Seeing Further: Short Stories ‘Collected’ via a Bursary


Back in June I had A Bursary and a Strategy for my ambitions to write a Short Story Collection with the help of a Literature Wales Writer’s Bursary.

In August I did an interim account: Highlights So Far

Today I’ve sent in my End of Bursary report.

How well has the plan worked? I’ve achieved my aim of producing a Short Story Collection set in Wales, Ireland and Italy. Thank you to everyone who helped me – and there are many.

A View Obscured

My bid for the Bursary outlined my desire to write about the legacy that violence, of any kind, leaves below the surface of our lives. Beneath the ostensible scars,  this hidden energy pushes choices in the present. Confronting it, or harnessing it, is a life’s work.

The final tally is 24 stories (about 49,000 words) chosen from my roster by literary editor, Gwen Lloyd Davies New Welsh Review. She has arranged them in a publication order.

This is the part of the overview Gwen offers of the Collection:

In these stories, many bearing witness to violence, injustice and cruelty, people face challenges to their vocation, their values, their sense of belonging, their art or their faith. These include a gay priest, an estranged husband, an actress adrift and a young woman catching the tail-end of a scene of heartless urban violence. Many of these characters, like Northern Ireland itself, have ‘A talent for endurance, a sardonic patience, and a reverence for suffering as an act of war.’

A View from my late Father’s childhood home in Belfast

I decided early that, rather than approaching publishers directly, I would find an agent because this collection is  a major step in a productive, and durable, writing career.

I’ve been researching agencies and individual agents to work out who might be a good fit for me and my work. I’ve got a little list!

I’m taking time to develop an approach to agents which I hope will provide all they need to assess what I’m offering now and in the future.

I’ll be spending most of September in Berlin on a writing project where I also intend to re-visit Ora, a café / cocktail bar where I had the best Gimlet ever in the dark days of January #writerslife!

The brilliant ORA bar in Oranienplatz, Berlin

I hope to spend much of November in Belfast researching for a novel (not so many cocktails). That leaves December for Beddau, Bala or Banwen!

I’ve had a very positive experience of the Literature Wales Writers’ Bursaries scheme and I’ve enjoyed my contact with the Northern Irish counterpart, Arts Council of Northern Ireland whose site hosts one of my Bursary blogs.