The story for Night Shift came from a very simple idea: someone falls asleep on the metro and wakes up at the end of the line. It is the kind of thing that could happen to anyone at the end of a long day in any European city with an underground or metro system – Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Vienna. I wondered what would happen if someone missed their stop and found themselves in an unfamiliar neighbourhood at night. What it would feel like to wake up in a city that was sleeping and at its darkest and most uneasy.

I was reminded of Christopher Thomas’s photo book New York Sleeps, a collection of haunting images of Manhattan before dawn, devoid of people, and pictured someone walking alone through the empty streets. Someone who was in the city at night for a reason, such as a night shift worker. I came up with the character of Lanya, a Kurdish immigrant working on a corporate cleaning crew, who is asked to do one last task before finishing her shift. She falls asleep on the last metro and misses her stop. She is then faced with a series of obstacles preventing her from getting home.

I originally thought of introducing a convenience store cashier, who’s closing the shop for the night, who Lanya meets while walking through the empty streets. But it didn’t feel quite right, as I need someone else in the margins, who appears out of the shadows and changes the course of Lanya’s journey. Recently, there have been news reports of Deliveroo cyclists being attached by gangs around Dublin, often having their bikes stolen. So I have created the character of Roisin, a food delivery cyclist, who’s also a night shift worker.

Two ‘outsiders’, Lanya and Roisin, strike up an unlikely friendship in a sleeping city. I think this is the type of story in which I could explore themes such as solitude and separation.



THOMAS, Christopher. 2009. New York Sleeps. New York: Prestel.