• Borne Review

    Tonight I reviewed Borne, the latest novel by Jeff VanderMeer, for the RTÉ Radio 1 Arts show, Arena.

  • Women In Horror Mixtape

    Mark West asked me to contribute to his Women In Horror Mixtape, the third in his series of recommended works, which was scheduled to be part of the Women in Horror Month celebrations. This time I picked ‘Red as Blood’ by Tanith Lee. Partly it’s a tribute to the history of fairy tales, which have always been part of the horror tradition, and Lee’s version of ‘Snow White’ is a beautiful, complex re-imagining of the story. But it’s also to recognise the importance of writers like Lee who were trailblazing for women in horror long before that was an acceptable genre for women to populate. She, and other writers like…

  • Waiting for Andre

    Need some cheering up? If you have access to Sky Arts then I highly recommend the half-hour short, ‘Waiting for Andre’, which is part of their Urban Myths series of shorts. In it the writer Samuel Beckett agrees to drive the young Andre Rousimoff (who became famous later in life as the wrestler Andre the Giant) to school every day as a favour to Andre’s father, who is building Beckett’s new house in the French countryside. This is based on a core, true story. The cast are all terrific, with David Threlfall (Frank Gallagher in the original UK version Shameless) as the laconic, astute Beckett who is in between plays,…

  • American Horror Mixtape

    American Horror Mixtape

    After the success of his Brit Horror Mixtape, writer Mark West decided to give the American continent the same treatment, and asked me to contribute a suggestion for the American Horror Mixtape. Considering I had American and Canadian writers to select from I decided to pick a memorable writer in the field who is a bit more recent, and who hails from north of the United States. So I selected ‘Dead Bodies Possessed by Furious Motion’, by Gemma Files. It’s the last story in her debut collection, Kissing Carrion (2003), and one that lingers in my mind to this day. Thankfully, ChiZine Publications has re-printed that terrific collection, and you…

  • The Brit Horror Mixtape

    Writer Mark West came up with the fun idea of curating a ‘Brit Horror Mixtape‘ by asking writers in the field to recommend a short story by a British horror writer that influenced their work. It’s pretty hard to pick one favourite – as I have many – so I decided to select based on the spirit of the mixtape: which is to collate a distinctive range of interesting work from a variety of people. I was unaware of what writers other people were going to choose, but I decided not to pick a ghost story or one that featured a supernatural event. When the entire, massive field of British…

  • Showcasing Shakespeare

    On Wednesday evening I attended the Druid Theatre Company​’s DruidShakespeare, directed by Garry Hynes, which was a wild tour-de-force experience. I’m still processing it a couple of days later. It consisted of the entire Henriad (Richard II, Henry IV Parts I & II, and Henry V), edited by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe down to 6 1/2 hours or so. The atmosphere was set prior to our procession into the theatre, with a small burst of period-appropriate choral music. We filed in along a path that was bordered on either side by plots of fresh earth, with a gravedigger about his business. Death is coming, we were being warned. The Druid…

  • Reviewing Cell

    Writer Mark West began a intriguing project in 2015, a blog called King For A Year, in which a reviewer discusses one of Stephen King‘s works each week. 52 Reviewers, 52 novels, 12 months. Mark asked me to participate, and today you can read my exploration of King’s 2006 novel Cell. There are extensive spoilers in the piece, just so you know…

  • discussing Trigger Warning

    I’ll be discussing Neil Gaiman‘s latest short story collection, Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, on RTÉ Radio 1’s culture show, Arena, this Monday, 9 March, at some point between 7pm – 8pm.

  • The Moon Will Look Strange – review

    The Moon Will Look Strange

    Since February is Women in Horror month, I’ve decided to post the full review I wrote of Lynda E. Rucker‘s collection The Moon Will Look Strange (Karōshi Books, 2013). My piece was published in the Green Book journal last year. I will note that Lynda is a friend of mine, but since my general policy is to avoid reviewing the work of those dear to me, this review should stand as an indication of how much I enjoyed her writing.   It is easy upon reading an author’s impressive debut collection to ponder ‘why on earth is she not better known?’, and search for conspiracy. The reality is that it…

  • pretty in ink

    I love history and studying the past. My first college degree was an English and History combination, and I seriously considered doing a history MA afterwards, but my love of English triumphed and I pursued a MA in that subject instead. So, I tend to continue to read a lot of history, which is pretty much a necessity for research for stories, but it’s also a pleasure. Reading about people’s lives in the past reminds me how vibrant individual people were, and how even ‘ordinary’ people could achieve extraordinary goals. There is a tendency among some depictions of the past (film is the worst for this) to portray people as…