Small Wonder Festival at Charleston

Small Wonder Festival, Charleston’s annual celebration of short fiction, will take place between 27 September and 1 October 2017. The variety of this year’s programme confirms that although the texts may be compressed, the short form may contain a multitude of subjects, tones and styles. Short stories offer glimpses into the human condition and linger on in the mind, despite, even because of, their brevity and restraint. Don’t miss the shared experience of listening to and telling stories in the atmospheric tents at Small Wonder. During the festival you can listen to engaging speakers, take part in workshops and much more…

The festival kicks off on Wednesday 27 September with ‘Let Me Count the Ways’, an exploration of love in its many contexts and guises. Groundbreaking young writers Rowan Hisayo Buchanan and Gwendoline Riley will discuss their work with journalist Arifa Akbar.

let me count the ways

On Thursday 28 September we explore the challenges and advantages of the short story form in our event ‘Novella Perfection’. Novella enthusiasts and practitioners Cynan Jones and Megan Hunter will be in conversation with Alex Clark. I believe the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction. – Ian McEwan.

Unmissable on Saturday 30 September is ‘Welcome to the Caribbean’, with Jamaican writer Olive Senior, Trinidadian Anthony Joseph and Bahamian Helen Klonaris (British Council International Writer in Residence at Small Wonder 2017).
caribbean

A final highlight for any budding writers will be ‘Hitting the Ground Running’ on Sunday 1 October. This event promises a fascinating look at how to begin a career in writing short fiction, with debut authors Julianne Pachico and Jessie Greengrass speaking alongside agent Clare Alexander and publisher Mark Richards. Perfect for aspiring authors, those interested in the publishing process or short fiction fans, it will include an extended Q&A.

Visit the Small Wonder website for more information and many more events: https://www.charleston.org.uk/small-wonder/. Or join in the conversation on social media: #SmallWonderFest.

 

 

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Solstice Shorts Festival

This year the Solstice Shorts Festival, held on 21st December, the shortest day of the year, takes Shortest Day as its theme. As a result all the stories being read are really short – under 1000 words. As with previous years the stories are read by actors, and there is live music. This year however there was a two part call out, and some of the stories are inspired by the music, and vice versa.

We are back on two sites, with free poetry music at Made in Greenwich Gallery 324 Creek Road, Greenwich, SE10 9SW 6-7pm,  and free stories and music at West Greenwich Library Greenwich High Road, Greenwich SE10 8NN 7.30-9.30pm, (with, we hope, a procession led by a choir between the two sites- we have to work out who can cope with singing and walking at the same time!) The main event is followed by a Night Write workshop for writers led by poet Ruth Steadman back at MiGG from 10pm-midnight, £10.

For the musically inclined there is an ‘advent’ event on 26th November 12.45-17.15 St Hilda’s Church Hall, Courtrai Road SE23 1NL to learn folk songs suitable to the season from internationally acclaimed folk singer, community choir leader and all round lovely person, Lester Simpson. £25.

Book tickets for all events here

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Stories from CB Droege, David Mathews, David Steward, Katy Darby, Lee Nash, Liam Hogan, Pippa Gladhill, Polly Hall, Roger Hecht, Rosalind Stopps, Sarah Evans, Sarah James, Tom McKay.

Poems from A.J. Akoto, Frank Rubino, Jill Sharp, Joan Leotta, Karen Bovenmyer, Karina Lutz, Laura Page, Lisa Kelly, Mario Duarte, Marlee Cox, Megan E. Freeman, Pat Tompkins, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Steph Thompson, Tim Cremin.

Music from Zachary Gvirtzman, Vocal Chords Choir, Sarah Lloyd & Ian Kennedy, Juliet Desailly. Specially written lyrics from Alison Craig, Moira Quinn.

All performances are BSL interpreted.

The Northern Short Story Festival

“What a brilliant idea – our very own short story festival here in the North! – Avril Joy

It’s frustrating being a writer in the North, sometimes. There’s not much support for writers here – with only one literature development agency covering hundreds of square miles, and London’s interesting-sounding salon events an expensive train ride away, what’s a writer to do?

Wonder no longer – the Northern Short Story Festival is here. The festival, which is the brainchild of writer SJ Bradley and part of Leeds Big Bookend Festival, has an eclectic and appealing programme of events. On Saturday 4th June at Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, there are workshops ranging from “The Art of Murder” with writers Alison Taft and Anna Chilvers, to Success in Short Story Competitions with Avril Joy, reading events ranging from a Bluemoose Books Reading event with prizewinning author Michael Stewart, to a Q&A with the wonderful Carys Bray, there’s sure to be something for everyone.

There’s even an open mic event, hosted by Jenna Isherwood of Fictions of Every Kind, at which writers will be invited to read stories they’ve written at workshops during the day, and an afterparty at Hyde Park Book Club with flash fiction legend Benjamin Judge and ukulele troupe The Three Amigos.

With prices ranging from £4 to £20 for a day ticket, it’s local, affordable, and exciting! What more could you want?

Colin Barrett wins the 2014 Frank O’Connor Award

Young Skins Front Cover - web FRANK O’CONNOR INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY AWARD WINNER 2014


World’s Most Valuable Short Story Collection Prize Celebrates Its 10th Year

 

 

 

 

The Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce that, in its tenth year, the winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award is Irish author Colin Barrett for his debut collection Young Skins. The €25,000 award is the single most lucrative in the world for a collection of short stories and is named after the writer whom W.B. Yeats described as the Irish Chekhov. The award has been hugely influential in raising the profile and esteem of the short story form in recent years. Previous winners have included Haruki Murakami, Edna O’Brien, Ron Rash and Yiyun Li amongst others.

The award is co-sponsored by Cork City Council and also by The School of English, University College Cork and was founded to encourage publishers to issue more collections of stories by individual authors – and to acknowledge Cork’s special relationship with the short story: not only Frank O’Connor but also William Trevor, Elizabeth Bowen and Sean O’Faolain hail from Cork.

The international jury for the award consisted of Irish poet Mathew Sweeney, Anglo-Canadian novelist Alison MacLeod and American novelist Manuel Gonzales. Patrick Cotter, Artistic Director of the Munster Literature Centre selects the jury and acts as non-voting chairman.

Explaining the judges’ decision MacLeod said of Barrett’s début ‘How dare a debut writer be this good? Young Skins has all the hallmarks of an instant classic. Barrett’s prose is exquisite but never rarefied. His characters — the damaged, the tender-hearted and the reckless — are driven by utterly human experiences of longing. His stories are a thump to the heart, a mainline surge to the core. His vision is sharp, his wit is sly, and the stories in this collection come alive with that ineffable thing – soul.’

The book was first published in Ireland by the Stinging Fly Press in 2013, and has been published in the UK this year by Jonathan Cape – it is set to be published in the United States by Grove Atlantic in spring of 2015. The book will be published in translation in the Netherlands by De Bezige Bij, in November 2014 and in France, Editions Rivages in 2015.

Patrick Cotter, Award Director said: “I’m grateful we can continue to offer this lucrative award in difficult economic times. Huge kudos to Cork City Council and UCC for supporting this unique award into its tenth year. As a life-long lover of the short story form I’m delighted the award is going to a brilliant book, but as an Irishman I can take special pride that a book by a new, young, genius Irish writer can hold its own against the best in the world and win the award in this milestone year.”

 

Colin Barrett

Colin Barrett grew up in Mayo and studied English at UCD. After graduating he worked for several years with a mobile phone provider in its Dublin headquarters, continuing to write in his spare time. Ultimately, he left his job to do an MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize and he received bursaries from the Arts Council in 2011 and 2013. Young Skins is Colin’s first book. His stories have previously featured in The Stinging Fly magazine, as well as in the anthologies, Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails (Stinging Fly Press, 2010) and Town and Country (Faber and Faber, 2013).

He is thrilled and surprised to learn he won the award “Consider me knocked splendidly sideways by the news. It’s a bewilderment and honour to be awarded the 2014 Frank O’Connor prize. The shortlist was superb, and the role call of previous winners – including living legends like Edna O’Brien and Haruki Murakami – is humbling. Many thanks to those who helped me along the way, especially the Stinging Fly Press, who first published Young Skins and were instrumental in its creation, and a deep thanks to the judges, the organizers, and to the Munster Literature Centre for continuing to care about the short story” 

The award will be presented to Barrett in September at the closing of the Cork International Short Story Festival which is the world’s oldest annual short story festival.

 

London Short Story Festival, Waterstones Piccadilly, June 20 – 22

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Hello Short Stops.

By now you’ve hopefully seen or heard of the London Short Story Festival, June 20 – 22nd in association with Waterstones Piccadilly that we’ve been putting together with the passion and specialist knowledge of our guest Festival Director, Paul McVeigh. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about how the Festival came to be from Spread the Word’s perspective.

As London’s writer development organisation, we are always in touch with creative writers of all forms. In particular, our offer for short story writers that includes specialist workshops (for example in the past year with Katy Darby and Adam Marek) are always oversubscribed. Last year our short story prize, won by Clare Sita Fisher for her remarkable tale, Living it Edgeways enabled us to publish our first anthology Edgeways through our publishing imprint, Flight Press.

We were asked by our good friends at IdeasTap to provide feedback for short story writers six times a year. The first brief has just closed, and currently we’re loving reading through all the entries.

The short story momentum was really invigorating us as individuals and as a team. What we really wanted to do was to offer something even more invigorating for short story writers everywhere. And there we were, after murmuring about it for a number of months (or really, years), on a dark rainy day in our cosy offices in Deptford, deciding to go forth and make it happen.

Waterstones Piccadilly is a great venue for this, being the biggest bookshop in Europe, and we are delighted to bring the festival to the beating heart of the book industry.

We’re all writers and passionate readers in the Spread the Word team. For example – Paul Sherreard is a poet, Eva is a short story writer and I’m a playwright dabbling in short stories. Lucy reads, it seems to me by the rate she is sat in front of another title, by osmosis. We’ve worked with Paul McVeigh for a number of years – he’s been our Writer at Large, ran workshops for us and attended some of our specialist writing workshops. His role as Festival Director has enabled him to curate a programme of writers that uses his extensive networks and specialist knowledge of the short story world.

One of the first short story writers that came Paul’s mind for his wish list was Claire Keegan and by jove she’s brilliantly doing three events during the weekend. Add Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, AL Kennedy, Adam Marek, Jacob Ross, Colin Barrett…and so many more. We hope there’s something for every short story newcomer or lover.

There’s a free ‘Writers’ Space’ too. Litro Magazine, Comma Press and English Pen will give mini-workshops and the wonderful Vanessa Gebbie and Lisa Blower will be on hand to run writing exercises with you. You can still catch the UK exclusive lecture and masterclass from Claire Keegan on ‘How Fiction Works’.

Speakers’ Corner sees a brilliant collection of short story writers reading a story for free at the entrance of Waterstones during the Saturday and Sunday. Speakers’ Corner will enable short stories to echo across the whole bookshop and showcase readings from brilliant British and Irish writers.

We’ll launch our London Short Story Prize to give writers something to aim for, judged this year by Jackie Kay and Word Factory’s Cathy Galvin. Salt Publishing will be there to launch their Best of British Short Stories anthology too with a reading from, among others, London Book Award winner, Stuart Evers.

People often ask who are the best short story writers in the world? Who are the best we’ve ever seen? So often the focus is on American authors. Being a London festival, we have been thinking throughout developing the festival programme, not only who may be considered to be the best British short story writers, but what could be the best British short story ever written? I’m really excited by the idea of people voting for something that isn’t political or covered in sequins and advertising. What would you vote for? Maybe take a look at this blog post on The Guardian by Paul McVeigh to see what stories people are nominating.

If you vote you could also win a Spread the Word Laureate Friend membership and see your favourite story read out by writer and actress Stella Duffy at the close of the Festival. Cast your vote here: www.lssf.co.uk

I hope Short Stoppers will be there to help us make it a huge success and light a new torch for Short Story readers and writers.

Laura Kenwright, Audience Development Manager, Spread the Word

Join the London Short Story Festival conversation @LSSFest / #LSSF / Facebook.com/londonshortstoryfestival 

International Short Story Competitions

Annually the Munster Literature Centre, publishers of Southword Journal, hosts two international short story competitions: the Séan Ó Faoláin Prize for a single short story and the Frank O’Connor Award for a collection of short stories.

 

TheWriterSM The deadline for submissions for the 2014 Séan Ó Faoláin Competition is 31 July, and is open to any unpublished work of short fiction in the English language. Winners will be published in a journal which has previously showcased Haruki Murakami, Colm Tóibín, Patrick Galvin, Richard Ford and Tania Hershman amongst many other respected literary figures. The winner of the first prize will receive €2,000 (approx $2760/£1640), publication in the literary journal Southword, AND a week-long residency at Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat. Second Prize is €500 and publication in Southword. Four other shortlisted entries will be selected for publication in Southword and receive a publication fee of €120. *Currency exchange amounts via XE.com, calculated April 2014.

The Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition is an annual short story competition dedicated to one of Ireland’s most accomplished story writers and theorists. If the winner comes 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 Story Festival (16 – 20 September 2014). This year’s judge is Joyce Russell, author of Bloodlines (Mercier Press) and was winner of the 2006 Seán Ó Faoláin Competition. More information, including submission guidelines, may be found on our website or via our Facebook page.

 


EPSON scanner ImageThe Munster Literature Centre is pleased to announce the SHORTLIST for the 2014 Frank O’Connor international Short Story Award (in alphabetical order by author surname below):

Young Skins by Colin Barrett (IRE)
All the Rage by A.L. Kennedy (UK)
Redeployment by Phil Klay (USA)
Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus (USA)
Bark by Lori Moore (USA)
The Isle of Youth by Laura Van Den Berg (USA)

This year’s judges are Matthew Sweeney (IRE), Alison MacLeod (UK/CAN) and Manuel Gonzales (USA). The longlist, published Monday 9 June, is also available to view.

The Cork City – Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award is an annual award of €25,000 and is currently the world’s richest prize for a short story collection. The award is in memory of the late Frank O’Connor, one of the world’s most renowned short story writers. The award, organised by the Munster Literature Centre and funded by Cork City Council, is presented in O’Connor’s hometown of Cork, Ireland, at the end of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival. The prize is awarded to the author of the book judged to be the best collection of stories published in English for the first time anywhere in the world in the twelve months between a first publication date of between July 1st of the prior year and June 30th of the current year. If a translated book wins, the purse is shared equally between the author and translator. More information, including submission guidelines, may be found on our website or via our Facebook page.