of how he copes and finds ways to carry

Writing ‘Badlands’ / Fergus Cronin

Fergus Cronin discusses his short story ‘Badlands’, featured in Issue Twelve of The Lonely Crowd.    It’s a dangerous time. Truth is shy. Hate slakes fear. Fixes are scarce. But poetry and fiction can do their thing: use their own ‘lies’ thoughtfully; untwist some of the awfulness; reclaim the meaning of words; mean to be…

Books of the Year 2020: Part Four

Contributors old and new to The Lonely Crowd choose the books that they have most enjoyed reading in 2020. Given the nature of the year, not all of these titles were published in 2020. David Hayden Here are some of the books I read, and reread, this year, which made a difference to me. African…

Books of the Year 2020: Part Three

Contributors old and new to The Lonely Crowd choose the books that they have most enjoyed reading in 2020. Given the nature of the year, not all of these titles were published in 2020. Hisham Bustani Inua Ellams, The Actual It is surprising how much writing in general, and poetry in particular, have succumbed to…

Books of the Year 2020: Part Two

Contributors old and new to The Lonely Crowd choose the books that they have most enjoyed reading in 2020. Given the nature of the year, not all of these titles were published in 2020. Marc Hamer One of the books I have read this years that has stayed with me is Teaching a Stone to…

Books of the Year 2020: Part One

Contributors old and new to The Lonely Crowd choose the books that they have most enjoyed reading in 2020. Given the nature of the year, not all of these titles were published in 2020. Mary Morrissy History dominated my reading this year, perhaps because the present was so insupportable. Plague crept in, regardless, particularly in…

The Writing of ‘Tin’ / Nuala O’Connor

‘Tin’ is a commissioned story and, therefore, I approached and wrote it differently to the stories that occur to me in a natural way. Firstly, the story had to be designed to be read aloud. BBC Radio Ulster and 14-18 NOW – the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary – asked a…