The short-story tradition in Ireland is a long and noble one, and yet the world mirrored in the Irish short story of the past is fast disappearing. In the twenty-first century a new array of concerns presents itself, moving away from the tyranny of church, poverty and authoritarian figureheads and towards a complex, urban world of hollow promises and short-lived gratification. The new wave of Irish short story writers are moving beyond national boundaries, seeking a different moral climate to that which gave the traditional Irish short story its strongest hue. With stories often set outside Ireland, peopled occasionally by characters with no perceptible connection to Ireland, what constitutes the contemporary Irish short story? Many of the new generation of short stories are enigmatic, cryptic and unanchored, but if one thing can be said to unite them it is their search for identity, be it social, political or personal. This challenging, diverse and, above all, important collection helps to mark the change that has taken place in the Irish short story.
Caroline Walsh was born in 1952 and raised in Dublin and Co. Meath. She has been a journalist with The Irish Times since the mid 1970s and has been their Literary Editor since 1999. She is the author of The Homes of Irish Writers (Anvil Books, 1982) and has edited two previous collections of short stories: Modern Irish Stories from The Irish Times (Irish Times, 1985) and Virgins and Hyacinths (Attic Press, 1993). She lives in Dublin and is married with two children.
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