a week of Good News

This blog is an utterly barren place, isn't it? Nowt but a repository for my book reviews and reading lists. Well, hey, it's been a busy year. PhDs and childcare are fairly mutually incompatible, as it turns out, and when you throw in the reviewing (which has admittedly, and sadly, slackened off a little, as my time has been increasingly limited) and the copywriting that pays the rent, and various community campaigning stuff, then, well, blogging takes a hit.

Still, here I am, and with good tidings - for me, that is, though feel free to share your own particular joys. So first, I had a flash published recently in the second issue of The Penny Dreadful, a new Irish print mag that's also got Paul Muldoon in it - fancy! I haven't read the whole issue yet, but it looks great and I urge you all to buy it, and anyway, it's nice to support new ventures, and this crowd are based in Cork, my dad's homeland, and, they'd tell you, the real capital.  

Second: I found out a few days ago that another flash of mine has been shortlisted for the 2013 Bridport Prize! I know it hasn't placed any higher than that, but getting on a shortlist of fifty out of 2700 entries ain't half bad, and I'm very happy, all round. The story's now been shipped out again to see if anybody else likes it, so cross all your fingers for it.

Third, and the BIGGIE: I heard on Wednesday that I've been awarded a Literature Bursary from An Chomhairle EalaĆ­on, aka the Irish Arts Council! It's to give me time to write my book, and to get a new laptop (one with a battery life of over two hours, thanks very much, HP). In practical terms that means I'll have money for childcare one day a week for the next nine or ten months, and money for a cheap(ish) writing retreat, as well as the laptop. Obviously, I'm enormously excited. I'm not eligible for Arts Council England funding while I'm studying, and my PhD isn't funded, so this is pretty much a godsend (or the aetheistic equiavalent). So, hurray, and a huge thank you to all the people on the selection panel, whomever you may be!

Eleanor Catton review

My review of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries is live at Bookmunch. (My Booker favourite, for what it's worth.)