Interview with 2023 2nd Prize Winner - Kathleen Conlon

Meet the Winners!


The Winner of our 2nd prize was Kathleen Conlon with her story, A Lease of Life.

We were intrigued to find out more about Kathleen's writing...

Where did you get the idea?

It was sparked by a real incident: a flat tyre on a lonely road in Umbria. Sadly no one came to our aid and the rest of the story is pure fiction.

Do you have any writing heroes or favourite authors?

With regard to short stories: Chekhov, William Trevor, Jean Rhys, Alice Munro. I worship at their feet - or I would do if three pairs of those feet were not now pushing up the daisies.

How long have you been writing? Is this your first win?

More years than I care to remember. I've entered very few competitions, the best result was being short-listed (a long short list before it was whittled down to the short short list) for the BBC short story comp a few years ago.

What is your writing process? Pen and paper or straight to screen? Do you have a routine?

Pen and paper first always, which suits the gradual pace of both my mental processes and my handwriting, because I type faster than I think.

Do you have any advice for other short story writers?

Cut, cut and cut again.

Do you have any other stories published elsewhere that our readers can check out?

I've had stories published in the Woman's Journal, Cosmopolitan, The Atlantic Review and the Woman's Weekly Fiction Special (before it folded), among other publications.

My first novel, the first of fourteen, was published when I was twenty-five, more than fifty years ago (all out of print but available on Amazon and other reputable bookselling sites). Most writers seem to start with short stories and then move on to novels. I did it the other way round and have probably produced around a hundred since.

Thank you Kathleen. If you haven't read Kathleen's story yet, you can read it here!