The Curragh of Kildaire

Illustrated by Jamie Bishop


The Curragh of Kildaire

A collection of pre-Clarion short fiction, lightly revised in a brand new ebook version. Illustrated throughout by Jamie Bishop (reproduced with permission), and containing a new 3,000-word afterword written especially for this edition.

All profits from the sale of this ebook will be donated to The Jamie Bishop Scholarship Fund in Graphic Arts and The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.


Praise for The Curragh of Kildaire

“Now board the chariot to the capital of Allegory in the realm of Technical Fantasy. […] It succeeds rather well.” —Alan Lattimore, Tangent, on “Songstress”

From the Afterword

In November of 2001, I made the decision to create a chapbook of my best stories to date, and to give copies away to family and close friends as Christmas gifts. A bit egotistical, I realize now, but I’ve always believed that the best gift an artist can give is their art. When I revealed my plan to my good friend Jamie Bishop, he immediately volunteered to illustrate the seven stories to comprise the chapbook. In his uniquely inimitable way, he created “electronic woodcuts” to accompany each story, as well as an incredible work of cover art. He was able to find the essence of each story, and to bring that out in his minimalist woodcuts in ways that I never could have imagined.

Book StoreyMy original afterword to The Curragh of Kildaire was, I am now ashamed to admit, a bunch of pomposity and chest puffery, lauding the fact that the reader was privileged to have such a collection in his or her hands, that it would be a collector’s item once all of these stories had seen print and I, obviously, had become ridiculously famous. What an arrogant idiot I was. It’s true, the first edition of this book was only published in a print run of 30 copies, which makes it a rare item, but I am a minor enough writer that this notion of a “collector’s item” of my early work is simply preposterous.

Still, that youthful enthusiasm and confidence (oh, to be twenty-six again!) produced fiction of which I am still proud. It also produced fiction of which I am less than proud, but in the interests of historical preservation, I present those pieces here along with their shinier siblings. A writer must not be afraid to reveal himself, warts and all, and although there are a couple of clunkers here amongst the more elegant writing, it would be dishonest of me to elide them from my literary past. (I was also strongly tempted to rewrite some of these pieces, but after realizing that the re-release of this book would be an attempt to shine a light on a specific moment in my career, such as it is, I managed to refrain from doing so, only performing the lightest of revision for the purposes of clarity.)

Shiny Diner BluesAll of these stories take place in my invented small town of Kildaire, North Carolina. Inspired by such similar settings as Stephen King’s Castle Rock, Jonathan Carroll’s Cranes’s View, and Charles de Lint’s Newford, I spent much of the late 1990s and early 2000s constructing Kildaire in my mind. During this time, I was also a fanatic Celtophile, soaking up Irish music and literature and culture like sacred manna. I funneled all of this into my fictional town, imagining that it had been founded by Irish immigrants around the turn of the twentieth century.

And then, at some point in the early aughts, my Celtic fever dissipated, albeit not completely. Still, enough for me to realize that setting all of my fiction in the same locale was more than a little limiting. So, even more than a snapshot of a certain period in my writing life, The Curragh of Kildaire is an artifact of a phase of passion, which, like any kind of passion, was destined only for the short term.

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Zipped ebook bundle (PDF, EPUB and MOBI), available direct from the author, with all proceeds to go to charity.

Price: $1.99 USD

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