New Story up on the Minola Review


My story ‘The Virgin’ appears in issue 13 of the Minola Review (where I’m writing as Rosie Dunnett). Check it out here. Very short extract below.


She was a member of a strange church. It was a church of compulsion. During the day there were certain things which had to be touched and counted, the repeated washing of hands. It was a secret faith, secret from everyone she knew. She was eight years old.

ESSAY Emojis: The New Language of Love


I wrote an essay about Emojis for Imperica

Read the whole article here, extract below.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperateWilliam Shakespeare, extract from Sonnet 18, written between 1593 and 1601

It’s so hot outside! I love the summertime. How are you? au-al-0900-1001-roisin1
Roisin Dunnett, text, June 2016

It’s impossible to guess where Shakespeare was when he rhetorically suggested to an unknown person that he might compare them to a summer’s day. I remember where I was when I wrote that facile text though. I was in my back garden with my feet up on the fence, and it was, truly, so hot outside. It was a happy moment because I do love the summertime, and because I was thinking of the person to whom I sent the text.

I did not write them a sonnet, although I suppose I could have. I chose a more common contemporary form, the text message. Rather than submit to the constraints of fourteen lines in pentameter, I chose to express my feelings within a different set of limitations: 870 picture characters, many of which have meanings specific to a culture which is not my own: emojis1. I will not de-construct the lines from sonnet 18, which are only incidentally included here. But I can, as the author, decode for you my text message. First we have the obvious, as written, with emojis to illustrate it: I’m hot and I love the summer- heart emoji for love, the sun for summer time. The effusive use of both icons illustrates my enthusiasm. Then we have the implicit meaning, in the context of which the emojis mean something slightly different: Being outside in this sunshine that I enjoy is making me think of you- I wonder how you are? Multiple yellow heart and sun emojis are arranged to indicate happiness, warmth, to bring pleasure to the reader/viewer, who I am also asking about.

Then we have the third meaning, hidden under the courtly layers of the first two: I love the summertime. It makes me think of you, who I also love. Here are six yellow hearts worth of love, interspersed with the smiling symbol of this summer, when I fell for you. I love you I love you I love you, it’s summer it’s summer it’s summer, I love you I love you I love you.



Essay in The Tangerine



An essay of mine has been published in The Tangerine Magazine. Short extract below.

I met Laura in a club. We kissed in a basement pounding to the bitter-sweet chorus of ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber. When the lights came on and we got kicked out I typed my address into her phone and hopped into an Uber while she went to find her bike. We’d agreed I would leave my front door on the latch.

I should have predicted that she wouldn’t show up; she’d sober up and decide to go home, she’d realise she was too drunk to come to my house. Her phone died on the way to where I lived, but she met an acquaintance in the street and asked the way: with the occasional lucidity of the very drunk she remembered the postcode exactly. She walked through my front door and up the stairs and got into bed beside me.


The Ladder Project

I went to the Hague recently to begin a collaboration with the artist Danielle Lopes Cardozo  in response to her recent exhibition.

The Ladder Project is an installation composed of thirty one ladders hanging from the ceiling of Gallery Sophie. I produced a written response composed of 31 paragraphs, one for each ladder. A few are below.

1) The first thing I did when I got to Den Haag was walk to my old house.  I lived there until I was eight years old. I’ve not been back but I remember the address, because I was always so afraid of getting lost. Before I knew much other Dutch I knew how to say ‘My name is Rosie, I don’t speak very good Dutch, I live at 17A Smidswaater.’

2) Two bridges at either end of the street, the dark-watered canal that along the length of the doorsteps. The door is still dark green, same colour as the water. I looked through the glass, there was the long brick hall, the metal gate at the end. Beyond it, the unreachable landscape of my memory. I took a photo for Instagram and left.

14) Think of the ladders as guardian angels, as acts of love. Think of the ladders as a succession of gifts. Think of the ladders as your wife, as your husband, as your child. Think of the ladders as a sentence which, for better or for worse, you can’t redact.

20) Emotional stress and events of personal significance push us strongly toward magical meaning-making, says Matthew Hutson in Psychology Today. We look for patterns because we hate surprises and because we love being in control. Elsewhere, Magical Thinking is described as an Insidious Thought Error. But Matthew Huston says Anything Can Be Sacred.  


21) Danielle met my mother at a local nursery, we had just moved to Den Haag from London, and I was two. I saw her getting you into a jacket, said Danielle. I knew from how she was putting you into the jacket that we would be friends.

The Bitter in the Sweet- for your ears

Me and my friend Callum Mclean made The Bitter in The Sweet, using my short story of the same name.  The short story is a fictionalised account of one sugar farmer’s attempts to end the practice of burning cane fields in Brazil. We wanted bring The Bitter in the Sweet from the written into to the audio world. We wanted to recall the practice of oral storytelling, remind you of the taped stories you listened to as a child, and enhance the experience with a carefully curated selection of tracks and sounds. It aired on NTS in 2017.

Listen to it here!