ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition 2023

‘Oculus’, my story about women’s rights, set in Iran and India, is now a semifinalist in this year’s competition. That puts it in the top 4%-5% of all entrants. It’s won several badges of commendation along the way, and appears on Coverfly’s Red List as among the best works on its site. I’m hoping the current political situation will enable people to see its relevance.

‘If you don’t accept him’ – your father comes to the point – ‘someone else will. He’s looking for a wife and it’s obvious he won’t have to wait for long.’ There’s some slight nuance in your father’s tone that signals menace. It suggests that overnight he’s become your opponent instead of your friend.

‘Oculus’ quarter finalist

My story, set in Iran and India about a woman losing her sense of autonomy, and the desperate measures she takes to try and get it back, is a declared quarter-finalist in this year’s ScreenCraft Cinematic short story competition. Whey hey!

Audiobook launches

‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’ arrives in audio form today. Listen to the actor Hannah Wood bring all the characters to sparkling life. Arts Council funded. First ever audiobook produced by Fly on the Wall Press. Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for her initiative. @fly_press.

To access it, follow the link:

Northern Soul Review for THwTLB

‘It’s a collection whose many seams are as abundant with gold as they are of coal… Swinney’s protagonists have the depth and fleshiness that D.H. Lawrence, writing about similar communities around his native Nottingham, struggled to imbue.’ – Desmond Bullen 

The Map of Bihar and Other Stories

‘The settings for these stories move from Scotland to northern England to India. They all hold the attention and some of them stand out. Internet Explorer is a really good story about a multiracial beginners’ computer class and, unlike most of the other stories, has a happy ending. Veil is a powerfully imaginative story, narrated by a work of art of a nude female; it’s displayed at a council office and the reactions it evokes reveal some of the unhealthy attitudes of our times. The title story is mainly about an arranged Indian marriage but the map in question has little to do with geography; it’s a blackly humorous, somewhat shocking story. Private Passions is set in a building in a Scottish town where an Indian couple run a shop on the ground floor and couples in various states of unhappiness occupy the upper floors. The link between the shop and the sudden death of an elderly racist tenant is established by the deft ending. Strong characterisation, various shades of humour and especially the skilful and unexpected endings make this an impressive debut collection.’  – Brian Maye, Irish Times