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Introducing our longlisted authors: Roddy Doyle

Headshot Roddy Doyle (c) Anthony Wood.jpgView larger
Roddy Doyle. Photograph by Anthony Wood

Meet the authors longlisted for the 2020 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award

Introducing our longlisted authors: Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of 12 novels, including The Commitments, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, A Star Called Henry, Smile and, in 2020, Love. He has also written for stage, and big and small screen, most recently the movie, Rosie. He has written two collections of short stories, Bullfighting and The Deportees. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He is the co-founder of Fighting Words, an Ireland-wide organisation that encourages children and young people to write creatively.

He is longlisted for the short story: The Curfew

A man who has received worrying news about his health struggles to absorb the information while awaiting the arrival of a storm on the coastline where he lives. This is a humorous and bittersweet story about one man’s experience of facing his mortality – and coming to terms with the inevitability of ageing – which is both touching and melancholic.

What inspired you to write the story? Is it drawn from personal experience?

The story was inspired by my waiting for the arrival of ex-Hurricane Ophelia, which was supposed to sweep across Ireland, but didn’t really reach the east coast, where I live. I sat on the side of my bed, waiting for the catastrophe – then fell asleep. Earlier in the day, I saw a woman carrying a teddy bear in a baby carrier, and that got me thinking throughout the day. I thought if I brought the two things together – the woman and the meteorological non-event – there might be a story.

How does writing short stories differ from writing full-length fiction, and what do you enjoy about writing in the genre?

Writing short fiction is, I find, much more difficult. Every word seems to be vital, every decision a big one. Writing a novel is the work of years, but a short story needs to be written quickly.

How do you write? Longhand or typed? Why does your chosen method work for you?

I write straight onto a laptop. My handwriting is atrocious; it gets worse as I get older.

Which short story collection by another author would you recommend?

The Springs of Affection – Maeve Brennan.

Who would you cast to read the story you have entered?

I already read it, myself!

What are you reading now?

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell; A Journal of the Plague Year – Daniel Defoe.

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