Little Kingdoms, Big Wit

ImageA while back, The Short Review did an interview with Kevin Barry where they discussed his short story collection “There are Little Kingdoms,” and ended up with a healthy dose of Barry’s signature wit in the process.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

KB: The thirteen stories in the collection were chosen from maybe thirty in all that I’d written. Sometimes, I tend to write in a bluntly satirical mode, choosing targets the size of barn doors, and while I love these satirical stories dearly, believing them to be touched by comic greatness, they didn’t really fit in with another strain of story I’d been rustling up. These other ones were darker and probably more ‘realistic’, whatever that means (I have lately lost all interest in ‘reality’) and these stories ultimately made up the main meat of the book. Maybe I’ll do an out-and-out satirical collection later on. Arranging an order is tricky. I had music in mind, actually, favourite albums. I was thinking of how a masterpiece like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On is structured: open with a couple of killer tracks, then let it get all lowdown ’n’ weird ’n’ smoky.

Writers Read Concordia

The tradition of literary readings at Concordia predates the existence of the university itself, as such events were held well before Sir George Williams and Loyola merged in 1974. The series, now known as Writers Read at Concordia, invites renowned and emerging authors, both Canadian and international, to read from and discuss their work with students and local audiences. In addition to readings, the series includes Master Classes and professional development activities, some open to the public and others only for Concordia students. Collaborations with Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies, The Pilot, the Atwater Poetry Project, Bishop’s University, the Université de Montreal’s Department of English, and other organizations make the series possible. The Concordia Bookstore acts as bookseller for all major readings. Another activity offered in affiliation with the Concordia English Department, the Summer Literary Seminars is held annually in Montreal, Kenya, and Lithuania. As one of the world's largest and most innovative international writing programs, SLS offers partial scholarships and academic credit to full-time Concordia students. The program brings together the finest American, Canadian, European, and African writers and literary scholars with their host counterparts in a two-week flurry of writing related activities. Faculty have included such writers as: Amy Bloom, Robert Coover, Dave Eggers, Ed Hirsch, Denis Johnson, Colum McCann, Jayne Anne Phillips and George Saunders. Registration is required. Additional tuition subsidies are available through the Dean's office. For more information, contact Mike Spry. Writers Read at Concordia is supported by the Department of English, the Creative Writing Program, and Concordia University. The Writers Read Series also receives funding assistance from the Faculty of Arts and Science.

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