Tuesday, 16 March 2010


Here's the cover of New Short Stories 4 from the Willesden Herald and Pretend Genius, in which I have a story called 'Letters'. I wrote the story over two years ago during a stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and have being trying to flog it since. It goes out, it comes back. One comp organiser wrote to me to say she liked it and was sorry it didn't make the judge's shortlist. Anyway, each time it comes back, I read it carefully, make some wee changes, and send it off again. I tend to do that with stories I believe in. Some that get rejected I start to dislike and see flaws everywhere. (Which, in fairness, there probably are.)

'Letters' has a few elements: it's about an illiterate Irish woman in 1940's New York, who is distractedly lonely; it was inspired by an observation of Maeve Brennan's in one of her New Yorker articles. (I love her non-fiction.) That was my ending and I wrote towards it. There's also an anecdote of my father's in it, about a frog.

Anyway, I'm pleased to be shortlisted for the Willesden Herald Comp with 'Letters' and that it'll appear in the anthology. I'm going to London for the prize-giving event. I'm loving the cover for the book - it'll be after April 10th before you and I can all read what lies behind it.


TOM J VOWLER said...

Looking forward to reading your story, Nuala. See you on the 10th.

P Nolan said...


BarbaraS said...

Isn't that the comp that A Certain Writer got notorious for rejecting all the entries for a year or two ago...? Well, anyway, I just wanted to say well done, it's no mean feat getting inside the covers of that book, by any means. From strength to strength, N.

Tania Hershman said...

Ooh, looks great. And thanks for giving us the backstory behind the story, it's so good to hear about "older" stories that finally find their place. And now that I know you're going on April 10th too, I will just have to make an effort and head over there myself!


Tom - right back at ya!

PJ - groan...and thanks!

B - yes, Zadie Smith didn't rate the shortlisted stories. Eek. There was a storm.

T - LOVE to see you there!
I consider a story 'new' ('new to me') until it finds a home or ends up in a collection. I do know what you mean by 'older', though ;).
I think I write so little anymore I'll go on calling oldies new forever!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Was just thinking about Maeve Brennan the other day. What a sad story.