February Round-Up I

Greetings, short story lovers!
Here’s what’s been on a packed ShortStops blog over the past few weeks…

Tania x

Live Lit

The Word Factory #30 is in London on Feb 14th, with live lit, a short story reading group and masterclass. White Rabbit want your short stories for their Curioser and Curioser storytelling tea party on Feb 20th in London. Stand-Up Tragedy’s next event, Tragic Winter, is in London on Feb 28th and they are calling for submissionsfor the SUT blog.

Lit Mags

February is ‘Otherworldly Originals Month’ over at Short Story Sunday! Jotters United’s Isssue 10 is now out and they’re calling for submissions. Bunbury Magazine has unveiled Issue Seven: The Unexplained. Shooter Literary Magazine is  calling for submissions for Issue #2, on the theme of ‘Union.’ On the theme of themes, Brain of Forgetting’s first issue, Stones, is now available, and submissions for Issue 2 open shortly. Neon Magazine has opened submissions for Battery Pack II, its second anthology of tiny stories.  Other mags still want your stories too: The Manchester Review has is calling for your submissions.

Anthologies
Freight Books wants short story submissons for an anthology inspired by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

Competitions & Festivals
Mslexia’s 2015 short story competition is now open for entries (women only), deadline March 16th. The Short FICTION short story prize is open for entries, deadline March 31st, as are the Felixtstowe Book Festival’s 2015 short story competition, deadline May 16th and The Moth’s International Short Story Prize, deadline June 30th. Words and Women have announced the winners of their writing competition.

Workshops and Courses
Berko Writers is holding a night to talk about sex and writing, Turn Me On, in Berkhamstead, Feb 10th. Alison Clayborn is running a Flash Fiction workshop  on Feb 18th at the Brunel Museum in London.

And Ireland has a new national residential writing centre – The Story House in County Waterford, which is running a short story course from Mar 23-28th.

Writing Advice
Bruce Harris introduces us to Writing Short Fiction, ‘a site for sore eyes’.

If you are eager for even more short-story-related news, do follow ShortStops on Twitter where, when we should be writing, we spend (far too) much time passing on news from lit mags, live lit events, short story workshops and festivals! If you’d like to review an event or a publication, drop me a line.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

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Turn Me On

By Julie Mayhew

It started off as an argument on a short story course.

Men tend to put sex into short stories when it isn’t relevant at all to the plot, characters or mood, I said.

It was a sexist line to take. I know.

Adam Marek our brilliant tutor at Berko Writers had urged us to read the latest Murakami story in The New Yorker.

I had and then I had scrolled through other stories in the archive, with The Berko Speakeasy in mind. Could we read this story aloud at a future event?

Often the answer would be ‘no’ because a story would be ticking along nicely, brilliantly, and then there would be a gratuitious and graphic sex scene.

There’s no rule to say we won’t read sex scenes aloud at the Speakeasy – we’re not prudes and neither are our audience – but there’s a certain dynamic in that room, with reader making eye contact with audience, that asks that if we are going to describe graphic sex it has to mean something. In a lot of these stories I felt it didn’t.

I brought this argument to the table at our next workshop.

It got heated.

Don’t female writers write bad sex in their own unique ways too? suggested one.

Probably.

Is sex ever any good when it’s on the page? asked another.

Oh, it must be, sometimes, surely…

BadLiterarySex_Feb15

So that’s what led us to organising Turn Me On, a night to discuss the sex scene, good and bad, from Lady Chatterley to Christian Grey.

We’d love you to come and join the debate – and bring along your favourite sex scenes from literature.

Let’s put this argument to bed.

Turn Me On: A night of good (and very bad) literary sex
7pm, Tues 10th Feb, Upstairs at Here Cafe, Berkhamsted
For more information and to book go to the Berko Writers website.

Sept Fortnightly Round-up II

Hello all,
Here’s what’s been happening on our blog over the past fortnight. As ever, if you’d like to contribute, drop me a line and I’ll explain how it works: shortstopsuk@gmail.com

Lit Mags

We welcome THREE new publications to our Lit Mags list: Winamop: “our content is international and eclectic”;  Short Story Sunday “a new online short story and flash fiction publication launching Nov 2014”, and Brain Of Forgetting: “an online forum for writing and artwork that relates to memory, history and heritage”. Check them out!

Brain of Forgetting got straight in there with a blog post calling for submissions on the theme of stones. And Writing Maps launches its new lit mag, A3, and its September contest. Talking of contests, Structo is celebrating the unveiling of Issue 12 with a Margaret Atwood competition.  And it’s last call for submissions of Christmas stories to the Casket Of Fictional Delights.

Jotters United publishes issue 6 and is calling for submissions for its women-only issue. Short Fiction journal wants your short stories. Holdfast is fundraising for its first ever print anthology. The Manchester Review is also calling for submissions for Issue 13.

Competitions

Words and Women launch 2 great new writing opportunities for women writers in the east of England. The London Magazine’s short story competition is now open, deadline, Oct 31st, and international entries are welcome. Magic Oxygen are running a short story and poetry contest, deadline 30th November. The WriteIdea Prize has unveiled its longlist.

Live Lit

Stand-Up Tragedy is holding its Edinburgh reunion event, Tragic Friends, on Sep 25 in London and is calling for submissions for its new-look blog. The Word Factory is holding its monthly live lit event this Saturday Sep 27th in London, as well as a masterclass and short story reading club. White Rabbit invites you to submit your spooky stories for Are You Sitting Comfortably?’s Halloween party on October 31st in London.

Workshops
Berko Writers is running a course on The Art Of The Short Story with Adam Marekfrom Oct 7 – Nov 18 in Berkhamstead.. The Tavistock Heritage Festival is runningtwo free workshops on historical fiction in October. Alison Clayburn’s autumn fortnightly Focus On Fiction course at the Brunel Museum starts today, Sep 22.

Last Minutes & Gentle Reminders
Last call for submissions of Christmas stories to the Casket Of Fictional Delights. The Historic House Short Story Comp (26 Sep) wants stories inspired by or set in a historic house.

If you are eager for even more short-story-related news, do follow ShortStops on Twitter where, when we should be writing, we spend (far too) much time passing on news from lit mags, live lit events, short story workshops and festivals! If you’d like to review an event or a publication, drop me a line.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

Berko Writers: Learn The Art Of The Short Story With Adam Marek

The Berko Writers’ Workshop has announced its next course – a six week programme getting to grips with the art of the short story.

It will be led by Adam Marek, author of the collections Instruction Manual For Swallowing and The Stone Thrower.

the_berkos_writers_workshop_juliemayhew

Adam won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. His stories have appeared on BBC Radio 4 Extra, and in many magazines and anthologies, including Prospect and The Sunday Times Magazine, and The Best British Short Stories 2011 and 2013.

The course runs every Tuesday evening 8pm-10pm from October 7 to November 18 (not October 28 for half-term), upstairs at Here Cafe, Berkhamsted.

Berkhamsted is 35 minutes from Euston and there are four trains an hour, returning late to London.

The course fee is £150 and includes tea and cake at each workshop.

BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE.

June Round-Up 2

Hello short story fans!
Here’s all the short story news from the ShortStops’ blog over the past fortnight.

Lit Mags

We’re thrilled to welcome two new lit mags to our list: Control Literary Magazine, “a free online magazine dedicated to giving you the best literature and artwork from new writers and artists”, and The Silver Lynx Sporadical, “a new literary journal based in Aberdeen… Our interest lies in only what can hold it”.

For your reading pleasure, Issue 7.1 of Flash! is out now, as is Spontaneity’s Issue 4, Only Human. Have a read of Jotters United’s Retro Issuethe June issue of Long Story, Short: The Art of Losing and Don’t Do it magazine’s Issue 4: Translations.

Popshot is open for literary submissions on the theme of Time. Here Comes Everyone would love to consider your short stories for the Boy/Girl issue and, starting early, The Casket of Fictional Delights is calling for your Christmas stories! HeadStuffwants your writing, as does The Cro Magnon, for their website and perhaps for their travelling show.

Workshops

The Berko Summer School is holding a series of one-off masterclasses, including a short story masterclass with Adam Marek on July 29th.

Competitions

The RAC is running a national short story competition on the theme of Driving in Europe, deadline 11 September.  The Sean O’Faolain short story competition is now open, deadline 31 July, which is also the closing date for Writeidea’s national short story contest, The Writeidea Prize.

Creative Industries Trafford are holding a flash fiction competition, deadline Sept 15th. You’ve missed Writing Maps June contest but it’s monthly, so check them out.  More contests: the 3rd annual A Spot of Hysteria Writing Competition run by the UK Hysterectomy Association is now open for entries (deadline Aug 31), and the Historic House Short Story Comp (26 Sep) wants stories inspired by or set in a historic house.

Find out which collections were shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Read Stinging Fly editor Thomas Morris’s short essay Beautiful Animals: Theorising and Defining the Short Story (In Under 1000 Words).

Live Lit & Short Story Events
Don’t miss the Short Short Story Slam in Manchester on July 8th.

Live Lit Review: Louise Tondeur went to Rattle Tales’ Brighton Prize awards night for us: “”There was a sense that it is writing that’s important, not publication or prizes”…Read more >> 

Last Minutes & Gentle Reminders

Closing todayThe Moth International Short Story Prize  and Kingston University’s two new short story competitions – one judged by Hilary Mantel and one, for stories to be read aloud, judged by Bonnie Greer.

If you are eager for even more short-story-related news, do follow ShortStops on Twitter where, when we should be writing, we spend (far too) much time passing on news from lit mags, live lit events, short story workshops and festivals! If you’d like to review an event or a publication, drop me a line.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

Berko Writers’ Summer School

Berko Writers’ Summer School, in association with The Berko Speakeasy and Waterstone’s, will include a two-hour masterclass with award-wining short story writer Adam Marek.

Summer School

Adam – author of the collections Instruction Manual For Swallowing and The Stone Thrower – comes to Berkhamsted on July 29th to show students how to deliver the maximum punch with the minimum word count.

Also on the programme is a radio drama masterclass with Julie Mayhew, a screenwriting workout with Lucy Scher, a writing advice session with Literary Agent Juliet Pickering and a guide to how to market yourself as an author with publishing insider Jamie Fewery. Students can choose to attend just one class, or book in for the whole programme at a discounted rate.

To find out more about the workshops and tutors, and to reserve your place go to the Berko Writers’ booking site.