The New Dubliners is a newly emerged blog, which has sparked great attention here with us at the Dublin Book Festival. The Blog Offers followers a little taste of everything from the literary world, showcasing short stories based around our very capital. It is an exciting new experiment and a fascinating read as readers catch a glimpse into the true experiences, memories and stories from people living in Dublin. Soon to be compiled into a book, The New Dubliners is a taster of what is to come. It is a perfect example of the power of memory and the sharing of tales.
I caught up with Daniel Zuchowski, the creator of the website and got the low down and what we are in for before the book makes its launch:
DBF: Congrats on the new blog, Daniel. I had a great time, most evenings, reading the short stories posted onto the website. What made you create a blog dedicated to the many stories based on the capital?
Daniel: Thank you! It’s not a proper blog, though. It’s just a taster for the book that’s going to be published in January 2014. At the beginning, I used to post complete stories on the blog, but following advice from a prospective publisher, I removed them and only left a few short excerpts.
I decided to create the website, because I didn’t want to write the stories and then keep them all stashed on my computer waiting for the other stories to be completed. I wanted them to be out as soon as they had been written. That gave me some extra motivation, as I wanted to have at least one story out every month.
And why are they based in the capital? Because I’ve lived here for the last several years, and because many amazing stories happened here during that time. However, they could have happened anywhere really, at least most of them, as I feel the average Joe is not much different from the average Josef, Jozef, Jo, Jose or Giuseppe. So I wouldn’t stress the importance of the city too much here. It’s only there in the background.
DBF: How did the idea come about, was it an idea that was always there in the back of your mind or did it suddenly come about for you? What was the inspiration behind it?
Daniel: First, I was thinking about a memoir. But why would anyone apart from my parents and a few close friends like to read my memoir? And then, suddenly, when I was rereading Dubliners, it hit me – I thought writing a compilation of short stories based on my experiences, as well as the experiences of the people who are close to me, would be more digestible. And I wanted it to have the same idea behind it as Joyce’s genius collection did – to show Dublin as it really is. The difference is, however, that I want to show the multinational Dublin, and hence The New Dubliners.
Yes, there has been a great compilation of short stories about foreigners living in Ireland written before – The Deportees by Roddy Doyle, but Mr. Doyle is an Irishman, which gives it a completely different perspective. And of course that was fiction, whereas here, these are real stories and nothing, apart from the names and a few nationalities, has been changed there.
DBF: What is it about the short story that captures your interest so much and how do the stories make it to your blog? Is it simply a wish to have the real Dublin shown, a truer caption of our capital or something else?
Daniel: Short story because it’s more pragmatic. Most of those stories are rather long and each of them could easily be made into a separate book, but I just don’t have enough time to write so many books! Seriously, though, you are absolutely right – they aim at showing life in Dublin as it really is. But as I mentioned before, most of those stories are universal, and could happen anywhere, and they are actually happening as we speak. And this is what I’m primary interested in. I don’t really read much fiction, nor do I watch it. Real life is what I dig, and because – as we know – truth is stranger than fiction, apart from living it, I also find it interesting to read and write about.
And because I’m fortunate enough to work in education, every year I’m given an opportunity to get to know hundreds of people from different countries and different walks of life, with some of them become friends. Being let into their world feels like there will never be an end to interesting stories, even if one day I happened to run out of my own ones.
DBF: Tell us a bit about the up and coming collection of stories which are soon to be published? Your blog gives readers a little taste of what is to come. What do you hope will be the response from it?
Daniel: Of course I hope the response will be positive! But judging by the feedback I’ve received so far, it’s difficult to say really. My mother cried for two days after reading one of the stories, whereas one of my good friends spent all day reading behind his desk, pretending to be working, and doing his best not to burst out laughing. Someone else asked me for permission to use some of the stories in their English lessons, while other people seemed offended or reluctant to say anything apart from a quick “I’m shocked!”
The book will be published in January, but I cannot reveal more at this stage. Please visit the website or the Facebook page in the second half of November for more information.
DBF: Finally, what has been your favourite story so far?
Daniel: It’s really difficult to say! I wanted the stories to be written in different styles, in different voices, so that the collection would read as if written by different people. I thought it would be more interesting for the reader, and of course for me as the writer. Some of the stories are also quite experimental, and most of them very personal, which makes it simply impossible to choose just one. And some of them are about things that are so bad that I actually shouldn’t like them! But I guess it’s like with those who end up behind bars – their mothers will still love them!
Recently, a friend of mine read one of the stories and noticed that a certain group of people is portrayed there in a rather unfavourable way, and so she wondered who the target readers were. But I had to admit that I’d never really thought about it. The stories were never written with any particular type of reader in mind. It’s for everyone really, everyone over 18. And that particular story was written following quite intimate conversations with a few people who are close to me, and it was supposed to show those people as they really are, and what they really think. It’s actually partially based on a short diary written by one of those people. And if anything that is in there offends anyone, then be it. That’s life, I suppose.
Check Out The New Dubliners Here @ www.the newdubliners.com