Word Factory #32 & Masterclass – 25th April – London

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Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

Performance, confidence and voice with A.L. Kennedy – SOLD OUT

Booking for our masterclasses are now available online through to June. Word Factory regulars have already booked their tickets for A.L Kennedy’s April class – but don’t miss the chance to work with Stella Duffy at her workshop in May where the only rule is yes. Our masterclasses are also travelling to Birmingham in June with Michele Roberts and David Almond. Click the links above to book your place.

In June Neil Gaiman will also be giving an exclusive class and reading: details on our website soon.

Short Story Club – 4.30-5.30pm
Italo Calvino: All at One Point

Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics is a collection of stories, all narrated by the character Qfwfq, each of which takes a scientific fact as a starting point for a fantastical narrative.The first translated edition (from Italian) won the National Book Award in America, and it is one of Calvino’s best known works alongside If on a Winter’s Night A Traveller and Invisible Cities.

In ‘All at One Point’, Calvino takes the notion of the universe’s matter all being concentrated at one point before it began to expand, and imagines Qfwfq and other characters dealing with this situation. It combines a scientific flight of fancy with a familiar-feeling tale of neighbourly tensions, as at the inhabitants of the point clash over gossip, opinions and shared attractions. This is a story which does not fit contemporary expectations. Do you find it satisfying, silly, or wondrously clever? Come and discuss ‘All at One Point’ at the Word Factory Short Story Club in April.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #32 – the intimate short story salon – 6.30-8.30pm

Book your tickets here.

Celebrate spring with award-winning authors and fresh talent at The Word Factory. A.L. Kennedy leads our perfomance skills masterclass before joining international star Yiyun Li, our mentor Adam Marek and apprentice Kerstin Twachtmann for readings at the evening salon. The conversation will continue with Director Cathy Galvin, co-founder of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

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Word Factory #31 & Masterclass – 28th March – London

wordfactory-logo-300x88Welcome back to an exciting year of readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers at the Word Factory.

Broadcast News: Winning Stories and Writing for Radio – 3-4.30pm

For over a decade Di Speirs has championed the short story form in Britain. At the BBC, she has commissioned and produced short stories for Radio 4 and 3 and she runs the internationally acclaimed BBC National Short Story Award.

In an exclusive Word Factory Masterclass, Di will guide you through everything you need to know to ensure your work gets noticed and commissioned. What are the key do’s and don’t for submitting work for the award or general broadcast? What does every writer need to know about how an editor thinks? And what new trends do writers need to keep in mind? Our session will allow enough time for Di to talk about her work and take questions.

Cost: £35 per person (please purchase Salon tickets separately). Book your place here.

Short Story Club – 4.30-5.30pm
Shirley Jackson: The Lottery

When The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker in 1948, readers were so horrified they sent hate mail; it has since become one of the most iconic American stories of all time.
Shirley Jackson was born in San Francisco in 1916, and went on to earn a reputation as “one of the 20th century’s most luminous and strange American writers”. She is a master of Gothic suspense (her novel, The Haunting of Hill House, once called “the greatest haunted house story ever written”, was turned into the classic horror film The Haunting). Joyce Carol Oates described her as “one of those highly idiosyncratic, inimitable writers… whose work exerts an enduring spell”. Jackson published six novels before her death, at the age of 48, in 1965.
The Lottery is Jackson’s best-known short story: Jackson draws us in to the dark, unsettling world of a small farming village, who come together for a terrible game of chance…

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #28 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Join us for an unforgettable evening of readings with Polly Samson and Louise Doughty. Share in the joy of new work from our apprentice Uschi Gatward and her mentor Nicholas Royle. The conversation will continue with Director Cathy Galvin, co-founder of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Book your tickets here.

Word Factory #30 & Masterclass – 14th February – London

wordfactory-logo-300x88Welcome back to an exciting year of readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers at the Word Factory.

Devil in the Detail with Tessa Hadley – 1-4pm

Big ideas and a broad sweep in storytelling are often anchored in the smallest details. Don’t miss an exclusive opportunity to learn from one of the few UK writers regularly published by The New Yorker.
Tessa Hadley, Professor at Bath Spa University, will focus this workshop on observation and detail in the short story form and how it can transform your own writing. Expect to write, be challenged, and to learn from Tessa’s craft and the authors who have inspired her. This workshop is suitable for any writer passionate about the form.

Cost: £60 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included. Limited to 12 places. SOLD OUT

Short Story Club – 4.30-5.30pm

Hilary Mantel: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

This month we will be reading the most controversial short story of 2014: Hilary Mantel’s ’The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’. The story springs from the two-time Man Booker prizewinner’s “boiling detestation” for the politician – Mantel recalls how she once spotted the former Prime Minister standing unguarded near her Windsor flat in 1983 and imagined shooting her. The action begins when a woman in her Windsor flat opens the door expecting a plumber… Have a read and make up your own mind – is this tale as damningly provocative as certain papers would have us believe?

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #28 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Our Valentine’s salon with stories exploring the joys and perils of love with stories from Tessa Hadley (who will be leading our workshop during the day), Zoe Gilbert and exclusive new work from Jon McGregor. Cathy Galvin will lead a discussion on the craft of short story writing and you’ll have the chance to ask your questions too.

Online tickets – £12 | Concessions – £8 | On the door – £15 Buy your tickets here.

Word Factory #29 – Our FREE Christmas Party – 13th December, London

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It’s been an outstanding year for the Word Factory. Readers in 2014 include AS Byatt, Toby Litt, David Almond, Tessa Hadley, Ben Okri, Evie Wylde – and our masterclasses have been led by truly great talent including David Constantine, Joe Dunthorne, Peter Stothard and David Vann. Join at Waterstones Piccadilly for our final event of the year – our free Christmas party!

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: John Burnside – Slut’s Hair

In December we are reading ‘Slut’s Hair’, by the Scottish writer John Burnside. As a short story writer, Burnside has published two collections Burning Elvis (2000) and Something Like Happy (2013), from which this story is taken. Burnside is unflinching in his bleak portrayal of “unpleasant” subjects – cruelty, domestic violence, outright loneliness – and this spotlight on the darker side of human nature has earned him a reputation as a Scottish Raymond Chandler. ‘Slut’s Hair’ is archetypal Burnside. In it, a woman in Dundee tenement is stuck in an unhappy and unforgiving relationship. Then she reveals she has toothache, and they can’t afford a dentist…

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #29 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Join us for an evening fizzing with  festive fun and celebration. We will be pulling names out of Santa’s hat to read on the night. If you want to take part, bring a story no more than ten minutes long and, as you arrive, give your name and the story’s title to Alexa on the door. We will be listening – and we will be filming!

Register for your FREE tickets here

Word Factory #28 & Masterclass – 22nd November, London

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Welcome to winter at the Word Factory: celebrating a second year of brilliant short story readings, classes and the short story club. This month join us for our last salon of the year, back in our home at Waterstone Piccadilly:

It’s All Greek To Me – Masterclass with David Vann – 1.30-4.30pm

We are delighted to welcome the internationally renowned novelist and short story writer David Vann to lead our final masterclass of the year. In this three hour session, David will take a close look at the classical structures that underpin all great writing and ask: why we are still reading and writing according to the ancient Greeks? He will examine dramatic unities, the roles of the protagonist and antagonist; of the chorus; of crisis and catharsis. Drawing on developments in his own work, stories he describes as neo-classical, he will discuss his own inspiration and offer a helpful insight into your own practice.

This masterclass is  for anyone serious about writing short fiction, whether new to the form or published. David will suggest texts to read in advance. No exercises will be set in the class.

Cost: £60 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included. Limited to 20 places. Buy your tickets here.

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: Angela Carter – Peter and the Wolf

At November’s Short Story Club we will be discussing Angela Carter’s Peter and the Wolf. This autumnal story is one of Carter’s many retellings of folk and fairy tales, in which she twists away from the original, riffing on the familiar to satirical and baroque effect. This swiftly told tale is simple in content but rich in language, a style less fashionable in 2014 (it was first published in 1982) but no less powerful for it. Desire, freedom, nature and chaos abide here – an apt story for the turning of the seasons.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #28 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Join us for our final salon of the year in November with Ben Okri, David Vann (who will be leading our Saturday masterclass), Lisa Blower and Deirdre Shanahan. After their readings they will join in conversation with Cathy Galvin.

Online tickets – £12 | Concessions – £8 | On the door – £15 Buy your tickets here.

Word Factory #27 & Masterclass – 25th October, London

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Join us in the shadow of Nelson’s Column for our inspiring October salon. Join us for Word Factory on 25th October at Waterstones Trafalgar Square:

Masterclass with David Constantine – 1.30-4.30pm

VS Pritchett said that a short story is ‘something glimpsed from the corner of the eye’ but what does that mean – what really defines a short story and how can we write better in a form that demands precision and strong narrative?

We are delighted to explore these questions in an exclusive masterclass with Frank O’Connor International short story award winner David Constantine. The author of four collections of short stories and a renowned poet and translator, David will discuss the art of short story writing with reference to his own writing life and inspiration he has drawn from the works of DH Lawrence and others.

This masterclass is for you if you are already writing short stories as well as for those practiced in other forms of writing but keen to explore the short story form. The class will involve discussion and careful examination of a few texts which will be provided in advance with the aim of encouraging reflection and insight. If possible, we would advise writers to read Morphologies. Short story writers on short story writers from Comma Press in advance. David will not be setting exercises but will be encouraging you to discuss concerns and ideas in your own work with him and other writers in the class.

Cost: £60 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included. Limited to 20 places. Buy your tickets here.

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: Colin Barrett – The Clancy Kid

At October’s Short Story Club, we’ll be discussing ‘The Clancy Kid’ by Colin Barrett. This is the opening story from Barrett’s new collection Young Skins. Hungover Jimmy is in the pub in his Irish home town, in which all the stories are set, listening to his unstable friend Tug talking about a small boy who has gone missing – the Clancy kid. The story evokes the place and the characters Jimmy encounters in confident strokes, blending warmth with the sinister, the modern with the mythic, and hooking the reader whilst leaving us wondering.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #23 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

After David Constantine has led his masterclass on the art of writing the short story, he will be reading alongside Tessa Hadley and Adam Marek. These three award-winning authors will join Cathy Galvin in conversation about their writing lives. Book early to secure your place and a free glass of wine at Waterstones’ flagship store in Piccadilly.

Online tickets – £12 | Concessions – £8 | On the door – £15 Buy your tickets here – Bring a friend for free on all salon tickets.

Word Factory #26 & Workshop – 27th September, London

wordfactory-logo-300x88Welcome back to an autumn of intimate salons and inspiring workshops. After our summer holiday, Word Factory is back on the 27th September at Waterstones Piccadilly:

What did they say? – Workshop with Jonathan Taylor – 1.30-4.30pm

An exclusive workshop with Jonathan Taylor on how to make the maximum impact reading your work aloud.

Live readings and literature events are hugely popular and writers need to know how to read out loud and make the maximum impact with their work. It’s vital to understand exactly what’s involved in creating a good group experience while allowing space for listeners to have their own personal response.

In this lively workshop led by an acclaimed teacher and writer, you will explore the characteristics that make a story readable and the keys to good performance. Group and pair work will allow you to maximise your own performance and share with others. The workshop will suit you whether you are already published and wanting to improve your performance and writing skills or have experience as a writer but are not yet published.

Cost: £60 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included. Buy your tickets here.

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: Lucy Wood – Lights in Other People’s Houses

In September we will be exploring the work of the young British writer, Lucy Wood. Diving Belles, her debut collection, was recorded as a series for BBC radio. All the stories are inspired by Cornish folklore, and in ‘Lights in Other People’s Houses’ the ghost of a wrecker appears in Maddy’s house amidst the moving boxes she is refusing to unpack. Gradually the house fills with sand, and shells, and an atmosphere is created that is both dreamlike and unsettling.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #23 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

We begin our autumn season with three very different but brilliant short story writers: Alexei Sayle, Mahesh Rao, and Jonathan Taylor. They will entertain with their stories and join Cathy Galvin in conversation about their writing lives. We will also announce the winners of our 2014 Word Factory Apprentice scheme. Book early to secure your place and a free glass of wine at Waterstones’ flagship store in Piccadilly.

Online tickets – £12 | Concessions – £8 | On the door – £15 Buy your tickets here – Bring a friend for free on all salon tickets.