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ERIN MACNAMARA

Erin MacNamara grew up in Derbyshire before moving to London to study History. Her first story, aged 10, was a collaboration with her sister and their cousin about the woods near their grandparents’ house, featuring three characters with a suspiciously close resemblance to the authors. She has since written about talking cats, witches, haunted houses and changelings, and her writing tends towards a political magic realism. She is interested in fairy tales and folklore, and in walking the fine line between vivid description and blatant self-indulgence. She is slightly confused about her current tendency to feature rural landscapes in her writing, and thinks perhaps while in London she missed the countryside more than she realised.

Erin is currently working on a novel set in a dystopian future, exploring privacy, free will and the ethics of revolutions.

She works in a theatre, but finds it much too strange to write about.

Erin MacNamara’s ‘What the Fire Gave me’ is a story vivid with emotion and bristling with anger. Having been accused of witchcraft Margaret Lorrimer sits in a cell awaiting her fate to be delivered by the hands of men she has known her whole life.  In this heart-breaking story MacNamara melds the political with the magical and we are invited to question the ways women and their bodies have been controlled throughout history.

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WHAT THE FIRE GAVE ME

They’re coming for me in the morning.

I’ve got some time until then, I’d judge it five or six hours by the light. Time enough to think. How I came to be here, where I might be bound for after. I hope there is an after. Maybe I’ll see Tommy again. Lord, let me see Tommy again. If I reach out my hand, I can feel his cheek soft under my fingertips. If I close my eyes I can feel him holding me, lying in the grass to watch the sun set behind the hill. My Tommy.

We weren’t foolish, but we were unlucky – it happens – and when it happened to us we never thought it would matter. We had a plan. Put money by for a license and a place to live, quick as we could, and then we could be wed. People might start counting back, gossip for a time, but it would die down soon enough. We had all kinds of plans, me and Tommy, used to dream up the future lying on the hillside. They made us so happy, those plans. It’s strange it should hurt so much to think on them now.

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