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Muscle and Mouth by Louise Finnigan, 11 June - 32 pages

Part of the 2021 Shorts season

Downloads as PDF, .MOBI AND EPUB


“A beautifully written and compelling story”- Kerry Hudson, Award-Winning Author of ‘Lowborn’


‘Muscle and Mouth made me feel the fracture of my own northern identity deep in my gut. It made me ache for home. It reminded me that leaving a place means giving pieces of yourself away; your rawness, your language and a certain kind of love. Louise Finnigan is a writer to watch.’- Jessica Andews, Author of ‘Saltwater’ and Winner of 2020 Portico Prize


Extract -

This investigation will record, transcribe, and analyse the language of young men talking about their hometown and the extent to which they want to leave it. The speakers are long- term inhabitants of one of Manchester’s most deprived housing estates, notorious for high levels of crime and low levels of employment. The analysis will focus on the presence (or absence) of features typically associated with young men from layers of society which might be described as ‘the underclass.’



Blurb: Jade is prepping an A-Level assignment, all her sights set on Durham University. She’s told she has to ‘prove herself’ and keep her away from the unsavoury types she calls her best friends. Yet Jade is reluctant to shun her corner of Manchester, where she finds the land rich, ‘dark with energy’.


“A deceptively subtle yet nonetheless hard-hitting story about connection, belonging and desire. Louise Finnigan’s eye for detail is matched only by her ear for language. Cracking stuff.”
- Nicholas Royle, Writer, Editor and Judge of Manchester Fiction Prize


Early reviews:

"a narrative scarred by eye-wincing violence and illuminated by a poetic sensitivity that takes in the superficial ‘wafting smells of chip-pan and spliff’ as well as the deep sense of an underappreciated land ‘dark with energy’ that ‘throbs through us when we shout or laugh or fuck.’ I feel not only spoken to, but also spoken for. With admiration and thanks.- Julian Edge

A poignant, and at times painful, exploration of the difficulties of traversing different worlds. Finnigan’s story skilfully contrasts blunt linguistic analysis with lyrical and poetic language in a tightly woven narrative that builds to a climax that is equal parts inevitable and frustrating. An important story of voices that often go unheard, where the reader, as with the narrator, cannot presume anything.”
- Gaynor Jones, Northern Writer’s Award 2020 Winner

EBOOK: Muscle and Mouth by Louise Finnigan

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