One Small Step flash competition

Marking the 50th anniversary of first Moon Walk 20 July 1969. Your chance to write a very short story inspired by the Moon Walk and have it published!Business_card_moon_2 copy

Working in collaboration with Sampson Low Publishers the Museum of Walking are delighted to announce the One Small Step flash writing competition for fact or fiction flashes of 50 words or under inspired by the first Moon walk.

Imagine what types of stories might be found in a “Lunar Library’ or which stories you would take on a journey to the Moon.

Winners will be published in One Small Step, a limited edition chapbook, published by Sampson Low Publishers. Winners receive  3 copies of the limited edition chapbook. The competition closes midnight GMT Saturday 17 August and the winners will be announced on the Friday 30 August. There is an entry fee (to cover administration costs) of £3 for one flash piece or £5 for two (entrants are limited to 2 entries only).

More details about how to submit here

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The Gestation of my book of short fiction “Melting Point” by Baret Magarian (Salt)

Eight years ago I was on a flight to Larnaca, Cyprus about to start a holiday in the company of friends. There was something faintly momentous about my feeling of excitement and liberation from the daily habits and deadening routines that normal life can slip into.  About two hours into the flight another faintly momentous thing happened, sliding out from under the tired, calloused epidermis of the quotidian. It was almost imperceptible, an undefined tension in the stomach, a fluttering of emancipating excitement.  I half recognised that feeling, though it wasn’t wholly familiar. I pulled out my Macbook and began to write, and after an hour and a half I had a more or less complete story before me (the story would eventually be titled “Clock” ; it is the sixth in the collection). It needed some shuffling, some polishing, a bit of polyster, maybe a few injections of literary botex, but I had the “thing in itself”, the essential bolus of the piece in front of me. I was rather pleased, never having experienced this kind of creative ease before. Intercourse, fertilisation, conception, incubation, delivery – they were all concentrated, distilled into those one and a half hours.

I can’t really account for it. But then, while I was on holiday, the same thing happened on two other occasions. More or less complete stories more or less fell out of me, or my brain, or what remains of it.  Maybe it was something to do with the Cypriot breezes, the mezedes, or the penumbra of peace that slid over my consciousness like a mystical lover in the night. After the third of these epiphanic creative bursts I began to realise that I might have embarked on that long, vexing, wonderful, self-cannibalising journey also known as the composing of a book.  Now many ideas for stories were popping up like mushrooms, all demanding to be developed and realised. It was rather wonderful and mysterious and I started two, three, four stories in a spirit of excitement and mild delirium.

On a few other occasions other stories “wrote themselves.” I remember very clearly that before I began to write them I had absolutely no idea of what the stories would be about, no idea of what the basic story or plot was, or of who the characters were. I somehow managed to pluck deep into some subterranean crucible of molten creativity and pull out these little nuggets of narrative. Other stories – the longer ones in Melting Point – were more recalcitrant, and had to be planned, structured, meditated upon. Notes were made, diagrams drawn, snatches of dialogue containing important ideas or plot developments jotted down. But throughout all this I was always careful to work on several stories simultaneously, to juggle different projects, so as not to get stuck on just the one story, so as not to become obsessive about finishing it. I wanted to push hard against the threat of writer’s block by fuelling this frenzy of diverse activity. By keeping up the heat I was able to thrawt the forces of inertia and stasis. I may have been influenced in terms of this multi-faceted approach by something Roberto Bolano had once said regarding the importance of writing stories not one at a time, but simultaneously.  In any case it was a very happy writing experience on the whole and relatively free of the doubts and vexations that had assailed me during the writing of my first book The Fabrications.

As I reflect on the (not always, but often) trance-like ease of the composing of Melting Point it seems to me that the following might be of elucidatory value: perhaps after studying literature and attempting to write it for many years the shape of its tropes, structures, devices begin to become in some way ingrained in one’s mind, become, so to speak, second nature and one arrives eventually at an intuitive place beyond the rational and empirical. And at this point it becomes possible to create something without so much obvious planning. Obviously, however, one cannot finish a book while always being in the delirium of white heat inspiration – the process of revision, expansion, problem-solving, stylistic polishing: all of these require full frontal, stone cold sober deliberation. But I do think that what happened to me in terms of the initial stages of writing Melting Point may have had its basis in a kind of abdication of the cerebral part of creation, a giving in to something far more spontaneous, emancipated and – ultimately – mysterious.

     I’m very glad it happened.

 

Baret Magarian is a British Armenian writer who divides his time between Florence and London. His first book “The Fabrications” was extensively and favourably reviewed. Jonathan Coe, writing about Melting Point, observed: “We find here the irony, moral ambiguity and self-interrogation of writers like Kafka, Pessoa and Calvino.” Find out more here.

 

Announcing the Show Me Yours Prize

Fiction // Nonfiction // Poetry // Image

I’ll Show You Mine: A Sex Writing Symposium was organised by two students – James Smart and Melissa Wan – on the MA in Creative Writing at UEA. It began as a desire for conversation about the role of sex writing in literature.

With the Show Me Yours Prize, we want to open that conversation to artists and writers of fiction, non-fiction and poetry to celebrate work that engages with the world of sex and desire in surprising and exciting ways.

OPEN NOW – CLOSING JULY 10
£300 GRAND PRIZE
£50 PRIZE TO HIGHLY COMMENDED
ENTRIES IN EACH CATEGORY

Find out more at showyouminesymposium.com/prize

The Hunters Grimm- a storyhunting show in the streets of London

Bernadette Russell of White Rabbit  joins the wonderful Teatro Vivo cast in “The Hunters Grimm” a promenade performance in the streets of Catford and Stratford, London,aiding Jacob and Wilhem Grimm along with their companion Dot Wilde, in their search for a story of hope with a happy ending. Such stories seem in short supply in our troubled times….

The Hunters Grimm on the streets

The Hunters Grimm on the streets

Come and join us on our search! Who knows who you might meet on the way: a beggar Prince, Rapunzel now working in sheltered housing as a single mum, a young jobseeker in pursuit of 12 dancing princesses, a hungry wolf reminiscing about his glory days as a restaurant critic,  a step mother who needs a Kardashian make over….and many more

Dates are:

Stratford- 30th May- 1st June- please go here for more details and tickets

 

Catford- 6th-16th June- please go here for more details and tickets

 

For a tantilising taster go here

I Heart Short Stories

This year the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award celebrates its tenth year as one of the world’s most significant prizes for short fiction.

Over the last decade, we’ve not only helped champion the form, but also, particularly because we read stories anonymously, discovered many fresh new writers who had not previously been given a platform – everyone from Roshi Fernando and Rebecca F John to Sally Rooney, who got her first shortlisting from the award.

Now we want to expand our commitment, with regular digital posts about everything to do with the short story under the banner of I Heart Short Stories. On our website over the next months you will find monthly news and views about short story writing and writers, interviews with authors, features on the short story landscape, and guest slots written by those with things to say about short story writing.

Already we have had news round ups, a long feature on short stories in the south west of England plus interviews with our prestigious winners such as Yiyun Li and C.K. Stead.

We have just announced our judges for the award – Sarah Churchwell, Kit de Waal, Carys Davies and Blake Morrison – and we’re hoping to have a piece from one of them to fill you in on the judging process. Also we would be delighted to hear about blogs from anyone with something to say about the short story. If you have any ideas please email shortstoryaward@sunday-times.co.uk or get in touch with us via Twitter.

This is all part of our determination, with the help of our sponsor Audible, to help make the short story a more central part of the literary landscape.

You’ll see everything we do under the “I Heart Short Stories” banner and #IHeartShortStories. And there’ll be more to see on Twitter at @shortstoryaward.

Join Bristol’s First Flash Open Mic – Flash in Hand

The opening night of Bristol’s new open mic event, Flash in Hand, is on Monday 13th May. Of all the things we might associate with Mondays, this is probably one of the most uplifting!

We know that stories can take us anywhere, from the depths of the human condition to the sky and beyond. We normally read stories in the privacy of our own heads, whether curled up on the couch or cocooned in our commute, but sometimes the best way to connect with stories is with other people. Flash fiction is ideally suited to this. From beginning to end, no more than 500 words, a whole story, a whole journey from beginning to middle to end that will leave you moved, laughing or struck by insight. And that’s not the only taste it will leave in your mouth: we have a bar.

So, whether you want to come along to listen (£3.50 on the door) or to read (free!), we’ll see you there, 19:30 onwards. Let us know you’re coming via the Facebook event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/519720555223593/ 

And keep yourself notified of future events via our page:

https://www.facebook.com/FlashInHand/

Stroud Short Stories ‘Incendiary!’ Sunday 19 May – Tickets on Sale

Tickets are now on sale for the 18th Stroud Short Stories event Incendiary! on Sunday 19 May  –

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/638976

Tickets are priced as usual at £8. The event, at our new venue, the 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament Street, Stroud, GL5 1LW, starts at 8pm (doors 7.30).

Ten Gloucestershire authors will be reading their stories about fire, heat, passion, anger and rebellion selected from the 113 stories submitted.

The authors are –

Robin Booth

Joanna Campbell

Louise Elliman

Michael Hurst

Jason Jackson

Emma Kernahan

Geoff Mead

Chloe Turner

Steve Wheeler (aka Steven John)

Alwin Wiederhold

All info on the Stroud Short Stories website