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?

Fictions of Every Kind: Worlds, 7th Sept, Leeds, Live Lit

Fictions of Every Kind is a non-profit DIY literary social which aims to support & encourage anybody engaged in the lonely act of writing. Our September event is themed “Worlds”. It is a celebration of all things planetary, and a chance for us to consider our position in the universe. (Never let it be said that Fictions is shy to ask the big questions.) Or, alternatively, you can avail yourself of the cheap bar at Wharf Chambers and listen to everybody else’s ideas about life, the universe, and everything.

“I really wonder what gives us the right to attack this poor planet of ours.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Our invited speakers at Worlds will be:

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JACEY BEDFORD is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories who lives behind a desk in an old stone house, high on Yorkshire’s Pennine Hills, with her songwriter husband and a German Shepherd called Eska. (That’s a dog not an actual shepherd from Germany because that would be too surreal.) Her debut book, Empire of Dust, was recently published by DAW as part of a three book deal. The sequel, Crossways, follows in August 2015. The first pair are space operas in the grand tradition. Her third book, Winterwood, a magic pirate fantasy with a cross-dressing captain, a jealous ghost and a sexy wolf shapechanger, is due in February 2016. She’s been a librarian, a postmistress, a rag doll maker and a full-time folk singer, but now she pushes words around for a living. She’s one of the organisers of the annual Milford SF Writers’ Conference in the UK, a peer-to-peer workshopping and discussion week for published writers. She blogs and inhabits facebook and twitter, all of which can be accessed via her website at

MARTIN CORNWELL lives in London. From 2006 to 2010 he co-edited the No Quarter, a satirical news website. He now contributes to Quadrapheme, an online literary magazine, and writes fiction. His short stories have been published by Writers Billboard and Every Day Fiction, among others, and his upcoming debut novel is called The Seers.


+ Writers’ open mic, at which true stories, flash fiction, short fiction, poetry, and excerpts of larger work will be welcome. Please keep your contribution at 5 minutes or under.

As ever, this is all at the ridiculous, honestly, I don’t know how we do it, bargainous price of £3.

This event is supported by the Leeds Inspired grants scheme.

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. To join, see

The Facebook page for this event is here 


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CALL FOR STORIES – LL SPECIAL EVENT: PARENT & CHILD Deadline Sunday 31 May / Event Tue 23 June

Liars’ League London & Leeds seek short stories themed on PARENT & CHILD for a special simultaneous charity event on Tuesday June 23 at The Peckham Pelican (London) and the Crowd of Favours (Leeds) in aid of The CATS Foundation, which is a charity funding research into the devastating genetic childhood diseases Tay-Sachs & Sandhoff.

We need five brilliant stories for this special theme, and as ever our winning writers will be rewarded with free entry, books and booze. Cheerful tales welcome (but not obligatory) and stories don’t have to be child-friendly, especially since the events are taking place in a pub … However we do ask that you don’t submit stories about incest, child abuse or dead/dying kids please (we know how your morbid writer minds work!)

What we’d love to see is any creative interpretation of the theme, which could include being a parent (or child), adult children, adopted or foster families, people who want kids, people who don’t, same-sex parents, kids rebelling against parents, parents rebelling against children, babysitters, divorced or one-parent families, unusual families (communes, kids raising siblings), substitute children, metaphorical or allegorical takes on the theme, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, humour, horror … you get the picture.

Send your 800-2000 word unpublished stories to by 11.59pm on Sun 31 May, and good luck!

Fictions of Every Kind: Relativity, April 14th, Leeds (Live Lit)

Fictions of Every Kind is a regular non-profit literary social, which aims to support & encourage anybody engaged in the lonely act of writing. Our April 14th event is themed ‘Relativity’ and we are very pleased to be bringing two world-class short story writers to Leeds for this event, thanks to a small grant from the Leeds Inspired Grants scheme. And all at the bargain price of £3!

Our invited speakers are:

ZOE LAMBERT Zoe is a short story writer and almost novelist. Her collection, the War Tour, was published in 2012, and her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies. Her latest is Beta-Life, by Comma Press. She is currently working on her novel, That Quiet Longing, and she lectures at the University of Lancaster.

AVRIL JOY was born in Somerset, the setting for her first novel, The Sweet Track. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including Victoria Hislop’s, The Story: Love, Loss and the Lives of Women: 100 Great Short Stories. She has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including The Bridport, The Manchester Prize for Fiction, and in 2012 she won the inaugural Costa Short Story Award. Her collection of stories, Millie and Bird, Tales of Paradise, is published in 2015 by Iron Press. She blogs regularly about writing and life at, and lives with her partner in County Durham.

+ Writers’ open mic at which fiction, poetry, true stories, flash fiction, and excerpts from larger works, are all welcome. Please keep your contributions at 5 minutes or under, and sign up when you arrive.

+ Music from THESE MEN (indie barbershop quartet)

Our April event is being organised and hosted by Claire, Jenna, and Sarah.

This event is supported by the Leeds City Council Leeds Inspired Grants Scheme.

* 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. To join, go to

The Facebook events page for this event is here.

Krampus Crackers call for flash fiction submissions.

Are you a UK-based flash fiction writer who’d be happy to take a look at the dark side of Christmas? Are you bored of St Nick, carol singers, paper hats and sherry? Then maybe you’ll be inspired by the myth of Krampus; the horned and cloven-hooved Christmas beast who punishes naughty children.

Terry Whidborne Black(image copyright Terry Whidborne 2014)

Tiny Owl Workshop and Leeds-based writer, Vicky Pointing, are looking for 12 flash fictions to publish and make into sets of ‘Krampus Crackers’. In December these will be distributed throughout Leeds, where there will also be an authors’ event.

The flash fictions should have a Christmas theme, but the Krampus influence can be more interpretative. It could be as literal as telling a story with Krampus as a character, or playing with the polarities Christmas presents—reward vs. punishment, morality vs. debauchery, reality vs. fantasy, and so on. Stories accepted for inclusion will be paid $60 (AUD).

Stories must be submitted by email to no later than midnight 5th September 2014.

3rd December, Leeds – Fictions of Every Kind: The Uncanny


Tuesday 3rd December, Wharf Chambers, £3. Starts 19:30 

Welcome to the Fictions of Every Kind almost Christmas event. This month, we’ll be celebrating the strange, the uncanny, and all things skin-crawly. 
Our invited speaker this month is:

DAVID HARTLEY David Hartley is a writer and performer based in Manchester where the bricks and rain of the city seep into the cracks of his skull and get mushed into strange, dark stories. His debut collection of unhinged flash fiction “Threshold” was published with Gumbo Press in early 2013 and now haunts the houses of his friends and family like a lurking poultergeist. His next project is a new collection of upsetting Christmas stories designed to put you off your mince pies forever. He tweets occasional oddities at @DHartleyWriter, and blogs further nonsense at

Here’s David in action, reading his story “Lips”

Music this month comes from HERB DIAMANTE. There will also be added weirdness from our friends DANCERS BIZARRE.
Expect the usual prompted writing games, sociability, and probably a few unexpected surprises!

Open mic: As usual, contributions of fiction, flash fiction, novel excerpts and true stories all welcome. Please keep your contributions at 6 minutes or under. We recommend reading your story to a few friends first as a way of getting prepared. Arrive early to sign up!

* 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. For more info