Tuesday, 21 April 2015


My review of Eliza Robertson's wonderful début short story collection Wallflowers is now online on the Stinging Fly magazine's website. Here.

Monday, 20 April 2015


The deadline for applications for The Stinging Fly magazine's June summer fiction workshop is this Thursday, April 23rd at 5pm.

Taking place in June, this will be a week-long intensive daytime workshop, designed for writers of short stories and/or the novel. The course will be led by Sean O'Reilly.

During the workshop, each writer’s work will be up for in-depth discussion twice. All the work will have been shared and closely read in advance. Also included in the structure of the course are three sessions on aspects of narrative prose by guest speakers, including the editors of The Stinging Fly. 

Up to ten writers will be offered a place based on the work they’ve submitted (via email) by the application deadline (Thursday, April 23rd).

The summer fiction workshop is offered in association with the Irish Writers' Centre and is supported by Words Ireland.

Dates of workshop: June 22nd - June 26th 2015

Times: Monday to Friday, 10.15am-4.30pm

Venue: Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Cost: €325 (or €300 for IWC members)

How to apply:

The short story should not exceed 6000 words and the novel extract should not exceed 15 pages.

Email the story or extract to stingingfly@gmail.com with Summer Fiction Workshop along with your name in the subject heading.

They will accept either Word.doc or Word.docx files.

Read the full guidelines on the website before applying!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

ENSFR reading at the IWC

I am delighted to be reading a short story at the European Network for Short Fiction Research conference which takes place in TCD and UCD this Friday and Saturday, 17th and 18th April. The reading is on Friday the 17th from 7pm - 9pm at the Irish Writers' Centre.

Tickets: €5, available from Eventbrite.

Chaired by Philip Coleman, the readings and discussion will focus on Reading Short Fiction in Transnational Contexts, with guests:

- Evelyn Conlon
- Ailsa Cox
- Dave Lordan
- Tom Morris                                                                               
- Nuala Ní Chonchúir
- Mary O’Donnell

Doors open from 6.30pm, event starts at 7pm.

Monday, 13 April 2015


Sign inside a shop on 5th
I am slowly getting back to 'normal' after my trip to the States for bookseller dinners, organised by Penguin USA. Basically, I was flown over to meet with booksellers at meals in lovely restaurants. You couldn't say no to that! The dinners took place in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in Boston, Mass.

I stayed in New York for two nights and Boston for one so, while it was a tad hectic, it was enormously enjoyable and just what I needed after a recent low. All of the booksellers and the sales people from Penguin have read ARCs of the novel so we were able to talk in-depth about various aspects of the story, the writing of the book, our mutual hopes for its success etc.
The Empire Hotel - that statue behind the clock is Dante
In NY I stayed in the Empire Hotel on W 63rd and, moments after I arrived I saw the lovely Iris Apfel in the bar next door, a branch of the famous P.J. Clarke's. What a legend - I had literally just pinned her picture to my Great Women board.
Super Grover - my companion on trips I take alone - with 8th Ave and Broadway, from the hotel
Libby, self, Kathleen and Kelly at l'Escale, Greenwich
Tara, my editor, and me (tired)
The restaurant in Greenwich (about an hour from Manhattan) was called l'Escale and it served French cuisine and was on the harbour. Absolutely beautiful. My editor at Penguin, Tara Singh-Carlson was with us and it was so great to see her again and catch up. We took an end-of-the-night selfie and 'jet lag' is written all over my face.

Prada men with Prada women - 5th Avenue
Reflections on 57th Street
Bronze woman in Columbus Circle
I had some time in Manhattan to walk about, during the day. I had an urgent message to get at Build-a-Bear (bunny shoes) but, apart from that, I was free to wander, take the subway and soak it all in. I also managed lunch with my lovely agent, Gráinne Fox. We went to The Odeon in Tribeca - notorious for a cocaine-filled scene in Jay McInerney's novel Bright Lights, Big City. G and I made plans and had a giggle, and I ate the most divine chocolate mousse cake ever.

Columbus atop his plinth
Yapping in l'Escale (or maybe actually listening!)
I took the train from New York to Boston - what a treat! I'm not a huge fan of flying at the best of times (I get sick of airport shenanigans and cheek-to-cheek contact with strangers) so to rock up at Penn Station and step onto the train was dreamy. And the views en route were fabulous.

NY to Boston train view
NY to Boston view
NY to Boston train view
Seriously appropriate marmo at my Boston hotel, the Loews
Karl Krueger, New England sales rep for Penguin, met me at my Boston hotel and accompanied me around the corner to Mistral, the gorgeous restaurant where we ate that night, in fine company. Once again I signed copies of Miss Emily and had convos about the book. Chris Rose of The Andover Bookstore was particularly sweet about the novel - he normally reads non-fic so I love that he enjoyed the story and the prose.

Signing copies of Miss Emily at Mistral, Boston - John Hugo to my right, Tova to my left
I also had a chance to catch some of the sights around Back Bay, where my hotel was. I'd only ever been to Cambridge before so it was good to get a taster of Boston itself.

The library in Boston. Wow.
Trinity Church, Boston
I got lost looking for a book shop but found Poe and the raven '... never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting'!!
The People's Park at Boston Common where Emily Dickinson once walked
I felt a little like this Back Bay lady (though not as slim, ahem...) after my busy few days...
...but I was as happy as Super Grover always is too. It was a fantastic trip!
All thanks to the team and to the booksellers for coming out to meet me.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2015

I am naturally delighted that The Closet of Savage Mementos has been shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2015. All thanks to my editor Eoin Purcell for publishing the book (Eoin is now working in London with Amazon) and to all the New Island team. I'm in lovely company; special congrats to fellow Islander, David Butler.
The shortlist:
City of Dis by David Butler
Blue is the Night by Eoin McNamee
The Closet of Savage Mementos by Nuala Ní Chonchúir
The Visitors by Patrick O’Keeffe
The Diary of Mary Travers by Eibhear Walshe
The adjudicators Eileen Battersby and Gerald Dawe will select the winner, who will be presented with a cheque for €15,000 at the Opening Night of Listowel Writers’ Week on Wednesday 27th May 2015.
More here.

Friday, 3 April 2015


In my first gig billed as 'Nuala O'Connor', I am doing two events at West Cork Literary Festival in July. It's funny how some people seem aggrieved by my name change. Endlessly amusing, this writing life.

My two events are a Coffee and a Chat event at Bantry House (whee!!) about the writing of Miss Emily - 10am Monday 13th July. And a reading from Miss Emily (all going well there will be copies for sale) at 1pm on Monday 13th in the library.

I am thrilled to see Michel Faber will be reading on Sunday 12th. Can't wait for that. Lovely, brilliant Michel.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Sarah Gilmartin has an article online in today's Irish Times called The Rise of the Short Story - she interviewed me for the piece along with Eilís Ní Dhuibhne, Mary Costello, Declan Meade, Henrietta McKervey, Brendan Barrington and others. It's here.