Shortlisted for Büro BDP Writing Prize 2020

I’m delighted to have made the shortlist for the Büro BDP Writing Prize 2020.

The prize is run by Broken Dimanche, an independent English-language publisher based in Berlin.

I’m not sure when the prize will be announced, and considering the Covid-19 situation both in Ireland and Germany, I suspect any plans the publisher may have had when they invited submissions will have changed radically in the intervening months.

Still, it’s great to be nominated for such a prize.

Triptych published by The Aleph Publishing

Huge thanks to The Aleph Publishing, who have managed to survive the pandemic and publish my short story ‘Triptych‘ which won The Aleph Writing Prize 2019.


Looking at the pictures sent to me by the publishers it really looks like they’ve done an amazing job putting the story together and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The story is available in a very limited edition, so anyone wishing to get their hands on a copy of the first piece of work by me to appear on its own, you should follow the link here:


Thanks once again are due to The Aleph, it’s something I’m really proud of and I’m so happy to see how beautiful it all looks.


Keywords 03. on RTE Radio 1

Episode 3 of Keywords, featuring my piece of short fiction ‘C’ is broadcast again tonight at 10:00pm on RTE Radio 1.

The picture below is taken from the Sunday Times Culture supplement of 12th July where Keywords was the Pick of the Day


Keywords 03 ST Image 12-07-20

If you’re at a loose end for something to do of a Friday night (and at the moment who isn’t!), you could do worse than give it a listen.




Come You Masters on Juxta Press

I first came across Juxta Press when I purchased a copy of ‘Fish Out Of Water’ by Claire-Louise Bennett, and apart from the quality of the writing I really enjoyed the quality of the physical book they produced. While it is a short work, as an object the book shows just how much work and care they put into everything they do.

Browsing their website I noted they were accepting submissions for their Positions collection, short fiction presented online with accompanying artworks.

I was really happy to see them accept, and publish, my own short story ‘Come You Masters’, which you can read here;


Come You Masters


I hope you enjoy it.

The story is based around the contemplation of Goya’s Disasters of War series of prints, and if one single image sums the story up it may well be this


Sad presentiments of what must come to pass (Tristes presentimientos de lo que ha de acontecer)

Keywords 03.

We’re in a strange space at the moment, aren’t we?

I don’t know about you but I’ve really struggled to get any work done. I’m technically working from home, but as I miss that sense of separating my working day from my writing space at home it’s become harder to get anything done, or certainly anything I’m happy with.

A new show has recently started on RTE Radio 1 Extra, called Keywords with each week’s show based around a particular keyword (clue’s in the name I suppose…)

I’m thrilled that a piece I wrote has been selected for broadcast on this Sunday’s show, to go out live at 8pm this Sunday.

I’ll include a link to the show itself closer to the time and one to catch up on it later should you have anything more pressing to do on a Sunday evening in the middle of a global pandemic-induced shutdown…..

The Aleph Writing Prize

Writing competitions are always difficult, not just whether your piece wins or not, or at least makes a long or short list, but if your work doesn’t make the latter stages you never know whether the judges liked it and it just didn’t make the last list, or they thought it was complete garbage and your submission has long since been lining the cat’s litter tray.

However, I was absolutely delighted to learn I’ve won The Aleph Writing Prize 2019. The prize will be the publishing of my story Triptych in a limited edition pamphlet.

It’s the first time a work of mine has been published independently, and I’m really looking forward to getting it into my hands.

More details to follow when it becomes available.


Circle of Missé

I’ve recently returned from a week in a writing retreat, the Circle of Missé in France. Having a full time job means I only get to write in the evenings, or on days off, but spending a week in Missé meant I got to live as a fulltime writer, if only for a short time.

Misse House Landscape

The owners, Wayne and Aaron take wonderful care of their guests, arranging fantastic meals and ensuring we’re all well fed and watered and have as relaxing an atmosphere imaginable to concentrate on our work, it’s a truly magical place.

It’s wonderful to spend time with other writers too; on my time there we had myself, two from the UK (one bringing along her husband who assisted enthusiastically in the kitchen), one from Canada and one from Luxembourg. Each of us working on different projects at different stages of development, but it was great to all share ideas and hear each other read at the end of the week.

Far from isolating ourselves in our rooms, slaving over our keyboards, we would spend each evening together chatting over the delicious dinners, we had a book club night on the first Monday (none of us liked the book, which was a relief), and a movie night. I’d only ever seen Some Like It Hot in pieces before, never all the way through in one go, so another reason to celebrate my week in Missé. We also visited a local château, the Château d’Oirion, which was donated to the state and is now an art gallery (and without realising it at the time my visit there has given me the kernel of an idea for a novel, so something to keep working on).

Colm at Oirion

Needless to say I shall return. Before going my friend, the writer June Caldwell had told me that when I went there once I would never want to go to any other retreat, and I know what she means. At this point I’m just waiting to book a week there again next year.


Beckett Speaks!

Like the famous headline “Garbo Speaks” this feels almost as exciting, and as special, to me anyway.

Those who know me know how much the works of Samuel Beckett mean to me. His work is a constant inspiration. Granted, it’s like a molehill being inspired by a mountain, but I’m not sure there’s ever been a writer whose work has me in such a consistent state of awe.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will see a regular stream of Beckett related material tweeted and retweeted, so naturally when I saw a radio documentary on BBC about his work and archive in the University of Reading I liked and retweeted early in the day with the aim of listening to it later that day.

Enjoyable as the documentary is, narrated by Robert McCrum, with contributions from such luminaries as James Knowlson, Billie Whitelaw, Edna O’Brien, Tom Stoppard and Lisa Dwan, among others, the real peak for me was getting to hear a recording of Beckett, not only speaking, but reciting a part of his work Lessness.

As is well known Samuel Beckett was not a writer enamouured with any form of celebrity, and interviews and recordings of him are rare, so hearing him speak was more than a pleasant surprise.

I will confess that hearing him read from his own work, tapping a table with the end of a pencil as he spoke to ensure the listener would find the rhythm in the piece, left me quite emotional. I’ve listened to that part of the documentary again and again since, and it doesn’t lose its power.

I’ve no idea how long such radio documentaries stay up on the BBC website, so all I can do is implore you to listen. The documentary as a whole is fascinating, not only to hear about the Beckett archive, and from those who worked with him and knew him, but to get the rare opportunity to hear him speak (from approximately the 42 minute mark) adds so much more.