The Stinging Fly – This So-Called Writing Life Sheila Armstrong, Jan Carson and Sheena Patel in conversation with Olivia Fitzsimons
In Partnership with The Stinging Fly
In this special panel event, novelist and commissioning editor Olivia Fitzsimons is joined by award-winning authors Sheila Armstrong, Jan Carson and Sheena Patel to talk about their contributions to This So-Called Writing Life, an online essay series published throughout the year on stingingfly.org. The writers will discuss the highs and lows they’ve experienced while developing their creative practice, exploring topics such as protecting mental health, advancing self-care, building friendships and accessing community support networks.
Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor from the north-west of Ireland. She is the author of two books: How To Gut A Fish (2022), a collection of short stories, and Falling Animals (2023), her debut novel. Her writing has been listed for the Society of Authors Awards, the Kate O’Brien Award, the Irish Book Awards, and the Edge Hill Prize. She is an Arts Council Next Generation Artist.
Jan Carson is a writer and community arts facilitator from Belfast. She’s published three novels, two short story collections and two micro-fiction collections. The Fire Starters won the EU Prize for Literature for Ireland 2019. The Raptures was shortlisted for the An Post Irish Novel of the Year and Kerry Group Novel of the Year 2022. Jan’s short story collection Quickly, While They Still Have Horses is forthcoming in Spring 2024. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Sheena Patel is a writer and assistant director for the film and TV industry. She is part of the 4 Brown Girls Who Write collective and her debut novel I’m a Fan won the Discover Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2023, has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Jhalak Prize. It was Foyles Fiction Book of the Year 2022 and an Observer Best Debut Novel of 2022.
Olivia Fitzsimons is from Northern Ireland now living in County Wicklow with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, The Quiet Whispers Never Stop, published by John Murray, was shortlisted for the 2022 Kate O’Brien and Butler Literary Awards. She is a contributing editor for The Stinging Fly. Her writing has been awarded Literature Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as residencies from Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris/Literature Ireland and The Dean Art Studios. Her fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Stinging Fly, The Irish Times, Banshee, and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.