Poetry Flash Fiction Short Stories

Short Stories

My short story 'Tattoo' reached the short list for  
Francis Mac Manus 2017 Competition
You can listen to it on the link below

The Francis MacManus Short Story Competition was established in memory of the writer and RTE radio producer Francis MacManus. It has been a critically important launchpad for new and emerging writers since its inception in 1986 in Ireland.
Past winners have gone on to receive national and international acclaim, including Claire Keegan, Molly McCloskey, Anthony Glavin and Nuala O’Connor.
Doreen Duffy was recently shortlisted for this competition; you can also listen to her short story ‘Tattoo’ by clicking on the link 



It was great to have one of my short stories 'One small thing' long listed for the 
Over the Edge New Writer of the Year 2017


I was thrilled to be invited to act as Guest Editor for Live Encounters Christmas Special 2017

I chose the theme 'Home'

This collection of short stories delves into the concept of the home as a concrete structure, a place of physical shelter alongside it being a representation, a sanctuary, an inner place of safety where trust and love must be paramount. Unfortunately for some, home is not a safe place and within its walls can be a place of fear and vulnerability to the extent that they are forced to leave even with the prospect of nowhere else to go. – Doreen Duffy, Guest Editor

Live Encounters The Christmas Special December 2017

Live Encounters The Christmas Special December 2017 copy


I was delighted to have my short story 'Sweet Night' published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing August 2017

Dad let me sit on his knee while mom got his dinner ready. She was turning the liver over and back on the white plate with the blue trim, dusting it with flour before putting it into the pan. The flour barely hid the wetness of the red. It made a loud hissing sound as it went in. I hated liver. I hated the look of it in the tray in the butchers. It made me think of the bags of blood in the hospital that they hang on the high metal stands and the machine that beeps while the bag empties into me. I hated the way when the butcher scooped it up into the shiny white paper; he was never quick enough to stop a splash of blood drop and pool in the tray...



I was delighted to have my short story 'Vico Road' published in Live Encounters Poetry & Writing March 2017

Live Encounters Poetry & Writing March 2017 s

Gina couldn’t believe she was still sitting there. The rain hadn’t let up; it was spilling onto the windscreen. She flicked the wipers but the scene in front of her made her feel sick. The orange glow of the clock said 12:08. She thought she heard thunder or was it the sound of the other car moving away from the tree it had been rammed against. She turned quickly almost wrenching her neck, checking the blurry view, straining her eyes trying to make sure there was still nobody around...



My short story 'Is today Tuesday' is included in the anthology Circle and Square published by Fiery Arrow Press, Winner of the Carousel Aware Prize 2017, for Best Anthology 2017,
you can read an excerpt here

'Is today Tuesday?'

From where I'm sitting in the kitchen I can see through the window beside the front door, to where the long thorny stems tear through the wire fence, each one grappling to get to the light. A wintry sun traces a map along the veins in the leaves; pale buds reach towards any possible warmth. I'd put on my best suit, grey pinstripe; Kay always liked this suit on me. Stretching my neck, I pull at the knot in my tie a little to make it easier to breathe. I look at the backs of my hands; the skin sags. I place one on top of Kay's, "I love you Kay, you know that don't you?" she smiles a tiny faraway smile.
     "What day is today, is today Tuesday?" she says tugging at a grey curl behind her ear.

     "No, it's Friday." I tell her again.

     I don't remember if those stems were there when we were young or if they were planted after Kay's father died.

     The sink is still full of dirty dishes. I'll have to get to them now, make the place look right before he gets here. Kay is still eating though and I don't want to rush her, I don't want to make her feel unsettled. I'm unsettled enough for both of us. I cut another small piece of toast and she watches me or at least, she looks like she's watching me, as I smear jam across it. The sound of the knife scraping against the crusty bread is repetitive. I hand her the piece of toast and she eats it, as though it's the first, even though this must be her third, maybe fourth slice. Soon I'll have to call a halt to breakfast and try to explain to her again what's happening this morning...


My short story 'Kissing frogs' was published in Woman's Way Magazine 


My story 'Birdcage' featured on Podcasts.ie as part of All Points West Audio Productions click on the link below if you'd like to listen



My story 'Tightly Knit' longlisted in the RTE Guide/Penguin Short Story Competition, you can read an excerpt here

'Tightly Knit'

     I squeezed my eyes tightly shut against the salty breeze to try to squash out the image of the nurse's face as she'd swept the transducer over my jelly covered stomach and watched the pictures on the screen. She had started out happily pointing out which way my baby was lying and showing fingers and toes but then she went quiet, and swished the transducer again more slowly this time, over my stomach. Everything seemed to slow down, the nurse's movements, the whispering hum of the machines, everything except the beating of my heart, it started to race so much it hurt. The nurse said she would be back in a minute, she had to speak to someone and she left the room. She was back in a moment, she had another nurse with her who smiled tightly, just for a second, at me. Then they both sat, this time the second nurse performed the scan. I was so cold I shivered. I was afraid to speak. I wanted to get up and run out, go back to how I felt in the waiting room. I wondered if I stayed perfectly still would the world stop spinning, stop what was happening.

     The second nurse stood and held my now freezing cold hand in hers and looked down with eyes full of concern.  I felt that look reach in and rip something inside me, my breath caught for a second, my mind tried hard to clear the swirl of thoughts I was drowning in. The other nurse busied herself wiping the jelly off my stomach and pulling a blanket up over me.

     "You see, it's the measurements, they're showing as a little abnormal at 20 weeks."

     My stomach lurched at the word, abnormal. I felt cornered, at the mercy of these two people moving in front of me, a blue uniform dance of horror while they churned out words that broke off and splintered into me.  I hated the fact that she could utter these words, that I couldn't stop her, put my hand over her mouth and smother the life out of every syllable...


My story 'Cuts like a Knife' published in the Ireland's Own Anthology, you can read an excerpt here

'Cuts like a Knife'

It was Friday, the day for collecting his pension. Patrick Michael Dwyer, Paddy, went through his normal routine. Up early, washed and dressed, his neat white short hair combed, his soft cap given a little tug to secure it into position. He ran his hand across his square jaw, rough, packed tight with short sharp bristles and buttoned the collar of his shirt to keep out the cold in the absence of a tie.

     He opened the kitchen drawer and took out the long pointed silver handled knife, the blade so sharp that he always took care to return it to its safe resting place after use. The weight of its handle pressed into his hand, the engraving rough under his fingers. He went into the hall and as always placed the point of the knife into the lock of the old hall table; he jiggled the knife and heard the lock turn as the drawer slid open to reveal the small pile of money. He took what he would need and when he twisted the knife backwards to re lock it, his mind suddenly threw up memories so nasty and sour that he breathed deeply through gritted teeth as they started to play out like a film across the screen of his mind...


My story 'Round Tower' published in South of the County:New myths and Tales by Fiery Arrow Press. You can read an excerpt here

'Round Tower'

I was awakened last night with a feeling of dread and fear, I knew I was being drawn to the Round Tower. It was a chilling feeling because although it had been four years since the Goddess Chalchicue, Goddess of the Tower had summoned me, at that time she told me I had been chosen and that I must wait earnestly for the call. 

     I left my house and tried to quell the stomach clenching feeling of dread. I decided to cut through St John's Wood, no longer a woodland but land that's now filled by acres of houses. The old rusted gate at the top of the road still hangs upon tired hinges, no longer there to keep the wandering cows within, redundant except for being a gateway to many memories of childhood days. I crossed the stile into Corkagh park and walked past where Corkagh House once stood within the moat of a castle. It was completely demolished in earlier decades and although there are no features left visible above the ground the aura of that great house is still palpable in the pre-dawn mists that roll through the park. I passed through the overgrown arch of yew trees and was shrouded once again in darkness as the beech hedge alongside had grown to the height of the tallest trees. I quickened my pace and was relieved to reach the ruins of the old oil and gun powder mill where the water from Mill pond gave light as it reflected the moon...


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