Masterclasses and author talks for short fiction lovers

For five years Novel Nights has been at the forefront of live lit in Bristol & Bath, programming author talks with authors like Maggie Gee and Nathan Filer.

This year we’re launching masterclasses, taught by experienced academics and writers. Tom Vowler will teach our first class, From Spark to Flame: Forging The Short Story on 27th April.  Tom is short fiction editor at Unthank Books, has published two short story collections and his third novel is out soon. He teaches at Arvon Foundation and Plymouth University.

“A masterclass to unlock some of the mysteries of this dazzling literary form. Aimed at both emerging and published writers, the class will explore how stories are crafted, how you can bring them to life, give them voltage and vitality.” 

On September 8th, Vanessa Gebbie will lead a day-long flash-fiction masterclass in Bristol. Tickets in advance.

“An in-depth look at flash fiction, aimed at any writer who is interested to start or continue an exploration of this sparkling form. You will create  many fresh pieces thanks to tried and tested games and exercises –  your tutor never asks you to share your writing, so you are unencumbered as you play freely and focus on meeting your new characters, voices and forms within forms.” Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for both prose and poetry, including a Bridport Prize and the Troubadour. Author of ten books, including five collections of short fictions, two of poetry and a novel, she is also commissioning and contributing editor of Short Circuit: Guide to the Art of the Short Story (Salt).

Novella-in-flash author talk 

On May 11th we’ve invited Michael Loveday, judge of the 2019 Bath Novella-in-Flash Award, to discuss writing a Novella-in-Flash and to share insights into the judging process.

Tickets only £8.50 from Novel Nights. Square Club, Bristol. BS8 1HB. Flash writers are welcome to submit to read

 

 

 

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Write a Book in June. It’s doable!

30 days

30 Days of Writing is a practical online course for writers who’d enjoy the challenge of putting together a book in a month.

The course is especially suited to anyone who’d like to take on a short story project not necessarily linked to a book project you’re working on. It’s an opportunity to create that passion project you’ve been mulling over for years, and to explore different concepts of what consitutes a book.

The course is run by the writer Shaun Levin, who is also the editor of The A3 Press, a new chapbook press, and the creator of Writing Maps.

The online course is devised so that you can start a project from scratch and complete a first draft by the end of June. The course is a month-long commitment, and will benefit anyone who’d like the inspiration and support to write daily for 30 days alongside other writers from around the world.

To find out more about the course, please click here.

Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, hybrid writing, creating comics or illustrations, we’ll look at how to create a layered and dynamic work. Some of the elements we’ll focus on will include: movement in time and place, conflict and tension, chronology and tone, as well as ways to enhance your text through research and the inspiration of genre companions.

The primary focus throughout the course will be your daily practice of writing and the creation of your book.

Dates: 1 June – 1 July 2019

Fee: £260 (£200 early-bird rate before 30 April)

limited to 15 participants

About the tutor: Shaun Levin is the author of Snapshots of The Boy, A Year of Two Summers and Seven Sweet Things, amongst other books. He has been teaching creative writing for over twenty years and has worked closely with writers at all stages of their journey towards publication.

 

Reading Short Stories

Every year Dahlia Publishing hosts two students from the University of Leicester for a 10 week placement. The scheme run by the university provides students with an opportunity to gain work experience in a small press to enhance their learning. Students often work remotely and are supported by editor Farhana Shaikh to pursue a personal project – something where they can channel their interests and make a difference. During the 2018/19 academic year we were joined by Amira Richards who had an interest in editing. Following our Short Story September project we were inviting short stories to read and Amira was keen to work on this. Our meetings were joyous – filled with passionate response for the work we’d pondered over, and often found ourselves battling with the question: what makes a short story?  Here’s Amira on what she learnt during the process… 

Writing short stories can be hard and surprisingly reading them can require the same kind of effort. From a personal perspective, knowing what to look for, what works about a story and what doesn’t is a process that one must discover for themselves. Everyone reads differently.

For my placement I have had the opportunity to read many submissions for Short Story September. I have really enjoyed learning what people like to write about and what urges them to produce a piece of work that will be read by other people. I have learnt that people like to write about the mundane but also the extraordinary and the little things in between. There are stories that captured my attention straight away, and others that left me feeling a little unsatisfied.

However, the most important thing I have learnt is that stories – especially short ones – need a purpose. They need to illustrate a clear message to the reader, which doesn’t have to be personal but nevertheless allows the reader to understand why the story was written. I found that the stories with a clear aim and purpose were the ones that were the most pleasant to read. I understood why the writer decided to send the story in and what they were trying to convey through each carefully formulated sentence.

“The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something that feels important to the reader.” ~ John Steinbeck

So when you write a short story, think about what you want to convey. I would love to see stories that not only show me something but also make me question myself as a reader. And while short stories can lack the detail and intricate backstories of longer works, in my opinion, a good ending makes a short story. Think about how you want to end your story and how it relates to the content as a whole. After all, they are short for a reason. But short doesn’t mean lesser just as long doesn’t guarantee better. I look forward to reading more short stories in the future and urge writers to never stop practising.

Amira Richards is currently reading English at University of Leicester. 

Dahlia Publishing is currently inviting submissions to the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2019 until 15th April 2019.

Liars’ League BEFORE & AFTER story readings – this Tuesday April 9th

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As Brexit looms (or does it? who knows …?!) long-running, award-winning live literature legends Liars’ League have selected six superb stories of choice & change to take your mind off it all at our BEFORE & AFTER show on Tuesday 9th April. There are escapes & tippingpointscats & cowssex & deathpoetry & fistfightsyoga & porn, the Berlin Wall & a fishtank full of ghosts. And it’s STILL only £5 entry, which includes a programme, our infamous book quiz, and free birthday cake because we’re 12 🙂

WINNING STORIES for BEFORE & AFTER
Last Rites by Jess Worsdale, read by David Mildon
Namaste Bitches by Ana Soria, read by Keleigh Wolf
Counterfiction by Tim Aldrich, read by Tim Larkfield
The Poetry of Jenny by Gerard McKeown, read by Zach Harrison
No East or West by Mark Sadler, read by Silas Hawkins
Olena’s Scalpel by Alan Graham, read by Patsy Prince

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start and tickets are a fiver on the door (currently cash only, sorry, but there’s a cashpoint across the street). Drinks and food are available at the bar throughout. 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, London W1G 0PP

Accessibility note: Access to the basement is via stairs: there’s no lift, sadly. The Phoenix is 5 minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus tube station, which is on the Victoria, Bakerloo and Central lines.

P.S. Want to submit a story for our next event, Infinity & Beyond? Deadline is Sunday 5th May and all the details are here

The Shadow Booth: Vol. 3 out now – FREE launch event on 11 April!

Jared can feel the tower blocks looming overhead, three concrete sentinels watching as he runs.  He knows he has less than a minute before his pursuers are on him, but as he rounds the corner into the alley he stops, dead. There’s a strange canvas structure propped against the wall, a hand-made sign scrawled on a scrap of cardboard. Enter the Shadow Booth, it says, and you will never be the same again.

The Shadow Booth is back for its third volume, available now from our online store. An international journal of weird and uncanny fiction, The Shadow Booth is dedicated to publishing emerging and established writers of the strange, exploring that dark, murky hinterland between mainstream horror and literary fiction. Stories from Vols. 1 & 2 have been selected for The Best Horror of the Year (ed. Ellen Datlow), The Year’s Best Weird Fiction (eds. Michael Kelly & Robert Shearman) and Best British Horror (ed. Johnny Mains).

Volume 3 includes new weird and uncanny fiction by:

  • Nick Adams
  • Judy Birkbeck
  • Raquel Castro
  • Armel Dagorn
  • Jill Hand
  • Richard V. Hirst
  • Verity Holloway
  • Tim Major
  • Annie Neugebauer
  • Robert Shearman
  • Gregory J. Wolos

Paperbacks and ebooks are available here.

We’re also holding a FREE launch event in London on Thursday 11 April, with readings from Robert Shearman, Judy Birkbeck and Tim Major. The event starts at 7pm at The North by Northwest, a Hitchcock-themed pub in Islington. You can find full details and RSVP here.

Enter the Shadow Booth and you will never be the same again…

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions

Fictive Dream is open to submissions and, as always, we’re interested in short stories with a contemporary feel (500 – 2,500 words). We especially like stories that give an insight into the human condition; stories that focus on those moments that change people’s lives. They may be on any subject. They may be challenging, dramatic, playful, exhilarating or cryptic. Above all, they must be well-crafted and compelling.

Check out the Fictive Dream website here.

Look at our submission guidelines here.

We’re looking forward to receiving your best work!

Laura Black
Editor

Website www.fictivedream.com
Twitter @fictivedream
Instagram fictive.dream

Story Friday The Garden – Call for Submissions

Story Friday in May has the theme The Garden.  I don’t know about where you are, but here in Bath the blossom is blooming, the tulips are budding and spring is definitely springing. So take a stroll down the garden path and let your imagination fly.

Story Friday The Garden will be on 3rd May, deadline for submissions is 22nd April.  That’s very soon, so get writing! We’re looking for stories that are 2,000 words or fewer.  (Full submission details are here).  Writers must be available to come to Bath for the event.  If you’d rather not read, we have wonderful actors who can read your story for you.

For more information about Story Friday, to listen to stories that we have recorded at our events over the years, and/or to submit your story please visit A Word In Your Ear.