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What is it about the Irish?

Come join the craic and find out why the Irish are considered the best short story writers in the world

21 June 2014 | 7:30pm - 8:15pm | £8 (standard) / £6 (friends)

London Short Story Festival Talks and Readings

This event has already started and is no longer open for bookings. Please contact [email protected] for information.

Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan's stories have won numerous awards. Her debut, Antarctica, (Faber & Faber) was a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. The Observer called these stories “among the finest recently written in English”. In 2007 Walk the Blue Fields was published to huge critical acclaim and went on to win The Edge Hill Prize for the strongest collection published in The British Isles that year. Foster (2010) won The Davy Byrnes Award, judged by Richard Ford: “Keegan is a rarity – someone I will always want to read.”

Her stories have been widely anthologised, published by The Paris Review, Granta and Best American Stories and have been translated into 14 languages.

“Every line seems to be a lesson in the perfect deployment of both style and emotion.” Hilary Mantel.

"The best stories here are so textured and moving, so universal but utterly distinctive, that it’s easy to imagine readers savouring them many years from now and to imagine critics, far in the future, deploying lofty new terms to explain what it is that makes Keegan’s fiction work." – The New York Times.

Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett grew up in Mayo, Ireland. 'Young Skins' is his debut collection of short stories, and is published by Stinging Fly Press in Ireland, and Jonathan Cape in the UK. Colin completed his MA in Creative Writing in 2009, and won the Penguin Ireland Prize the same year. The Guardian calls ‘Young Skins’ ‘an extraordinary debut short-story collection’ and we are thrilled that Colin is able to join us to celebrate the short story form during this busy time for him.

Jaki McCarrick

Jaki McCarrick is an award-winning writer. Her play, Leopoldville, won the 2010 Papatango Award for New Writing, and her most recent play, The Belfast Girls, developed at the National Theatre Studio, was shortlisted for the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the 2014 BBC Tony Doyle Award. Jaki’s short story, The Visit, won the 2010 Wasafiri Short Fiction Prize and appears in the 2012 Anthology of Best British Short Stories (Salt). Her critically acclaimed story collection, The Scattering, was published in 2013 by Seren Books. Jaki is currently editing her first novel, Black Soap.

Mary Costello

Mary Costello grew up in the west of Ireland and lives in Dublin. Her short story collection, The China Factory, was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award in 2012. Her stories have been published in various anthologies and broadcast on radio. Her first novel, Academy Street, will be published in November 2014.


Do you love Irish writers? Claire Keegan is joined by Colin Barrett, Jaki McCarrick and Mary Costello to talk about why the Irish are considered the best short story writers in the world. You will hear about these authors’ views and approaches towards the short story, and be able to ask your own questions.

There will be book signings after the event until 9.45pm.

This event is supported by the London Irish Centre - The Heart of the Irish Community in London

Claire Keegan is also appearing at the London Short Story Festival on Saturday 21 June, 7 - 8.15pm, in 'An Evening with Claire Keegan' and on Sunday 22 June, 12 - 4.30pm she will run a Masterclass - 'How Fiction Works'.

Colin Barrett is also appearing at the London Short Story Festival on Saturday 21 June, 12 - 1pm in 'The Colin Barrett Interview' and will also be running a workshop on Sunday 22 June, 11.45 - 1.45pm.

Mary Costello is also appearing at the London Short Story Festival on Saturday 21 June, 3 - 4.30pm at 'Stories from the Heart'.

The event will be at:

Waterstones Piccadilly, 203 - 206 Piccadilly, W1J 9HD