Granta magazine has published ‘Gooseen’ – my story about Nora Barnacle – for Bloomsday. This story recently won the Short Story Prize judged by Ríona Judge McCormack. McCormack said of it: ‘”Gooseen”, stood out for its freshness, its stunning use of language, and its warm, beating humanity.’ It’s at Granta here.
The Anton Chekhov Prize for Very Short Fiction opens today and Nuala is the judge.
1000 word story. $300 prize. Enter here.
‘Gooseen’, my story about Nora Barnacle, that recently won the Short Fiction Prize, will be published in Granta on Bloomsday. Delighted!
I’m currently on retreat in the beautiful River Mill, a brand new writers’ retreat in an 18th C mill in County Down. It’s in a gloriously rural part of the country, near Ardglass and Downpatrick. There is vast peace, boreens to walk, sweet lambs to admire and delicious food to eat.
And I’m getting plenty of features and articles written in the run-up to my new novel Becoming Belle‘ s publication in August (USA) and September (here).
I’d highly recommend The River Mill to writers looking for a really peaceful retreat in the countryside. Poet Paul Maddern is a lovely host and he cooks and bakes like an angel.
The UK cover of Becoming Belle revealed. Out September 6th from Piatkus Little Brown & Hachette Ireland.
Nuala has won the 2018 Short Fiction Prize with a story about Nora Barnacle, wife and muse to James Joyce.
Judge Ríona Judge McCormack said the follow of Nuala’s winning story ‘Gooseen’:
“The winning entry, ‘Gooseen’, stood out for its freshness, its stunning use of language, and its warm, beating humanity. Joycean Dublin as a setting can be a risky endeavour, the path having been so well-travelled already, but this story rises easily above such comparisons to bring us something new and satisfyingly urgent. There is a finely-balanced weighting here between the raunchy, delicious beginnings of a love affair and the more poignant aspects of Nora’s inner life. Giving voice to someone known only through the letters and writings of another is an audacious undertaking, but one ‘Gooseen’ achieves with both a dancing lyricism and a deftly-executed sureness of touch”.
Monday 23rd, Cabra Library, 6.30pm: The Long Gaze Back One City One Book event with Eimear Ryan, Susan Stairs and Sinéad Gleeson.
CÚIRT FESTIVAL, GALWAY
Tuesday 24th, Town Hall Theatre, Galway. Reading my flash ‘Pearl’ at the launch of ROPES.
Wednesday 25th, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Launching three new Salmon poetry collections by the fabulous trio that are Moya Roddy, Paul Kingsnorth and Anne Casey.
Thursday 26th, Bite Club, Galway. Reading from my story ‘The Boy from Petropólis’ at the launch of the brand new Stinging Fly anthology.
“Nuala O’Connor has the thrilling ability to step back nimbly and enter the deep dance of time?this is a hidden history laid luminously before us of an exultant Anglo-Irish woman navigating the dark shoals and the bright fields of a life.”
Sebastian Barry, award-winning author of The Secret Scripture and Days Without End
“Becoming Belle is a glorious novel in which Belle Bilton and 19th century London are brought roaring to life with exquisite period detail. In her portrayal of Belle, Nuala O’Connor delivers a seductive study of a complex and fascinating woman, who deserves the stage provided for her in this wonderful book.”
Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of A Memory of Violets
“O’Connor has a genius for finding the universal and unifying life essence of seemingly diverse women as they nurture their deepest sensibilities and draw upon their enduring strength. … O’Connor’s rendering of a now little-known nineteenth-century music hall dancer in Becoming Belle is thrillingly dramatic and achingly moving and profoundly resonant into this present era.”
Robert Olen Butler, author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
“Nuala O’Connor is a gifted writer who, with incandescent characters and mellifluous prose, captivates the reader with the same command as magnificent theatre. Becoming Belle is so mesmerizing you will be distraught when it ends and you remember that she lives no more. O’Connor has resurrected a fiery, inexorable woman who rewrites the script on a stage supposedly ruled by men. Sensual, witty, daring, and unapologetically forward, Belle Bilton and her cohorts will dance on in your mind long after the curtains fall.”
Lisa Carey, author of The Stolen Child
“A thoroughly engrossing and entertaining read. O’Connor’s meticulous attention to period detail and scrutiny of the upper classes and their shallow lives [is] reminiscent of Edith Wharton at her very best. It also makes us question whether women have ever really escaped from the censorious judgement of Victorian times.”
Liz Nugent, author of Unraveling Oliver
“Masterful storytelling! I was putty in Nuala O’Connor’s hands. She made the unsinkable Belle Bilton and her down-to-earth sister Flo real to me, and brought 1880’s London to my living room. Encore! Encore!”
Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe
“Becoming Belle is luscious, addictive and as satisfyingly wise as it is huge of heart. Nuala O’Connor has gone in deep to imagine the life of a fascinating woman, and from the dance floor to the townhouse to the bedroom, she renders Belle Bilton’s passion, determination and vulnerability bracingly real. A treat as well as a tribute; utterly absorbing”
Belinda McKeon, author of Tender
“O’Connor offers a stunning historical reimagining. Her eye for details, including Victorian dress, food, and technology, enhance her mastery of character and inner dialog.”
Library Journal Starred Review