Novel Writers: Anneliese Mackintosh, So happy it hurts

Spike Island


Thursday 18 January 2018
Admission Fee: £5, £3 concessions
Booking essential

Ottila McGregor is thirty years old and has decided it’s time to sort her life out. She’s going to quit drinking, stop cheating and finally find true happiness. Easy, right?

Of course not.

For a start, there’s Grace, her best friend, who believes self-improvement is for people in their forties. Next there’s Mina, her sister, who is mentally ill, and it might be Ottila’s fault. And then there’s Thales, the Greek guy who works in the hospital cafeteria. He's probably the best, most dangerous person Ottila’s ever met.

To make sense of it all, Ottila keeps a scrapbook of everything: emails, receipts, tickets, letters, her therapy transcripts, a boyfriend's note rescued from the bin... The result is an infectious one-off of a novel that makes you wince and laugh in equal measure, and which asks the question: what does it take to be so happy it hurts?

Shortlisted for the DIVA Rising Star Literary Award.

Novel Writers

Each month we invite a debut novelist to read from and talk about their work in an informal setting. Prior knowledge of the text is not essential. Topics of discussion include theme, structure, inspiration and the craft of writing. These sessions are a great way to discover new writing talent and great books. The series is a partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Anneliese Mackintosh

Anneliese Mackintosh’s debut short story collection, Any Other Mouth, was published by Freight Books in 2014 and won the Green Carnation Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize, Saltire Society's First Book Award and the Saboteur Award, and was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.

Anneliese's short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland, and published in magazines and anthologies including the Scotsman, Edinburgh Review, and the Best British Short Stories 2013.


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