From Short Fiction

On Writing ‘A Shiver of Hearts’ – Una Mannion

When I was 14, I knew someone, another teenager, who had a miscarriage and woke her mother for help. She knew she was pregnant but she didn’t know what was happening to her. Her mother left her in the bathroom and shut the door, shushing her from the hallway so others wouldn’t hear. The image of a girl left alone to that ordeal on the other side of a shut door still grips me. And while both that event and the story happen in the 1980s, the shame and hushing still feel very real to me.

 Writing ‘Fogarty’ Jaki McCarrick

Jaki McCarrick discusses her Pushcart Prize-nominated short story, ‘Fogarty’, published in Issue Eight. A few years ago, on a flight to Paris, I read an in-flight magazine feature about an ex-Naval Seal who gave survival courses to business people. As I read, it dawned on me that a survival course would make a great basis…

How I Wrote ‘The Sadness The Weirdness’ – Toby Litt

After the first draft, I was glad to see I was writing a haphazardly global story, where the narrator shambles from here to there in pursuit of something that surely can’t be love. He tries really hard to make it love, but it’s more likely the desperation of needing something to feel desperate about.

On Writing ‘Framing Ilva’ – George Sandison

The landscape of Southern Italy coexists with myth. Antiquity is commonplace, and life there centres around history in a way I envy. It’s easy to romanticise the food, the weather and the sweltering, lazy summers, but my fascination with the region goes deeper. I was born in Hertfordshire, the birthplace of the new town project,…

READ BY THE AUTHOR: ‘The Sadness The Weirdness’ by Toby Litt

Toby Litt is the author of nine novels and four books of short stories. He is currently writing Wrestliana, a memoir about his relationship to his great-great-great grandfather, William Litt – a champion wrestler, poet, smuggler and exile. Toby’s most recent novel is Lilian’s Spell Book. Toby teaches creative writing at Birkbeck College.

How I Wrote ‘Above Tree Line’ – Melissa Fu

I drafted ‘Above Tree Line’ in the first class I took when I decided to start writing more seriously. At the beginning of the course the instructor asked us, ‘What do you need to write about?’ I need to write about that night on Santa Fe Baldy with Bob. This story signalled a change away from…

The Lonely Crowd Pushcart Prize Nominations 2018

We’re proud to have published almost one hundred new works of poetry and fiction this year at The Lonely Crowd, something which made the selection process for the annual Pushcart Prize an almost impossibly difficult task. Ultimately we settled on these six pieces but we could easily have duplicated all six for equally impressive works. Having said…

On Writing ‘Wolf Point’ – Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy discusses her short story ‘Wolf Point’, taken from Issue Eight of The Lonely Crowd. I always feel like a chancer when I talk about stuff like ‘my writing process’; it makes me sound like I know what I’m doing. Especially these days, when my process is to agonise over each sentence until I…

Figuring It Out – Sean Preston

I hate flying. I’m not alone in that of course. But the fear of flying is new to me. It happened a few years ago in my late twenties. Very nothingy flight to a nothingy European airport, but I was flying on my own, and somehow, the routine soft vibrations of take off unsettled something inside of me. The woman next to me, also flying alone, asked if she could read my palm, and keen to distract myself from the stubbornly vague and new sense of terror I obliged. I thought she was mad, or perhaps some sort of answer to teenage me’s prayers, but when the jaundice of the seatbelt light overhead signalled, accompanied by the polite ding to bring our attention to it, I noticed her shoulders contract and when she squeezed my hand it became clear that all she had been seeking was distraction.