Underneath the Tree

A Christmas anthology of short stories from Northern Irish writers launching November 4

It’s November. Practically Christmas. Well, I think this year we deserve to start Christmas a little earlier.

It has felt slightly like Christmas all year to me. I’ve been co-editing Underneath the Tree, with Claire Savage. This festive anthology features new work from Northern Irish writers and is generously funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It will launch on November 4, with all proceeds being donated to local charities.

The publication includes 12 short stories which all take place over the Christmas period. It includes an eclectic mix of genres. From crime to comedy, horror to sci-fi, ghost stories to magical realism. The range of voices in this anthology means there is something for every reader. The one thing they all have in common is that they will get you in the festive mood. The perfect gift for all the bookworms in your life, or to add to your own Santa list.

With stories from:

Angeline Adams, Eddy Baker, Kelly Creighton, Stacie Davis, Sharon Dempsey, Simon Maltman, Gary McKay, Samuel Poots, Claire Savage, Remco van Straten, Morna Sullivan, Stuart Wilson and Jo Zebedee.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council is delighted to have been able to support this exciting new publishing venture and this festive anthology in particular. Voices new and familiar and a range of genres and styles, smartly curated, bring to the traditional season a welcome diversity of short fiction. This is one of those years when Christmas really can’t come soon enough to help dispel the obvious gloom and this anthology of engaging narratives will be a welcome addition to anyone’s haul of Yuletide goodies.”

Fellow co-editor, Claire Savage, said that although the anthology was conceived before the COVID-19 pandemic, the project had proved timely in supporting local writers. Indeed, thanks to the Arts Council NI funding, each contributing writer has been paid for their story, and also receives a complimentary copy of the anthology. Claire said, “The arts sector has, like many, been badly affected by the pandemic so it’s great to be able to offer some support to writers – and to our chosen charities – at this difficult time.”

Underneath the Tree is available to purchase online from Amazon and The Book Depository in both e-book and paperback format. All proceeds from book sales will be split equally between the Simon Community NI and the World of Owls NI.

If you would like to attend the Zoom launch and hear the contributors read from their work on Wednesday 4 November, from 7pm, please register by email: info.sesheta@gmail.com

About Underneath the Tree:

Mixing the mysterious and macabre with tales of friendship, love and the unexplored secrets of the universe, this collection of twelve festive stories from writers in Northern Ireland presents the magic and mayhem of Christmas in all its forms.Featuring a diverse range of genres – from the gothic and ghostly, to the criminal, comedic and supernatural – these are tales to chill and delight readers on a cold winter’s night. With contemporary and historical fiction, as well as dystopian and speculative tales, you never know what you might find … underneath the tree.

Order your copy online here.