New Small Press: The A3 Press

a3 press logoThe A3 Review is launching The A3 Press, a new small press for short stories, poetry and artwork. All our titles will be printed in our signature map-fold format. Click here for all the details and find us at TheA3Press.com.

Think of us as a chapbook press, a place for work that might struggle to find a traditional home, work that’s lyrical and intense, maybe a bit weird, hybrid, experimental. We also welcome work that’s traditionally beautiful. We like work that is urgent, that says something about what it’s like to be alive at this point in history.

Our first six titles will appear in early 2019. We’ll then publish six new titles every six months.

Deadline for manuscript submission is 20th November. Visit our Submittable page, where you can also find details about our regular monthly contests and The A3 Review.

We’re excited to see where this new publishing adventure takes us and look forward to reading and seeing your work. Please do get in touch with any questions you may have.

Launch of new Stroud Short Stories Anthology

Stroud Short Stories

We are launching the new Stroud Short Stories Anthology 2015-18 on Friday 28 September 2018 at the Ale House in John Street, Stroud from 7.00 to 10pm.

img_09147The new anthology covers stories from the six events from November 2015 to May 2018. That’s 57 stories by 45 authors including Joanna Campbell, Rick Vick, Melanie Golding, Steve Wheeler, Chloe Turner, Jason Jackson, Ali Bacon and Andrew Stevenson.

The first print run is 300 books and we already have 270+ reservations, so why not reserve your copy and then collect it at the launch? Email me on stroudshortstories@gmail.com

The anthology is priced at £10.

The launch is free and unticketed. Please come along. There will be a few words from me at 7.30 and then Mark Graham will read his story ‘Wayland Smith: Warrior of the Milky Way’ from the anthology.

More information on our website.

I hope to see you there.

John Holland

MEET THE WINNERS!

Words and Women are excited to announce the winners of their 2017/2018 national and KerryHood[50180]regional new writing competition.

Kerry Hood’s intriguing and ambitious short story, The Sunbathers, wins the national prize for women over 40, £1,000 and a month-long writing retreat at Church Cottage, Stratford-Upon-Avon, generously sponsored by Hosking Houses Trust.

Margaret Meyer has been awarded the East of England regional prize of £600 and a mentoring session with Gold Dust for her entry, The Once and Only First Lady Judge.

Guest judges, Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney were drawn to Hood’s voice which ‘felt original and full of verve,’ as well as the ‘thematically complex’ nature of the story

Kerry Hood is no stranger to competitions.  She has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize five times, as well as broadcasting stories on BBC Radio 4.  She is an accomplished theatre writer with work produced at the Soho Theatre, and her play Meeting Myself Coming Back was selected as the Sunday Times Critics’ Choice. She has had residences at the National Theatre, Traverse and RADA.

rgaret Meyer has previously been a fiction editor, publisher, British Council Director of Literature and a reader-in-residence in Norfolk prisons. As a therapeutic arts practitioner she provides writing and reading-for-wellbeing programmes for ex-offenders. In 2016 she won a place on the Escalator writer development scheme run by Writers’ Centre Norwich and in 2017 she was awarded an Arts Council England grant towards her first novel, The Varieties of Flight.

The competition now in its fifth year and open to women writers is unusual because it offers an opportunity to enter not only fiction but non-fiction, memoir, and life-writing.  This years’ winning texts will appear alongside past successful entrants in a compendium of the best of women’s contemporary short prose, launched on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2018.

‘Congratulations to our worthy winning writers.  We had 350 entries and picking the most distinctive and ambitious texts was no easy task.  We are grateful to our brilliant judges for making such bold selections, and we really look forward to launching our compendium which will feature not only this year’s compelling and engaging writing but the best of the best in past years,’ said Belona Greenwood, co-organiser of Words and Women.

‘It has been a very exciting year for women’s writing,’ said Lynne Bryan, co-organiser. ‘We are extremely grateful to our sponsors. Hosking Houses Trust is a unique charity which offers women over the age of 40 time in which to start, continue or complete interesting or innovative work, in a residency free from the pressures of everyday life.  Jill Dawson, author of nine novels and founder of Gold Dust mentoring scheme is a wonderful supporter of our regional award.

See Words and Women’s blog for more details. Words and Women

 

Flash Fiction Competition, London Independent Story Prize

London Independent Story Prize, LISP is holding a writing contest. Their aim is to discover extraordinary artistic approaches to story writing, stories that embrace the diversity of gender and culture whilst being brave and passionate. They are looking for unique and strong voices. BAME, Women, and LGBTQ are especially welcome. They’ll be delighted to read it and you could be in with a chance to win!

Entries can be sent through their website www.londonindependentstoryprize.co.uk

Follow their Facebook and Twitter @LIStoryPrize for the announcements.

Early Bird Deadline: 1st of January 2018

Submissions Close on 10th of January

Winner announcements, on 10th of February

Prizes: £100 First, £30 Second, £10 Third

Check their amazing judge list from this link.LISP-5

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.

 

 

Next Liars’ League event: Women & Girls

women & girls text jpgLiars’ League‘s female-focused September event, Women & Girls (click for Facebook event), is a tasty selection of brand new short fiction by and about women (and girls), for everyone to enjoy. The show is on Tuesday 12th September, starting at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm), when the winning stories will be performed by our marvellous Liars’ League actresses.
The six chosen pieces feature superhero(in)es, ventriloquists, obsession, depression, Victorian prisoners, charismatic polygamists, West Midlands spiritual healers, and all manner of enticing stuff besides …
WOMEN & GIRLS WINNING STORIES
Summer Season by Sally Syson NEW AUTHOR, read by Charlotte Worthing
Walk a Mile in My Shoes by Olga Wojtas NEW AUTHOR, read by Keleigh Wolf
Limbo by Sue Smith NEW AUTHOR, read by Jennifer Aries
Finding Jezza by Sally Lane NEW AUTHOR, read by Nicky Diss
The Ends of the Earth by Aileen O’Farrell, read by Annalie Wilson
Le Retreat by Fiona Salter, read by Sarah Gain
The night will also feature our infamous book quiz (with female-authored novels as prizes #readwomen) and free sweets, just because. Tickets cost £5 on the door (cash only, no advance booking) and seating is unreserved – so it’s a good idea to get there a bit ahead of time if you want a good table. Accessibility note: access to the basement bar is via stairs – there’s no lift, alas.

The venue is downstairs at:
The Phoenix
37 Cavendish Square
London
W1G 0PP

(The Phoenix is five minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines). Map here.

P.S. We got an amazing number of submissions for this theme – more than double our usual amount – so if we get a good turnout at the event we may make Women & Girls a regular theme. If you think this is a great idea, please do come along, bring your friends and tell everyone you know, of any and every gender, about it. Ta!

Normal Deviation: Seeking Short Stories Based on One Weird Pic

It all started with a weird pic and a throwaway tweet:

I want to do a fiction anthology where everyone writes a story just based on a weird ass picture. And then use that pic as the cover.

And then enough people cheered the idea that we decided to make it our first major project at Wonderbox Publishing.

Normal Deviation is seeking “Third Option” short stories based on the following image, up to 6000 words (deadline: 31 Aug 2017). “Third Option” is our shorthand for digging a little deeper into that writerly creativity bucket: we’d like everyone to cast aside (at least) the first two ideas that come to you, and instead focus on the third (or fourth or fifth…) idea to develop. The goal here is to avoid the obvious, to generate fresh ideas, to get at deviation.

We want stories in any genre, from any perspective, any time period and setting. As long as the story is good, and based somehow on this image, we want to read it!

image for inspiration

We’ve launched a Kickstarter to fund the anthology, as we think all authors deserve professional rates (starting at least at a penny per word). Support us, support authors, and please submit and become one of our authors!

Full details and author guidelines are on our website. Subscribe to updates from our weekly blog, get a feel for what we’re like and what we like, and join us in this bizarre story adventure!

Lyle Skains & DeAnn Bell, Editors
Normal Deviation anthology
Wonderbox Publishing

Submit your flashes to National Flash Fiction Day’s Micro Competition and Anthology!

National Flash Fiction Day UK is on Saturday 24th June 2017, and we are open for submissions for our Micro Fiction Competition and our Annual Anthology! Entry for both are free!

Competition: There is no theme for our competition, so feel free to send us up to three of your stories that are 100 words or fewer! Deadline for entries for our Micro Fiction Competition is Friday 31st March 2017. You can find out more information here: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/comp.html

Anthology: Once again we are delighted to open ourselves up to submissions for the annual NFFD anthology. This year the theme is Life As You Know It.

This year’s editors will be the Co-Director of National Flash-Fiction Day, Santino Prinzi, and renowned flash-fiction writer, Meg Pokrass.

We want stories inspired by the lens of your own experiences, stories that navigate life and the world as only your characters know how. Tales of hope, loss, fear, and resilience. Flashes about identity, vulnerability, and triumph. We want you to harness and make use of your own experiences in fiction: What are your secrets? What makes you cry? What keeps you awake? Feel free to interpret “life as you know it” however you like, but your flashes must fit the theme in some way.

However you care to work with our theme, we want to read your stories. The word limit is 500 words, and you can submit up to 3 stories. Please include them in the email as MS Word attachments, and follow all the guidelines below.

All writers who have a story selected for the anthology will receive a free print copy of the book upon publication. Deadline for entries for our Anthology is Friday 14th April 2017.

You can find out more information here: http://nationalflashfictionday.co.uk/anth.html

This year we will be launching the anthology the U.K.’s first ever Flash Fiction Literary Festival, which will be taking place in Bath.

Words Away January Salon: Writing Short Stories with Stella Duffy

bird-167

Words Away is a new series of monthly creative writing salons taking place at the Tea House Theatre Cafe in London. Each month, over tea and cake or a glass of wine, writers Emma Darwin and Kellie Jackson meet up with a different guest author for a focussed discussion on aspects of writing fiction. The audience plays a key part in the evening; exchanging ideas, asking questions and with a chance to socialise after.

We have some great guests lined up for 2017 including, Ruth Ware, Essie Fox, Sara Grant and Francis Spufford.

Our next salon, Writing Short Stories with Stella Duffy, is on Monday 23rd January at 7.30pm. All welcome.

Venue: Tea House Theatre Cafe, 139 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL

Cost: £10 to book online or or £12 on the door.

For more info and to book: wordsaway.info

Words Away October Salon: Creating Characters In Fiction

bird-167

Words Away is a new series of monthly creative writing salons for writers taking place at the Tea House Theatre Cafe in London. Alongside Emma Darwin, each month, Kellie Jackson will be meeting up with a different guest author for a focussed discussion on aspects of writing fiction, be it short or longer form. The salons have been created with the audience as a key part of the evening, to exchange ideas, ask questions and mingle.

Our next salon, Creating Characters In Fiction is on Monday, 17th October and features author Elizabeth Fremantle. We have some great guests lined up this winter including Caroline Green and Essie Fox.

Be inspired. Nurture your craft. Meet other writers.

Join us at the fab Tea House Theatre Cafe, 139 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5HL @7.30pm. £10 on the door or book online wordsaway.info

Being Dad – Short Story Anthology

BeingDadBanner

What is Being Dad?

Being Dad is an anthology of brand new fiction about fatherhood, featuring stories by: Toby Litt, Nikesh Shukla, Dan Rhodes, Courttia Newland, Nicholas Royle, Dan Powell, Rodge Glass, R.J. Price, Tim Sykes, Lander Hawes, Andrew McDonnell, Iain Robinson, Richard W. Strachan, Richard V. Hirst and Samuel Wright.

The stories themselves deal with fatherhood from many different angles. We didn’t want to set any specific limitations, so each writer was free to explore the theme in any way they saw fit. We have tender stories about a father’s love and compassion, darker stories exploring feelings of protectiveness and sleep deprivation, and stories that look at the bond from the child’s perspective. What brings them all together is the urge to question what it means to be a dad.

“Editor Dan Coxon has put together a mixture of the best short story writers in the UK and rising stars of the genre, all under the theme of fatherhood. I for one will be picking up a copy of Being Dad especially to be the first to read new work from the excellent Toby Litt, Nick Royle and Nikesh Shukla.”

Paul McVeigh, author of The Good Son and co-founder of the London Short Story Festival

What Do We Need?

We’re currently crowdfunding for the book – which means that we need people to pre-order copies. Short story anthologies aren’t seen as a great prospect by publishers at the moment, and we need to show them that people are interested and want this book.

Obviously the book appeals to fans of the short story, but we believe it also has a wider appeal. That’s why we’re looking to launch it in March 2016, advance of Father’s Day. If you want to show your dad – or your husband – that you appreciate him, and all the effort he’s put into being a dad, then this is a great way to do it. That’s why we’re giving away two copies of the book with the higher reward levels – one for you to read, and one for you to give to your dad.

I can honestly say that I don’t know of another book like Being Dad. Whether you’re thrilled by the chance to read new stories by the likes of Toby Litt, Dan Rhodes, Nikesh Shukla and Nicholas Royle, or you just want to give your father (or husband) something special for Father’s Day, this anthology is uniquely special. Please show us your love.

“I was thrilled with the quality of the stories… If this is a mere sample of the standard then I look forward to seeing the finished product.”

Stuart Buck, reviewing Being Dad for Under The Fable

How Can I Get My Hands On A Copy?

We’d really, really love it if you’d consider pre-ordering a copy. Not only will you get a copy as soon as it comes out, but depending on how much you pledge you can get your hands on all kinds of extras too. Crowdfunding is happening until October 12th, so don’t delay too long. You can find full details here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dan-coxon/being-dad-short-stories-about-fatherhood/

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for regular updates.

 

– Dan Coxon, Anthology Editor

Smoke on the Water

Puddle

Please note that the actual cover/title
will be finalised later!

Water. H20. Adam’s ale. We’ve all seen it, gathering ominously in puddles, bouncing from umbrellas and rolling off the backs of insouciant ducks. Water doesn’t just fall from the sky, though: there’s a whole mucky load of it flowing in a big trench along the northern rim of south London, thankfully steering a course between the buildings on either side. And rather smaller amounts trickling past the bottoms of back gardens out in the suburbs. Some people even believe in such things as lost rivers, underground streams and tadpoles. And let’s not forget the docks, the canals, the broken Victorian water mains.

In short, it’s bloody wet out there. Which is why we’ve decided to produce the Smoke Bumper Book of Water. Although it won’t actually be called that, for obvious reasons. Basically, a compendium of words – fiction, non-fiction, something-in-between – and pictures in which London’s water is the ruling element. If you’ve seen our first book, From the Slopes of Olympus to the Banks of the Lea, you’ll know the sort of approach we’ll be taking; if you haven’t, you’re a fool to yourself, but click on the title and scroll down for a sample pdf.

It’s a deliberately broad topic, and the focus might change slightly, depending on what arrives. There are plenty of other books out there dealing with the history of the Thames, for instance, so we’d prefer to meander more around such things as, say, the Dagenham Brook, the last remaining tidal streets in London, a riverside pub crawl, or the reservoirs at Tottenham. Back in issue 2 of Smoke, we published Seb Brennan’s marvellous London Shipping Forecast – a nightly bulletin to guide and protect those stranded on the city’s streets and lull those safely tucked up in bed – and that’s the sort of thing we’re after. The stuff we really want to avoid, I suppose, is anything too drily informative; if anything, we’re after the exact opposite: something wet and fanciful.

As with all Smoke books, successful submissions will initially also appear on the website as regular posts; towards the end, though, we’ll probably keep them for the printed version.

Deadlines and word counts

People always want to know how many words are needed, and our answer is usually “roughly half as many as you’re thinking of sending us, sunshine – go back and delete all the adjectives”. Basically, though, there are no real rules – just whatever seems appropriate. Bear in mind, though, that the longest pieces in From the Slopes of Olympus were around 3,000 words, and most were a lot lot shorter; shorter is always better. As for a deadline… shall we say the end of February?

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 www.nationalshortstoryday.co.uk. 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).

gimbal

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.