Ireland

“My next book is actually the only book that was written in English, and it’s an anthology of Irish women writers called The Long Gaze Back.”

A few years back the editor of this anthology, Sinead Gleeson, was getting – Scott frowns – well quite frankly, pissed off with the fact that all the collections she was seeing featured more male than female authors. And so she decided to pull together this book of 30 short stories by Irish women writers.

There’s a particularly striking story by Lucy Caldwell that is about her own experience of having a premature baby. It’s incredibly tense, and for anyone who has got kids, it sends a chill up your spine.

Eight of the stories in the collection are by luminaries and forerunners who are no longer living, and the other 22 are new pieces by some of the most talented Irish women writers working today. The older stories have more of a sense of place – you can tell they’re Irish straight away. As they get a bit more contemporary, they become more universal.

The stories span 200 years of writing. Maria Edgeworth, the author of the first story in this book, was born in 1768. The last story in the book is by Eimear Ryan, and she was born in 1986.

“If you like short stories, it’s a really cracking selection.” Scott turns to Judith, “If you want to support the sisterhood – which of course we all do – like Maresi this is another great one to read. And although it’s not in translation, Ireland are part of the EU, so I suppose that’s allowed.”

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