Projects & Collaborations


DLR Arts Office and The Stinging Fly announce The Great Big Giant Short Story Experiment.

Devised by dlr Emerging Writer-in-Residence Sonya Gildea and The Stinging Fly, The Great Big Giant Short-Story Experiment is a day long, in-depth and interactive exploration of the short story form with writers Wendy Erskine, Sheila Armstrong, Stephen Sexton & Danielle McLaughlin.


“My hope for all of us – writers, poets and readers alike – is that the GBGSSE will be a collective coming together, a shared experience in the solidarity of writing, reading and exploring new work with our four lead writers, and with each other. What we want most is a day that will be relaxed, thought-provoking, inspirational and fun for all.”
Sonya Gildea

Saturday, June 22nd 2024 | 10:30 am – 5.30pm.
The Lexicon Studio Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, A96 H282

In advance of gathering on June 22nd at The Lexicon Theatre, our four lead writers and all experiment participants are cordially invited to write a short story in 48 hours.

All are welcome to join us and our four lead writers in the experiment.

After you’ve purchased a ticket for the event – and if you wish to write a story – we will be in touch with you to arrange a start time. At the agreed start time, you can expect to receive your set of writing prompts and instructions on how to send us your story.

We hope that everyone signing up for the event will have a go at writing a story even if you’ve never written a story before.

On June 22nd, we will gather to share stories and to discuss the experience of getting our words onto the page.

Please note: Should you decide to submit a story for the experiment, it will need to be submitted no later than Monday June 17th.


Sheila Armstrong is a writer and editor from the north-west of Ireland. She is the author of two books, How To Gut A Fish (2022), a collection of short stories, and Falling Animals (2023), a novel. She has over ten years of in-house and freelance editorial experience across genres.

Wendy Erskine is the author of two prize-winning short story collections, Sweet Home and Dance Move, published by The Stinging Fly Press and Picador. For PVA Books, she edited well I just kind of like it, an anthology of writing about art in the home. A frequent broadcaster, she had a show on Soho Radio for Rough Trade Books.  In 2023 she was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2022 she was Seamus Heaney Fellow at Queen’s University, Belfast.  Her non-fiction has appeared widely.  She is a full-time secondary school teacher.

Danielle McLaughlin is the author of the short-story collection, Dinosaurs on Other Planets, and the novel, The Art of Falling, which was shortlisted for the 2022 Dublin Literary Award. She has been Writer in Residence at University College Cork and Visiting Writer Fellow at the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College, Dublin. She has also designed and delivered workshops in Creative Writing for various organisations and festivals and currently mentors a number of emerging writers.

Stephen Sexton’s first book, If All the World and Love Were Young, was the winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2019. He was awarded the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2020. Cheryl’s Destinies was published in 2021, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.


THE STINGING FLY is a literary magazine, a book publisher, an education provider, and an online platform. Independent and not for profit, our mission is to seek out, nurture, publish and promote the very best new writers and new writing.

DLR emerging writer-in-residence (2023-2024) Sonya Gildea is winner of the John McGahern Literature Award and the Cúirt International New Writer’s Fiction Award. She is a Poetry Ireland Introductions poet and winner of a post-grad Ireland Chair of Poetry Student Award. Sonya has published in a number of anthologies and journals including: The Stinging FlyTolkaThe CommonThe Cormorant BroadsheetPoetry Ireland ReviewThe Irish TimesNew Irish Writing in the Irish Independent, and Howl Journal. Her story ‘A 1000 Hours A Day’ was published as part of Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize top ten longlist; and her story ‘Tobogganing’ was broadcast on Keywords, RTÉ Radio 1. She is recipient of an Arts Council Literature Bursary Award (2023) and a Literature Project Award (2024).



Sonya and fellow-founding collaborators, work-makers, editors, poets, designers, art-makers and writers, Susan Tomaselli, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Nathan O’Donnell, Clare Bell and Nithy Kasa in collaboration with TBG+S, Temple Bar Gallery & Studios are recipients of an Irish Arts Council Literature Project Award (2024) to work together on a wild, ambitious and collective anthology with an accompanying exhibition.

Image| Sonya Gildea


Sun Born

Image | Sonya Gildea

Unfinished Topographies (2021)


Image | Sonya Gildea

DLR Emerging Writer-in-Residence

Sonya Gildea & Joanne Hayden have been appointed dlr emerging Writers-in-Residence 2023-2024, based in the residency office at The LexIcon, Dun Laoghaire, overlooking Dublin Bay.

As part of her Residency, Sonya is running a programme of writer’s workshops — “Both Ways is The Only Way I Want It” (a title borrowed from the Maile Meloy collection of the same name): Reading & Writing the Short Story.

An in-person, generative, writer’s workshop that includes close reading and in-depth discussion of selected short story texts. Some by leading exponents of the form, and others by leading disrupters of the form. And occasionally, a once off story by a writer of wonder.

Some of the writers we will be investigating include Ben Lerner, Wendy Erskine, Sam Shepard, David Means, Toni Morrison, Lucy Caldwell, Peter Orner, Alice Munroe, Thomas Morris, Grace Paley, Donald Barthelme, Gina Berriault, and Tove Jansson.


Sonya is also holding weekly, Writer’s Office Hours at the LexIcon, meeting and talking with writers across all genres and disciplines and at all stages of their writing.


Sonya & Joanne are collaborating on a number of writer’s gatherings and a programme of events over the course of their residency.


Image | Sonya Gildea

Where Light Travels, Catherine

The Common Magazine, 2021


7 A.M. New Year’s Morning by László Moholy-Nagy” – taken from Sonya’s essay, Quartet was used as the cover art and photography for Tolka Issue # 4 (2022) by editors Liam Harrison, Catherine Hearn & Sean Hayes, and designed by Sarah McCoy.


Lengthening the Bright (84cm x 80cm)

By visual artist, Sorca O’Farrell has been selected for the RHA Royal Hibernian Academy Annual Exhibition (2023) at the RHA Gallery, Dublin.

The title of Sorca’s piece is taken from Sonya’s poem II from The Nine River Beats of Owenea.


The National Women’s Council of Ireland

Shared Sonya’s poem, The Windhover across their social media platforms for Poetry Day Ireland 2023.