Short stories by thirty two young writers have been published in an anthology to celebrate National Short Story Week. The stories were chosen from nationwide entries to last year’s National Short Story Week Young Writer competition for year 7 and 8 pupils.
The anthology ‒ The Mistake: 32 tales to make you think, shiver and smile ‒ was published on Monday November 17th, the start of this year’s National Short Story Week. It is available as an ebook and paperback exclusively from Amazon. All proceeds from the anthology will be donated to Teenage Cancer Trust.
We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the talent of these young writers than to have their work available in print, and for that work to help young people and their families who are going through a challenging time in their lives. Not only are these pupils now published writers, they can take great satisfaction in knowing that their stories will make a difference to other young people just like them.
Our young writers were very inventive in how they chose to interpret the title The Mistake. Their stories show a remarkable level of maturity, and encompass serious issues such as the tragedy of war, bullying, gambling and homelessness. But there are lighter moments too, and some poignant explorations of what it is like to be a young person growing up today. Whether making us think, shiver or laugh, these young writers have all written highly accomplished tales.
We’ve already had some lovely praise for the anthology from acclaimed writers. Simon Brett said: “The Mistake demonstrates great variety and diversity. The settings for the stories range from school playgrounds, via Brazil and Mount Everest, to the trenches of the First World War. The characters include teenage girls, ghosts, shape-shifters, murderers and the Lady of Shallot. As the book’s subtitle says, here are stories to make you ‘think, shiver and smile’. The one thing that wasn’t a mistake was producing this anthology.”
Ali Smith has called the anthology “a book full of life, intelligence and range – page after page of impressive and witty engagement with its theme. It’s a pleasure to read so many stories filled with promise and energy.”
Hailey Acton DeBoik of Teenage Cancer Trust says: “We are ever so grateful to be benefiting from this wonderful project. What an innovative way for young people to help other young people by showcasing their talents.”
Young Writer, and the overall winner of the competition, Gemma Craig-Sharples of Ursuline High School in London says: “I was really happy when I found out my story had won. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.” Her story is also published on the Guardian‘s Children’s Books section online.
Ian Skillicorn, National Short Story Week