My name is Colm O’Shea. I was born in 1972 and I grew up in Leixlip, County Kildare, though now live and work in Dublin where I work as a civil engineer.
I came to writing late. I’ve always been a reader, but it never really occurred to me to write. Growing up I never knew any writers, and I never read anything that felt like it was written by someone like me, or someone who came from somewhere like I did. Yet it was always a nagging itch. Occasionally I tried, I tried writing something, or tried thinking about writing something, but nothing ever stuck. By the time I turned thirty I decided I really needed to try, at least, or I’d always regret it. So I did.
I started by trying to write crime fiction (I was called a hardboiled modernist in one rejection email), but have moved into the genre of literary fiction now. Whatever it is that constitutes my voice, ultimately, I think, always tended that way. Most, if not everything I write now, can probably be called autofiction, it is a space I continue to explore.
Whether it’s a function of age, or experience, but work around memory and grief pretty much dominates everything I do now.
To list inspirations could be futile, as I doubt I could ever comprehensively contain everything that has gone into making me the writer I am (for better or worse), and could change with every change of the weather.
But as foundation writers, those who have drilled deep into me and remain, the piles upon which I build everything, I couldn’t do anything without Samuel Beckett and Marguerite Duras.
My work has appeared in gorse, Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, 3AM Magazine, Firmament, The Tangerine, Lunate, Hotel, Fallow Media, The Liminal Review, Juxta Press, and Solas Nua (View Source), and broadcast on RTE Radio (Keywords).
I was one of the inaugural winners of the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair competition in 2012.
I won The Aleph Writing Prize 2019.