Annemarie Neary: Lawyer turned Short Story Writer & Litro Alumna

Annamarie Neary

Annemarie Neary was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and is a reformed lawyer. Her short fiction has won Birdport, Fish and MacMahon prizes and has appeared in several recent anthologies.

What have you been up to since your publication in Litro?

My story, “Endless” appeared in Litro #103: Anti-Love. One of the things I love about Litro is the cover art—that issue had a particularly striking image by Mikaela Westerholm.

Since then, I’ve had my novel, A Parachute in the Lime Treeaccepted for publication in March 2012 by The History Press Ireland. As a specialist history publisher, fiction is a new departure for them, so it’s very exciting for us both!

On the short story front, 2011 highlights include winning the Columbia fiction prize (run by the MFA program at Columbia University in New York and judged by Robert Olen Butler), the WordsontheStreet WOW! award (Ireland) and the inaugural Posara Prize (UK). I was a finalist in the Wordstock Festival prize judged by Aimee Bender in Portland, Oregon, and in the Brit Writers’ Awards.

In addition to various print publications this year, I’ve had three stories published on the Ether Books app. One of my Venice stories has just been accepted by The Drum, an audio only literary magazine from Boston MA—another first for me—for publication in 2012. I’ve got to manage to record it first though, which could be interesting…

What is your earliest childhood memory?
Dolly Mixtures.

What makes you happy?
Venice in the winter.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
From the beginning – took me a while to get round to it, though.

What are you reading at the moment?
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.

What advice would you give to a first time writer?
Just do it! And send stuff out. And when it comes back, make it better and send it out again.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Rufus Wainwright – if he qualifies. If not, Abba.

How do you relax?
Copious amounts of red wine.

What is your favourite book?
Collected Stories by William Trevor.

Which author is underrated or deserves to be better-known?
I can think of two – for different reasons. Elise Valmorbida for linguistic virtuosity and Tom Vowler for compelling storytelling.

What’s the worst job you’ve had?
A close run thing between picking the bad cherries off the conveyor belt in a German jam factory and writing deadly dull research that no one ever read for a certain London law firm.

What is the most important thing life has taught you?
Never give up.

What’s next? 
My immediate priority is the publication of my first novel, A Parachute in the Lime Tree, in March 2012. I’ve been going through the proofs today, in fact. I have another completed novel to polish and send out, and a whole load of stories in various stages of disarray to finish (or not, as the case may be). I also have plans for a third novel but it will take a lot of digging so I’m steeling myself for that one!

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