New voice Catherine Lacey on self-criticism

Anti-heroes and dystopias are more interesting to me, as a reader and writer, than their tidier counterparts. Nikky and Nathan’s friendship is, in a way, a kind of dystopia: almost everything necessary for human connection is dysfunctional; it’s a kind of exaggeration of all that can go wrong between two people.

This interview with Catherine Lacey, Granta’s first new voice of 2014, appealed to The Incubator not just because of the story by a great, refreshing new writer but also the search for voice itself in writing fiction.

Lacey states that if she starts of with an intent in her fiction she may disregard it later. It is always interesting to read other writers’ thoughts on their own individual process, inspiration and the themes that raise their heads in their work.

In her story Small Differences the question if people can really change is recurrent. Her characters fail to connect and Lacey asks, in her interview with Louise Scothern, if she would even want to write about ‘well-adjusted friends who just love and support each other’. I wonder if we would want to read that story either. Would it be boring to read? Would it be boring to write? Perhaps not. Maybe that story would be equally refreshing.

On fleshing out her characters Lacey notes that ‘everyone has multiple, distinct aspects to their personalities’. These aspects she likes to put at odds with each other. It is the making-human of her characters which draws the reader in.

Small Differences is online now.


Sinead Morrissey wins the T.S. Eliot Prize

Sinead Morrissey wins the T.S. Eliot Prize

Parallax — displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines.

Parallax is the title of Belfast’s first poet laureate Sinead Morrissey’s fifth collection of poetry which this week earned her the T.S. Eliot prize.

The collection is ‘all-angled’ and having seen her read from it (I say read from yet Sinead memorises her work) a year ago I can say it is surprising just how vast and varied the inspiration for each poem is. There is no tie-all theme. From Soviet Russia to being in labour, imagining her grandmother as a young woman, Parallax is moving, justifiably assured and thought provoking.

After being shortlisted three times for the prize we at The Incubator are delighted for Sinead’s win. Congratulations!

Anne Enright on the Irish short story

Anne Enright on the Irish short story

Ireland has produced some of the world’s most celebrated short story writers – and continues to do so. Why are the Irish so good at the form, and why do they love it so much, asks Anne Enright.


This article comes from the Guardian, 2010, around the time The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story was published, which was edited by Anne.

Writing about her own views on the form she also gives us an insight into what her predecessors thought of the short story.

For instance, did you know that what Seán O’Faolain liked in a short story was “punch and poetry”?

Sounds good to us!



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