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Louise Kennedy & Stephen Walsh

Outdoor event. Recording to be released online later this summer

Monday 12 July 2021

6:00 pm

Bantry House

€10

Two of the most exciting debut collections of short stories published this year were The End of the World is a Cul-de-Sac by Louise Kennedy and Shine/Variance by Stephen Walsh. Louise and Stephen are coming to Bantry to share them with us and they will be in conversation with Sasha de Buyl

Tickets for this event will go on sale by phone only 02752788 on Tuesday 6 July at 12 noon and will be sold in pods of 2 tickets. Capacity for this event is very limited and further instructions regarding Covid-19 compliance will be sent to ticketholders. Attendance is for ticketholders only. This event will take place outdoors and socially distant seating will be provided.

 

In the visceral, stunningly crafted stories in Louise Kennedy‘s debut collection, The End of the World is a Cul-de-Sac, people are effortlessly cruel to one another, and the natural world is a primitive salve. Here, women are domestically trapped by predatorial men, Ireland’s folklore and politics loom large, and poverty – material, emotional, sexual – seeps through every crack. A wife is abandoned by her new husband in a ghost estate, with blood on her hands; a young woman is tormented by visions of the man murdered by her brother during the Troubles; a pregnant mother fears the worst as her husband grows illegal cannabis with the help of a vulnerable teenage girl; a woman struggles to forgive herself after an abortion threatens to destroy her marriage. Announcing a major new voice in literary fiction for the twenty-first century, these sharp shocks of stories offer flashes of beauty, and even humour, amidst the harshest of truths.

“These stories sing, haunt and inspire laughter… One of the best collections I’ve read in years.” Sinead Gleeson

 

Stephen Walsh‘s Shine/Variance is a sharp and insightful debut short story collection about the pitfalls of ordinary life. A wife yearns to escape the tight-fisted confines of a package holiday. A boy dreams of footballing greatness as his mother mourns a loss. A man tries to assemble an absent child’s playhouse, with impossible instructions and too much beer. A woman seeks clarity from automated voices. A father is distracted from Christmas tree shopping with his son by the looming pressure of quarterly sales targets. Shine/Variance captures the tiny crises and wonders of daily life with warmth, wit and decisive clarity. Ordinary people – commuters, call centre workers, children and parents – struggle for stability while craving more, and the schism between expectation and reality is only rarely bridged. Yet, amidst the faltering, recognition and bright moments of hope still illuminate their days. Fresh, tender and darkly funny, these stories are a window into the longings, frustrations and painfully human connections of ordinary life from a remarkable new voice in fiction.

“An exciting, original, and very welcome new voice.” Donal Ryan

Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy grew up in Holywood, Co.Down. She has written for the Guardian, Irish Times, BBC Radio 4 and RTE Radio 1. Her short stories have been published in The...

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Stephen Walsh

Stephen Walsh lives in Dublin and works in IT. He started writing seriously in 2018. Since then his stories have been shortlisted for the White Review Short Story Prize, Royal...

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Sasha deBuyl

Sasha de Buyl is the Director of Cúirt International Festival of Literature in Galway. She has worked for over ten years as a literature development professional in Scotland and prior...

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Bantry House

Bantry House is not only one of the finest historic houses in Ireland but it also commands one of the best views overlooking Bantry Bay in West Cork. The original...

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