Another interview with Damhnait Monaghan, flash fiction judge for Hysteria 2017

Damhnait Monaghan’s short stories, flash fiction, and creative non-fiction are published in Hysteria 4 Anthology, A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed (2016 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology), Understorey Magazine, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Still Point Arts Quarterly and The Incubator Journal. She’s on Twitter @Downith.

Who would you invite to a literary dinner party?

I would host an all Canadian dinner party with literary icons Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, and Miriam Toews. They all write exquisitely about women’s complicated lives. I would add debut novelist Sarah Mian to the mix because her 2015 novel, When the Saints, blew me away.

What are you reading currently?

I’m currently reading Instructions for A Heatwave by Maggie Farrell. I’m not far in but the writing is gorgeous. I’m a child of Irish immigrants (to Canada not England) and the description of the Riordan family resonates. Apple Tree Yard is next up. I couldn’t watch the recent BBC adaptation because I didn’t want to spoil the book. I listen to audio books when driving, most recently On Beauty by Zadie Smith. Both story and narration were wonderful.

Are you a library lover, a bookshop bird or an online owl?

All three. Libraries have long been my refuge. One of my first acts on moving to the UK 17 years ago was to apply for a library card. But I also enjoy spending time in bookshops, comparing covers, reading blurbs, and usually buying more than I should. I try not to purchase books online, but will do so occasionally, either because the e-book is on offer, or if it’s a North American book available only in that format. I read quite a bit of flash fiction online, usually from a Twitter link. The flash community on Twitter is brilliant and super supportive.

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a self-published writer?

Self-publishing has lost the stigma it once had. I’ve read and enjoyed several self-published books that were both well written and well edited. My first novel is out on submission via the traditional route, but I don’t rule out self-publishing. It’s my Plan C!

What advice would you give your younger writing self?

My younger writing self isn’t all that young; I came to creative writing late. But I would tell that elderly dilettante to turn off the voice in her head that says she’s no good and should give up. I would tell her to persevere.

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