Fri, 14 September 2018 Comics Residency in Angoulême

I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve been selected to be part of a special 10-day group residency in Angoulême in France, as part of one of the initiatives of a Creative Europe Project called Wom@rts.

I’m equally pleased to hear that the other Irish candidate is Fionnuala Doran. We’ll be joined by the following talented creatives:

Xulia Vicente (Cariño, Spain), Nanu González (Oviedo, Spain), Meriem Mesfioui (aka. Durgmaya (France), Scotty Hervouet (France), Raquel Lagartos (Oviedo, Spain), Korina Hunjak (Rijeka, Croatia), Akvilė Misevičiūtė (aka. Akvilė Magicdust, Vilnius, Lithuania) and Samira Kentrić (Ljubljana, Slovenia).

During our time in France we’ll have to complete work for an exhibition entitled ‘The Second Sex’, in homage to the essay written by Simone de Beauvoir on the 70th anniversary of its first publication.

It’s both a wonderful and intimidating prospect, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!

Wed, 12 September 2018 Bone Mother Première

Check out the cool poster for Bone Mother, the stop-motion animated short film by Dale Hayward & Sylvie Trouvé, which is having its World Première this weekend at Festival Stop Motion in Montreal.

That tiny print with ‘based on the short story by Maura McHugh’ gives me a little thrill. Plus, I love its title in French: La Mère des Os.

On Saturday, 15 September at 4.30pm Dale and Sylvie will give a Behind the Scenes talk about creating their film.

Best wishes to Dale and Sylvie for this event, and a big congratulations for their years of labour on the project.

Mon, 27 August 2018 Omagh Comic Fest 2018

I’m really pleased to be invited as a guest to the inaugural Omagh Comic Fest, taking place in the Strule Arts Centre, Townhall Square in Omagh on 8 September 2018.

I’ve always been very welcomed at Northern Irish conventions, and I look forward to attending this one and visiting Omagh for the first time.

Plus, I’ll be in great company:

Mon, 09 July 2018 Interviewing at the Galway Film Fleadh 2018

I’ll be conducting Q&As after the screenings of three films at the Galway Film Fleadh this year:

Wednesday, 11 July at Pálás Screen 1 – film begins at 22:00

I’ll be chatting to writer/director Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace) about his dark debut feature, and its development from short story to screen.

Thursday, 12 July at Pálás Screen 1 – film begins at 20:45

I’ll be discussing this challenging feature film debut by Swedish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf (Notes from Underground).

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Saturday, 14 July at Pálás Screen 1 – film begins at 22:45

I’ll be talking to screenwriter Ed Solomon (Men in Black) about his work on the Bill & Ted movies and TV series, including the forthcoming Bill & Ted Face the Music.

It’s quite a range of films from slow-burn horror, disturbing art house realism, to 80s cult comedy. It’s a fine sampling of the spectrum of movies that the Galway Film Fleadh offers every year.

Two of the films are part of the GFF’s new late-night programme strand, What the Fleadh?, which is adding an extra layer of richness to their programming.

Fri, 06 July 2018 BFS Nominee in Best Non-Fiction

I was stunned when I received the news that my book about David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has been nominated for a BFS British Fantasy Award in the Best Non-Fiction category.

You write work and you put it out in the world, and you hope that people will enjoy it. I generally don’t think about awards because there are so many factors involved that a nomination is unlikely. I try to focus on my current writing, and once it is done, and out, I turn my attention to the next project.

I don’t look back very often because I’m no longer the writer that produced the previous work. So each time my work is nominated for an award it is a surprise, and of course, a pleasure.

Here is the entire Best Non-Fiction shortlist:

  • Gender Identity and Sexuality in Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. FT Barbini (Luna Press)
  • Gingernuts of Horror, ed. Jim Mcleod
  • Luminescent Threads, ed. Alexandra Pierce & Mimi Mondal (12th Planet Press)
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of 70s and 80s Horror Fiction, by Grady Hendrix (Quirk)
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, by Maura McHugh (Electric Dreamhouse Press)

It is a surreal experience to be on the same shortlist as Ursula K Le Guin!

My thanks to series editor Neil Snowdon at Electric Dreamland Press for the opportunity, and to my publisher Pete Crowther at PS Publishing for putting out such a high quality book.

At the moment PS Publishing has a terrific deal on the four Midnight Monographs titles that have been published so far by the Electric Dreamland Press imprint.

Discounted from £80.00, you pay £39.00 for the four books:

  • Theatre of Blood by John Llewellyn Probert
  • Martin by Jez Winship
  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me by Maura McHugh
  • Deathline by Sean Hogan

Tue, 03 July 2018 Talking comics again on Arena

I’ve been on the RTÉ Radio 1 arts and culture show, Arena, twice recently.

On Monday, 25 June I was discussing the 2000 AD Special Sci-Fi Magazine, and on Monday, 2 July I was reviewing the new Cambridge Companion To The Graphic Novel.

I always enjoy being on Arena, and chatting to presenter Sean Rocks, but I particularly love talking about comics and expressing my passion for this artform to a wider audience.

Wed, 20 June 2018 2000 AD Summer Special is out

The 2000 AD Summer Sci-Fi Special magazine has hit the newsstands, and above is the cover (by Tula Lotay) and the online variant cover (by Emily Zeinner).

There is a huge array of talent in the comic, and you can check out a comprehensive rundown of them all here.

I’ve written a Judge Anderson story called ‘SPA Day’, drawn by Emma Vieceli, coloured by Barbara Nosenzo, and lettered by Ellie De Ville.

It was an honour to write the iconic Judge Anderson, a hero of mine as a kid. Thanks to Emma, Barabara, and Ellie for bringing the story to life.

Florix Grabundae Mighty Tharg (Matt Smith) for the gig.

And not forgetting you get this glorious poster of Judge Anderson, drawn by Marguerite Sauvage, with the comic!

You can also read a piece in today’s The Guardian about the special: ‘The future’s female? 2000AD’s all-women special‘.

Thu, 07 June 2018 On a break (temporarily)

No, not a still from the Mummy, but my (filtered) right hand in a cast after a fall last weekend.

I’ve a small break of the distal radius and other than being supremely fed up of this already, as well as grumpy about sore ribs, I’m fine. Thankfully, no surgery is required – as breaks go this is the best you can get.

Worse things happen at sea, etc.

So: a major slow down for me for the next 5/6 weeks or so. Being cloistered (I can’t drive) during a spat of beautiful weather isn’t improving my mood.

The Irish health system had been great overall – and seeing a succession of terribly battered people at the Fracture Clinic puts your trouble in perspective.

But being a writer with a busted right hand is no fun.

Note bene: my husband Martin is officially The Best.

Thu, 08 March 2018 Interview on The Thin Air

Today I’m interviewed on The Thin Air by Loreana Rushe, where I discuss comics, influences, and in particular my forthcoming work for 2000 AD.

Tue, 06 March 2018 It’s a sitcom miracle

February can be a bit of a dour month, so I watched comedy to offset the grey. In particular I like the half-hour format, which feels like a delightful popcorn snack. I re-watched four seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix, which was a fun binge.

Casting about for something else, I struck upon One Day at a Time on Netflix, about which I’d heard some positive buzz.

What an enchanting surprise awaited me! A wonderful, progressive, humourous (and often poignant) story about a family of Cuban descent, which explores issues to do with feminism, racism, mental health, gender, citizenship, religion, veterans’ issues, and the legacy of cultural traditions all while maintaining its bounce as a comedy.

Problems are thrashed through with gusto – and due to the three-generation lens through which the stories are presented, very astute observations are made. Minds are changed due to discussion, lived experience, and love.

Every single actor pulls their weight, but at its centre is nurse, veteran, and Mom Penelope (Justina Machado) and her elegant and outspoken mother Lydia (Rita Moreno). Both are outstanding.

I’ll just say make sure you have your tissues on hand for the final episode of season 2!

Hats off to the writing team, who have created a little miracle. Led by executive producer, and legend, Norman Lear, and re-conceived by Gloria Calderon and Kellett Mike Royce from the sitcom of the same title in the 1970s.

I’m just sad that I’ve watched all two seasons, and have to wait for another.

I was so pleased to see Rita Moreno at the Oscars ceremony… what an inspirational woman and fine actor. (She’s 86! I want to be her at that age.)

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