Pauline McLynn
Frank McGuinness
Gerry Hunt
Ross Lewis
Pat McCabe
Sinead Gleeson


In the first of our Publisher Interview Series, we talk to the founding Editor of The Stinging Fly Press, Declan Meade.

Q: As a publisher, The Stinging Fly Press has been around for just under a decade now, achieving great success with the likes of Kevin Barry, Mary Costello, and most recently Colin Barrett: what changes have you noticed in the publishing industry in Ireland during that time? What changes would you like to see in the future?

I think publishing is a lot more lively here now than it was ten years ago and this is on account of new publishers arriving on the scene and also, in some cases, new people coming on board at the existing houses. There are now more publishers producing not just more books but a wider range of books. That has to be good for writers and for readers.

Q: What are the challenges of being an Irish publisher? What kind of supports do you think the publishing industry in Ireland could be offered / is in need of?

Most Irish publishers are relatively small and we are operating in a relatively small market. A big challenge for Irish publishers is how to survive within this market. Publishers everywhere face the problem of being under-resourced – and small publishers are usually operating on half a shoestring. The Stinging Fly could not operate the way it does without the funding it receives from the Arts Council but from year to year that funding is not in any way secure. That said, I believe there is a lot of support out there for what we are doing – among readers, writers and booksellers, from the media and from other organisations within the sector – and all of this helps. I would like to see a firm commitment from government to supporting and developing the arts generally, and the literature sector in particular. There still appears to be this blind spot whereby government and state organisations will trade on the reputations of our literary stars, the big success stories, but they do not connect this back to a need to invest in the infrastructure that can support and enable future growth and success.

Q: According to your website, your focus is on publishing ‘the very best new Irish literary fiction’ – how would you define Irish literary fiction? Is it something with a solid definition, or is it perhaps something more fluid, depending on the individual writer and their book?

This question makes me think I should go change that on the website. Certainly I have no rigid definition of it in mind. I would never sit down to read a manuscript or a book hoping to get a blast of good Irish literary fiction. And I can’t imagine a writer sitting down at her desk, thinking that now she is going to write some ‘Irish literary fiction’. I am looking for story – and for a writer who knows how to write a story, who understands the craft required to write a story.

Q: Which book by an Irish writer do you wish you could’ve published, and why?

There is no one particular book, I have to say. There are many, many books by Irish writers that I love but I tend to take the view that if a book is published, well, that’s it, it’s out there and I don’t need to worry about it. I suppose if I had a time machine, it would be nice to travel back to the late fifties or early sixties and to spend a morning opening up envelopes with early stories from John McGahern or Edna O’Brien. Or to slip back further still and get to roll the presses on Dubliners.

Q: What are the things you look for when considering a manuscript? What turns a ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes’?

I am looking first and foremost for an interesting reading experience that in some way excites me and makes me want to share the work with other people. The work needs to be fully achieved. It all has to be there on the page. It’s possible that I will see ways that I can help make this happen by working with the writer on editing the manuscript—and then a ‘maybe’ might become a ‘yes’ if the writer is willing to engage in the editorial process. In my experience though a ‘maybe’ is more likely to end up being a ‘no’—or a ‘not quite there yet’—than a ‘yes’.

Q: Finally, have you any plans currently in the works, which you can reveal to us, for new anthologies or collections?

Our next book is the six stories that were short-listed for this year’s Davy Byrnes Short Story Award. That’s due in September. After that we’re bringing out two more debut collections, one by Danielle McLaughlin, the other by Claire-Louise Bennett. We don’t have definite publication dates for either of those yet, but hopefully we’ll get to do both of them in the first half of 2015.


Publisher Interview Series

by Admin on July 25, 2014

This year, in the run-up to Dublin Book Festival 2014, we will be conducting a number of interviews with various authors and publishers, with the aim of giving a better understanding into the workings of the publishing industry in Ireland.

To start with, we will be talking to different Irish Publishers over the next few weeks, showcasing their ethos as a press and asking for their insights into the current climate of Irish publishing and also what advice they would offer to budding authors.

The first of these interviews will be online at the end of next week.


Dublin Book Festival 2014: Interns Wanted

by Admin on June 25, 2014

We are looking for two interns to assist in the organisation and marketing of this year’s festival, which will take place from the 13th – 16th November 2014. Successful candidates will need to able to work on their own initiative as well as part of a dynamic team.This is an exciting opportunity for anyone wishing to get first hand experience of running a festival and working within the arts. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to develop relationships with authors and publishers in addition to getting a hands-on overview of what it means to organise a large-scale event.

Online Marketing Intern

The successful candidate will work with the Dublin Book Festival’s in-house web content manager and develop relevant online content which they will post and publicise on the festival website, This will include the opportunity to conduct interviews with participating authors as well as managing social media competitions and PR exercises. Marketing experience as well as a working knowledge of the publishing industry would be desirable, but not essential.

Administrative Assistant

We are also looking for an administrative assistant to help in organising this year’s festival. The assistant will work closely with the Programme Director in developing this year’s programme as well as liaising with authors, booksellers and publishers in order to make sure that the structure of the festival runs smoothly. Candidates must be proficient in MS Office programmes, have fluent English and a knowledge of the publishing industry would be desirable, but not essential. We are looking for people with excellent communication skills as well as the ability to work as part of a team.

*The internships offered are unpaid, however, travel expenses will be covered. Days worked are flexible and will be 2 days per week. To apply for any of these internships, send a current CV and Covering letter to

Closing Date: 4th July 2014


Programme 2014

by Admin on June 18, 2014

Details will be coming in September 2014!



Whenever a critic writes about the short-story form, they seem to always begin by saying, “There’s a dearth of critical study on short stories.” And if we’re comparing them to novels—which always seems to be the case—perhaps it’s true. But if you look hard enough, there’s actually a hell of a lot written about the short-story form. Granted, it’s mostly precious stuff about it being a “higher” Art than the Novel, and then some deathly-dull thing about short stories being connected with the “oral tradition”—but it’s not a critically-neglected form. It’s just a form in need of new critical ideas.

As a reader and writer, I see myself primarily as a short-story person. I become very quiet when I’m amongst a group of people talking about novels and novelists. For a long time, I thought it was testament to something lacking in me—that I surely couldn’t be interested enough in books if I hadn’t read seventy-eight John Updike novels. And the feeling remained for a long time: how could I even begin the journey to identify as a writer if I didn’t read all these books that other people were telling me were so great?

But I’ve had my counselling sessions and I’ve arrived at a belief that feels both banal and true: sometimes we need short stories and sometimes we need novels. Frank O’Connor, in The Lonely Voice (sigh; another reference to that bloody book), speaks of people reading novels to assuage loneliness. In contrast, he says, people come to short stories to confront their loneliness. (A typical O’Connor dichotomy: sensible-sounding at first, but increasingly—and fruitfully—problematic on reflection.) He then goes on to talk specifically about what short stories do and, in trying to characterize their essential activity, he quotes Pascal—“the eternal silence of those infinite spaces frighten me”. It’s a knotty quotation, and one I’ve struggled to understand for a long time.

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DBF at The Dublin Writers Festival

by Admin on May 16, 2014


  • Date: Thu May 22 / 1pm
  • Venue: Smock Alley Theatre
  • Price: €5

We are kicking things off for the 2014 festivities with our short story event with Mike McCormack and Nuala Ní Chonchúir, which takes place at the always excellent Dublin Writers Festival!


For more details about the event, go to 


In Pictures: Dublin Book Festival 2013

by Admin on November 28, 2013

The 8th Dublin Book Festival took place between Thursday, November 14 through Sunday, November 17, 2013 at Smock Alley Theatre, Temple Bar as well as satellite venues around the city including: The Gutter Bookshop, The Irish Writers’ Centre, National Library of Ireland and Dublin County Libraries.

Special thanks to all the authors, publishers, sponsors and volunteers who worked so hard to make this year’s Festival a huge success!

Here is a selection of photographs from this year’s festival.  To see more, click here and visit our Facebook page to view YOUR photos. Photography by Pedro Giaquinto.


Dublin Book Festival Opening Night Highlights. Listen to this ARENA interview on RTE Radio 1 on the 29th of November 2013.  

Opening Night#14










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Thank You!

by Admin on November 28, 2013

Frank McGuinness

Frank McGuinness

Dublin Book Festival 2013 has passed, and with the majority of our events booking out, it was our most successful to date. For four days authors, readers – both young and old, publishers and aspiring writers gathered together and shared their love of words and books. It was such an honour to have so many talented writers discuss their work, inspiration and passion for writing.

It was a joy to see children lounging on beanbags listening to stories told to them by the authors themselves and taking a stab at writing their own stories.

It was a festival of words and ideas, laughter and imagination. I hope you were as inspired as we were.

I would like to thank everyone involved, the DBF committee who give up their valuable time throughout the year to work on the festival, the DBF team for their dedication and hard work, the wonderful volunteers, the publishers who came from around the country to support their writers, and finally the authors themselves – thank you for taking us on your journeys.


Until next year,

Julianne Mooney
Programme Director

Meet the Publishers and Agents Event

by Admin on November 27, 2013

Expert PanelHeld in the intimate quarters of Smock alley’s Boy’s school – this year’s festival offered a greatly anticipated opportunity to meet the experts of the literary and publishing world. In association with a panel of leading experts took the stage to reveal the tricks of the trade, the do’s and the don’t s of writing and the big no-nos on the path to getting published. There, audiences were given the chance to meet Michael O’Brien, founder of The O’Brien Press; Literary agent Faith O’Grady; founder and literary scout Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin and Eoin Purcell, the editorial director at New Island Books.

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The Anti Room Talks Women’s Writing

by Admin on November 18, 2013

Anti RoomAfter a successful book gathering, The Irish women’s blog, The Anti Room took the stage to discuss gender within the literary and publishing world. Is women’s writing treated differently than men’s? Does gender define a writer? And what need or place does feminism have in contemporary women’s writing? These where but a few questions which authors Christine Dwyer Hickey, Nuala Ni Chonchuir and journalists Sinead Gleeson, Anna Carey and Jennifer Ridyard wished to explore.

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