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Emma Penruddock, LISP 2nd Half 2021 Short Story Finalist

'Punctuation' by Emma Penruddock

Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?

I live in rural Ireland, in an old stone house, with my three children and too many animals. I wake at around 6.30 am. Put my children on a school bus. Return home. Ring my boyfriend who I don't live with. And then try to make peace with a day spent working by myself for my own business I am of Ireland, specialising in Irish Fine Art and Design. Children back at 5 pm. Dinner, matches and finally bed.

- When and how did you get into writing? I have been published as a feature writer in the Financial Times and The Examiner (Irish Newspaper). As a short story writer, I have been shortlisted two times by the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award. Also the Penguin/RTE short story competition and London New Writing (many years ago). In writing, I lose myself to a place where time doesn't matter, and I work to understand better everything I find either beautiful or that confounds me. - How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write? For the last 5 years I have written most days, and before that, I knew it was something I wanted to do and wrote sporadically. My children are much older now, which allows me more time. I write when I feel I have earnt enough money to coast for a while, and even when there isn't enough money. There is no writing routine, other than to fit it around domestic life and paid work as best I can. - How does it feel to have your work recognised? As a writer you work alone, and this is compounded by the fact you are often the only one to read your work. It is therefore hugely encouraging to be short listed for a competition, and helps to validate a process that often feels totally unjustifiable particularly when viewed alongside commerce, and running a household. - What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story? The blank page is the most challenging. Each time I start a new piece of work I feel that jolt of anxiety, will I mess it up, overplay the language, or come close to capturing the story I wish to tell. - Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story? My only tip is to allow ideas to percolate. Early attempts with a short story, in my case, are usually always awful, and it is only after ideas have had time to settle that I can add layer and texture to a story. - What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions? The disappointment following a rejection is of course the most challenging. The rejection can easily seep into many areas of your life. On the other hand to be short listed, as yet I don't know what it is to win, is grounding. It helps you to have confidence in that daunting journey of where you want to go. Cope with that awful tension between expectation and reality. - Lastly, do you recommend the writers give a go on LISP? Yes of course. It really helps to know where you are at with your writing.



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