Review: Academy Street by Mary Costello

Review: Academy Street by Mary Costello

Academy Street by Mary Costello (Canongate) When Mary Costello’s collection The China Factory was published in 2012 by The Stinging Fly, it was clear that here was a writer of huge ability. Nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, her short stories braided the...

Along the Lines by Dermot Healy

When I was putting together the anthology Silver Threads of Hope, I asked Dermot Healy for a story, and he kindly contributed this one. As it happened, it was the shortest story in the collection (759 words), but one that has so much of that sense of place and...

Review: Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill (Granta) There is a scene in Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation where the writer protagonist bumps into a man she used to know. “I think I must have missed your second book?”, he says. The writer explains that there isn’t one....

Interview: Jimmy McGovern

On the day I’m supposed to interview Jimmy McGovern, he has to postpone. The writer is attending a funeral for a man who lost a child in the Hillsborough disaster. Despite his long years in television making acclaimed dramas like Cracker, The Lakes and Dockers, the...

Interview: Yiyun Li

Poison and intrigue in past and present China – When Yiyun Li left China, at the age of 24, she couldn’t speak English. Now, nearly two decades later, she is recognised as one of its most perceptive contemporary writers There is no prerequisite for becoming a...

Interview: Gary Shteyngart

When I finally get through to Gary Shteyngart’s London hotel room, after a Fawlty Towers style mix-up, he’s in bed. Not because he overslept but because he prefers to spend most of his time there writing, and jokes that he only leaves bed to go on book tours. “It’s...

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