SMALL & BEAUTIFUL flash fiction, Tue 10 April (Liars’ League’s 11th birthday bash)

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From action heroes to Irish farmers, murderers to museum guards, via cuckolds, crosswords, “relationship wine” and a man who starts growing balloons all over his body, we at Liars’ League have ten wild, weird and wonderful flash fiction stories for you in our birthday special* on Tuesday 10th April (click for Facebook event link).

Tickets to this terrific tasting menu of tiny tales are just £5 on the door (cash only) which adds up to 50p per story: probably the biggest entertainment bargain in the West End. Your £5 will also get you a programme, birthday cake, entry to our literary quiz (win books!), and of course all the small and beautiful sweets you can eat. 

WINNING STORIES for SMALL & BEAUTIFUL
  • Action by William Conway & Chiaroscuro by Richard A. Shury, read by Rich Keeble
  • Lighter than Air by Anton Rose & Mugged by Stephen Baily, read by Miranda Harrison
  • Wine Frame of Mind by Joseph Francis & The Last Real Thing by MFC Feeley, read by James Price
  • Losers by Nicolas Ridley, read by Will Goodhand
  • 24 Tiny Tales by Andreas Paraskevaides, read by Claire Lacey & Will Goodhand
  • Decluttering by Sue Smith, read by Claire Lacey
  • Mandatory Meeting for Museum Guards Before The VIP + Members’ Exhibition Opening Reception by Rachel Karyo, read by Keleigh Wolf

As always, doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 7.30. Drinks and food will be available at the bar, and the infamous interval quiz will feature fabulous free books to be won! There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535. And finally, if for whatever unimaginable reasons you can’t make the show, performances are recorded for podcast and videoed in HD for our YouTube channel.

The venue is the downstairs bar at:
The Phoenix pub
37 Cavendish Square
London
W1G 0PP
(The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines. Map here)

*we’re 11 this year, since you ask …

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Subscribe and enter our Short fiction competition for free – judge Nicholas Royle

The deadline is fast approaching for our biennial Poetry & Short fiction competition

Brittle Star-competition 2018

We hope you’re thinking of entering because we love to read your entries – and it’s also a massive help to the magazine because all money raised goes back into production (after we’ve paid the prizes and the main judges’ fees, of course).

As always, if you’re a subscriber you get your 2nd entry for FREE (you can even take out a new subscription today and get your 2nd entry free), but for the first time ever if you become a Brittle Star Patron you get your first entry for FREE. Visit our Patreon page to find out how you can become a Patron for as little as £1 a month, giving you access to the lovely rewards and treats that we give our Patrons as a special thanks for supporting us.

The normal cost of entry is only £5 for the 1st entry then £3.50 for any following entries – which is really good value anyway, but not as good as free!

The deadline for the competition is 14th March. The first prize in each category is £250, plus publication in the magazine, a subscription for you to keep for yourself or give to a friend, and an invitation to read at our launch and Prize-Giving at the Barbican Centre Library in London.

Pascale PetitNicholas RoyleJacqueline GabbitasThe judges this year are the brilliant Pascale Petit and Nicholas Royle (and our own Jacqueline Gabbitas). Pascale is an award winning poet, 4-times shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Her most recent collection, Mama Amazonica (Bloodaxe, 2017), was a Poetry Book Society Choice. Nicholas is a novelist and short story writer. His most recent collection is Ornithology (Confingo, 2017). He is well known as the series editor of Best British Short Stories (Salt).

To find out more about the competition, including the rules and T&Cs, and to enter click on the big bright orange link HERE!

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 1 – Free Launch Event in London with Unsung Live

This coming Tuesday, 16th January 2018, we’re holding the London launch event for The Shadow Booth: Vol. 1, in partnership with Unsung Live! The event is FREE, but please RSVP using the link at the bottom of this post if you’d like to come along.

The evening will feature readings by RICHARD V. HIRST and GARY BUDDEN, both featured in Volume 1. There will also be readings by Unsung guests JAMES MILLER and STEPHEN ORAM – so prepare yourself for an evening of speculative readings, heated discussion, and the weird and wonderful. The event starts at 7pm on Tuesday 16th, and runs until about 9.30pm. It takes place at The Star of Kings, 126 York Way, London (near King’s Cross).

Reading this evening, we have:

JAMES MILLER: James Miller is the author of the novels LOST BOYS (Little, Brown 2008) SUNSHINE STATE (Little, Brown 2010) and most recently UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES (Dodo Ink 2017) as well as numerous short stories and articles. He is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Kingston University where he runs the MA in creative writing.

GARY BUDDEN: Gary Budden writes fiction and creative non-fiction about the intersections of British sub-culture, landscape, psychogeography, hidden history, nature, horror, weird fiction and more. A lot of it falls under the banner ‘landscape punk’. His work has appeared in The Shadow Booth: Vol. 1, Black Static, Unthology, Year’s Best Weird Fiction, The Lonely Crowd, Litro, Structo, The Quietus and many more. He was shortlisted for the 2015 London Short Story Award, and his story ‘Greenteeth’ was nominated for a 2017 British Fantasy Award and adapted into a short film by the filmmaker Adam Scovell. He also co-runs the indie publisher Influx Press. His debut fiction collection, HOLLOW SHORES, was published by Dead Ink Books in October 2017. He might also be part of the Eden Book Society.

RICHARD V. HIRST: Richard V. Hirst is from Manchester. His writing has appeared in The Shadow Booth: Vol. 1, The Guardian, The Big Issue and Time Out. His latest book is THE NIGHT VISITORS, an award-winning ghost story co-written with Jenn Ashworth and told entirely via emails.

STEPHEN ORAM: Stephen Oram writes science fiction and is lead curator for near-future fiction at Virtual Futures. Currently, he’s the cultural partner in a collaborative project with scientists at King’s College, London – they do the science he does the fiction. He’s been a hippie-punk, religious-squatter and an anarchist-bureaucrat; he thrives on contradictions. He is published in several anthologies, has two published novels, QUANTUM CONFESSIONS and FLUENCE. His recent collection of sci-fi shorts, EATING ROBOTS and Other Stories, was described by the Morning Star as one of the top radical works of fiction in 2017.

All are welcome, so please come along for an evening of free speculative fiction and good company!

If you’re interested in coming, please RSVP via the Meetup link here. See you at the Star!

(Note: If you can’t make it along, but would like to read The Shadow Booth, we now have paperbacks and ebooks available via our online store. Volume 1 includes stories by Alison Moore, Paul Tremblay, Gary Budden, Malcolm Devlin, Annie Neugebauer, Richard V. Hirst and many more.)

Deadline Day is Coming! London Independent Story Prize

Just a few days left until the Deadline! 10th of January!

Polish those 300-word short-short stories and take your chance. Become a part of this wonderful community of writers and storytellers. Take the chance of winning the prize! Give your story a chance to be recognised.

Check out the 2018 Calendar from here LISP.

LISP judges are looking for strong and unique voices, check out the interviews with the judges on the website.

‘Originality must come from other resources: from one’s own voice, personality, character.’ Luis Pizarro, LISP judge.

‘Given that the story can only be 300 words, I am looking for something beyond the ephemeral, a story that will make an impression.’ James Kirchick, LISP judge.

‘LISP is based on creating a great community and, of course, all the writers who attend the competition will definitely be a part of this network. However, winners are winners, and they will have the greatest advantage. First of all, the prize and publication, and when you win a competition, it means that your pen has been recognised, which is a great feature for any writer. Not only while trying to reach agents or publishers, but also the personal satisfaction is priceless. Especially for young writers, it’s a way to build confidence.

As an award winner, I can also say that it helps you to improve. Now you see that you can write things that others appreciate as well, which encourages you to be even bolder.’ Ozge Gozturk, LISP founder.

Open Pen Releases Twentieth Issue

Hitting a handful of London bookshops way back in early 2011, Open Pen has just released its twentieth issue and can be found in bookshops around the country now. The free short fiction journal is stocked in over forty bookshops these days, as well as bars, pubs, cafes, universities and writers’ centres. It even has a stockist in Cuba.

Twenty issues of Open Pen has brought the magazine close to a hundred short stories from almost as many fiction writers. The red and black coloured issue sees Louisa Adjoa Parker, Dan Coxon, Jim Gibson, Jonnie McAloon, Katherine Orton, Simon Pinkerton, Elissa Soave, Dan Ayres, Gary W. Hartley, and Gerard McKeown join the fold. Their fiction is varied and yet bound together by their relevance, as has become a part of the identity of Open Pen. As always, regular contributor N Quentin Woolf is on hand to deliver the killer blow. that just leaves editor Sean Preston to deliver a nutshell report on the thrills and plentiful spills of the first twenty issues.

You can subscribe to Open Pen here, but why pay when you can get to a bookshop and get it for free? As has always been the mag’s hope, why not pick up a book whilst you’re there? Something different, something you wouldn’t usually go for. Something with bite. That’d make Open Pen happiest of all.

Three of the stories from Issue Twenty live online over on the mag’s website. Check out The Thursday Club by Elissa Soave, Handjob by Dan Ayres, and Of Course by Gary W. Hartley.

Here’s hoping there’s another twenty issues ahead.

Smut Slam: November

In November Cameryn Moore brings even more Smut Slam to the UK

smut slam

where sex and storytelling collide

You know what a poetry slam is, and maybe you know about story slams, too. Now it’s time for SMUT SLAM, a fast-paced storytelling open mic based on real life, real lust, real sex. The Smut Slam features real-life, first-person sex stories, guest stories from our panel of celebrity judges, and also THE FUCKBUCKET, a convenient and funnily named receptacle for all your anonymous questions and confessions!

Things are changing a bit for Smut Slam UK. Cameryn is leaving us for a little while due to visa complications, but there will be amazing guest hosts filling her shoes till she gets back.

Wednesday 8th November:  Stand Up Tragedy Presents SMUT SLAM London: “Big Bangs” at the Dogstar (389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LQ ) This night will be hosted by guest host Miranda Kane who will be filling in for Cameryn in London for Autumn 2017.

Tuesday 14th November: SMUT SLAM Bristol: “Fireworks” at The Brunswick Club (15-16 Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8NX). This night will be hosted by guest host Sam Scott.

For the next SMUT SLAM Edinburgh and SMUT SLAM Glasgow keep an eye on the Smut Slam Scotland facebook page.

For the next SMUT SLAM Brighton keep an eye on the Smut Slam Brighton facebook page.

SMUT SLAMMERS sign up on the night to tell a 5-minute dirty story, based on their real lives, and a lucky eight to ten names will be drawn at random.

NOT A SMUT SLAMMER? Don’t worry. The audience is in for a good time at SMUT SLAM! Sit back and enjoy. All we ask is: – No interrupting. – No heckling. – No necking in the front row. Doors open at 8pm, and the smut starts slamming at 8:30. Admission is only £10 at the door, 18 and over please!

SMUT SLAM is CREATED by Cameryn Moore, an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, and, oh yeah: a phone sex operator. She is super excited to introduce London and Smut Slam to each other! When not performing, taking calls, or actually having sex herself, Cameryn writes Sidewalk Smut: custom type-written pornography as street performance and literary art.

The Smut Slam originated in Boston in 2011, became thoroughly established in Montreal that same year, and has since traveled all over the world, with standing-room-only shows in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a whopping 100+ crowd in Atlanta last November, and a sold-out show in Boston in 2016.

 

London Lit Lab: Write and Edit a Story in a Weekend 7-8 Oct

We had so much fun teaching Write and Edit a Story in the spring that we’ve brought it back again this autumn. Only this time we’re not only dissecting the short story, but also the personal essay.

We all have different strengths and weaknesses as writers. For some, getting a first draft down is a necessary torture before the fun of editing begins. For others, editing is the agony after the ecstasy!

This two-day course is designed to get you both writing and editing, by combining dedicated creative time with an intensive tour through ways to improve your craft.

On day one, we’ll kick off by exploring ways to turn our ideas into full stories, whether we’re writing fiction or creative nonfiction, from getting first words down to finishing a draft. You will then have ample time and space (and tea and cake) to write, in the quiet company of fellow scribblers.

On day two, we will work through a series of editing approaches, which you will be able to apply to your own work. Think of these as a series of editorial experiments that will throw new light on plot, style, characterisation, setting, dialogue, openings and endings. We suggest that you bring your draft from the previous day (or another story or essay if you prefer), in multiple copy or on a laptop, so that you can test out approaches even if you choose not to apply all the editing techniques we teach in the session. We’ll discuss the results and share our work if we wish. In the spring both Zoe and Lily shared a very rough draft of their own writing, to be pulled apart by the group, but it was a great learning curve for everyone. So we’ll most likely do this again as well. Eek!

You don’t have to come up with an idea on the spot. You might have an idea you’ve been wanting to write, or a piece you have already started. Please bring this with you, to draft on day one. For those who want a new idea, we’ll provide optional idea-generating material to get you going.

This course is suitable for both beginners and committed writers. For both those writing fiction and creative nonfiction. Whether you’re dabbling in your first short stories or personal essays, or you’re compiling a short story collection, or writing a memoir, we welcome you. By the end of the course we’ll endeavour to help you have a new draft of a story or essay, and a range of editing skills to help get it into shape.

Course fee: Early Bird £189. Full fee £229

Date and Time: Weekend of October 7th & 8th, 10am-4pm

Location: Clapton Laundry, London – a luxurious, inspiring space in East London, where you will have plenty of space to spread out and find a quiet spot during the first day of writing. Lunch will also be provided

Tutors: This course will be taught by both Lily Dunn and Zoe Gilbert of London Lit Lab. By leading workshops together, we are able to bring two perspectives to everything we teach, and therefore everything is up for discussion! Sharing our differing approaches to writing helps to create a richer learning experience, which we believe benefits everyone who comes on our courses.

Places are limited, so if you would like to reserve a place, or for more information, please get in touch at info@londonlitlab.co.uk

We have one place on this course available at a 75% discount for a writer who would struggle to pay the full fee. If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for this place, please write to us at info@londonlitlab.co.uk, by 23rd September. In no more than 200 words, please tell us why you would like to come on the course, what you write, and why a discounted place would be valuable to you. We won’t be fact-checking but we really want to give this place to someone who genuinely needs it, so please be honest. Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you.

http://www.londonlitlab.co.uk/