Short Story September to culminate in all-day festival

A month-long campaign celebrating short stories will culminate in an all-day festival.

Short Story September is a month-long initiative set up by independent press, Dahlia Publishing. Following their first short story festival, the aim of the project is to celebrate the short story form online as well as showcase newly published short story collections.

Writers can follow the campaign via a dedicated blog which will offer daily prompts and feature writing by authors with works published in 2019. Authors featured during the campaign include BBC National Short Story Prize Winner, Sarah Hall, and rising stars such as Jamel Brinkley.

Writers can sign up to Short Story September online Follow us on Twitter @dahliabooks and use the hashtag #ShortStorySept to join the conversation.

The online initiative will be followed by an all-day festival which will feature a series of talks and workshops designed to help writers take their writing to the next level.

Crossroads Festival takes place on October 5 2019 at Curve Theatre in Leicester.

Short story writers Rebecca Burns and Debz Hobbs-Wyatt will lead workshops on perfecting the opening and ending of a short story, as well as introduce experimental techniques to write successful short stories.  Costa nominated Kerry Young and Women’s Prize shortlisted Meena Kandasamy will deliver inspiring keynotes and there will be sessions on writing rules and funding and finance. The event concludes with this year’s Leicester Writes Short Story Prize ceremony.

See the full programme for Crossroads Festival and and book your place on Eventbrite.


Arachne Press celebrates 5 years of short stories and more #Arachne5

Arachne Press are celebrating and you are invited to…

the FREE 5th Anniversary Party
Friday 8th September 2017 6.30-9.30pm
Manor House Library
34 Old Road
SE13 5SY
Free tickets for the party: eventbrite

Readings of Poetry & Stories from Sarah Lawson, Carolyn Eden Liam Hogan, Cherry Potts, Katy Darby, Kate Foley, Jeremy Dixon, Ghillian Potts, Nichol Wilmor

and Live Music from Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd and Summer All Year Long

Refreshments Available for a Modest Donation, Books on Sale – special offers


We will be Touring a Retrospective Selection of Stories & Poems until December 2017, starting at Archway With Words festival on 27th September at Archway Library.
If you would like to invite us to your bookshop, library, festival, live lit night, college, or school, get in touch

Special Offers on Books bought direct from our website (our first 5 Short Story titles at £5 each, plus other reductions)

Free Books available to Libraries and book charities (our first 5 titles available free to bona fide libraries and book charities – you just pay for delivery get in touch)

A three-year plan of new publications including new poetry collections from Jeremy Dixon, Kate Foley, Cathy Bryant

The remaining YA titles of the Brook Storyteller series from Ghillian Potts

A women only anthology in collaboration with Liars League to celebrate the anniversary of women getting the vote.
An anthology to commemorate the ending of WWI, provisionally entitled An Outbreak of Peace.
a Story Sessions anthology – stories and poems by people who have taken part in Story Sessions who we haven’t already published.
A 5 poet anthology – exact inclusions to be confirmed, but people we have only so far published in anthologies
A 5 author story anthology – exact inclusions to be confirmed, but people we have only so far published in anthologies
Plus others including novels, still in consideration.
And the next 3 Solstice Shorts Festivals will be: Dusk 21st December 2017, Dawn 21st December 2018 and Time & Tide 21st December 2019 (this one will be all day as it falls at the weekend), so lots more short story opportunities to contribute to or come along and enjoy.

Fictions of Every Kind: Help Yourself! (Live Lit event, Leeds)

Fictions of Every Kind: Help Yourself! Tuesday 2nd December, Wharf Chambers* Leeds, £3 entry


Fictions of Every Kind is a quarterly literary social / literary salon event, aimed at giving support and encouragement to anybody engaged in the lonely act of writing. Please come along, make new writer-friends, and join us for an evening of short-story flavoured “edutainment”. Our December event will feature:

LOGISTICIANS ANONYMOUS This award-winning short story by Estonian writer Armin Koomagi will be performed by Greg White. This story was awarded the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award in 2006, and was included in the anthology “Best European Fiction 2012.”

SHORT FILMS We will present a programme of short films on the theme ‘Help Yourself!’ from around the world.

As ever, there’ll be a writers’ open mic at which flash fiction, short fiction, true stories, and excerpts of larger work are all welcome. Please keep your contributions at 5 minutes or under, and sign up on the door when you arrive.

To contact us or for more information, please see our Facebook page, or visit the Fictions of Every Kind website.

* Please note: Wharf Chambers is a members club & you must be a member in order to attend an event here. Joining costs £1 and takes a minimum of 48 hours to take effect. See for more information.

Joanna Walsh and Chris Power at The Horse Hospital

On 19th October, writer Joanna Walsh will be reading from her collection, Fractals, and talking short stories with The Guardian’s Chris Power.


“For those interested in new innovations in short fiction, I highly recommend Fractals by Joanna Walsh.” (Deborah Levy)

“Walsh’s closest literary ally is probably Lydia Davis, with whom she shares a brevity and starkness of expression… Walsh’s refreshing humour – sometimes biting; sometimes absurd – lends her work a poingnancy that is genuinely affecting.” (Will Rees, The Times Literary Supplement)

Entry by donation, for the benefit of the event’s venue, The Horse Hospital, London, which is under threat of closure.

You can buy a ticket here.


Word Factory #25 & Masterclass – 26th July, London


A warm welcome awaits you at Word Factory on the 26th July, a day packed with literary wonder at Waterstones Piccadilly:

Social Media for Writers – Masterclass with Paul McVeigh – 1.30-4.30pm

Social media has transformed the way writers communicate with the industry and has become an essential tool for gaining readers and even getting published . As more and more voices battle for attention on-line, how do we make sure that we stand out from the crowd? Paul McVeigh, writer and Word Factory’s social media guru, will explore how to improve your social media profile, plan more effective strategies and better connect with our audience. Paul will review blogging, translating followers to book buyers and how to best utilise Facebook and Twitter. He will advise on writing an author profile and the etiquette of on-line conversations.

This class is for you if you are looking to improve your social media profile, enhance the effectiveness of your current activity, grow your online audience or are new to social media and looking to get started.

Cost: £40 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included.
Buy your tickets here.

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: George Saunders – In The End of Firpo in the World

In July, we’re reading a short story by the award-winning George Saunders, a “savage satirist” who critics have praised for his “demented black comic view of modern American culture”. In The End of Firpo in the World, selected from Saunders’ 2001 collection Pastoralia, an overweight, bullied boy rides round his neighbourhood on his bicycle, reflecting on his unpopularity. This story has been described as the perfect example of the short story as a form, and is full of irony and pathos.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story:

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

Bring a friend for free and enjoy a memorable summer salon in the heart of Soho with the Word Factory team in association with Fiction Uncovered and three brilliant Jerwood Fiction Uncovered 2014 winners – Evie Wyld, Cynan Jones and Naomi Wood. They will be joined by our own Paul McVeigh, after her has shared his knowledge on how writers can make the most impact on social media in this month’s Saturday masterclass. All 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 #24 – 28th June, London


A warm welcome awaits you at Word Factory on the 28th June, a day packed with literary wonder at Waterstones Piccadilly:

The Secret of Character– Masterclass with Vanessa Gebbie– 1.30-4.30pm

The Secret of Character: how to create compelling characters and be brave enough to let them take on a life of their own. In this workshop, prize-winning author Vanessa Gebbie will share her techniques for creating compelling characters, which are internally consistent, but capable of surprise. She will challenge you to write beyond your comfort zone and explore with you your own blocks and limiting beliefs.

This workshop is for you if you have experience as a writer and want to improve your skills, learn from those around you and improve your chances of getting published.

Cost: £60 per person with free entrance to the evening reading included.
Maximum 16 writers.
Buy your tickets here.

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: Zadie Smith – Moonlit Landscape with Bridge

For June, we’re turning our attention to the acclaimed British writer Zadie Smith, who has been making an impact on the literary world since the age of 25, when her first novel, White Teeth, won the Whitbread and Guardian prizes for a first novel. This short story, Moonlit Landscape with Bridge, which first appeared in The New Yorker in February this year, is about the nature of disaster, and how people respond when everything seems lost.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story:

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

Enjoy a warm welcome at our June salon in the company of three inspirational authors: Val McDermid, entertaining with story and song, with readings from poet, novelist and storyteller Vanessa Gebbie (she’s also taking this month’s Saturday Masterclass) and rising star Carys Bray. All 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.

Fictions of Every Kind: North

Fictions of Every Kind is a 100% non-profit, DIY writers’ social night, based in Leeds. We aim to support and encourage anyone engaged in the lonely act of writing.

Our next event, themed North, is on June 3rd, at Wharf Chambers in Leeds. It’s part of the HanNah festival, and is a collaboration between us, The Poetry Business, and The Writing Squad.

Our invited speakers at this event are:

CLARE FISHER The winner of the 2013 Spread the Word prize, Clare will be reading from her ‘North’ series set inside the Inner Leeds Ring Road.

STEVE DEARDEN “In a moment, Steve’s stories stories can go violent, almost too violent, then sexy, really sexy, then funny. Strangely obsessive. And very very smart. Wonderful moments of existential clarity. And then he breaks my heart. Bastard.” Tom Spanbauer

+ Readings from The North magazine, curated by its editors Peter & Anne Sansom
+ Readings from members of the current Writing Squad

+ Music from PHILIP BROOK

PLEASE NOTE: There will be an open mic at this event, but spots are likely to be a little more limited than usual. (Sorry about this.) Flash fiction, short fiction, true stories, and excerpts from larger works are all welcome. Please observe our 5 minute-limit for reading – please keep your contributions within this time to give everybody a chance to read. If you go over 5 minutes, you will be stopped! If you are new to our open mic and would like to reserve a spot to read at this event, please send us a facebook message or email s dot j dot bradley at hotmail dot com.

For more information on this event, please visit the facebook events page

PLEASE NOTE: Wharf Chambers is a members club, and you must be a member in order to attend an event here. Joining costs £1 and takes a minimum of 48 hours to take effect. See to join.


Flashtag presents… The Short Short Story Slam

April 22nd. Writer vs Writer. Blood and ink will flow. The Flashtag Short Short Story Slam is back…



Here’s how it’s all going to go down. Twelve psyched writers will be paired off into head-to-head skirmishes, and then take turns to read out a tiny story. The audience votes for story and/or writer they liked the best and that guy or gal goes through to round two. If they survive another round, they reach the final. If they win that, they win cash. It’s like Street Figther but real, with cash, and without Ryu’s hadouken. Although you never know what tricks these writers will pull out of their bags when cornered…

The first Short Short Story Slam was held in Didsbury in 2013 for the Didsbury Arts Festival and it went down a storm. Didsbury Life described it as “…perhaps the best of the Didsbury Arts Festival – something unique, home-grown and radical, a real stand-out event.” The winner that time was one Trisha Starbrook who took to the stage having never read her stories aloud before. She won the crowd, smackdowned the opposition and grabbed the coveted victor’s belt while shouting; ‘Are you not entertained?!?’ Trisha is back for the second slam and angrier than ever, apparently. Other fighters this time include writer and film-maker Simon Sylvester, poetry slam regular Mark Mace Smith and one half of Manchester’s Bad Language collective Joe Daly.

This is an event not to be missed. This Tuesday, April 22, Gullivers Pub, Oldham Street, Manchester. The fighting starts at 7:30, the entry fee is a measly £1. Not for the fainthearted. / /

Word Factory #21 & Masterclass – 29th March, London


Word Factory continues an exciting new year! The 29th March is packed with short story wonder at Waterstones Piccadilly:

Instinct and Experiment – Masterclass with Joe Dunthorne – 2-5pm

Award-winning novelist and poet Joe Dunthorne will get you writing throughout this intensive 3 hour masterclass. You will leave with techniques that will help you break habits and introduce strangeness and surprise into your work. Maximum 20 writers.

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

Short Story Club – 5-6pm

This month: Flannery O’Connor – A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Join us as we read a classic short tale – this month from an author who has inspired generations of writers and discuss themes, language and impact in the hour before the salon.

Simply email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story:

The Word Factory #21 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

An exclusive evening of brilliant stories and conversation in the company of one of Britain’s leading international authors, AS Byatt, and two rising stars: Will Cohu and Joe Dunthorne. 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.

Happy National Short Story Day 2013!

The christening of a particular date as being ‘National [insert name here] Day’ is always a bit of a cheesy, cringe-worthy affair. After all, you don’t need a licence to declare a day National anything, and just recently, what might have been fun in the beginning is now getting quite tiresome – I mean, come on, National Hug Your Boss Day? Or even more ridiculous, National Vanilla Ice Cream Day? Not that ice cream isn’t awesome but there’s really no need for the entire British population to give a platform to a frozen dessert. Or hug their boss.

Comma logo high res 2

That said, sometimes there is a precedence for these events, and in December 2010 Comma Press decided to start up a little project of our own which we called ‘National Short Story Day’. It was held on the 21st of the month to coincide with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Clever, eh?

So if the ‘National this’ and ‘National that’ business is all a bit redundant, why did we decide to do it? Well to start with, Comma is the most prolific hard copy publisher of short fiction in the UK, and aside from the odd poetry collection here and there we do nothing else but short stories. And secondly, there is actually a deep-rooted tradition in Britain of story-telling at winter time. Dickens himself edited a weekly magazine called Household Words during the 1850s, which as well as the serialisations of novels, also consisted of Christmas-themed stories which were published in the seasonal issues. This idea continued with MR James and his Christmas Eve ghost story ‘entertainments’ in the early twentieth century, where he would read his work aloud to friends in one of the rooms at King’s College, Cambridge, probably in front of a fireplace. This performative element – the delivery to a room full of listeners – carried forth Poe’s vision of the short story and what was so good about it – that it could be read in a ‘single sitting’. These performances eventually transcended to the BBC with TV adaptations and dramatised readings throughout the 70s, 80s, and a revival in the noughties which featured usual suspect Christopher Lee in a candle-lit room reading selected James stories.

But – the main reason behind the National Short Story Day project was simply to offer a non-commercial alternative to the pre-Christmas chaos; to persuade people to drop the stress of shopping and wrapping and decorating, (and the anxiety over what to buy that aunt you see once a year but who’s coming for dinner on the 25th so you best have a present ready) – just for a moment, and do something different. Something that doesn’t require your money; just your appreciation.

NSSD logo adapted

Initially, it started small. 2010 saw three events held in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle. In 2011, we didn’t hold any events but we ran an all-day social media campaign on our SSD Facebook page and through the @ShortStoryDay Twitter account using the hashtag #nssd, promoting the new website at The site, which has grown in terms of content since its launch, contained video footage of short story readings, recommendations (we now have over 200) from editors, publishers, authors, translators and others who work with literature, and a vast range of links to short story resources including organisations and groups, public domain audiobooks and podcasts, apps, publications etc… We also ran a ‘tweet a story in 10 words or less’ competition which proves to be increasingly popular every year (Timothy Spall and his wife Shane even tweeted at us from their barge!), and gave free Comma books as prizes to the top five entries.

In June 2012, we went global. Riding on the high of London 2012, and the BBC Short Story Award becoming the International Short Story Award that year for the first time ever to coincide with the Olympics, we decided to have two short story days – one in winter (shortest day) and the other in summer on the shortest night of the year, usually the 20th or 21st June. It was our most successful project to date. Reaching out to our already established contacts in the UK and in Europe (colleagues and friends of Jim Hinks, Translation Editor here at Comma and co-founder of the European Short Story Network) and sourcing out new ones, we managed to get so many people involved that 20 events took place all over the world on the 20th June, plus three more organised by us personally in Manchester, London and Glasgow.  There are too many collaborative partners to name here, but the response was truly touching, with friends and strangers alike running their own short story themed events in Leeds, Nottingham, Sheffield, Cardiff, Minneapolis, New York, Zadar, Belgrade, Cape Town, Botswana, and Johannesburg. We also received an influx of short story reading recommendations for the website from international writers, so the list expanded into something far more culturally diverse, championing our long-held belief that the short form is an international one. Our hashtag #issd even climbed to the top of the twitter trends, beating #justinbieber (we did it again in December 2012 with #nssd surpassing #mayans).


This year, on 21st December, we’re returning to the national focus (the international celebrations now take place in the summer). As well as our usual 978-1905583485Twitter competition and book giveaways, Comma is marking the release of our first ever non-fiction title, Morphologies, a book of essays by contemporary short story authors on past masters of the form, plus the release of the brand new version of Gimbal, our free iPhone app which lets you escape the boredom of your daily commute by exploring foreign cities through short fiction. There are also events from Nottingham Writers’ Studio and Parthian Books, details of which are available here.  

We welcome everyone and anyone to get involved with National Short Story Day in any way you wish. Discover a new author, re-read an old favourite, recommend a story to a friend, or even create your own!

Just keep the short story love alive.