Saturday, 23 July 2011

Guardian Short Story

Things Which Are Not True

published on The Guardian website today as part of their Summer Reads Fiction Special

When Coral announces: "I'm just going on holiday for a lark, really," no one reacts. A word like "lark" is wasted on her colleagues. She heard it last week on a TV home makeover show, and Coral wrote it in her notebook under the heading Words To Say. In the column "Example" she wrote, "I'm just doing it for a lark, really" with "Casual, nonchalant" in the "Delivery" section. That word "nonchalant" has an entry all of its own earlier in the book. It also appeared on the list Things To Be In 2007.

Coral has sung Summer Holiday a lot throughout the morning, just to make sure everyone knows she's going away. When she came back from Llandudno in November, they hadn't even realised she'd been gone. This is different, though. She's also hummed Y Viva Espana in the photocopy queue. Plus she's taken her luggage to work, saying that she has to go straight to the airport at five o'clock. But really she's not flying until tomorrow morning, so the backpack is full of tinned food wrapped in towels to soften the edges.

click here to continue reading

and here for links to stories by Jon McGregor, Jennifer Egan, David Nicholls, and winner of the Summer Fiction competition - Fan Flaherty. The other 3 runner up stories were written by George Craig, Maggie Robb and Ursula Wills Jones.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Closing soon

A few places to send your short stories to that have caught my eye:

Hay on Wye Short Story Contest
Up to 2000 words
£400 1st prize, £200 for 2nd, £100 for 3rd
£6 entry fee
Closes 31st July
* postal submissions only *

Sean O'Faolain Prize
Up to 3000 words
1500 euros 1st prize + publication in Southwold Lit Journal + week retreat at Anam Cara, 2nd prize is 500 euros + publication. Four other stories will appear in Southwold and each will receive 120 euros.
Entry fee is 15 euros
Closes 31st July
* absolutely amazing first prize - they also promise to take good care of the winner if they come to Cork to collect their prize:
"...we will lavish them with hotel accommodation, meals, drinks and VIP access to the literary stars at the Cork International Short Fiction Festival (14-18 September 2011)." *

Ilkley Literature Festival
Up to 3000 words
£200 1st prize
£4 to enter
Closes 31st July
* postal submissions only *

Manchester Fiction Prize
Up to 3000 words
£10,000 1st prize
£15 entry fee
Closes 12th August
* There is only one prize of£10,000 - though this could be split between 2 winners if the judges decide to *

Monday, 18 July 2011

Guardian Short Story Comp Runner-up

Yes I am - I'm delighted/thrilled/excited/ecstatic and all those other words that don't quite fit and feel a bit weird to say... that my story, Things which are not true, was chosen by Jon McGregor and Nicholas Blincoe to be a runner up, that is one of 4, chosen as not-winners (there's one winner) but 4 'almosts' - who will be published online alongside some established authors (I don't know who yet) as part of The Guardian's Summer Reads fiction special on July 23rd.

I'm, well, all those words up in that first sentence there.



Radio 4 are planning to cut their 3-per-week programmes of 'Afternoon Reading' down to just 1 (it used to be 5, a very short time ago). Tania Hershman has written a blog post on this - please sign the petition, tweet about it, blog about it. The BBC support short stories, and Afternoon Reading broadcasts one per episode.


Friday, 8 July 2011

Don't be prissy, yeah?

I stumbled upon this quote today, over at AdviceToWriters, and had to share it. It's from Richard Ford. I think it's pretty spot-on.

Beware of writers who tell you how hard they work. (Beware of anybody who tries to tell you that.) Writing is indeed often dark and lonely, but no one really has to do it. Yes, writing can be complicated, exhausting, isolating, abstracting, boring, dulling, briefly exhilarating; it can be made to be grueling and demoralizing. And occasionally it can produce rewards. But it's never as hard as, say, piloting an L-1011 into O'Hare on a snowy night in January, or doing brain surgery when you have to stand up for 10 hours straight, and once you start you can't just stop. If you're a writer, you can stop anywhere, any time, and no one will care or ever know. Plus, the results might be better if you do.

Richard Ford

From Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur

Thursday, 7 July 2011

This week:

- I'm trying NOT to keep thinking how ace it would be to win one of the writing competitions I'm entered into (see sidebar)
- So with that I'm working on NOT checking my emails every 3-4 minutes
- And instead I'm working on writing new things / editing old things / seeking new places to sub to
- Trying to look after myself a bit better in general
- Ties in nicely with a free invitation to a health spa from my friend Anna. As well as eating cake while wearing a dressing gown I'm also going to have a reiki session - something I've been tempted by for a while, and I'm TOTALLY ready for my chakras to be balanced
- I have a penchant for capital letters
- I see that is a bit teenage
- I've finally started watching the BBC's adaptation of 'Case Histories' and have subsequently fallen in love with Jasan Isaacs
- I see that is a bit teenage