From Criticism

How I Wrote ‘So Few Words For Rain’ – Angela Readman

There are lots of quotes that come to mind about story writing that feel right to me, about not knowing really what something is until you write to find out. I’m with Flannery O’Connor on this, like most writers I know. I never know the ending of a story when I sit down, I know…

Meeting The Blue Hare – Jackie Gorman

Jackie Gorman discusses her poem ‘The Blue Hare’ taken from Issue Eight. You can listen to Jackie read the poem here. For as long as I can remember I have loved hares and probably one of my earliest memories as a child is that of seeing a hare in the fields of Ballyglass, near where…

On writing ‘4am’ & ‘Sleet’ – Marc Hamer

As I sit here writing at my kitchen table, a ladybird is crawling on my leg. I accidentally bring a lot of wildlife home from my work, beetles and spiders, the occasional grasshopper under my collar, ants in the creases of my work trousers or fallen into my boots. The ladybird on my knee is…

On writing ‘Whale Season’ – KM Elkes

The story of this short story? Much like the story of every short story I write – random memories coagulating, some weird shit glimpsed in my peripheral vision, a character or two burping from the murk like hot gas. Stirred and heated and stirred again until, eventually, the voice comes – the thing that makes…

Philip Gross – thinking about about-ness

Philip Gross is a poet, librettist and writer for children. He won the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009 with The Water Table, and Wales Book of The Year 2010 with I Spy Pinhole Eye. Deep Field dealt with his Estonian refugee father’s final years and loss of language, an exploration into our place in the world broadened steadily through later collections, most recently A Bright Acoustic (2017). Recently liberated from 25 years of academic life, he is an insatiable collaborator across art forms, e.g. with artist Valerie Coffin Price on A Fold in the River, and with composer Benjamin Frank Vaughan on The King in the Car Park, a cantata about the re-discovery of Richard III, performed in Leicester Cathedral.

Timothy Richardson’s Return: On Writing ‘The Least of These’ – Jenn Ashworth

In Shirley Jackson’s work there is a single recurring character – often a very minor one. He appears under a number of different names: James or Jimmy or sometimes Jim Harris, and sometimes only as a mysterious unnamed man in a blue suit. Mr Harris is sometimes a writer. At other times he’s an academic, a researcher or a bookshop owner. The mysterious visitor is intimately connected with the written word, with books and the production of text. This charismatic and often dangerous stranger has been suggested by some critics to be evidence of Jackson’s intricate, career-long engagement with an old Scottish Ballad in which a women’s dead lover returns to lure her away from her husband. The lover, as most versions of this ballad emphasise, is the devil himself.

Inside the ‘Skin’ – Jo Mazelis

Jo Mazelis discusses her new short story ‘Skin’ published today in Issue Eight of The Lonely Crowd. (Jo will be reading ‘Skin’ as part of our event in Swansea this evening, do join us if you can). I went to New York for the first and probably only time in my life in early March about…

‘What Did You Do in the War, Dad?’ Tony Curtis

In Issue Five, we featured ‘Pro Patria’, Tony Curtis’s moving poem to his father. Here Curtis discusses the motivations and story behind the poem, which you can now also read online.  What had my father, Leslie Thomas Curtis, done in the war? There is a time in one’s life when unanswered questions, perhaps previously unformed questions come to mind and will not leave. The structured formulae of tv programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? encourages a delving into the past of families and, aided by pretty straightforward computer skills, it seems as if many of those perplexing…

On Writing ‘Lockjaw’ – Mary Morrissy

Mary Morrissy is Associate Director of Creative Writing at University College Cork. She is the author of three novels, Mother of Pearl, The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey, and two collections of stories, A Lazy Eye and Prosperity Drive. She has taught creative writing in the US and Ireland since 2000. In 1995 she was awarded the prestigious US Lannan Award for work ‘of exceptional quality’. Mother of Pearl, her first novel, was shortlisted for the Whitbread (now Costa) Award and The Pretender and The Rising of Bella Casey were both nominated for the Dublin Impac International Literary Award. She has over thirty years’ experience as a journalist on three of Ireland’s national newspapers.

How I wrote ‘There’s a Café in this story’ – Alison Wells

Alison Wells is a psychology and communication studies grad and author (as AB Wells) of the comedic fantasy Housewife with a Half-Life. Her literary short fiction has been published in Ireland, the UK and Australia including in The Stinging Fly, Crannóg, New Planet Cabaret & UK Flash Fiction Day’s Jawbreakers and Scraps. Alison blogs on & and has been Hennessy, Bridport, Fish and BBC Opening Lines shortlisted.