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Charles Maturin (1782-1824)

Charles Maturin (1782-1824)

10 October 2017

“I have traversed the world in the search, and no one, to gain that world, would lose his own soul!” –Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) Charles Maturin, novelist and playwright, was born in Fitzwilliam Street on 25 September 1782. In his youth he had a fascination for the gothic novels of Walpole, Radcliffe, and “Monk” Lewis. His early novel, The Milesian Chief (1812), won the praise of Sir Walter Scott; while his play, Bertram (1816), though successful, drew harsh criticism from Coleridge. A lifelong member of the clergy, serving as curate of St. Peter’s Church on Aungier Street, Maturin is now …

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Irish Writers of the Fantastic

Irish Writers of the Fantastic

5 October 2017

A good while back I posted the image of a poster designed by myself and long-time Swan River conspirator Jason Zerrillo. It features a line-up of Ireland’s most recognisable and possibly most influential writers of fantastic literature. I explained the impetus for the poster’s creation in an earlier post. While I’m pleased with the results, it was not easy choosing who to include and who to leave off. Much as I wanted to indulge in the most obscure and overlooked (Oliver Sherry, anyone?), there is also merit in showcasing the luminaries: a reminder of this island’s contributions to worlds of …

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Remembering Richard Dalby

Remembering Richard Dalby

20 July 2017

The first thing one learned about Richard Dalby as a person was that Richard didn’t use email. Or at least that was the first thing I learned. Communications came by typed letter, occasionally handwritten (especially the later ones when he was having eye trouble), and even, though less frequently for me at least, by telephone. But let’s face it, there’s something quaint and reassuring about getting correspondence in the post. Last week I got out all the letters I could find that Richard had sent to me over the years. While I’m sure we started corresponding earlier, I couldn’t find …

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Irish Writers of Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature

Irish Writers of Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature

28 May 2017

I’ve long been a fan of checklists, indicies, bibliographies, literary guides, and genre studies. From Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature to E.F. Bleiler’s Guide to Supernatural Fiction, and many more besides. One can spend hours immersed in these books, discovering new avenues for exploration and making mental notes on obscure titles to look out for. My shelves groan with these sorts of volumes, and despite severe bowing in some places, I don’t regret it one bit. Those of you who regularly peek at this blog might also recall the poster I designed with Jason Zerrillo a couple of years back …

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Hidden Aeons: Searching for a Literary Relic

Hidden Aeons: Searching for a Literary Relic

23 April 2017

“Ce qu’on aime le mieux dans Yeats, ce sont ses vers. Mais le chef-d’œuvre d’A.E., qui est un grand artiste, c’est encore lui-même.” – Simone Téry The poet, painter, political philosopher, and mystic George William Russell (1867-1935)—better known as “A.E.”—was no stranger to divine visions and secret wisdom. Often he oracled out of his shadow these revelations to friends and fellow writers: how he bore witness to a “dazzling processions of figures, most ancient, ancient places and peoples, and landscapes lovely as the lost Eden”; or how in his youth the “rock and clay were made transparent so that I …

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A.E.—An Appreciation and a Remembrance

A.E.—An Appreciation and a Remembrance

8 April 2017

“I have never met any man more serenely confident about the assured triumph of beauty in human life.”

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Our Haunted Year: 2016

Our Haunted Year: 2016

1 January 2017

Here we are on the first day of 2017, and I realise that Swan River Press hasn’t had a single publication since August 2016. But the end of summer was certainly busy enough: we not only published one collection and two anthologies, but also helped run a festival. I’d feel a little more guilty about it had I not spent most of my holiday working on no less than three forthcoming publications (erm, one of them being the now overdue issue of The Green Book, I admit!) But I thought it would be worth the moment to have a look …

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Uncertainties II: Foreword

Uncertainties II: Foreword

1 August 2016

by Brian J. Showers, August 2016 Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing — featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors — each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as “winter’s tales”. But these are no mere ghost stories. These tales of the uncanny grapple with existential epiphanies of the modern day, and when otherwise familiar landscapes become sinister and something decidedly less than certain . . . We …

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Why Can’t You Write Something Nice? An Interview with Lynda E. Rucker

Why Can’t You Write Something Nice? An Interview with Lynda E. Rucker

24 July 2016

Conducted by Steve Duffy, July 2016 Lynda E. Rucker is an American writer born and raised in the South and now living in Europe. Her stories have appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies. She is a regular columnist for Black Static, has had a short play produced on London’s West End, and won the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Short Story. Her first collection, The Moon Will Look Strange, was published by Karoshi Books in 2013. Steve Duffy: So first of all, congratulations on the Shirley Jackson award! Lynda E. Rucker: Thank you! Congratulations on yours as well! …

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Fritz Leiber’s “The Pale Brown Thing”

Fritz Leiber’s “The Pale Brown Thing”

19 June 2016

This is my first UK edition; also ex libris Joel Lane. My earliest exposure to Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) was via the adventures of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser as they fought and drank and caroused their way through Lankhmar (City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes!) and realms beyond. I’ve still got my old Ace pocket paperback too, a prized item in my biblio-treasure hoard. Ill Met in Lankhmar was a thrilling tale set in some far-away land, but it wouldn’t be long before I discovered a work by Leiber that took its cue more from the real world – though was …

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Dublin Ghost Story Festival 2016

Dublin Ghost Story Festival 2016

18 February 2016

So this is pretty exciting news. For quite some time I’ve been pondering the idea. Is it even possible? The question kept me up nights, brain scheming. I remember a while back now – a year and a half ago, maybe? – talking to John Connolly on Dame Street after a chance meeting. I asked him if he thought it could be done, if it should be done. “Yes. Definitely,” he said. No hesitation. And who am I to argue? So this week we made the final arrangements. Ladies and gentlemen: Do you like ghosts? Do you like books? Do …

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Our Riverine Head

Our Riverine Head

14 February 2016

I never intended for Swan River Press to have a formal logo. But the stony-faced image used on the website – the visage that’s made its way into some of our publications, on postcards, tote bags, and of course at the top of this blog – has inadvertently become the press’s logo. In this post I’d like to tell you about where it came from and what it means. Back in 2003, I published the first Swan River Press chapbook: The Old Tailor & the Gaunt Man. I put “Swan River Press” on it mainly as an afterthought as I …

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