a collection of sixteen historical flash fictions
Love is the central force in Birdie, a collection of sixteen historical and out-of-time flash fictions that sing with the voices of women loving and losing and learning.
The characters here find strength, despite the sorrows of death and deceit: a ghost-child returns to Massachusetts to comfort her grieving mother; the daughter of a Spanish orange tycoon regrets her mother’s terrible choices; an English maid longs for, but can’t be with, her mistress’s son.
Birdie contains O’Connor’s signature ekphrastic work, drawing on artists as diverse as Matisse, da Vinci, and American painter Edwin Romanzo Elmer. The natural world looms large too: sheep and foxes roam these pages, as much as seawater washes through them.
A sincere thank you to the Arts Council of Ireland for a COVID-19 Crisis Response Award for Literature that enabled the writing and compilation of this collection of historical flash fiction and micro fictions
‘This collection of historical flash fictions is available now as an ebook, but there is also a beautiful print edition from Arlen House if one is so inclined. ‘Flash’ – a form O’Connor is a huge supporter of, advocate for and practioner of – feels like such an apt term for these briefly-illuminated moments of the past, obliquely or explicitly referencing real figures, deftly pulling us into a particular time and then depositing us back into our own world once more. This is a short book to be read like poetry, resting between pieces to let them sink in. It’s also, for the writers out there, a reminder of how much can be done in a couple of hundred words. How a page-long story can still pack a punch.’Claire Hennessy, author and editor at Banshee