Carrying Fire and Water

Short stories by Deirdre Shanahan

Available for pre-order now. Published in Autumn 2020.

A beloved child is lost: taken too soon or never born. A woman bereaved and a man distraught are pulled apart, isolated, abandoned to search for intimacy elsewhere. A heartfelt bond is broken: a romance collapses under conflicting desires, a marriage cannot bear the burden of the unsaid. Lives dissolve, identities wither, and yet, amidst it all, there are glimmers of grace: compassion, renewal, second chances, serenity.

The stories of Deirdre Shanahan leave splinters in the conscience. In sharp, unsparing prose, and through poetic elision and insinuation, they stalk the lives of characters bewildered by moral crisis. From hospital wards to convents, from rundown farms to forests, from America to Ireland, England, Turkey, and Japan, Shanahan casts an eye over the lost souls of our world: men and women uprooted, unsettled, aimless and adrift, hungering for a way to feel less alone.

Paperback: £9.99

eBook: £4.99


Deirdre Shanahan is a novelist and writer of short fiction. Her short stories have appeared in The Best of British Stories 2017 and won the Wasafiri International Fiction Award in 2018. Her début novel, Caravan of the Lost and Left Behind, was published by Bluemoose Books in 2019. She lives in London.

Bonus Material

Read stories from Carrying Fire and Water:

Praise for Carrying Fire and Water

Stories beautifully told in image-rich, powerfully descriptive language and an elegiac tone.

Brian Maye, The Irish Times

Both punchy and delicate, Shanahan’s stunningly intricate writing pulls us fast and deep into stories driven by the powerful undertow of human longing.

Ruby Cowling, author of This Paradise

A beautiful début. Timeless, vivid, and sensory, these stories make us feel like we’re actually there. Shanahan has a gift for detail that makes her characters breathe.

Angela Readman, author of Something Like Breathing

Carrying Fire And Water is beautifully forged: the prose is precise and evocative, the stories full of elegance and insight. Deirdre Shanahan is a fine writer with a deep dedication to the craft, deserving of a wide and enthusiastic readership.

Billy O’Callaghan, author of My Coney Island Baby and The Boatman and Other Stories

Elemental, achingly honest, and delicately rendered: Carrying Fire and Water is a collection of beautifully observed moments, connections and possibilities that bring into sharp relief things we’ve had and lost, things we think we have, things we will never have, things we give up, and — most importantly of all — things that may just have it within them to help us renew, to replenish ourselves. It is wonderful.

Alan McMonagle, author of Ithaca and Laura Cassidy’s Walk of Fame


Wendy Erskine, author of Sweet Home