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Claire Keegan: The short story is a powerful tool

6th September 2010

The limitations of the short story do not stop the form from delivering powerful messages to readers, Irish writer Claire Keegan has claimed.

In an interview with the Observer, Keegan said that the short story works on the 'level of suggestion' and requires the writer to trust their readers' intelligence rather than using a lot of words to put across a point.

'There are so many things the short story cannot do; it's by learning those limitations that I am cornered into writing what I can,' the author explained.

She highlighted her short story Foster, which was recently published as a standalone book, as an example of how the format can achieve depth despite its small scale. The book covers subjects such as home, family and neglect - all in just 88 pages.

In 2008, Keegan won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize for her second collection Walk the Blue Fields, joining writers such as Irish journalist Colm Toibin, science fiction author Chris Beckett and League of Gentlemen co-creator Jeremy Dyson.

The judging panel praised her 'superbly crafted' stories, likening her to John McGahern.
 

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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