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Jack Fennell: Clamour and Mischief's Author Spotlight

Clamour and Mischief authors Jack Fennell

A photo of Jack Fennell standing outside in front of a church, his dark-haired and pale-skin is topped by a dark wool cap and he smiles off to the right

We're happy to work with Jack Fennell again and hope you enjoy his story in Clamour and Mischief. You can hear Jack reading from his tale, "The Song of Crows," on our YouTube channel.

* The most unexpected titbit I learned had nothing to do with corvids, as it happens: in the 19th century, the Hill of Tara was believed by some to be the burial place of the Ark of the Covenant. This theory was held by the British Israelites, who believed that the peoples of Britain and Ireland were descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and between 1899 and 1902 (after many years of cajoling and refusals), they carried out a number of digs at Tara to find proof of it. If the idea had caught on, it might have inspired a much colder and wetter Indiana Jones movie than Raiders.

* My favourite thing about writing for this anthology (aside from the thrill of working with Narrelle and Clan Destine Press again, of course) was writing an unreliable narrator who is believed to be reliable by others around him. Modern society is concerned to an alarming degree with separating the 'normal' from the 'abnormal,' and psychiatry is one of those authorities invoked to draw the dividing line - even though Freud himself cautioned that nobody is really 'normal' at the end of the day. I thought it would be interesting to explore that idea by crashing one of the more terrifying figures of Irish mythology into it at high speed.

* I really do like jackdaws. There was a rookery full of them next to my house growing up, so they fell down our chimney with irritating frequency, and the closer you get to them, the more you realise that there's an alien intelligence going on there: they put individuals on 'trial' and exile the ones that break their unknowable social contract; they have morning and evening routines, and they have communal responses to certain events (if you see scores of screeching jackdaws flying in a circle over a certain spot, you know that one of them is on the ground and in trouble). They're problem-solvers, and they're fiercely loyal to each other - on two occasions, I've had to rescue a foolish hawk from a mob of jackdaws when it made the mistake of trying to snatch one. They're an intelligent species, living alongside us, and always watching. No wonder human culture is fascinated by them!

My website is at

Read all the Q&As with our Clamour and Mischief authors.

Jack Fennell is a writer and researcher who teaches at the University of Limerick, Ireland. He is the editor of two anthologies, A Brilliant Void (2018) and It Rose Up (2021), collecting lesser-known Irish science fiction and fantasy stories respectively. He has written two academic studies, Irish Science Fiction (2014) and Rough Beasts: Monstrosity in Irish Literature, 1800-2010 (2019), and his own fiction has appeared in Silver Apples Magazine, Archive of the Odd, and the Clan Destine Press anthologies The Only One in the World and Who Sleuthed It? He also contributed translations to The Short Fiction of Flann O'Brien (2013), and was the winner of the 2022 European Science Fiction Society award for Best Translator. Every so often, he finds the time to maintain a website at, and one of these days, he might actually get it up to date.

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