Which writers or poets inspire you and why?
I read widely and across forms. Without doing a fan-list of short, short fiction, I particularly admire Kathy Fish’s stories – honed and very complete, yet they retain impact and emotional power. Lorrie Moore for memorability; Etgar Keret for his dark humour; Lydia Davis for her concise writing. Gay Degani for the resonance she achieves in her stories. Eavon Boland for capturing a moment. And, Katherine Mansfield for her observation and timelessness.
If you are a writer or poet, how did you get started?
My introduction to flash fiction came several years ago, when I wrote my first flash for a bet, after laughing off a seemingly impossible one hundred word competition brief. I won the prize. Great! But really, I won twice. Since then I’ve been hooked on flash and my flashes are published around the world and often shortlist for prizes. I’m a multiple nominee for Best Small Fictions. I write other forms, but learn most from those tight edits, word selection and structural demands of flash. There’s space to explore a wide range of ideas, experiences and moods – sometimes intense subjects that may not be sustainable beyond a thousand words. I was very happy to have two stories, Ideal Cottage and Sunday Racers selected for Hysteria 4.
Do you have a ‘must read’ list?
Always, and it keeps getting longer! Most recent additions include the new editions of Katherine Mansfield’s work (ed. Gerri Kimber) and the fabulous Helen Cadbury’s second novel in her Sean Denton series and Edna O’Brien’s The Little Red Chairs.
What are you reading currently?
Saints and Sinners (Edna O’Brien), The Orenda (Joseph Boyden) and Best Small Fictions 2015 (ed. Tara Masih).
Are you a library lover, a bookshop bird or an online owl?
All of the above. I think that rather than being competitors or mutually exclusive, they all have qualities and advantages to offer. Libraries and librarians have a key role in our society and have played a major part in my reading and learning journey through my life.
What emotion do you associate with good writing?
Connection. Typically I’ll find it resonant, funny and intriguing.