Sinéad Gleeson and Lucy Caldwell discuss the new anthology of Irish women’s short stories, The Long Gaze Back
. The title comes from a line in The Visitor
by Maeve Brennan, whose story The Eldest Child
in included in the collection.
The Long Gaze Back
‘Gleeson directs her gaze back like a literary archaeologist who has excavated the archives and unearthed treasures for the short story lover’s delight.’ Ann O’Neill
is an exhilarating anthology of thirty short stories by some of the most gifted women writers Ireland has ever produced. Taken together, the collected works of these writers reveal an enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a lively literary landscape. Spanning four centuries, The Long Gaze Back
features eight rare stories from deceased luminaries and forerunners, and 22 new unpublished stories by some of the most talented Irish women writers working today. The anthology presents an inclusive and celebratory portrait of the high calibre of contemporary literature in Ireland.
These stories run the gamut from heartbreaking to humorous, but each leaves a lasting impression. They chart the passions, obligations, trials and tribulations of a variety of vividly-drawn characters with unflinching honesty and relentless compassion.
Sinéad Gleeson is a broadcaster, critic and writer who presents The Book Show on RTE Radio 1. She reviews books for The Irish Times and RTE Radio One’s arts show, Arena. As a moderator at literary festivals, Sinéad has interviewed many writers and artists, including Martin Amis, Edna O’Brien, Ian McEwan, Donna Tartt and Brian Eno. She is the editor of two short story anthologies, Silver Threads of Hope, and most recently The Long Gaze Back: an Anthology of Irish Women Writers, which won Best Irish Published Book at the 2015 Irish Book Awards. She is currently editing another anthology for New Island Books, which will be published in Autumn 2016.
Born in Belfast in 1981, Lucy Caldwell read English at Queens’ College, Cambridge and is a graduate of Goldsmith’s MA in Creative & Life Writing. She is the author the novels Where They Were Missed
(2006) and The Meeting Point
(2011), which featured on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was awarded the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her stage plays, Leaves
, and Notes to Future Self
, and radio dramas, Girl From Mars
, Avenues of Eternal Peace
, Witch Week
, have won awards including the George Devine Award and the Imison Award. In 2011 she was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for her body of work to date. Her debut collection of short stories, Multitudes
, will be published by Faber in May 2016.