Fish Anthology 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9956200-5-6


Sarah Hall ~ Short Story

Tracey Slaughter ~ Flash Fiction

Qian Julie Wang ~ Short Memoir

Billy Collins ~ Poetry

Photos of the books launch.

Read an excerpt from winning short storyThe Days  by Shannon Savvas

Read winning flash story The Stone Cottage  by Partridge Boswell

Read an excerpt from winning memoir – Thirteen Ways of Interrogating an Incident  by Wally Suphap

Read winning poem The Life Galleries, Kelvingrove  by Susan Shepherd


Introductory Note

by Clem Cairns
Quotes from Leonard Cohen

Is there natural, innate artistic talent? Does hard work get you there? Look at the artistic process of the successful and the answer is yes to both. Leonard Cohen was meticulous with every word and he said much of every song was discarded. He wrote 80 verses for Hallelujah. In the end, he used only four.

If I knew where the good songs came from,
I’d go there more often

No matter how much natural talent a writer has, stories and poems are teased through and tweaked again and again for them to shine. A dedication to the craft is evident in this Anthology and I am honoured that Fish can be the showcase for so much brilliant work.   

The cutting of the gem has to be finished
before you can see whether it shines

There are 10 short stories, 10 flash fiction stories, 10 short memoirs and 10 poems in this Anthology. The work was selected from the thousands of entries into Fish Publishing’s 2021/22 writing competitions by a dedicated team of Fish editors. The final selection was done by this year’s judges, Sarah Hall, Tracey Slaughter, Qian Julie Wang and Billy Collins, who have uncovered a cluster – cut and polished.






The Days

Shannon Savvas

The Japanese Gardener

Helena Frith Powell

Among the Crows

Karen Stevens


Geoff Lillis


Anna Round

The Gypsy Gambler

DB MacInnes


Anna Round

The Visitor

Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry

Still Life with Coyote

Martha Catherine Brenckle


Abi Curtis




The Stone Cottage

Partridge Boswell

On the Other Side of the World

Linda Nemec Foster


Z Aaron Young


J P Walshe

Beauty Curse

Seamus Scanlon


Kathryn Henion

Kabul, August 2021

Marie Altzinger

Taking Revenge on Gustav Klimt

David X Lewis

A Mother Knows

Russell Reader

While the Planet Still Remains

Fiona J Mackintosh




Thirteen Ways of

Interrogating an Incident

Wally Suphap


Sheena Wilkinson

Two Bastards

David Ralph

For Chantal Akerman, and our mothers

Francesca Humphreys

Blame the Milkman

Diane Vonglis Parnell


Anna Whyatt

In the Summer Before Third Grade

Jaclyn Maria Fowler

A Cold Night in January

Jupiter Jones

The Mole

Ruth Rosengarten

The Ten Stages of Reproduction

Beverly J Orth




The Life Galleries, Kelvingrove

Susan Shepherd

Love’s Latitudes

Judy Brackett Crowe


Katie Griffiths

Blue Jeans

Doreena Jennings


Caroline R Freeman

tell me i’m pretty

Nicole Adabunu

Invisible Sisterhood

Julia Forster

Stick ball cemetery

Joshua Sauvageau

The Perfect Dad

Jonathan Greenhause

For Leonard

Cynthia Snow



The Days (an excerpt)

by Shannon Savvas

Kitty loiters by the nurses’ station. She hears the flirty-flirty back and forth of Alma’s titters and Liam’s laughing in the back-office. The coffee maker is almost empty and only crumbs are left of the tray of donuts the consultant brings in the hope some of his patients might be tempted. He’s so clueless. He has no idea how much the sickly-sweet lumps of dough and sugar make their hungry stomachs heave. The doctors’ rounds are over. Stewed coffee dregs scorch her nostrils, ramping up her nausea but with Alma and Liam falling over each other behind the closed door and the smokers outside for a quickie, there won’t be a better chance. Kitty has timed the morning lull to perfection. No one around to ask stupid questions.

She squints at the year planner peeling off the wall above the printer and counts. The numbers tumble, trapeze artists in her head. She marvels at the result. Beautiful. The coincidence fizzes through her skulking body and tired brain. One hundred and twenty-four days.


One hundred and twenty-fourdays since Kitty’s incarceration is by some spooky alignment the one hundred and twenty-fourth day of the year.

May fourth.

Her birthday.

Actually, if she thinks about it, none of it is spooky. Logical really. But fuck-a-doodle, she likes spooky better.



The Stone Cottage

 by Partridge Boswell

The stone cottage sits tacit as a tomb, quieter than noise-cancelling headphones on a windless pandemic afternoon that can only think of itself, and so opts not to think. The owners are away but left a note. Walk in, latch the door, and you’ve stoppered time. Nothing gets in or out, save smoke from a basket of black turf by the hearth. From that refurbished famine farm perched too cliff-high to hear rollers roar below, you can see Fastnet tacked to the horizon and Cape Clear where once birders sighted a vagrant bobolink blown clear across the pond. As a rule, stones will sing, though these lie silent as the she-hare we spied our first morning crouched like a doorstop nibbling dew grass under the hedge, so still she disappears when you blink. Stone mute as devoted oath keepers sworn to archive windward sighs of luck and loss, joy and woe—stone thick as hay bales quarried from another time before ignorance and thought-light engulfed the barren land with furze yellow and rueful as Athenry, benign and lovely to look at until you slipped and fell into a copse of it crossing the moor. Then, you found other names for it.

That day we fell into a new rhythm old as a fulacht fiadh, resisting an urge to leap up and run outside every time sun’s face appeared like a neighbor at the window—begging sugar, offering jam, expecting tea. No urgency. She’d be back in a moment, and again tomorrow. Come morning, a pale horse grazing the slope across the road, horizon in every direction. We folded our secrets and left them beside a spray of hawthorn on the kitchen table. On cool wet days, a thin braid of peat smoke threading the sea mist. But only if you live in those parts.


Thirteen Ways of Interrogating an Incident (an excerpt)

by Wally Suphap


QUESTIONS as Confession

 This is a story I’ve not told before. By that I mean I’ve not told a single version of it to anyone apart from myself.

The story begins in an office. At least this telling of it. The beige law offices inside an imposing corporate high-rise tower. We’re in Bangkok during the peak of summer, with its draining humidity and heat. It’s nighttime, past regular office hours, late even for a law office. All is silent except for the whooshing sounds of the central air-conditioning running overtime.

An intern in thick glasses, eager to prove something to himself and the world, has been assigned a time-sensitive research project for a bankruptcy litigation. The stakes are high. He and the other three interns are vying for the coveted offers of full-time associate positions. His mantra for that summer, and in fact, for his entire life to date, is this: to stand out from the crowd while innocuously fitting in. He’s determined to the bone to live by it.

Years later he will have forgotten the exact parameters of the research project but he will remember other details. He will remember well the assault of questions fired at him by the only other person left in the office that night: a soft-spoken senior litigator.

How’s the research going?

How much more do you have?

Why don’t you come into my office and take a rest?

It’s a nice office, don’t you think?

Why don’t you come over and make yourself comfortable?

What’s the matter, you don’t like the sofa?

What’s the problem, you don’t want to sit?

Do me a favor, take off your glasses.

You have nice eyes, you know that?

Can you come closer?

Do you want a shoulder rub?

There, how does that feel?

Does it feel good?

Shall I continue?


That night the intern learned how questions can be directives in disguise.

The Life Galleries, Kelvingrove

  by Susan Shepherd


I’m face to face with a wildebeest and my daughter is on the phone

screaming her hatred for men who let her down starting with her father


the card says the wildebeest was shot in 1910 in the Masai Mara

and my daughter says something I can’t repeat, then says it again


I stare the creature in the eye, think of it crossing the Mara River

before it wound up in Glasgow looking frankly shocked, unless


I’m projecting, thanks to this deluge in my ears which is now a roaring

and now nothing because she’s hung up and it’s just me and the wildebeest


standing here for a hundred years. So I leave the gallery and go outside

where small, stressed families falter and laugh, the rink lights purple then pink.




… delightful, lively send-up … A vivid imagination is at play here, and a fine frenzy is the result. – Billy Collins … laying frames of scenic detail to compose a lyric collage … enticing … resonates compellingly. … explosive off-screen drama arises through subtly-selected detail. Sharp, clever, economical, tongue-in-cheek. – Tracey Slaughter

Fish Books

Fish Anthology 2023

Fish Anthology 2023

… a showcase of disquiet, tension, subversion and surprise …
so many skilled pieces … gem-like, compressed and glinting, little worlds in entirety that refracted life and ideas … What a joy!
– Sarah Hall

… memoirs pinpointing precise
feelings of loss and longing and desire.
– Sean Lusk

What a pleasure to watch these poets’ minds at work, guiding us this way and that.
– Billy Collins


Fish Anthology 2022

‘… delightful, lively send-up … A vivid imagination is at play here, and a fine frenzy is the result.’ – Billy Collins
‘… laying frames of scenic detail to compose a lyric collage … enticing … resonates compellingly. … explosive off-screen drama arises through subtly-selected detail. Sharp, clever, economical, tongue-in-cheek.’ – Tracey Slaughter

Fish Anthology 2021

Fish Anthology 2021

Brave stories of danger and heart and sincerity.
Some risk everything outright, some are desperately quiet, but their intensity lies in what is unsaid and off the page.
These are brilliant pieces from bright, new voices.
A thrill to read.
~ Emily Ruskovich

Fish Anthology 2020

Fish Anthology 2020

I could see great stretches of imagination. I saw experimentation. I saw novelty with voice and style. I saw sentences that embraced both meaning and music. ~ Colum McCann


Fish Anthology 2019

These glorious pieces have spun across the globe – pit-stopping in Japan, the Aussie outback, Vancouver, Paris, Amsterdam and our own Hibernian shores – traversing times past, present and imagined future as deftly as they mine the secret tunnels of the human heart. Enjoy the cavalcade. – Mia Gallagher

Fish Anthology 2019

Fish Anthology 2018

The standard is high, in terms of the emotional impact these writers managed to wring from just a few pages. – Billy O’Callaghan

Loop-de-loopy, fizz, and dazzle … unique and compelling—compressed, expansive, and surprising. – Sherrie Flick

Every page oozes with a sense of place and time. – Marti Leimbach

Energetic, dense with detail … engages us in the act of seeing, reminds us that attention is itself a form of praise. – Ellen Bass

Fish Anthology 2017

Fish Anthology 2017

Dead Souls has the magic surplus of meaning that characterises fine examples of the form – Neel Mukherjee
I was looking for terrific writing of course – something Fish attracts in spades, and I was richly rewarded right across the spectrum – Vanessa Gebbie
Really excellent – skilfully woven – Chris Stewart
Remarkable – Jo Shapcott


Fish Anthology 2016

The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey.

Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco

Sunrise Sunset

€12  (incl. p&p)   Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco Read Irish Times review by Claire Looby Surreal, sad, zany, funny, Tina Pisco’s stories are drawn from gritty experience as much as the swirling clouds of the imagination.  An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, […]

Fish Anthology 2015

Fish Anthology 2015

How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity? The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers.
– Carmen Bugan.

Fish Anthology 2014

Fish Anthology 2014

What a high standard all round – of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision.
Ruth Padel

I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so – they are madcap and eccentric and great fun. Others – despite restrained and elegant prose – managed to be devastating. All of them are the work of writers with talent.
Claire Kilroy

Fish Anthology 2013

Fish Anthology 2013

The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary.


Fish Anthology 2012

A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come. David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology.


Fish Anthology 2011

Reading the one page stories I was a little dazzled, and disappointed that I couldn’t give the prize to everybody. It’s such a tight format, every word must count, every punctuation mark. ‘The Long Wet Grass’ is a masterly bit of story telling … I still can’t get it out of my mind.
– Chris Stewart


Fish Anthology 2010

The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives. The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. – Ronan Bennett, Short Story Judge.


Fish Anthology 2009 – Ten Pint Ted

I sing those who are published here – they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. – Colum McCann


Fish Anthology 2008 – Harlem River Blues

The entries into this year’s Fish Short Story Prize were universally strong. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue. – Carlo Gebler


Fish Anthology 2007

I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us. – Michael Collins


Fish Anthology 2006 – Grandmother, Girl, Wolf and Other Stories

These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form. – Gerard Donovan. Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. You’ll come up anew. – Angela Jane Fountas


All the King’s Horses – Anthology of Historical Short Stories

Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. I invite you to turn to ‘All the King’s Horses’. The past is here. Begin.
– Michel Faber


Fish Anthology 2005 – The Mountains of Mars and Other Stories

Literary anthologies, especially of new work, act as a kind of indicator to a society’s concerns. This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. – Frank Delaney


Fish Anthology 2004 – Spoonface and Other Stories

From the daily routine of a career in ‘Spoonface’, to the powerful, recurring image of a freezer in ‘Shadow Lives’. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read. – Hugo Hamilton


Feathers & Cigarettes

In a world where twenty screens of bullshit seem to be revolving without respite … there is nothing that can surpass the ‘explosion of art’ and its obstinate insistence on making sense of things. These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause.
– Pat McCabe


Franklin’s Grace

It’s supposed to be a short form, the good story, but it has about it a largeness I love. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart. – Christopher Hope


Asylum 1928

There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story – grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. – Kate O’Riodan


Five O’Clock Shadow

I feel like issuing a health warning with this Fish Anthology ­ these stories may seriously damage your outlook – Here the writers view the world in their unique way, and have the imagination, talent, and the courage to refine it into that most surprising of all art forms ­ the short story. – Clem Cairns.


From the Bering Strait

Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world. knowing which are the telling moments, and showing them to us. And as the narrator of the winning story casually remarks, ‘Sometimes its the small things that amaze me’ – Molly McCloskey


Scrap Magic

The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one. Read it, I hope you say to yourself like I did on many occasions, ‘That’s deadly. How did they think of that?’ – Eamonn Sweeney


Dog Day

Really good short stories like these, don’t read like they were written. They read like they simply grew on the page. – Joseph O’Connor


The Stranger

The writers in this collection can write short stories . . . their quality is the only thing they have in common. – Roddy Doyle


The Fish Garden

This is the first volume of short stories from Ireland’s newest publishing house. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again.


12 Miles Out – a novel by Nick Wright

12 Miles Out was selected by David Mitchell as the winner of the Fish Unpublished Novel Award.
A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening.


Altergeist – a novel by Tim Booth

You only know who you can’t trust. You can’t trust the law, because there’s none in New Ireland. You can’t trust the Church, because they think they’re the law. And you can’t trust the State, because they think they’re the Church And most of all, you can’t trust your friends, because you can’t remember who they were anymore.


Small City Blues numbers 1 to 51 – a novel by Martin Kelleher

A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging.


The Woman Who Swallowed the Book of Kells – Collection of Short Stories by Ian Wild

Ian Wild’s stories mix Monty Python with Hammer Horror, and the Beatles with Shakespeare, but his anarchic style and sense of humour remain very much his own in this collection of tall tales from another planet. Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra?


News & Articles

Short Story Prize 2023/24: RESULTS

10th April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   On behalf of all of us at Fish, congratulations to all of you who made the long and the short-lists.  Apologies for the delay in this announcement. The 10 winners will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland – […]

Flash Fiction Prize 2024: RESULTS

10th April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   From all of us at Fish, thank you for entering your flashes. Congratulations to the writers who  were short or long-listed, and in particular to the 11 winners whose flash stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2024. The launch will be during the West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, Ireland […]

Short Memoir Prize 2024: RESULTS

1st April 2024
Winners Short-list Long-list   On behalf of all of us at Fish, we congratulate the 10 winners who’s memoir made it into the Fish Anthology 2024 (due to be launched in July ’24 at the West Cork Literary Festival), and to those writers who made the long and short-lists, well done too.  Thank you to Sean […]

Launch of the Fish Anthology 2023

12th July 2023
Tuesday 11th July saw the launch of the 2023 Anthology in the Maritime Hotel, Bantry. Nineteen of the fourty authors published in the anthology were there to read from their piece, travelling from Australia, USA and from all corners of Europe.             Read about the Anthology More photos of the […]

Poetry Prize 2023: RESULTS

15th May 2023
  Winners Short-list Long-list     Winners: Here are the 10 winners, as chosen by judge Billy Collins, to be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2023. The Anthology will  be launched as part of the West Cork Literary Festival, (The Maritime Hotel, Bantry, West Cork – Tuesday 11th July – 18.00.) All are welcome! Second […]

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