Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lucy Montague Moffitt A Question and Answer Session with the author of "I Found a Poet on the Road"

March 1 to April 28
Q & A with Lucy Montague Moffitt

I first became acquainted with the work of Lucy Montague Moffitt when I read and greatly enjoyed her wonderful short story "I Found a Poet Upon the Road".  (My post on that story is here.)  I am very pleased that she has agreed to participate in a Q and Answer Session for Irish Short Stories Week Year III. 

Lucy Montague-Moffatt is a 23 year old writer and comedian from Dublin.

Her work has featured in the e-book Wordlegs Presents: 30 under 30, The Bohemyth, Wordlegs, Absinthe Revival, Number Eleven, The College Tribune, Yesteryear Fiction, Comedy Ireland, The Leinster Leader, Frank the Monkey and the short story collection published by Doire Press: 30 under 30.
She was also long listed for the Fish Short Story Prize 2012/13.

She was a winner of the Fishamble: Tiny Plays competition and has been commissioned for the last two years to write the first year show for the ICFE drama course.

She was a Funny Woman Competition 2012 finalist. She wrote and performed two comedy shows as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011.

She is currently a columnist for and the UCD Observer

You can read more of her work here

Lucy Montague Moffit

1.Who are some of the contemporary writers you admire? If you could hear a reading by three famous dead poets, who would you prefer

I really like Zadie Smith, Alice Munro, Charlie Brooker, Douglas Adams and Haruki Murakami. I could read anything by them over and over.
It would be amazing to hear Sylvia Plath, Frank O’Hara and Fleur Adcock. That would be a dream line-up!
2. I have read lots of Indian and American short stories in addition to Irish and alcohol plays a much bigger part in the Irish stories. How should an outsider take this and what does it say about Irish. As a comedian preforming in clubs, how does heavy alcohol consumption by members of the audience sometimes impact you?

I don’t think there is more alcohol related themes in Irish based writing in compassion to say Chandler, Hemingway and Hammet but I do agree that due to the Irish drinking culture, stories involving alcohol are commonplace. I suppose an outsider might take this the wrong way, assuming that we are all drunks, but if they took a harder look at stories based around different themes hopefully their attitude would change.
As a comedian, I much prefer the audience to be a little drunk as it usually make them laugh louder. I like going on nearer the second half when the audience are a little drunker and a little bit easier to amuse with rude jokes.
3. Declan Kiberd has said the dominant theme of modern Irish literature is that of the weak or missing father? Do you think he is right and how does this, if it does, reveal itself in your work.

The play I wrote which was performed in Inchicore college in March had an underlying theme of a missing father. It is not something I have experienced in my life but it has unfortunately been something that has affected many people. In my work generally it is not a dominant theme I use. I think Kiberd was referring more so to the social issue of the role and place of Irish men, which has indeed been central in Irish literature in the last 100 years.
4. when did you start writing?

I have been writing since I can remember, which I know is a clichéd thing to say but it’s true! Since I could hold a pen I have been writing stories and creating characters. My Dad got me a huge old computer when I was ten, which took up most of my tiny room, because my hand writing was so bad, and it was from that age that I started writing books. And I have been typing away ever since

5.    You recently wrote a very interesting article in the UCD Observer on Stockholm. It seemed under the praise you gave the city that you found it a bit sterile. Under the perfect beauty of the people is it really a bit dull compared to a more chaotic town?
Stockholm is one of my favourite cities in the world. I am ¼ Swedish and used to travel alone to spend summer with my granny who is Swedish almost every year from the age of five. It is one of the most beautiful places I have been. Yes, Swedish people have a very different culture and way of life that Irish people but I wouldn’t say it is dull, more so refreshingly different. It would be hard to find a place that is so picturesque dull.
6. (This may seem like a silly question but I pose it anyway-do you believe in Fairies?

When I was younger I believed in everything, fairies, ghosts, the child snatcher. A friend of mine lived in the country and when I was visiting we would make a miniature picnic and bring it out to a field to leave under a tree for the fairies. She said that everytime she left food out it would be gone the next day, so that meant that fairies definitely existed.
7. When you write, do you picture somehow a potential audience or do you just write?

I think when you are writing comedy you have to think about a potential audience. There is no point writing a script that you think is hilarious but no-one else is going to find amusing. However, saying that I don’t think about the audience as much as I probably should. It’s hard to predict what people will like and what they won’t. Any stories I write I send to my Dad first, he is a writer too. If he approves then I submit it to publications. He is my biggest critic so I believe everything he says. I think he is probably the audience I have in my head when I am writing fiction.
8.   Tell us a bit about your style of comedy work?

My style of comedy writing changes with whatever I am writing. I wrote and performed sketch comedy for about two years as part of sketch trio Shinoxcy. The style we went for was quite surreal and crazy, which was so much fun to perform. We had a giant unicorn that featured in our sets and sometimes we wore leotards with no explanation to why we were dressed in those awful lycra things.
My stand-up is more realistic, but with an exaggerated edge. It’s not really observational; it’s more structured with lead-in to punch line short jokes. But all my jokes link into one another like a little story.
When I am writing scripts I tend to make the humour much more realistic, especially compared to any sketches I have written, but there is usually still a hint of the surreal.
I think I am more surreal than anything else. I enjoy anything ridiculous and I’d say that comes across in my writing.

9.   Your bio says you studied classics and archaeology-how has this impacted your writing?

I am only finishing up the first year of my BA in Classics so it really hasn’t affected my writing much yet. I did study Journalism for two years prior to this and I think that impacted my writing in a positive way. It helped me learn to write really fast, I tend to type out large bulks of writing in short spaces of time instead of little bits of writing over a longer period. It also made me focus more on the audience and who it is I am writing for. It is kind of boring to think about market research when you are trying to construct your future bestselling novel in your head but if you can’t think of anyone who would read what you are working on then you are never going to have a piece make it into the Richard and Judy bookclub.
10. Do you think poets have a social role to play in contemporary Ireland or are they pure artists writing for themselves and a few peers?

I was recently lucky enough to do a four week poetry workshop with Harry Clifton and he described writing a poem like making an object for a person to use. That poetry is no different from creating a pot to put water in, or making a meal for someone to eat. You are making something that needs to be of use, not just to yourself. This really stuck with me and it is something I think about now when writing poetry. With poetry it is so easy to be really self-indulgent and write poems that read almost like diary entries, throwing every deep feeling inside your soul on to the page. Thinking about what Mr. Clifton said helps me get out of myself and focus on capturing an image or emotion that is for other people to make use of, not just me, which I think is vitally important when writing.
11. Do you prefer ereading or traditional books?

Books! My house has always been filled to the brim with books, so being surrounded by piles and piles of them gives me a sense of comfort that I know a Kindle could never offer. However, when I am trying to pack a suitcase for a Ryanair flight I do think about buying a Kindle. If I did get one I would definitely break it though, and you can’t break a book, well not easily anyway, so they are safer for me to own.

12. If you were to be given the option of living anywhere besides Ireland where would you live?

I would live in Chicago. There’s a really strong comedy scene and I would love to join the Second City improve theatre and copy everything Tina Fey has done ever, forever.
13. If you could time travel for 30 days (and be rich and safe) where would you go and why?

I would go back to Ancient Rome because I think it would be loadsa fun lying on couches eating olives and hanging around the public baths having chats while getting slaves to hit you with sticks.
14. My brother and I are making our first ever trip to Ireland in May so I want to ask you a few tourist type questions
a. best literary experience in Dublin?
Trinity library, above the Book of Kells is lovely

b. best fish and chips near Trinity University
Leo Burdocks at Christ Church

c. best place for a fairly priced pint

d. best splurge meal?
Cornicopia Vegetarian Restaurant

e. best book stores
Chapters on Parnell St.
The Winding Stair, the Quays

15. Flash Fiction-how driven is the popularity of this form by social media like Twitter and its word limits? Do you see twitter as somehow leading to playwrights keeping conversations shorter than in years past?
I love flash fiction. I love reading it. I love writing it. I think it is the perfect form to get your writing read on the internet. People don’t like reading long pieces on computer screens, and are much less likely to read a whole piece if it is over 1,000 words instead of a short 500 words. I think that the internet and sites like Twitter do encourage writers to make their work shorter, but that shouldn’t be interpreted that writing shorter pieces is any easier. In fact writing a good flash fiction piece is much harder than a short story. You have to take extra care in what you leave in, and make sure you are leaving out everything you can so as to keep the sense of the unsaid in the work.
I had a tiny play on as part of the Fishamble: Tiny Plays production in Project Arts Centre and the reaction to a night of short, three minute plays was really positive, with reviewers and audience members praising the format and predicting a rise in the production of shorter works in the future.
16.  When you are outside of Ireland, besides friends and family, what do you miss the most?  What are you glad to be away from?

I usually miss the banter, there’s no sense of humour like the Irish sense of humour. I like getting away from knowing where I am going. I enjoy being lost in a city.

29. Quick Pick Questions
a. For Comedy venues-night clubs or fringe festivals
Pubs, little grotty ones are the best as they make tiny audiences look huge and give everyone a real sense of community. “we are all in this shit-hole together, let’s make the most of it!”

b. dogs or cats
Cats, they look after themselves.

c.  best city to inspire a writer-London or Dublin or Stockholm

d.  favorite meal to eat out-breakfast, lunch or dinner?
All of them. Any meal. All the meals.

e. RTE or BBC
BBC, for its radio, comedy and the writer’s room

f. pickled herring or Irish fish and chips
I’m a vegan so just a bit of tofu would be lovely

g. Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC-great for a quick break or American corruption?
I am a fan of a lovely Mom and Pop establishment. I really like Accents Café, for example

h. night or day
Day, morning. I like going to bed early and waking early, because sometimes I am a Granny.


I thank Lucy Montague Moffitt for taking the time to provide us with such interesting answers. I hope to read more of her work and if the opportunity ever arises I would love to watch her do her comedy!

Mel u

No comments: