The Casket of Fictional Delights

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2017 Flash Fiction Competition.

The competition was judged by award winning writer Kit de Waal who says “Flash Fiction is the study of a moment in a much longer narrative. In a few hundred words, the writer must evoke character, place and setting”.


Mam and She Worries by Douglas Bruton
Mam worries ‘bout stuff. Smallest things sometimes. Like when Mrs Kinnear was having her baby and she was rushed to the daytime hospital and no-one had opened the curtains on Mrs Kinnear’s windows.”……


Kala Pani by Neema Shah
There was a smidge of Radha in my pocket, a smattering of her on the cruddy wooden deck. I drew the string together and put the cotton bag in my pocket.”….


The Replacement by Zoe Meager
One year ago, Anne received almost exactly what she wanted for Christmas. It was me. I first detected signs of unease in February. The sideways looks and locked doors.”…


Soiled by Alex Reece Abbott
The Ties that Bind by Gina Headden
Heavyweight Dreams by Louise Mangos
A Womb of One’s Own by Rosie Canning
Checkout Girl by Shirley Golden
Fragile by Shirley Golden
To See a Star by Susan Carey

All the winning stories have been professionally recorded and broadcast as a special audio podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, TuneIn and Stitcher internet radio and published as a download audio on The Casket website.

2017 Flash Fiction Podcast

Judge’s Report

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s competition, we have been encouraged and overwhelmed by the response.

If you have not been successful this time there will be another opportunity next year, the 2018 Flash Fiction Competition will open for submissions on 17th March 2018.

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 …
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

(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!

Tall Tales on Brum Radio: Call for Submissions

Deadline: Midnight, Sunday 31st July

We are currently seeking short stories of all genres to be performed by voice actors in our second season, which begins in September. Writers must be from or currently live in Birmingham / the West Midlands.

Word Count: Minimum 1,500 words. Maximum 4,000.

We welcome all genres and writing styles, however, please be aware that stories which feature large casts of characters and rely heavily on dialogue might not lend themselves well to a single narrator. You can find out more about the show here, and listen to past episodes here.

Before submitting, please read your story aloud to yourself, to ensure that the plot can still be followed easily in an audio format.

To Submit:

Please email with Short Story Submission as your subject, and the following in the body of the message:

  1. Your full name, or the name you would like to be credited with.
  2. Any online presence (Twitter, website) which you would like us to promote in the closing credits of the episode.

Please attach your story as a Word file: .doc or .docx

Stories should be double spaced on A4 in an easily read font (Times New Roman or Arial are best) with clearly numbered pages. The title and author name must be clearly displayed at the top of the first page. Please ensure that pages do not end mid-sentence, as this can create difficulties while recording.

By submitting your story to Tall Tales, you give us permission to make minor changes during the adaptation process. Don’t worry; this usually just consists of making tiny tweaks to grammar so that it flows when read aloud.

If your story is selected to be included in the show, we will contact you to inform you of the broadcast date. We regret that we cannot inform authors whose work will not be included. This is an unpaid opportunity, as Brum Radio is a volunteer-run station.

Thank you for our interest in our show, and we look forward to hearing from you!

White Rabbit presents Heroes and Villains podcast

video killed the radio star....

video killed the radio star…

White Rabbit is proud to bring you our long-awaited Midnight Feast “Heroes and Villains” podcast- featuring short stories from these amazing writers:

Van Demal, Michael Spring, Julie Baloo, Nigel Munson, Ahmed Siddiqui, Alan McCormick, Ruth Sedar, Stephen Keyworth, Molly Sweeney , Robert Pallot, Paul Golden. Stories read by Bernadette Russell and Gareth Brierley

You can listen in here, the podcasts will be available on Wednesday 18th and Wednesday 25th November.

Many thanks and happy listening…


All the world is waiting for you….



MacGuffin – a Jukebox for Literature

MacGuffin Logo LexiaComma Press, the Manchester-based independent publisher, has launched MacGuffin, a self-publishing platform with an emphasis on short stories and poetry.

MacGuffin hosts content in text and audio form. Authors upload the text of their story along with a reading, so end-users can read the text or stream the audio.


The audio doesn’t have to be professionally recorded, and in fact, many poems and stories on MacGuffin have a homemade feel – recorded on a smartphone, with birdsong in the background, or a dog barking somewhere.

#shortstories #10minuteread #feminist #bristol #epiphany  

#daisysfavouriteshorts #manchestersfbookclub

MacGuffin uses tags to help readers themselves curate content. Anyone can add tags to anyone else’s story, to describe it or add it to a reading list. You can search for content with tags (e.g. search the tags ‘shortstories’ and ’15minutelisten’, to select short stories that are 15 minutes long, or the tag ‘nature’ to find stories and poems about nature).

tag search

Tags also mean you can make a playlist, rather like how people used to make mix-tapes for friends; just tag several stories or poems with a unique tag to create a list.

MacGuffin also has open analytics, so writers and readers can see anonymised data about where in the world stories are being read (‘fuzified’, for privacy), reader completion-rates for stories, and even drop-out graphs, showing where readers quit a story before finishing it (which Comma hope will be a useful self editing tool).


MacGuffin’s available as a website (, and as an Android App (in beta), with an iPhone app to follow.


May Fortnightly Round-Up II

Hello short story fans! Here’s what’s been going on for the past few weeks on the blog –
Tania x

Live Lit
We’re delighted to welcome a new event to our listings – Unsung Live, London: “a short story night for genre fans – science fiction, fantasy, horror and more”.

The Story Sessions are running two events and a workshop at the Broxley Max lit fest, London. Check out White Rabbit’s second Alice in Wonderland podcast, Six Impossible Things Before BreakfastRecliffe Future Way was launched on May 1st and is running its fiction trails in Bristol throughout the month.

The Word Factory #33 is happening in London on May 30th – the masterclass is sold out, but there’s the short story reading club and the Irish-themed evening event.

Lit Mags
Hotel Magazine has announced issue 1 and is calling for submissions for its second issue, and Paper and Ink want your stories on the theme of ‘childhood’. The third issue of Confingo is now on sale, Firewords Quarterly’s Issue 4 is hot off the presses.

Jotters United has a new issue out, 2Tango, and a call for submissions, Spelk also wants your short stories, and Bunbury has launched Issue 8 and shared some more exciting announcements with us.


The Queen’s Head zine has launched a flash fiction competition, with illustrator Mahr, deadline June 7. Ambit magazine has launched its first annual short story competition, judged by Alison Moore, deadline July 15th. Headstuff magazine has launched a knockout comic short fiction competition with a prize fund of 3200 euros! The Creative Future Literary Awards are now open to marginalised writers, deadline 15 June, and The Moth’s International Short Story Prize is open, deadline June 30th.

The fourth Hysteria writing competition is open for entries, deadline 15 August. Holland Park Press is running a short story competition, I Is Another, deadline 31 August. The University of Leicester’s 2015 short story competition is now open, deadline 11 September.


The full programme for this year’s London Short Story Festival in June has now been announced.

If you are eager for even more short-story-related news, do follow ShortStops on Twitter where, when we should be writing, we spend (far too) much time passing on news from lit mags, live lit events, short story workshops and festivals! If you’d like to review an event or a publication, drop me a line.

Happy reading, writing, listening and performing!
Tania x

Trafika Europe invites you to visit our radio campaign

Hi All!

micTrafika Europe already brings you some of the best new literature from across Europe, with our online quarterly journal. Now we’re getting ready to launch our online radio — Europe’s first literary radio station!

Please check out our campaign brochure here! If you like what you see there, then there’s a ==> link to our campaign <== which you can follow, to get some great rewards, and lots more info about this exciting project.

This is real community literary radio for Europe. We plan to host all original content, with audio shows in English language from partner-producers across the continent, showcasing some of the best new literature and events in Europe. We really need your help to make this a reality, so please check us out!

Inquiries about participating in our radio are also welcome. Email:

And thanks! We hope to see you there.

The Verb’s Ian McMillan on his Favourite Short Stories


The Verb is BBC Radio 3’s ‘Cabaret of the Word’, presented by Ian McMillan. Each week the programme brings together award-winning writers; poets, songwriters, novelists, dramatists and performers from around the world.

I love short stories, and I read new ones all the time for The Verb and for pleasure (although, as I know really, they’re both the same thing). There are certain favourites, however, that I return to again and again because no matter how many times I read them, they always reveal more, teach me more, make me gasp once more at the beauty of their prose.

One of my Hardy Perennials is John Cheever, the great American master of the form. Some people find Cheever a bit too lush, a bit too full of the sound of his own voice, a bit too self-amazed by the lofty cathedrals of his sentences; not me. I love the rhythm of them and the way they nudge the plot along as they dance. His story, ‘O City of Broken Dreams’ a morality tale about a family who move to New York because the father, Evarts Malloy, has been convinced that a Broadway producer is going to make a hit play out of something he’s written. As they’re waiting to meet the producer they take a trip to Radio City Music Hall to they see a show which Cheever describes in sentences so profound and sublime they make me put the book down and stare at the sky: ‘The stage show, beneath its grandeur, seemed to conceal a simple and familiar intelligence, as though the drafts that stirred the miles of golden curtain had blown straight from Indiana. The performance left Alice and Mildred-Rose distracted with pleasure, and on the way back to the Mentone, Evarts had to lead them along the sidewalk to keep them from walking into hydrants.’ If you know and love Cheever, do read him again; if you’ve never read him, you’ve got a treat in store.

Another short story writer I often return to is the almost-forgotten writer of weird tales Edna W. Underwood. I think I first arrived at short stories from reading anthologies like the Pan Books of Horror Stories, New Writings in SF, and the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series, and I came across Underwood via Tartarus Press’s reprints of  strange and obscure writers of the macabre. Her collection of uncanny stories Dear Dead Women was published in 1911; the writing has an intoxicating quality, a gushing flow of sensation that carries me along with it, even as I acknowledge to myself that if there’s a top to be seen, Edna will go over it: here’s a description of a the perfume of a flower-covered hill from An Orchid of Asia: ‘when it swept over him as he was dropping off to sleep, it bore him to a hasheesh world of visioned splendour. And the vision in its significance was always the same: He floated above a cataract more terrible and tremendous than Niagara; a cataract made, not of water, but of fantastic, angry flowers, which were being lashed by some power he could neither see nor comprehend, from one form of life to another – on and on.’ Phew! I’ll have to sit down for a minute!

Two writers, two of many possible prose styles. And that’s why we love short stories on The Verb; they refresh the language, they offer us glimpses and epiphanies, and they make us want to sit down for a minute and/or stare at the sky.

The Verb this week features new short fiction from Simon Rich, author of the story collections ‘Spoiled Brats’ and ‘The Last Girlfriend on Earth’. Fridays at 10pm on Radio 3.

The Verb Podcast is available to download here

New Writer & New Luggage from The Casket

The Casket Logo

The Casket of Fictional Delights welcomes a new Guest author this month Lauren Bell with her Flash Fiction ‘Current Girl’.  Lauren lives in Birmingham and recently graduated from Birmingham City University.

Also arriving this month the seventh Tube-Flash audio – ‘Keep your Luggage with you’  featuring the six most recent Tube-Flash stories.  Tube-Flash audios are recorded by professional voice over artists and actors & there are tube sounds just to add authenticity.

Train with no background

Happiness is Wanting What You Have by Stephanie Brann

Values Laid Bear by Stephen Ryder

Transubstantiation  by Zoe Fairbairns

The Landed Sea Witch by Delijah Sakaki

The Belvedere-Kensington Interaction by Eric Carlton

Up the Hammers! by James Brinsford

Tube-Flash audios are available free on Apple iTunes as podcasts


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