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 Internationally  Acclaimed What the reviews said
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 Author & Playwright

Rejoice and Other Stories

Nominated for the

David Highem Award

Short-listed for The Irish Times Fiction Prize.

 

A superb new writer, a tightly executed range of experiences and styles. Vogue

 

Head and shoulders above the rest, shocking originality. humour and horror within a tight and sparkling prose narrative. 20/20

 

.And Now This - - A clear winner. Time Out

 

Narrates terrible and bizarre events in a manner at once stiff and playful. Strong narrative cunning, -Medhbh- begins like a drama and ends like dream, admirable effects. It sticks in the mind. The Guardian

 

A remarkable variety of styles and subjects, a restless experimenter, elliptical stories, sharply observed and efficiently told.  Publishers Weekly

 

Rejoice! has an Irish and a European dimension. The Irish Times

 

Most macabre. The Observer

 

Punkish. Kirkus

 

Nothing if not strange.. Well tailored, sharp-witted tales. Kirkus.amazon.com

 

Vivid and disquieting.  Cahoots

 

Imaginative and wonderfully written.  City Life

 

Will make you quiver.  Quartos

 

Alarming.  British Booknews

.TALES TO TELL.

 

Carl Tighe, REJOICE! & Other Stories (Cape). The twelve stories in this volume make for an assured debut from a writer who is able both to encompass a variety of forms and enliven potentially bleak material with style and wit. Taken together the stories form a chronicle of exile - physical, emotional and spiritual - where there is still space for the precious commodity of hope.

 

The characters described are casualties, but they are also survivors and that is what catches the writer's attention. He discovers their skill at surviving and then investigates their reasons for practising that skill, when, at face value, there seems to be little point. In the process we see that taking anything at face value is at best ignorant and at worst perilous; thus the seeds of unanchored craziness in And Now This are seen to be sprouting, barely breaking the surface, in Bug Out.

 

The title story, Rejoice!, in which points of reference are revealed as mirages, is a remarkable piece of writing where a seemingly small incident is escalated into as sharp a critique of exactly what the Falklands war did to people's souls, as is to be found anywhere. Equally remarkable is Jolanta, an achingly sad picture of a life destroyed before it has begun, yet still lived. This tale, together with Underground, gives a picture of life across the generations in Eastern Europe and finds no essential difference between those generations, just redefinition.

 

Another pairing is to be found in the parable like The Colour of Your Money and the multiple-ending Fatman. The latter being a tale of yuppiedom at its most dire, possibly at its most traumatic; the former nicely delineating where, and how, such traumas begin. There is humour, sometimes as chill as the blade of a knife, as in the nastiness of the two deceitful clerics in Birdhouse; sometimes as friendly as a small bird gently singing in one's ear, as in the game played by two old men in Coffee and Croissants, a game that belongs to their ardent youth.

 

The book revels in the continuous presentation of ideas, and in the awareness of their contradictions, giving the stories a resonance that builds to a dense reverberation of connection and illumination that is not always present in such collections. Rejoice! is an accomplished work, and marks out a distinctive territory. David Downes Planet

Pax: Variations 

City Life Writer of the Year 200 Award

 

Elizabeth Baines [novelist and radio playwright, ex-editor of Manchester's prestigious fiction magazine Metropolitan] said at the book launch:

 

Carl Tighe is by far the most exciting, consistently innovative and skilful of contemporary short story writers' his tales are always gripping, humorous and offbeat, and although they are not about politics but about people, they are always on some level political.

 

A dark and thoroughly thought provoking read. The Big Issue

 

Pax is designed to cause a real stir. give the man a medal! City Life

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BURNING WORM
Short listed for the Whitbread Award
Winner of the Authors' Club Award

Burning Worm is a tragicomic account, in the tradition of Milan Kundera and Bohumil Hrabal, of the cold, queues, food shortages and political skullduggery as the Solidarity dream turned sour. The Irish Times

Engrossing, thought provoking, absurdly, bitterly funny, Incisive. A haunting, and in many places, moving novel. The Literary Review

Touching and original a  powerful rendering of events a deft blending of narrative, poetry and observation. A skillfully written and penetrating novel which is, for all its bleakness, intimate and heartwarming. Times Literary Supplement

A brilliant observer, wonderful conversations. Like the great Ryszard Kapuscinski the writer puts you there, Unforgettable. Time Out

 

Very factual, exact and fair. It was an enormous pleasure for me to read it. Ryszard Kapuscinski

 

A little gem.

Marina Lewycka,

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2006

A highly evocative, tragic-comic account of Poland in the Solidarity era with Tighe expertly taking the reader into lives made up of endless queuing incomprehensible bureaucracy and human encounters that are both touching and surreal. Whitbread Prize judges

A brilliant observer, wonderful conversations, Like the great Ryszard Kapusciski the writer puts you there, Unforgettable. Brian Case, Time Out

 Set in Poland over the winter of 1980-81, Burning Worm is a tragicomic account, in the tradition of Milan Kundera and Bohumil Hrabal, of the cold, queues, food shortages and political skulduggery as the Solidarity dream turned sour.

Penelope Dening The Irish Times

 

Paints a vivid picture of the struggle for survival in a collapsed economy, endless queues in sub-zero temperatures for non-existent goods,

Derby Telegraph

 

An engrossing and thought provoking debut, absurdly, bitterly funny, Incisive, A haunting, and in many places, moving novel.

Scarlett Thomas, The Literary Review

 

Beautifully written insights, Tighe describes a world which now seems almost unimaginable. Was it really only 20 years ago that a country lived through such bizarre times? His tales of teaching under such conditions make sobering reading. And yet it is not complete gloom. There are the subversions and grim humour that rule everyday survival. There is the thirst for discussion of ideas and sharing of culture. And there's the beauty to be found in the Polish landscape. And there is also the so near heartbreaking story of the love affair.

Brenda Kirsch, The Lecturer

 

A touching and original piece of writing which successfully incorporates creativity and personal struggle into the grave and often comic momentum of political change. Tighe is shrewdly aware of language, and one of the most attractive aspects of the novel is its powerful rendering of events. A deft blending of narrative, poetry and observation. A skilfully written and penetrating novel which is, for all its bleakness intimate and heart-warming.

Royce Mahawatte, Times Literary Supplement

 

A compelling read, a valuable insight, informative and intriguing, Tighe is successful in turning a personal and political history into an evocative portrayal of the emptiness and hardships of daily life in Poland.

Laura Dixon, Trinity News

 

Absolutely riveting read - really atmospheric. I've never read anything quite like it. Word of Mouth

 

If you want to read what it felt like to be at the heart of the Polish opposition in 1980-81 while Communism started to crumble, there's probably nothing better in print. The Scotsman

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DRUIDS HILL

 A fast-paced political thriller that entwines fact with fiction, a fascinating read. Abi Rhodes The Spokesman

 A real page turner, designed to keep the reader guessing right up to the final chapter. Derby Evening Telegraph

 I was hooked from the very first line, powerful and unusual crime fiction. Strongly recommended. Amazon Reader Review

THE POLITICS OF LITERATURE

The major English language monograph published over the last ten years devoted exclusively to contemporary Polish literature [.] constitutes an invaluable resource.John Bates, Recenzje

 

WRITING & RESPONSIBILITY

 

Throughout, Tighe is an intelligent, measured and informative guide. His prose effortlessly synthesizes literary and critical considerations, statistics and wider cultural contexts. Far from being simply a text-book, this sophisticated, engaged and beautifully-readable monograph ought to be read as an individual, creative contribution to contemporary thought about the writing process. Writing in Education

 

This excellent book is invaluable for Creative Writing students. It encourages the student to question their own practice both as a writer and a reader, and asks pointed questions about the role of a writer in society. Julia Bell, Birkbeck University College of London, UK

 

Writing and Responsibility encourages its readers to interrogate the choices they make as writers. A fascinating look at the public consequences of the private act of writing, Carl Tighe's book is a must-read for everyone who writes or studies writing. Abe Books Review

Finally someone has written the book I've been wanting my students to read; and written seriously and passionately on something so dear to my own heart the ethical dimensions of creative writing and its representations. Writing and Responsibility addresses a question that is often relatively neglected in the teaching of creative writing, and that is: how should we speak?

Carl Tighe's is an excellent introduction. Tighe presents an intelligent and non-polemic account that is highly accessible, yet based on careful scholarship. The opening pages effectively set out why writing has responsibilities, or can be said to have such: because it has, or is capable of having, public consequences. Literature, he writes in the introductory chapter, can test the judgments that societies make and show up areas in our lives where political and religious, leaders have failed to provide answers.

Tighe's is not a joyless puritanical text that insists every word we write must be weighed principally in terms of the 'truths' it contains. While urging writers to take seriously their responsibility as citizens, Tighe does not leave us crushed by the weight of the world.

This would comprise a very useful teaching tool for the writing or literary studies classroom, allowing tutors to open up discussion on issues such as the commoditisation of art, the representation of minority groups and the relationship between creative expression and truth. Overall, this is a book well worth reading, and it makes an important contribution to the field. Buy it; set it on your courses; work through the chapters; test it out. 

Jen Webb, Director of Communication Research at the University of Canberra. International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, no.2, October 2007
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