‘Mayday’ by Lucy Caldwell

In ‘Mayday’, author and playwright Lucy Caldwell writes of the trauma of an illegal, pill-based abortion in Northern Ireland. The story is alive, crackling with tension, and Lucy Caldwell’s writing is underpinned by a sense of longing, of how things might have been different. Like Wendy Erskine, Lucy Caldwell was born and grew up in Belfast. Her writing holds a recurring theme of women being vigilant to threats, both the physical and the psychological. ‘But they have ways of finding these things out: and somewhere, etched onto the internet, is her name, her address, her PayPal account, what she did.’

Lucy Caldwell won the BBC Short Story Award last year, for ‘All the People Were Mean and Bad’ from the same collection. I love the way she writes about women, their internal lives, their longings and dilemmas.

First published in The Glass Shore, ed. by Sinéad Gleeson, 2016 and then in Intimacies, published by Faber, 2021 and available to read online here

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