ROYAL Oak resident and author John MacKenna’s selected short stories We seldom talk about the past have just been published by New Island Books. The 15 stories in the new book are drawn from his collections published over the last 30 years and many are set in the landscape of south Kildare.
Described by The Guardian as a ‘consummately skilled author’ and by the Irish Times as ‘short stories (that) are a wonder’, the collection brings together work that ranges from The Fallen – set in Athy, Castledermot and Kilkea during the Great War (and which won the Irish Times Fiction Award) – to stories set in the United States of America and the Middle-East.
This is MacKenna’s 22nd book, and one of which he’s extremely proud.
“When New Island approached me with the idea of selecting stories from the previous books, towards a Selected Short Stories, I was delighted. The selection of the 15 stories took me back through work that ranges from the early nineties to my most recent collection, Once we sang like other men. It was interesting to re-read stories that I hadn’t looked at in 30 years,” said the author.
MacKenna’s work has been favourably compared to the stories of John McGahern, Raymond Carver, Chekov and Mary Lavin.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence with those writers is humbling,” he says.
He is currently recording an audiobook of his Sunday Miscellany collection I knew this place, which will be released in November by The Harvest Press.