Tracy Fahey draws together 18 narratives of terrors that arise from the difficulties attendant on inhabiting a female body.
Tracy Fahey an Irish Gothic writer on her new book about female terror and writing during Covid-19
Irish author Tracy Fahey has overcome the limitations of lockdown to produce a new collection of stories called ‘I Spit Myself Out’.
While her latest book continues to receive much acclaim, Tracy, who lives in Sixmilebridge and works in Limerick Institute of Technology as the LSAD Head of Department of Fine Art and Education, has begun work on a new project.
Tracy has already faced and overcome the challenges of trying to create during Covid-19, as it was during the first lockdown in Spring 2020 that she worked on her book, ‘I Spit Myself Out’. Her previous book, ‘The Unheimlich Manoeuvre’ was nominated in 2017 for a British Fantasy Award and explored the psychological terrors of the enclosed female domestic sphere. So, given this preoccupation with confined spaces, how did she find that the pandemic influenced her writing of ‘I Spit Myself Out’?
Tracy, finding that it wasn’t easy said, “I found it difficult to write this book. There was the cognitive dissonance of trying to stay cheerful and mentally healthy, and then the imperative of going to these dark places to write. Now that I re-read this book, the inflections of lockdown are there, the undertones of confinement, illness and fear.”
In fact, for a month or so in the difficult spring of 2020, she simply stopped writing, and when she recommenced, it was to work on an epistolary novel with her sister; an unabashedly comic Gothic romance (now completed and with a US agent). Having rediscovered the delight of writing, she was able again to work on the collection.
“When summer came, and lockdown eased, my tiny world opened up. I could read dark fiction again, and more importantly, write it. I became obsessed with reading about historical medical artefacts and visiting holy wells, islands, and sitting by the sea. And from this rejuvenation, this refilled well, the final stories emerged,” said Tracy.
This new collection draws together 18 narratives of terrors that arise from the body, even more precisely, from the difficulties attendant on inhabiting a female body.
Tracy added, “So often we see the female body in fiction as a site of the male gaze. It’s particularly prevalent in crime drama and fiction; the dead and the exposed female body becomes a catalyst for the—usually—male protagonist to seek revenge or justice on its behalf. In this book I wanted to do something different; I look at female bodies as a site of otherness, strange even to their occupants. In these stories, the protagonists’ relationship with their bodies is problematised through chronic illness, eating disorders, trauma, and even the ‘natural’ processes of bodily transition from puberty to menopause.”
Tracy has published three collections and one novel with UK presses and teaches undergraduate courses in folk horror and the Gothic in the Limerick School of Art and Design. She is currently working on a domestic noir screenplay with a writing partner, based on one of her short stories, and on two other collections.
About ‘I Spit Myself Out’
‘I Spit Myself Out’ is a collection of 18 unsettling narratives that map the female experience from puberty to menopause. It is a collection of female-voiced stories exploring the terror that lurks beneath the surface of the skin. In this collection, an Anatomical Venus opens to display her organs, clients of a mysterious clinic disappear one by one, a police investigation reveals family secrets, revenge is inked in the skin, and bodies pulsate in the throes of illness, childbirth and religious ritual. Disturbing and provoking in equal turns, ‘I Spit Myself Out’ reinvents the body as a breeding ground of terrors that resurface inexorably in the present.
About Tracy Fahey
Tracy Fahey is an Irish writer of Gothic fiction. In 2017, her debut collection ‘The Unheimlich Manoeuvre’ was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. Her short fiction is published in over thirty American, British, Australian and Irish anthologies. She holds a PhD on the Gothic in visual arts and her non-fiction writing is published in edited collections and journals. She has been awarded residencies in Ireland and Greece. She has written two collections, ‘New Music For Old Rituals’ and ‘The Unheimlich Manoeuvre’, the mini-collection, ‘Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark’, and the novel, ‘The Girl In The Fort’. Her new collection, ‘I Spit Myself Out’ is published by the Sinister Horror Company.
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