What I’m reading:
I’ve just finished writing my first ‘noir’ story, a commission from Akashic Press, which will be publishing an anthology of ‘Belfast Noir’ next year. I’ve never written ‘noir’ before, and I loved it. While I was planning my story, I was recommended the books of Megan Abbott: Dare Me and The End of Everything, both of which are about intense teenage friendships, forbidden crushes, and dark sexuality. I also read Sara Gran’s latest in the Claire DeWitt series, The Bohemian Highway, which also features disturbed teenage girls.
Three books that inspired my last novel:
All the Beggars Riding is the story of a plastic surgeon from Belfast who leads a double life: a wife and two children in Belfast, and a mistress and two children in London. It’s narrated from the perspective of his mistress’s daughter, grown-up and trying to understand her parents’ devastating, addictive, passionate long affair. Three – very different – books that I kept coming back to as I was writing it were: Rosamund Lehmann’s The Weather in the Streets, the story of a doomed love triangle in Bohemian 1930s London, Graham Greene’s sparse and perfect The End of the Affair, and J.M. Coetzee’s masterpiece Summertime, in which a young biographer tries to get under the skin of his elusive subject.
Lucy at Word Factory:
Lucy Caldwell was born in Belfast. She is the author of three novels, several stage plays and numerous radio dramas. Her most recent novel, All the Beggars Riding, was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year and chosen for Belfast’s One City, One Book campaign. Other awards include the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Imison Award, a Fiction Uncovered Award and a Major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her short stories have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and published most recently in Granta: New Irish Writing, The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Belfast Noir and All Over Ireland: New Irish Short Stories.
She was shortlisted for the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Award (Canada & Europe) in 2014. Her debut collection of short stories, Multitudes, was published by Faber in 2016.