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Idioglossia

Eimear Ryan

‘There is no face more familiar than one’s own.’

Eat You Up

Kathleen Murray

‘Wasn’t it possible the mental shit would leave the kid’s brain, cell by cell, just by doing normal stuff?’

Navigation

Lisa McInerney

‘His aberrations are formless; he imagines his insanity as a sort of gaseous molecule, looking to react with bugs and glitches.’

Ethelbert and the Free Cheese

Lance Dowrich

‘It was against the understood traditions of society to prepare Sunday lunch without macaroni pie.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for the Caribbean.

Eel

Stefanie Seddon

‘The eel I saw was the one lying deep and quiet and alone in his coppery pool in the bush.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Europe and Canada.

The Pigeon

Faraaz Mahomed

‘The pigeon and I have a very warm and comfortable relationship.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

Pure Gold

John Patrick McHugh

‘That icy fear of the morning after slithered back: why does summer always feel like it belongs to someone else?’

Our Private Estate

Dave Lordan

‘Dozens of votive candles held aloft by mourners in white suits in procession. So much white, as if death could be engulfed in it, as if death itself was not an all-engulfing whiteness.’

Cow and Company

Parashar Kulkarni

‘And now there were four of them stepping out to look for a cow.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize overall winner.

Mayo Oh Mayo

Nuala O’Connor

‘Tonight there is a moon-rind, a nicotined fingernail, hanging low over the lake; above it, a Swarovski sparkler of a star.’

Black Milk

Tina Makereti

‘Despair sat on her shoulders where her wings should have been. Darkness consumed her, the quivering lip of a dying abalone, grease in the barrel of a gun.’ 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for the Pacific.

Here We Are

Lucy Caldwell

‘‘Here we are,’ she said, as we faced each other, and my whole body rushed with goosebumps.’

Mr Salary

Sally Rooney

‘My love for him felt so total and so annihilating that it was often impossible for me to see him clearly at all.’

The Visitor

Colin Barrett

‘The dog was some sort of overbred weedling with a ribcage fine-boned as a chicken’s, a wizened rat’s face and a goony, perpetually bloodshot stare that made Dev Hendrick want to punt the thing over the garden gate.’

Green, Mud, Gold

Sara Baume

‘She shuts her eyes and pictures ears growing out through her ears, her spine turning to wood, pictures herself as a girl-woman scarecrow, arms opened wide, and nailed to two posts in the centre of a great green, mud and gold expanse, crucified.’

The Birds of June

John Connell

‘Her dreams were interrupted occasionally by the sound of the cow and her newborn calf from the outhouse sheds. A low bellow would crinkle the folds of her mind and then seconds later it would be answered from some other shed in the distance.’

All We Shall Know

Donal Ryan

‘Thoughts sharpen themselves on the flints of one another and pierce me like a knife in my middle, sunk deep and twisted around.’

A Visit to the Zoo

Colm Tóibín

‘The two chameleons in a glass case appeared to interest all of them, Heinrich thought, because of their beauty and their stillness. They looked like a pale painting.’

The Wonder

Emma Donoghue

‘Lib didn’t like to bang harder in case of disturbing the family. Brightness leaked from the door of the byre, off to her right. Ah, the women had to be milking. A trail of melody; was one of them singing to the cows?’

The Mountain Road

William Wall

‘Funeral homes are always cold. There were pine benches in lines like a church. They had been varnished recently and there was that heady smell. It reminded me of my father’s boat, the wheelhouse brightwork newly touched up. It was the smell of childhood.’

Through the Night

Siobhán Mannion

‘The person in the mirror watches her, slightly swollen, slightly blurred.’

Kiddio at the Wedding

Mary O’Donoghue

‘If he fell in I would jump straight after, I would plumb through water not cold so much as oily, and dark as a dirty wine bottle.’

Party, Party

Belinda McKeon

‘Arlo’s matinee sleekness was so difficult to bear’

Smile

Roddy Doyle

‘Then he said it. — Victor Forde, I can never resist your smile.’

The Beacon & The Bane

Malerie Willens

‘In spite of my pining and missing, neither man seemed fully formed and I felt a little lonely in the presence of both.’

Lucia Series

Jesse Ball

‘People love to say it to you like it counts: Oh, Lucia, she will live on in your memory.’

Ladivine

Marie NDiaye

‘We were hoping for a communion, and that communion never came.’

The Conveyor Belt

Louise Stern

‘Tall men that looked like insects crept out of cracks in the stones.’

Base Life

George Makana Clark

‘This is why he will survive this war to return to his wife and daughter, barring a blind bullet, an errant piece of shrapnel, some careless act of destiny.’

The Ferryman

Azam Ahmed

‘I do not do this work for the government, or the Taliban, or even the men who I collect from the battlefield and return to their loved ones. All these years I have done this for God.’

A Play on Mothering

David Rakoff

‘His hands are a jewel box and I lean forward and peer in.’

Reading Comprehension: Text No. 2

Alejandro Zambra

‘Which of the following famous phrases best reflects the meaning of the text?’

Last Day on Earth

Eric Puchner

‘Despite my efforts at denial the new reality of our lives was beginning to sink in.’

The Way of the Apple Worm

Herta Müller

‘The mother of the needle is the place that bleeds.’

Dynamics in the Storm

Greg Jackson

‘You only have time to live your own life, and mine was falling apart.’

The Disappearing

Fatima Bhutto

‘I have gone to the forest to lie among the moss and sleep under a canopy of trees. I have gone to the forest to root among the soil and listen to the birds.’