Award-winning writer Lucy Caldwell joined by former bookseller Lynda Clark, charity worker Jacqueline Crooks, and new voices Tamsin Grey and Jo Lloyd to complete shortlist of writers exploring sexual politics, intolerance, community and immigration.
Lucy Caldwell, multi-award-winning novelist, playwright and short story writer, has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University for the second time for ‘The Children’. Previously shortlisted in 2012 for ‘Escape Route’, one of her first ever short stories, Caldwell is joined on the 2019 shortlist by a wealth of emerging talent including University of Dundee Fellow and former bookseller Lynda Clark for ‘Ghillie’s Mum’; charity worker Jacqueline Crooks for ‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’; civil servant Tamsin Grey for ‘My Beautiful Millennial’; and Welsh writer Jo Lloyd for ‘The Invisible’. The shortlist of five stories was announced on Friday 6 September 2019, during BBC Radio 4 Front Row.
The shortlist is:
- ‘The Children’ by Lucy Caldwell
- ‘Ghillie’s Mum’ by Lynda Clark
- ‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’ by Jacqueline Crooks
- ‘My Beautiful Millennial’ by Tamsin Grey
- ‘The Invisible’ by Jo Lloyd
Now celebrating its fourteenth year, the Award is one of the most prestigious for a single short story, with the winning writer receiving £15,000, and the four further shortlisted authors £600 each. Selected from over 900 entries (an increase of 15% on 2018), this year’s shortlist is the sixth all-female shortlist in the BBC National Short Story Award’s history.
Nikki Bedi, TV and radio broadcaster and Chair of Judges for the BBC National Short Story Award 2019, says: “One of the things I’ve discovered over a lifetime of meeting, interviewing and spending time with the most extraordinary creative minds in the world, is that they all have something in common: they seek to move us, to make us think and to transform us. I strongly believe all five of the shortlisted writers and stories we’ve chosen do all that and more. Judging them, however, has not been an easy process. To say it was a hard-fought contest is putting it mildly. We agonised over our decisions and disagreed vociferously at times, but on the whole, the discussion and debating was carried out in a civilised manner.”
Nikki Bedi is joined on this year’s judging panel by novelist and writer of narrative non-fiction Richard Beard; short story writer, novelist and youngest author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize Daisy Johnson; screenwriter, novelist and 2017 BBC National Short Story Award winner Cynan Jones; and returning judge Di Speirs, Books Editor at BBC Radio.
All five stories will be broadcast on Radio 4 on BBC Sounds in September and published in an anthology produced by Comma Press. The readers of this year’s stories include Line of Duty and Call the Midwife star Jessica Raine, who reads ‘The Children’, and Welsh actor Aimee-Ffion Edwards of Peaky Blinders and Skins fame, reading ‘The Invisible’. Tamara Lawrance, who read Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie for BBC Sounds, reads ‘Silver Fish in the Midnight Sea’, and Katherine Press, whose television credits include Foyle’s War and the Golden Globe-nominated BBC series Dancing on the Edge, reads ‘My Beautiful Millennial’. Stephen Campbell Moore, best known for his role in the stage production of The History Boys completes the line-up with ‘Ghillie’s Mum’.
The BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University was established to raise the profile of the short form and this year’s shortlist join distinguished alumni such as Zadie Smith, Lionel Shriver, Rose Tremain, William Trevor, Sarah Hall and Mark Haddon. As well as rewarding the most renowned short story writers, the Award has raised the profile of new writers including Ingrid Persaud, K J Orr, Julian Gough, Cynan Jones and Clare Wigfall.
The winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2019 will be announced live on BBC Radio 4 Front Row on Tuesday 1 October. The anthology published by Comma Press is out now.
Stroud Short Stories is open until the end of Sunday 29 September for submissions from Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire writers.
It’s free to submit and we will select ten stories to be read by their authors at our 19th event on Sunday 10 November at the 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse. Our last 13 events have all sold out.
The event is part of the 2019 Stroud Book Festival.
It’s an open theme this time so any subject matter, any style so long as it’s a short story of no more than 1,500 words.
Information about our rules and how to submit is on the SSS website.
Tickets, priced at £8, go on sale on the Playhouse website on 11 October.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Stroud Short Stories is open for submissions from Gloucs and South Gloucs writers until 31 March – for our 19 May 2019 event in a new venue, the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud. It’s free to submit and we are happy to consider published and unpublished work.
There’s a theme this time – Incendiary! Think of the theme as widely and flexibly as possible – stories about fire, heat, passion, anger, rebellion, incineration, climate change, inflamed senses, etc, etc.
As well as reading before an audience of 150 short story lovers at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud, the authors of the ten stories chosen will be offered a place in our next published anthology – due 2021.
Tickets for the 19 May event will be available from 21 April on the Cotswold Playhouse website.
All the info you need is on our website – http://stroudshortstories.blogspot.com/
Cheltenham’s quarterly live flash fiction night, Flashers’ Club, will be opening the mic once again on Thursday 29th November, 7:30pm, at Smokey Joe’s Coffee Bar. Got a story between 100 and 1000 words? Bring it down and share it! We welcome everyone and every story – no submissions, no genre restrictions. Flashers’ is a great night out for fans of flash, whether you’re coming to read or just soak up the stories.
This month we’re very excited to feature flash author Santino Prinzi, who’ll be sharing some of his stories alongside our open mic readers. We’ll also be giving away a copy of literary journal Popshot Quarterly to one of our lucky open mic performers. Tickets are just £4, and all profits got to the charity First Story. Head over to our website to find out full details, or find us and chat to us on Twitter or Facebook.
As Anne Frank poignantly wrote: “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” Writing can be an incredible outlet, but sometimes there are stumbling blocks along the way.
Which is why the team at READ Foundation has put together a list of 12 Writing Tips to Get You Started.
READ is an education charity which builds schools and enables children from poverty-stricken backgrounds to access schooling. We’re currently running a writing competition for short stories, poems and personal essays which will inspire children in their educational path. Scroll down for more details on how to enter.
The charity has gathered the best tips from well-known writers, blogs and the wider web to help writers in their pursuit of the perfect prose.
- Write from the heart. A book without a pulse is like a person without a spirit. – Linda F Rad
- We love the tips in this Guardian article on the Top 10 Writers’ Tips on Writing. Particularly this one from Katherine Mansfield: “Looking back I imagine I was always writing. Twaddle it was too. But better far write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.”
- Enter competitions, send off examples to agents, read up on literacy festivals to attend, join writing clubs either locally or online – research as many places as you can which can help you on your writing journey, whether the aim is to get published, receive feedback, or simply learn more about the writing process from the people who do it professionally.
- Write on a computer which is disconnected from the internet (after you’ve finished reading this blog, obviously). It’s a distraction you can do without.
- The “show don’t tell” mentality is well-known for a good reason: it’s true. As fiction author Anton Chekhov puts it: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
- Oxford Dictionaries has some excellent general advice on better writing, whether it’s a letter, speech, email or something more creative. We like the tip “guide readers through what you write”. The advice is to “help readers understand your message quickly and precisely. To do this, it is necessary to show them clearly how the different parts relate to each other.”
- How about a writing tip from a Nobel winning author? Alice Munro, who was given the Nobel for Literature in 2013, has spent most of her writing life focussing on short stories. She said: “Usually I have a lot of acquaintance with the story before I start writing it….stories would just be working in my head for so long that when I started to write I was deep into them.”
- Proofread proofread proofread. It’s relly obviously when a sentennce has speling errors in it. If you’re entering a writing competition, judges may penalise you for the errors and it could mean the difference between winning or losing a contest.
- Write, even when you don’t feel like it. Get into the habit of writing on a regular basis. If you can commit to writing for a certain amount of time each day, for 30 days, it’ll soon become second nature. About 30-40 days is all you need to make a new habit stick.
- Recognise it’s not just your characters that are human – you are too! So if you have periods of struggle, you’re not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Julie Duffy, founder of Story a Day, says “Don’t wait to write until you’re older/wiser/invited to the party. Don’t wait until you have something ‘important’ to say.” Other experts have revealed their best writing tips for beginners.
- Enjoy the process! It’s a journey you’ll be proud you’ve taken. Good luck!
While you’re here, we have some exciting news for you. Education charity READ Foundation is running its very first writing competition and needs people like YOU to take part. Read all about it here. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, 10thOctober 2018.
From truant wives to sarky schoolgirls, pyromaniac editors to teenage hookers via tantruming mums, our professional actresses and rising authors will give you a night of fantastic female-focused fiction.
WINNING STORIES for WOMEN & GIRLS
Trouble at the Uptown Espresso by Kristin King *NEW AUTHOR* – read by Sarah Gain
Tree House Date by S. Soliar *NEW AUTHOR* – read by Keleigh Wolf
How to be Unemployed by Alice Franklin *NEW AUTHOR* – read by Lois Tucker
Apotheosis of Maya and Bibi by Rebecca Skipwith – read by Susan Moisan
Homework by Anna Savory – read by Gloria Sanders
Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are £5 on the door (cash only, sorry, but there is a cashpoint across the street). Drinks and food will be available at the bar, though there are also free sweets and the infamous interval quiz features fabulous books to be won! There’s no pre-booking, but tables for four or more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.
The venue is the downstairs bar at:
The Phoenix Pub
37 Cavendish Square
Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there is no lift, sadly.
Hello to you all from Bunbury Magazine!
We’re just dropping by the give you a quick update on what we are up to at Bunbury HQ.
Did you know we’re now doing podcasts? Well we are. This is a very exciting development and means you won’t be too long between bouts of Bunbury. Currently, we are running two.
Bunbury Speaks, which is a monthly interview podcast with a twist. As well as talking to some very special people about writing, inspirations and all manner of other things, each guest contributes to a chain story, taking a starting point to some very interesting places. Currently, there is one episode available where the guest is our very own poetry editor Malika Street.
Just Write Speaks, the recording of our monthly spoken word event. There are open micers and special guests bringing a huge variety of rhymes and words to your ears. There is almost 6 months worth of events live right now, with guests including Rose Condo, Genevieve L Walsh, Broccan Tyzack-Carlin and many more!
Both of these can be found by clicking the lovely photo below.
This month, we have Joe Williams as our special guest. If you are in or around Manchester, please drop by. There are open mic slots available as well as the chance to compete in the Haiku Death Match. Search Just Write Speaks on Facebook or follow the link to the event right here – Just Write Speaks June.
If you enjoy the podcasts, please consider subscribing and reviewing us on iTunes while you are there.
In other news, Bunbury is still open for submissions. The theme is run and we are looking for short stories, poetry, flash fiction and all manner of writing. Details of our submissions guidelines can be found below.
That’s all from us, folks. Before submitting, consider looking through some past issues to see the kind of thing we do. You can get to our past issues through our website.
Much love and keep scribbling,
Christopher and Keri.
Hello hello fans of Bunbury Magazine, we’re back so pop on your fancy gem encrusted glove, pause from attempting to rule the universe and relax with the latest issue.
The theme this time was Infinity and whoowee, do we have some excellent content to share with you! From the front cover to the logo on the back page, we think this will be right up your street.
‘But how do we buy this magnificent display of work from authors and artists from around the world’? I hear you cry. Well, if you click on the pictures of the front covers below, your quest will come to an end.
You can get the physical version of the magazine here:
Please note that the physical copy includes Short Stories, Flash Fiction and Poetry.
And we have digital copies for sale here:
Please note that the digital copy includes bonus content.
We really had a lot of fun putting this issue together and we hope you enjoy it.
FUN FACT! If you buy the physical copy
We also, as always have our back catalogue for you get stuck into, just click on the picture to unlock the gateway to Bunbury issues past. Not future though, what do you think this is, The Eye Agamotto? No, it isn’t. Sorry. We’ll try and sort that out for next time.
And now dear reader, allow us to make a horrifically dated music reference.
What’s that coming in to your ears is it a podcast? Is it a podcast!
*takes bow painfully aware of the void of silence*
Yes! That’s right! You heard us, Bunbury Magazine now has not one, but TWO PODCASTS, oh my word! The rumours were true!
The Just Write Speaks podcasts are recordings of out Spoken Word night that we hold in Bury Lancs on the last Tuesday of the month of the same name. There really are some smashing spoken word artist performing wonderful stuff.
The Bunbury Speaks podcast is, not to give too much away, an interview podcast with a twist that we think you’ll really like. Intrigued? Good. You should be.
Tell you what, why don’t you give it a listen? Just click the picture below and you shall be transported to Bury’s best regular spoken word night or our studio where you can hear talk to some marvelous people!
And finally, we’re open for submissions dear, dear friends.
The theme this time is ‘Run’ and we’re looking forward to reading all of the lovely submissions.
If you would like to submit, please click on the poster below to find out how!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Well, lots of news there huh? We’re going to leave you to it and we’ll speak to you next time.
Stroud Short Stories is open for submissions for the 20 May event – our 16th event. Submissions will close at the end of Saturday 14 April. It’s an open theme this time. As ever it’s free to submit and we accept both published and unpublished stories from Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire writers. Ten authors will read their work in front of a capacity audience of 70 short story lovers on Sunday 20 May at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA.
We will also be publishing a second anthology later this year and all ten writers will be invited to have their story published in it.
All the info you need is on our website/blog – https://stroudshortstories.blogspot.co.uk/
The deadline is fast approaching for our biennial Poetry & Short fiction competition
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.
The 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!
From stolen kisses to cartoon crushes, telltale spirits to synaesthetic lovers, via vengeful exes and Powerpoint presentations, Liars’ League is showcasing tales of lust, romance & betrayal in our dirt-dishing Valentine’s special – and our first event of 2018 – on Tuesday 13th February (click here for Facebook event with full details).
Forget the pink roses as our actors bare their hearts (and more) for just £5 on the door, which includes a programme, entry to our sexy book quiz, and of course all the Lovehearts you can eat. (And if you’re single, just tell us your favourite literary character and we’ll find your perfect match – see below for more …)
As always, doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 7.30. Seductive 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 fouror more can be reserved by calling 07808 939535.
Single? Sign up for our #LoveLit Blind Date
Ever wondered if Lizzie Bennet would hook up with Christian Grey? Whether Harry Flashman could charm Hermione Granger? Then we’ve got something for you this Valentine’s eve! Our #LoveLit Blind Date is simple: just email email@example.com (or tweet us @liarsleague, hashtag #LoveLit) with your name, age, preferred gender of date & the name of your favourite fictional character, and we’ll match you up with someone else’s favourite. Not only might you find the love of your life, you’ll also get free sweeties and a night of brilliant stories to enjoy with your new squeeze into the bargain.
(NB: you don’t have to join in the blind date to come, it’s just a service we’re offering singles this month. As ever, anyone who loves stories is welcome.)
The venue is the downstairs bar at:
37 Cavendish Square
Well hello to you all from Bunbury Magazine, and a (possibly slightly late) Happy New Year 2019 because by golly that January was a long one! We hope you are all well and sticking to your resolution like the good ones that you are.
We’re back to let you know that WE’RE BACK! Bunbury has landed with a brand new issue. Number 18. Bunbury is now officially able to vote and drink. It’s applying to university and revising for A Levels. It’s a busy time at Bunbury HQ.
To the important part. The issue is available for you now and, for the very first time, you can literally get your hands on a copy! That’s right, we’re in print! You would not believe how excited we are about this. Bunbury 18 now comes in both physical and digital formats: the physical features all of the poetry, short stories and flash fiction. The digital comes with bonus content, including the Art & Photography section, Serials and Our Edinburgh Fringe 2017 feature! It’s a corker.
The physical copy is £5 and comes with an activation code to download the bonus content for free OR you can get the full digital version downloaded to your gadgets for £5. Choose your destiny below.
We went with the theme of ‘The Hunt’ because Editor Keri was the loudest in the meeting room that day and started pretending to hunt everyone around the office. We don’t know why… We were afraid to ask.
Still, she’s stopped now and that’s the main thing.
We also thought it would be a darn good prompt. We hope it was.
This issue is another very special one, from the words, to the people, to the art, it’s just splendid from cover to cover.
As always, we’re bringing you excellent short stories, poetry, flash fiction and more alongside the usual stunning art work and in this one, we present for your delectation and delight, our adventures at the Edinburgh Fringe festival through our annual interviews. Also, allow me to take this opportunity to say that if you’ve never been to the Fringe, you really should. It’s a month of mayhem and wonder. Plus, haggis! What more could you ask for?
Bunbury Issue 19 is now open for submissions. The theme for this one, you ask? Infinity we answer. As always, a big concept for you lovely, talented people to get your creative chops in to. For all of our guidelines for submitting to us, click on the submissions poster below. There’s lots of lovely info there!
Some of you may also know that we run spoken word events in our home town of Bury. If you didn’t know, you do now! They are also back up and running for 2018. The first one of the year was an absolute belter and we’re ramping up for the next one. It’s on 27th February in The Old White Lion in Bury. Our headliners are the absurdly talented Benjamin Guilfoyle and Fiona Nuttall. If you’re in the area (or even if you aren’t) come along. We have open mic spots available. For all the information, you know what to do (click the poster which will take you to a Facebook event where you can tell us you are coming!)
Tah-tah for now, dear Bunburyists!
Christopher and Keri.
Fed up with all the Valentine’s Day drivel? Want to hear some twisted tales of love? Live near Faversham or Folkestone?
Then come along to Twisted Love on Friday, February 16 at The Limes, Preston Street, or on Saturday, February 17 at the Eleto Chocolate Cafe, Folkestone, from 8pm to hear stories by Michele Sheldon, Mike Blakemore, Charlie Bain-Smith with a very special appearance from preying mantis duo Burgess and Norman.
Cash bar only at Folkestone.
Cheltenham’s Flashers’ Club seeks flash fiction fans for the first event of 2018!
On Thursday February 8th we’ll be hosting our usual open mic (bring your 100-1000 word story and sign up on the night), plus guest reading by multi-talented flash fic author Tania Hershman.
We’ll be at Smokey Joe’s Coffee Bar from 7:30pm. Tickets are available on the door: £3 for readers, £4 for audience only. As always, all profits go to the charity First Story. Find full details at the Flashers’ Club site, and don’t miss it!
Grab your hats, coats, shoes and socks and be sure to wipe your calendars clean for the evening of Friday 26th January 2018.
Because on that night ‘The Squat Pen Rests’ Short Story Spoken Word Event will be barrelling into the Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, with a freshly sharpened pencil clamped between its teeth, and brandishing a proper-fancy gaggle of fabulous stories for anyone brave enough to pitch up and listen.
Six super-fine short story writers will duke it out in front of a live audience to find out who will be crowned the very first ever ‘The Squat Pen Rests’ Writing Competition Champion of the World!
There will be prizes, live music, a bar, some occasional bawdiness and, of course, those six spoken word performers who will have travelled from far and wide (maybe even further) in pursuit of the Holy Grail that is ‘The Squat Pen Rests’ Writing Competition Champion of the World title.
The game’s afoot: and upon this charge (just £5.50 per ticket), cry ‘gimme one!’ (or maybe two) to secure your seats.
‘The Squat Pen Rests’ is actively seeking writer-performers. So, if you’d like to be in with a chance of performing your story on the night (and winning fifty smackers, to boot) then we’d love to hear from you. All you have to do is follow the link for further details. The Squat Pen Rests Writing Competition
And when does this glorious event take place, I hear you roar. Well, because you’ve roared so nicely, I’ll tell you.
The date is Friday 28th January 2018. Doors will open at 7.30pm and the readings will commence around 8pm. Closing time is ‘late’.
And Where, pray tell, doth this event take place?
All right Shakespeare, keep your hair on. I’ll tell you where:
The Place – Wyvern Theatre,
Swindon SN1 1QN
For all other enquiries please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Originating in Greenwich, on the Prime Meridian, and now in its 4th year, The Solstice Shorts Festival is going nationwide.
The theme this year is Dusk, that time between day and night when everything changes.
On 21st December we have twelve sites across the UK all reading/singing different material (chosen by Arachne Press, read by actors/ sung by musicians) starting in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and ending In Redruth, Cornwall, taking in key spots in between.
All events BSL Interpreted
Grab Tickets for an event near you: generally by donation, suggested £3, but there are exceptions where this is part of a bigger event.
or follow the live stream on Facebook.
The stories and poems have been chosen, and the music is either traditional or original.
*Ellon is starting music at 16:28 the actual moment of Solstice, readings will start at 17.07
The book of the event will be published on 21st June 2018, but will be available in February to people who come to the event and pre-order.