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Short Stories by Liz McSkeane – What to Put in a Suitcase


ISBN 978-1-913598-37-2                                                    

These sixteen stories from an award-winning fiction writer and poet follow a cast of characters destined to navigate a world that is by turns perplexing, intriguing, threatening. What to Put in a Suitcase evokes a rich variety of people and situations: a suburban dinner party whose hosts harbour a troubling secret; a childhood prank in 1940s Dublin with tragic consequences that reverberate through the decades; the sinister challenge of walking along a deserted corridor; a family fleeing environmental disaster in Dublin of the near future; a passionate defence of personal space, even if only in the local café.

Read one of the stories,  Lebensraum in Books Ireland Magazine now.

“The world of  What to Put in a Suitcase is a very uncertain place, full of uncomfortable questions. We are frequently unsure where we are,  the terrain shifts, the ground beneath our feet feels increasingly unstable.  These are stories written in spare, pared-back language, with images that startle, packed with interior monologues that are rich with insight and observation and reflect the challenges of modern life: immigration, the pandemic, violence against women, society’s many inequalities.”  

                                                                                                                                                                                 Catherine Dunne



cover of what to put in a suitcase

Engaged with both the minutiae of thought processes and the impulse to action, these stories grapple with the twists and turns of individual psychology and personal relationships.  Wider themes of justice and the place of the individual in the political and social context of the modern world are never far from the surface, at times, when least expected, seasoned with a sly humour. An intriguing and compelling collection. Read one of the stories from Suitcase, A Hot Coffee, published in the Irish Times Online on Christmas Day.


“In the hands of Liz McSkeane, the everyday ‒ a café terrace, a deserted corridor, an oriental rug, an airport lounge ‒ can be abruptly transformed into a site of conflict and menace. Always meticulous in her choice of language, these stories show her skill in evoking our primal emotions.”        David Butler

“This is a brilliant, incisive collection of contemporary short stories, startling and unsettling in their profound reflections on the complexities of modern life.”                                    Lisa Harding

“The delight in these stories is McSkeane’s mastery of the minutiae, the half-frown, the dismissive glance, the almost imperceptible moments that can define the whole trajectory of a life thereafter…This anthology is impactful, insightful and superbly written. A real reader’s treat.”                                                         Anne Cunningham, Sunday Independent

“What to Put in a Suitcase is an impactful, modern collection of short stories that awaken the senses and asks the questions we sometimes choose to ignore. Nothing is wasted in the language used throughout. Many of the stories demonstrate the vulnerability of being human, examining our behaviour in different circumstances. Liz McSkeane understands our need for real connections, for interaction, for love, to be needed, to be heard and with her skilled pen she demonstrates these human traits with lucidity and wisdom.”                                                                                 Mairéad Hearne, Swirl and Thread



Additional information

Weight 190 g
Dimensions 21.5 × 14.8 × .11 cm


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