Emerging Writer: Danny Denton

Danny Denton talks with Maebh Butler about how childhood dreams, Irish culture and even shame all have an impact on his writing.As a child, a frequent question put to you is “what would you like to be when you grow up?” Some of us, the lucky ones perhaps, have the never-changing answer of doctor, teacher, or police officer. Then there are the others, the ones with the always-changing dreams of various careers. Danny Denton was one of those children. It was this uncertainty, though, that saw Denton fall into the world of fiction. “I wanted to be a carpenter, a movie director, an artist, a sport journalist, a gardener, a chef... Basically a thousand different things over varying lengths of time and with varying degrees of commitment. Perhaps writing became a way, for me, of being all of them in different times and ways.”
“If I do this, it’s one day closer to (hopefully) telling Bryan Breen that, yes, the book is being published, and he can shove his ‘unpublished’ jokes up his arse!”
On talking about motivation, Denton says that a big incentive is “Shame (with a capital S).” Having undergone the prying questions of his hometown friends about his writing, he says that “I’ll often be finding it hard to sit down and get going and I’ll think to myself, if I do this, it’s one day closer to (hopefully) telling Bryan Breen that, yes, the book is being published, and he can shove his ‘unpublished’ jokes up his arse!” Something, probably, that many of us can relate to.London, Cork, Galway, China and Spain. Having spent time in each of these places, Denton is clearly well travelled and OTwo ponders over the effect this has on his storytelling. According to Denton, however, there is more to it than just where you are living. “Your environment stocks your writing in a myriad of ways, both in the present tense and nostalgically. You pick up scraps of material everywhere – my notebook is filled with overheard phrases like ‘I’m beginning to feel borderline perky’ and ‘What happened was...’, as well as images of vaulted ceilings and pigeons clinging to trees. But it’s important to point out that the writer actually shapes the writing, not the environment.”Despite this, Denton says that Irish culture is close to his heart. He says that being born outside of Ireland results in his friends never letting him forget that he is a “blow-in”. There is certainly something special about the Irish writing scene, and he says that “in terms of our mythic narrative as a people, I’m indebted to that for inspiration, guidance, reference, and so on.” With the 1916 Easter Rising centenary around the corner, Denton also says that he hopes it will inspire contemporary art and literature to tap into that “rich mythology” that the Irish pride themselves on.Having published quite a few short stories in various anthologies and journals, Denton stresses the importance of publications, such as The Stinging Fly, for emerging writers like him. Apart from short stories, Denton says that he is now working on a “new thing”. “It is a novel of fragments set in an Ireland where it always rains, a sort of fallen Ireland, on the verge of a catastrophic loss of data; a digital collapse.”Denton is certainly someone to watch out for on the bookshelves, and his project proposes an undoubtedly exciting story from a thoroughly engaging man.