Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Not-So Lonely Voices of April

Left to right: Orla Price, Jan Carson, Molly McCloskey, Anne Harris and Susan Lanigan

Bouncing burlesque sex-scenes, two-headed people, burning butterfly houses... it can only be The Lonely Voice! Last night, the Irish Writers' Centre was home to all the above as this month's winning short story writers read from their differing yet all highly entertaining stories, selected by this month's guest judge Molly McCloskey (author of two short story collections, a novel and a soon to be published non-fiction book).

Molly was on hand to explain why exactly it was she picked the four stories on subjects as diverse as book club sex-scandals, imaginary operations to remove superfluous heads and using the funerals of strangers to cope with your own personal loss. In particular, Molly drew attention to the power of the opening line, when a writer has so little word count to play with, and she praised this month's winners for their grabbing starts.

Of this month's winners, all happened to be of the female variety yet each writer came with a different bag of experience and very different writing styles. Two came down from the North to attend the reading and all of the writers revelled in the chance to meet others ploughing away at the craft of the short story and to share experiences and ideas.

I definitely heard a lot of laughing from the audience and I imagine they were inwardly "aaww-ing" at all the touching moments in the stories and at the quality of the writing and so I can only glean from all this, that a good time was had by all. Having organised the thing, I am of course completely biased. I should also note that the MC'ing (also me) was of the utmost quality and good taste.

Big congratulations to the winners who shared in April's experience with us; Susan Lanigan, Anne Harris, Orla Price and Jan Carson. We wish them well in their future writing endeavours.

For us here at the Irish Writers' Centre, it's onwards to the May Lonely Voice (May 27th). Submission deadline is tomorrow so get writing and don't forget to knock us out with the opening line!

To read more about the Lonely Voice, visit our main website

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