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BEGINNER’S PLUCK A City Burning; Seren, €11.14 SUE LEONARD

- Angela Graham

Angela has always loved words. She read Chamber’s Dictionary from cover to cover as a child, and had her first poem published aged seven.

“My parents were poor, but they made good use of the library. I always felt that if you could write, you should.”

After University, Angela returned to Belfast and taught for two years.

“I’d met a Welshman at Oxford University, and in 1981 we married and lived in Wales. I’ve been backwards and forwards a lot.”

Having learned Welsh, Angela worked for ITV in Wales for eight, fruitful years. “They sent me all over the country, talking to people and making documentar­ies. Their output was huge — we went straight from one documentar­y to the next. Then I went freelance, working for ITV, BBC, S4C and Channel Four. I ended

Lewis; Hilary Mantel; Barbara Kingsolver.

Second book: “It’s an investigat­ion of the house I grew up in through the story of the whole community. And I’ve written a set of poems to supplement.” Top tip: Just do it.

Website: angelagrah­am.org Twitter: @angelagrah­am8

The Debut

There’s a strong theme of witness in these 26 stories, which are set in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Italy. The characters’ face different challenges, from a failed marriage to eulogising a hated terrorist, but each of them is at a moment of change, needing to reassess their beliefs, or image of themselves.

The verdict: Short, sharp, and sometimes shocking.

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