A shy child, Stephen spent his time reading, playing computer games and playing the guitar. He also wrote.
“At nine, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer, and she said, ‘well do some writing then!’ I had nothing to say, but I wrote a diary and have continued for my whole life. It was mundane teenage nonsense, but I was trying to put a shape and drama into it.”
He loved theatre, but after college he worked in a bank.
“I hated it. At 21, I emigrated to America and worked in Chicago. I taught in a high-school, worked in a coffee shop, and then fell into e-learning – in training and sales jobs, travelling around. I’ve stayed in that since.”
He moved to London, living there for a few years before returning to Ireland four years ago.
“All that time I was writing away for myself, but I was afraid to show anyone. I realised it was now or never, and took a Stinging Fly course with Sean O’Reilly. I still meet my classmates from that time. The support is really important to me.”
Who is Stephen Walsh?
Date of birth: 1972 in Dublin.
Education: St Benildus College; University College Dublin, Commerce, then MA in drama.
Family: Wife Dawn, Aoife, 16, Maeve, 14, and Cormac, 12.
The Day Job: E learning.
In Another Life: “I’d love to be a guitarist in a rock and roll band”.
Favourite Writers: Margaret Atwood; Anne Tyler; Alice Munro; John Banville; Kevin Barry; Rose Tremaine.
Second Novel: “It’s called Complex Fracture. I’m editing it”.
Top Tip: Find the feelings first. As long as the emotion is there the right word and structure will topple out.
Website: www.stephenwalshwriter.com Twitter: @stephentwalsh
The Debut: Shine/Various. Chatto and Windus: €17.366. Kindle: €10.86.
These hugely original stories deal with ordinary people struggling with family life. The title story shows a man trying to buy a Christmas Tree. Struggling to live several lives at once, he is agonising over his failure to meet sales figures and trying to keep his children happy.
“I love it when people say they felt an emotional connection,”
The Verdict: I loved these zany, thought provoking stories and felt empathy with most of the protagonists.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 24th July.
© Sue J Leonard. 2021.