I'm very excited to have been short-listed for the Bristol Short Story Prize in the UK.
Down to the last twenty now. Winners announced October 14th.
Following my recent First Place in the Bath Flash Fiction Awards, my interview with them is now up on their site. I discuss the background to my award-winning piece, writing and flash fiction, and my dog makes her literary debut! Click on the button for details.
I'm thrilled and honoured to be awarded First Prize in the current Bath Flash Fiction Award (UK). Sincere thanks to judge Meg Pokrass, and to Jude Higgins and all at BFFA. Congratulations to the other award winners: Nod Ghosh, David Rhymes, and Melissa Goode. (By chance, this part of the world is well represented - 3 out of the 4 winners are from Australia or New Zealand.)
My winning piece, Tying the Boats, can be read here.
Non-fiction this time, and one to make your heart race. I recently attended an interesting interview of renowned English brain surgeon, Henry Marsh. Although he has a new book out (Admission: A Life in Brain Surgery), I opted to buy his first memoir, Do No Harm. And what a read it is - fascinating, compelling, humane, startling. In the preface, Marsh writes about his search "to find a balance between the necessary detachment and compassion" required of a surgeon - perhaps never more important than when operating on the brain. This book will make you think about your own brain, perhaps prize it a little more; certainly marvel at its delicate but incredible power. It also made me think about the astonishing complications of a career in brain surgery, that near-impossible balance "between hope and realism". Henry Marsh is nearing retirement now, although judging by his casual mention of the amount of medical, charitable, and literary work he continues to do, he seems a long way from putting his feet up. Do No Harm is a wise, thought-provoking, honest book that you will not easily forget.
Kent Haruf's final novel, Our Souls at Night, is a gorgeous creation. It's a small town love story between two elderly people. If you suspect it might be mawkish, think again. This short novel is both charming and, as the New Yorker put it, "sneakily devastating". The only thing I didn't like was the absence of speech marks, especially given that there is so much conversation in this book. Yes, I know it's fashionable to purge one's work of punctuation, but the absence of quotation marks was jarring to me - at least in this book - and not fair on the author, who I doubt ever wrote a jarring sentence in his entire life. Our Souls at Night is magnificent.
Amanda O'Callaghan is an award-winning writer of short stories and flash fiction. She has been published and won awards in Australia, Ireland and the UK.
I am honoured to have been one of three recipients of a Queensland Writers Fellowship (2016). Congratulations to my fellow awardees: Trent Jamieson and Pamela Rushby