A Foot In Two Countries: Writing Short Stories as an Irish-New Zealander
In Davin's Cliffs of Fall Mark Burke, the main protagonist, chafes at the restraints laid on him by what he sees as the narrow interests and pieties of a tight little Irish Catholic community in Southland. This is reminiscent of James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which Stephen Dedalus also finds the culture in which he lives stultifying. Many writers live overseas, and these experiences can be essential in developing their writing craft and subject matter; Davin lived in Oxford, and served in Europe in the Second World War. Like Joyce, Davin spent most of his life outside his native country, and yet despite this Joyce was always looking back as was Davin in many of his books.
In my paper, I will discuss how being an Irish-New Zealander, and living overseas, has influenced the creative component of my PhD thesis which comprises a collection of short stories. I will also read a short story inspired by an article from The Irish Times' Generation Emigration section.
Majella Cullinane is a PhD candidate in Creative Practice at the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at Otago University. Originally from Ireland, she has lived in New Zealand since 2008. She has previously received a Sean Dunne Writer’s Award for Poetry, the Hennessy XO/Irish Times Literary Award for Emerging Poetry, and an Irish Arts Council Award to study for an MLitt. in Creative Writing at St. Andrew’s University Scotland. In 2011, she published her first poetry collection Guarding the Flame with Salmon Poetry, Ireland. In 2014, she was awarded the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago. She’s currently working on a collection of short stories, and her second poetry collection will be published by Salmon Poetry in 2018. Her first novel, The Life of De'Ath, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Dundee International Book Prize, has just been accepted for publication.