Friday 27 April 2018

Write side

June Caldwell on her Facebook rants, Ireland's kinky scene, and how too many Irish writers are trapped in the 1950s

June Caldwell
June Caldwell
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

How were you discovered as a writer?

I was asked to write for the blog the Anti-Room after someone read my Facebook updates and found them hilarious. I would put up a paragraph about something that happened that day. They were life rants, but they had a huge following.

What led to the publication of your book of short stories, Room Little Darker?

I had a short story, 'SOMAT', published in an anthology, The Long Gaze Back. It was a story told from the point of view of a foetus, and it created a stir. New Island asked me to write a book of short stories.

Does writing in your raw style require courage?

I have a healthy disrespect for absolutely everything, including myself. I decided not to censor myself. I wanted to write about sex and violence, but not in a roundabout way - how it is for us and not how we pretend it is.

How did you react when one critic said your book made Fifty Shades of Grey look like a Disney movie?

Everybody thinks I am completely kinky after writing this book and I am not at all. But the kinky scene in Ireland is huge. There are 39,000 people in Ireland on an alternative sexuality website. Part of the reason is that we are so repressed. People come over from Germany and other places to our bondage clubs.

Do you have any pet hates in fiction?

My pet hate is the Irish motif - the American guy coming to Ireland because he has been made redundant who tries to trace his family and falls in love. I hate that quiet, traditional boring Irish scene. It's like we're still living in the 1950s.

Did any writers inspire you when you were growing up?

Nobody really shaped me as a writer when I was a kid, but I liked non-fiction. I grew up in a lower middle-class suburb in Dublin, where the women were all on Valium and went to Mass, and the men were all piss-heads.

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