Dinosaurs On Other Planets

Dinosaurs On Other Planets

Stories by Danielle McLaughlin

October 2015
198 pages

Paperback: €12.99 


Limited edition hardback - first 100 copies, signed and numbered: €30 

(includes p&p worldwide)


Limited Edition Hardback: €20:00 

(includes p&p worldwide)



Winner of the 2016 Saboteur Award for Best Short Story Collection


A woman battles bluebottles as she plots an ill-judged encounter with a stranger; a young husband commutes a treacherous route to his job in the city, fearful for the wife and small daughter he has left behind; a mother struggles to understand her nine-year-old son’s obsession with dead birds and the apocalypse. In Danielle McLaughlin’s stories, the world is both beautiful and alien. Men and women negotiate their surroundings as a tourist might navigate a distant country: watchfully, with a mixture of wonder and apprehension. Here are characters living lives in translation, ever at the mercy of distortions and misunderstandings, striving to make sense both of the spaces they inhabit and of the people they share them with.


'This is not a debut in the usual sense: a promise of greater things to come. There is no need to ask what Danielle McLaughlin will do next, she has done it already. This book has arrived. I think it will stay with us for a long time.’

Anne Enright


Danielle McLaughlin’s stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Irish TimesSouthword, The Penny Dreadful and in The Stinging Fly. She has won various awards for her short fiction, including the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition, The Willesden Herald International Short Story Prize, The Merriman Short Story Competition in memory of Maeve Binchy, and the Dromineer Literary Festival Short Story Competition. Danielle was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 2013. She lives in County Cork with her husband and three young children.


Cover Design: Fergal Condon



There is currently a thrilling, seemingly unstoppable tide of new Irish writing emerging through small literary magazines and presses, with authors such as Sara Baume, Colin Barrett and Mary Costello going on to achieve widespread critical success. Joining them this year will surely be Danielle McLaughlin, whose short stories are set in an Ireland both contemporary and disturbingly unfamiliar. Her near-faultless debut collection, originally published by Stinging Fly, deals primarily with psychological alienation, and the desolate upheaval of humans in crisis.

Catherine Taylor, The Guardian


Over and over, what the author offers up are intense explorations of largely rural-set relationships in silent turmoil: couples and families living in desperate denial of the chasms that have opened up and are threatening to destroy their surface tranquillities, to drag them asunder. ... That the tensile quality of the writing can be sustained across the span of these 11 stories is a testament to the author’s devotion to craft and to an obvious flair for the musicality of language. What’s here are controlled notes, meticulous melodies. ... This is a remarkable first collection from a distinctive and extremely gifted writer on the brink of major recognition. 

Billy O'Callaghan, The Irish Examiner

The author’s way with endings stands out. Her stories will startle readers with their closing imagery and insights. Nature features prominently as a way to symbolise despair and loss... These are characters who wonder how their stories have gone so wrong, who want to leave their lives “like a balloon leaves a fairground”. As they stumble in the darkness, McLaughlin tempts the reader to seek answers with her intelligent and beautiful prose.

Sarah Gilmartin, The Irish Times

Like the best fiction, Danielle McLaughlin’s debut short story collection feels bigger than the sum of its parts. The prose is taut, narratives whittled, characterisation disturbing and potent, but so much more than this, the stories magnify the little moments, so beautifully suited to short stories, that make a life. It’s not the big moments that make us who we are and what is important, but a collection of tiny moments that create us. Dinosaurs on Other Planets makes the insignificant significant. Each story, and their relationship with one another, showcases how we are all vulnerable; never invincible or too far from potential emotional or physical disaster. ... McLaughlin explores the darker choices and behaviours of her characters through prose that shakes to the core, at times subtle, at times disturbing. Dinosaurs on Other Planets will cause waves, and lingers in the memory long after finishing reading.

Laura Kenwright, Wales Arts Review

The first step to a good short story is that it can be read in one uninterrupted sitting. The second is that it knows and respects the rules of conventional story telling. And the third, and most important, is that it knows exactly when to break these rules. Cork writer Danielle McLaughlin has mastered these steps ...  McLaughlin's writing is so captivating and visual that you are instantly in the story from the first paragraph. She knows just the right amount of information to give, almost frustrating us with the unknowns, but providing enough suggestions and clues to keep us going ... McLaughlin conveys so much with so little.

Sophie Gorman, The Irish Independent