March Round-Up (I)

Hello story lovers,
Welcome to spring! Here’s our roundup of what’s been happening in the short story world over the past few weeks:

Lit Mags, Competitions and Workshops
Stinging Fly’s new editor, Thomas Morris, tells us what he’s looking for in his submissions pile: A Tingling Pleasure. Holdfast magazine’s second issue is published and they are calling for submissions for Issue #3 on the theme of Objects, Artefacts and Talismans. Check out the new issue of Flash magazine, issue 6.2. Short Fiction’s 2014 short story prize is still open for entries, deadline March 31st, and you have until June 30th to submit to the Moth International Short Story Prize.

Live Lit & Short Story Events
The next Hubbub is on March 10th in London and features Zoe Pilger and Liane Strauss. Telltales wants your submissions by March 17th on the theme of ‘Unhinged’ to be read at their next event in Falmouth on March 25th. Stand-up Tragedy’s Tragic Heroes is at the Hackney Attic in London on March 21st.

At In Praise Of Short Stories at the Daunt Books Festival on March 27th in London, KJ Orr will be talking to AL Kennedy, David Constantine and Helen Simpson. And the next Word Factory event, also in London, on March 29th, is a trifecta of short story delights: a masterclass, short story club, then live lit event with AS Byatt, Joe Dunthorne and Will Cohu.

Last Minutes & Gentle Reminders
The Edge Hill Prize for published short story collections is still accepting entries, until the first week of March. Bare Fiction is looking for contributors to its Features and Reviews section.  Brittle Star magazine is holding an Open Writing Competition, judged by the excellent David Constantine, deadline March 12th, and The Siren journal is calling for submissions for its first short story anthology, deadline March 15th.

Writing, Publishing & Workshops
The Writers’ Centre Norwich is holding a short story workshop on March 15th & 16th.The creators of On The Same Page have launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish development of the app which will allow you to publish your own creative work as an app.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

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February Round-Up II

Hello story lovers,
As February continues wetter and windier, here are some glimmers of light as we strain towards spring…!

Lit Mags, Competitions and Workshops
We welcome a new lit mag to the list, Valve, an annual journal dedicated to “the very best new experimental literature”.  We have ShortStops’ first lit mag review – Rosalind Minette gives us her impression of The Grind Issue #1! (If you fancy reviewing a lit mag, drop me a line).

Talking of reviews, Bare Fiction is looking for contributors to its Features and Reviews section. It’s last Call for submissions to Tube-Flash – you have until Feb 28th! The Siren journal is calling for submissions for its first short story anthology.

brand new issue of Flash magazine, issue 6.2, has arrived, with new short short stories, reviews and a flash essay. And the February edition of Long Story, Short is ‘Hand Me Downs’ by Kelly Creighton – read an excerpt.

Brittle Star magazine is holding an Open Writing Competition, judged by the excellent David Constantine, deadline March 12th, and The Edge Hill Prize for published short story collections is now accepting entries, until the first week of March. Short Fiction’s 2014 short story prize is still open for entries, deadline March 31st, and you have until June 30th to submit to the Moth International Short Story Prize.

Live Lit & Short Story Events
For small short story fans, White Rabbit is presenting its new storytelling show for children, The Secret Garden, at the South Bank in London Feb 21- 32rd. White Rabbit is back on Feb 28th with Are You Sitting Comfortably? Science Fiction (for grown-ups!) in London.

On March 1st Myths of the Near Future will be holding a launch event for Issue 5: The Revolution Issue in Worcester.  The next Hubbub is on March 10th in London and features Zoe Pilger and Liane Strauss. Telltales wants your submissions by March 17th on the theme of ‘Unhinged’ to be read at their next event in Falmouth on March 25th.

You missed Open Pen’s launch event on Feb 13th – keep an eye out for the next one! But don’t miss In Praise Of Short Stories at the Daunt Books Festival on March 27th in London, where KJ Orr will be talking to AL Kennedy, David Constantine and Helen Simpson.

Last Minutes & Gentle Reminders
The National Flash Fiction Youth competition is open for entries til Feb 21st.  Smoke, the London Peculiar, is calling for submissions until end February for their London water-themed short story anthology, Smoke on the Water. Riptide Journal is open for submissions for Volume 10, on the theme of ‘Imaging the Suburbs’, deadline March 1. Also open til March 1st are submissions to Neon Magazine of tiny fictions for a new project, Battery Pack.

Writing, Publishing & Workshops
The creators of On The Same Page have launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish development of the app which will allow you to publish your own creative work as an app. And check out the Writers’ Centre Norwich’s upcoming short story workshops.

Roll on spring!

Edge Hill Prize 2014 Open For Submissions

Hard to believe that we’re now into the eighth year of the Edge Hill Prize. The idea came up after a one day conference I organised for short story writers and critics back in 2006. We wanted to help raise the status of the form, encouraging British publishers to accept and promote single author collections. After all this time, the Edge Hill Prize is still unique in the UK. Since we began, several major new short story awards have run alongside the National Short Story Prize  – for instance the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Costa Prize – but they all recognize a stand-alone story. The Frank O’Connor Award is a much bigger prize than ours, and an inspiration, but its shortlist tends to be dominated by American authors. The Edge Hill Prize awards £5000 to an author born or based in the British Isles, including Ireland, for a collection published in the previous year, with an additional £1000 Readers’ Choice prize, currently judged by BA Creative Writing students at Edge Hill. Winners so far have been Colm Tóibín, Claire Keegan, Chris Beckett, Jeremy Dyson, Graham Mort, Sarah Hall and Kevin Barry.

The deadline for entries is the first week in March. At this stage of the yearly cycle, the parcels are gradually arriving from the publishers – first, as always, the small presses, with entries from Welsh and Irish authors already looking strong. Later in March we’ll announce a longlist, narrowing that down to a shortlist of five by early May. Shortlisting is carried out by staff and postgraduates, in consultation with the three main judges. It’s a difficult and painstaking process; there can be no simple tick-box procedure. Broadly speaking, we’re looking for something that compels us to read on, something exciting in the language, and something that fully exploits the short story form. There are many gifted writers who don’t quite make the shortlist.  One or two of their stories may be outstanding, but they haven’t maintained that high standard across the whole collection. Other collections are too limited in style or subject matter, so that you feel that each story is a variation of the one that came before.

Last year the shortlisting process was made even more difficult by a record-breaking longlist. Bloomsbury had named 2012 ‘the year of the short story’, and other publishers, both independent and mainstream, seemed to share that sentiment. Even extending the shortlist to six (Kevin Barry, Emma Donoghue, Jon McGregor, Adam Marek, Jane Rogers, Lucy Wood) meant excluding some authors who in another year might have been finalists. As Graham Mort said, accepting the prize 2011, ‘literary prizes were never intended to provoke competition alone, but to celebrate diversity, quality and commitment’. The seven shortlists so far have been an inventory of the most exciting writing in the British Isles, including work by Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, Anne Enright, A.L. Kennedy, Robert Shearman and many others.

The 2014 judging panel includes last year’s winner, Kevin Barry, Katie Allen of welovethisbook.com and Carys Bray who was the first winner of a third award category, presented for a story by a current MA Creative Writing student at Edge Hill. Her collection, Sweet Home, was subsequently published by Salt to great acclaim. With Carys on the panel, the prize has come full circle, completing the inextricable links between short story writing and reading, which turn emerging talents into established authors.

The award ceremony this year will be on 3rd July at the Free Word Centre in London. I have no idea who will be on the shortlist this year, let alone who the winner will be.

The judges’ discussions have always been spirited and amicable, fuelled by enthusiasm for the short story form, and the decisions have been difficult but always unanimous. None of us know exactly what we’re looking for, but we always recognize it when we see it.

To see terms and conditions and how to enter the competition, go to Edge Hill Prize