England’s Future History wants your short stories…

A new short story competition has launched giving writers the chance to map out what happens to England in the future.

England’s Future History is seeking stories or poems between 500 and 3,000 words set in the future and based in England. Simple, right?

The twist is that once a story has been accepted and published, the events in that story become canon – they are officially part of England’s Future History. Other stories that follow have to take these historic events into account.

Some tips:

  • Don’t write us into a corner: The selection of stories will be curated so any that write us into a corner (apocalypse scenarios etc) will be rejected no matter how good they are
  • Think small: Not every story has to have a major event. We’re looking for more personal views of the future. Characters are just as important as the events. But the story should reflect the changing times
  • Follow the timeline: As new stories are published the events of these tales will be added to our timeline. Before you submit, read the timeline to make sure you’re not contradicting someone else.
  • Get connected: One of the aims of this project is to create a connected vision of England’s future. So, you’ll get extra brownie points if you make reference to events in other stories. Think of it as the EFHLU – the English Future History’s Literary University.

What do predict for the future?

Will your story be about the day Wales gains independence? Will your character be the last red head in the UK? Or the first Brit to reach 120 years old?

Will it be about a new technological advance that changes everything or a political movement that threatens to send the country into meltdown?

Or maybe you just imagine a future in which Newcastle finally win the Premier League – stranger things have happened.

The rules…

1. All stories should be under 3,000 words, but can be as little as 500 words.

2. All stories should be set in England at some point in the future.

3. New entries must not contradict anything that has gone before. Check the timeline post for key dates and events.

4. I will have final say on what goes in.

5. All submissions should include a future date at the start so I can easily place it on the timeline.

6. We don’t mind if you have published your stories elsewhere previously.

7. We’d prefer not to remove stories once published – so be certain you want your piece online.

8. We’ll edit your piece for typos  and grammar mistakes, so let me know beforehand if there are any intentional mistakes, grammar styles etc that I should know about.

9. We’ll aim to let you know within 3 weeks.

10. Oh, and it’s free to enter.

11. Deadlines are at the end of March, June, September and December. The next one is Thursday, March 31, 2016.

If you want your story to be included, simply email us with your story as an attachment, a bit about yourself and brief intro to your piece.

Confingo 4 – Available Now

The fourth issue of Confingo is now available – stories by David Gaffney, Matt Harris, Andrew Hook, Kieran Lambe; poems by Karl Astbury, Marianne Daniels, Helena Torres; photography by Rebecca Driffield, Chan-Yang Kim, Zoë McLean, Lucy Ridges, Jordan Sweke; artwork by Ailsa Rhiannon; interview with Lucy Ridges.

Confingo 4 cover sample

https://confingomagazine.wordpress.com/

Word Factory #36 & Masterclass – 19th September – London

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Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

The Word Factory #36 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

Our autumn salon season begins on Sept 19th at Waterstones Piccadilly with Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize winner Carys Davies, the inspirational Toby Litt and two powerful new voices, Tyler Keevil and Diriye Osman. Join us for their readings, and the Q&A afterwards chaired by Word Factory founder Cathy Galvin.

Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Ernest Hemingway:’Hills Like White Elephants’

Join us in September when we will be reading the classic Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants – one of the most iconic short stories in the English language. It’s a tale that seems simple and straightforward, but is laden with symbolism and meaning. What will you discover in Hemingway’s words?

Come and discuss this wonderful story with us at the Word Factory Short Story Club in September.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

Masterclasses

Our masterclass with Toby Litt sold out quickly, but you’re now able to book October and November’s masterclasses via our website. Join us for place & atmosphere with Alex Preston and how to beat digital depression with Kristen Harrison.

www.thewordfactory.tv/events

Also in September…
Word Factory at Small Wonder
Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 Sept 2015

Word Factory is delighted to partner with the Small Wonder Festival within the autumnal warmth of Charleston in Sussex. Reading at this event will be Kirsty Gunn, Stuart Evers and Janice Galloway, followed by a Q&A with Cathy Galvin.

Book your tickets here.

Word Factory #35 & Masterclass – 25th July – London

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Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

Story in Motion: with Jane Feaver

Jane Feaver is a novelist and short story writer, whose a collection of inter-linked stories, Love Me Tender, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Read more about Jane.

‘…the essence of the story is motion. Do not let your chair be “a straight chair, with no arms and a hard wooden seat.” Let your heroine go over and take a firm hold of the back of a straight wooden chair, because at the moment it is stronger than she.’ Shirley Jackson ‘Notes for a Young Writer’. Jane Feaver, the novelist and short story writer, will explore the use of gesture and motion in the short story with reference to the work of Flannery O’Connor. Raymond Carver and more.

This workshop will study the gesture in the short story and some of the ways we might put ‘moveable articles’ to effective use. Suitable for writers sending work out and published, a chance to write and pay attention to detail.

SOLD OUT

Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Roald Dahl: The Great Automatic Grammatizator

Join us in July when we will read a dark and twisted (but bitingly funny) short story – The Great Automatic Grammatizator – by the brilliantly playful Roald Dahl. The story, written in 1954 (but still alarmingly relevant) imagines a world where stories are written by machines. This will strike a wry chord with all writers out there…

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #35 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

Join us for an unmissable evening of storytelling with award-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo; short story champion Jane Feaver; and one of the UK’s best short story writers Stuart Evers, chaired by Word Factory founder Cathy Galvin.

Word Factory #33 & Masterclass – 30th May – London

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Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

The Only Rule Is Yes with Stella Duffy – 1-4pm – SOLD OUT

Stella Duffy won’t teach you how to write the great British novel, provide you with a step-by-step structure with which to write a bestseller, or spend hours reading aloud the works of others so that you can compare your own writing (unfavourably). She will help you acknowledge your writing fears and enthusiasms, find delight in being brave, take the big steps you’ve been dreading and the small steps that feel even harder, and help you remind yourself why you wanted to write in the first place.

Editor’s note: Unfortunately Stella Duffy’s writing workshop is now sold out, however there is time to book your places for Michèle Roberts and David Almond‘s masterclasses at the Tablet festival in Birmingham on 19th June or experience Word Factory at the London Short Story Festival on 21st, June. Take note to be online at 9am on 15th May when we will make tickets available for Neil Gaiman‘s masterclass Q&A with Cathy Galvin taking place on 27th June.

More information and booking here.

Short Story Club – 4.15-5.15pm
Tessa Hadley: One Saturday Morning

Tessa Hadley is a British writer whose short stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She has published many novels and two short story collections, and she read at the Word Factory salon in February 2015. Her stories have been described as ‘novels in miniature’ and also as ‘domestic fiction’, conjuring as they often do the minutiae of comfortable lives, where subtle shifts and minor observations can take on huge significance. Her stories may tread comfortable territory, but they leave a long-lasting impression of disquiet with the reader.

In ‘One Saturday Morning’, published in The New Yorker in August 2014, ten-year-old Carrie’s piano practice is interrupted by the arrival of Dom, one of her parents’ bohemian friends. We follow her as she tries to make sense of the adult news and events that define the rest of the day. Is this a story in which nothing really happens, or does it illuminate a pivotal coming-of-age moment? Come and discuss this subtle, affecting story with us.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #33 – the intimate short story salon – 6-8pm

Book your tickets here.

An unmissable evening of Irish lyricism and fire. Join acclaimed new Irish talent Danielle McLaughlin, recently published in the New Yorker; Belfast-born Word Factory associate director Paul McVeigh; author and power-house Stella Duffy (Ireland via New Zealand) and Dubliner Evelyn Conlon for new work and conversation focused on the enduring strength of the Irish short story. Blarney-free discussion guaranteed, chaired by Cathy Galvin (Ireland via Coventry) .

Redcliffe Future Way 2015

Are you ready to Write the City? Future Way is public installation art project seeking to engage the community of Bristol in Redcliffe’s redevelopment through a playful and exciting exploration of the area.

Working with The Redcliffe Neighbourhood Development Forum in collaboration with published authors, budding writers, artists, architects and community groups, Future Way reveals a series of virtual fictions which immerse the reader between worlds and creatively challenges the way we view our city.

“The Redcliffe Neighbourhood Development Forum is a community group whose mission is to re-imagine and re-make Bristol’s Redcliffe Way.” Redcliffe Forum

Stories are “tagged” to locations within Redcliffe forming a series of fictional trails to be followed through the physical city. These tags can be scanned via QR codes, and accessed via a password located on the tag. Follow the Future Way Map to discover locations.

King of Christmas Steps

Future Way stories have been selected through a month long competition with winning entries by four hugely talented local authors: Angela Brooks, Grace Palmer, David J Rodger and Judy Darley.

The installation will be launched at 1pm on Friday 1st May outside the North Entrance of St Mary Redcliffe Parish Church and will be running indefinitely over the bank holiday weekend and into the coming months.

So explore, play and enjoy as you discover a new magic to Redcliffe and unlock its hidden futures. What does your future Redcliffe hold?

For more information on Future Way visit www.bristolstorytrail.wordpress.com/redcliffe-future-way/ and follow on Twitter @DoaSLiveFiction

Word Factory #32 & Masterclass – 25th April – London

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Join the Word Factory for readings, conversation, masterclasses and publication with the most inspiring short fiction writers.

Performance, confidence and voice with A.L. Kennedy – SOLD OUT

Booking for our masterclasses are now available online through to June. Word Factory regulars have already booked their tickets for A.L Kennedy’s April class – but don’t miss the chance to work with Stella Duffy at her workshop in May where the only rule is yes. Our masterclasses are also travelling to Birmingham in June with Michele Roberts and David Almond. Click the links above to book your place.

In June Neil Gaiman will also be giving an exclusive class and reading: details on our website soon.

Short Story Club – 4.30-5.30pm
Italo Calvino: All at One Point

Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics is a collection of stories, all narrated by the character Qfwfq, each of which takes a scientific fact as a starting point for a fantastical narrative.The first translated edition (from Italian) won the National Book Award in America, and it is one of Calvino’s best known works alongside If on a Winter’s Night A Traveller and Invisible Cities.

In ‘All at One Point’, Calvino takes the notion of the universe’s matter all being concentrated at one point before it began to expand, and imagines Qfwfq and other characters dealing with this situation. It combines a scientific flight of fancy with a familiar-feeling tale of neighbourly tensions, as at the inhabitants of the point clash over gossip, opinions and shared attractions. This is a story which does not fit contemporary expectations. Do you find it satisfying, silly, or wondrously clever? Come and discuss ‘All at One Point’ at the Word Factory Short Story Club in April.

Email Sophie Haydock for more details and a copy of the story: sophie@thewordfactory.tv

The Word Factory #32 – the intimate short story salon – 6.30-8.30pm

Book your tickets here.

Celebrate spring with award-winning authors and fresh talent at The Word Factory. A.L. Kennedy leads our perfomance skills masterclass before joining international star Yiyun Li, our mentor Adam Marek and apprentice Kerstin Twachtmann for readings at the evening salon. The conversation will continue with Director Cathy Galvin, co-founder of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Bristol Story Trail Needs Writers!

Calling all doodlers, ponderers, writers, poets and dreamers!

Get ready for the Bristol Story Trail (starting 15th Feb 2015) brought to you by Dream of a Shadow, an online project bridging the gap between reality and fantasy through storytelling.

Dream of a Shadow is collaborating with published authors and budding writers in Bristol to map the city through the magic of storytelling in an event running alongside Bristol Storyfest 2015.

The more creative minds, the better. So we are currently looking for short story submissions from you – these can be as little as 50 words, or up to 1000 and should be based in Bristol (loosely in the area around Spike Island).

So take a moment and get involved in writing the city!

All stories submitted will be included in the Bristol Story Trail alongside several other writers as well as in exhibitions later in the year, with any contributors fully credited and promoted. For more information, or to email your submissions contact livingfictionbristol@gmail.com

Don’t have time to contribute? No worries – you can still get involved and discover the city of Bristol through some wonderful short works of fiction! Follow us on Twitter to find out how, and spread the word… @DoaSLiveFiction #BristolStoryTrail #WritingTheCity and keep an eye out for new stories on the Bristol Story Trail website

 

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RAC National Short Story Competition

 

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Are you an inspiring writer?

The RAC are launching a nationwide short story competition on the theme of driving in Europe. The aim is to bring to life the joy of driving in Europe. The winner will have the opportunity to win £500 and have their story published by the RAC.

Stories must encompass the theme of driving abroad within the European Union, and all entries will be judged by acclaimed writer, Ben Hatch, author of hilarious  travel books such as Are We There Yet and The Road to Rouen.

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Ben Hatch said: “It’s great to see the RAC launching a national short story competition to explore in a different light the experience that driving in Europe can bring. Short stories are an excellent way of trying out writing styles and narratives and can be a lot of fun, but that’s not to say it’s always easy. With a short story each sentence really does have to earn its place and work in terms of moving the narrative on.”

 

What are the rules?

  • “Concise and exciting writing alongside a real grasp of the driving abroad theme” – Ben Hatch.
  • Short stories must not exceed 1000 words.
  • Stories can include the UK but must include at least one European Union Country. 
  • Entrants must be aged 18 and over.
  • The story should follow a fictional narrative.
  • The competition opens from 19th May 2014 and closes on 11th Sepetember 2014.

The winner will receive £500 and RAC 5* European Breakdown Cover for a year, as well as being published in the RAC Club digital magazine. Two runners-up will be awarded £100 M&S vouchers and shortlisted entries have the chance to be published on the RAC website.

For more information and full terms and conditions, please visit:

www.rac.co.uk/short-story

 

Good luck to all writers, get creative and get writing!

 

 

London Short Story Festival, Waterstones Piccadilly, June 20 – 22

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Hello Short Stops.

By now you’ve hopefully seen or heard of the London Short Story Festival, June 20 – 22nd in association with Waterstones Piccadilly that we’ve been putting together with the passion and specialist knowledge of our guest Festival Director, Paul McVeigh. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about how the Festival came to be from Spread the Word’s perspective.

As London’s writer development organisation, we are always in touch with creative writers of all forms. In particular, our offer for short story writers that includes specialist workshops (for example in the past year with Katy Darby and Adam Marek) are always oversubscribed. Last year our short story prize, won by Clare Sita Fisher for her remarkable tale, Living it Edgeways enabled us to publish our first anthology Edgeways through our publishing imprint, Flight Press.

We were asked by our good friends at IdeasTap to provide feedback for short story writers six times a year. The first brief has just closed, and currently we’re loving reading through all the entries.

The short story momentum was really invigorating us as individuals and as a team. What we really wanted to do was to offer something even more invigorating for short story writers everywhere. And there we were, after murmuring about it for a number of months (or really, years), on a dark rainy day in our cosy offices in Deptford, deciding to go forth and make it happen.

Waterstones Piccadilly is a great venue for this, being the biggest bookshop in Europe, and we are delighted to bring the festival to the beating heart of the book industry.

We’re all writers and passionate readers in the Spread the Word team. For example – Paul Sherreard is a poet, Eva is a short story writer and I’m a playwright dabbling in short stories. Lucy reads, it seems to me by the rate she is sat in front of another title, by osmosis. We’ve worked with Paul McVeigh for a number of years – he’s been our Writer at Large, ran workshops for us and attended some of our specialist writing workshops. His role as Festival Director has enabled him to curate a programme of writers that uses his extensive networks and specialist knowledge of the short story world.

One of the first short story writers that came Paul’s mind for his wish list was Claire Keegan and by jove she’s brilliantly doing three events during the weekend. Add Jackie Kay, Helen Simpson, AL Kennedy, Adam Marek, Jacob Ross, Colin Barrett…and so many more. We hope there’s something for every short story newcomer or lover.

There’s a free ‘Writers’ Space’ too. Litro Magazine, Comma Press and English Pen will give mini-workshops and the wonderful Vanessa Gebbie and Lisa Blower will be on hand to run writing exercises with you. You can still catch the UK exclusive lecture and masterclass from Claire Keegan on ‘How Fiction Works’.

Speakers’ Corner sees a brilliant collection of short story writers reading a story for free at the entrance of Waterstones during the Saturday and Sunday. Speakers’ Corner will enable short stories to echo across the whole bookshop and showcase readings from brilliant British and Irish writers.

We’ll launch our London Short Story Prize to give writers something to aim for, judged this year by Jackie Kay and Word Factory’s Cathy Galvin. Salt Publishing will be there to launch their Best of British Short Stories anthology too with a reading from, among others, London Book Award winner, Stuart Evers.

People often ask who are the best short story writers in the world? Who are the best we’ve ever seen? So often the focus is on American authors. Being a London festival, we have been thinking throughout developing the festival programme, not only who may be considered to be the best British short story writers, but what could be the best British short story ever written? I’m really excited by the idea of people voting for something that isn’t political or covered in sequins and advertising. What would you vote for? Maybe take a look at this blog post on The Guardian by Paul McVeigh to see what stories people are nominating.

If you vote you could also win a Spread the Word Laureate Friend membership and see your favourite story read out by writer and actress Stella Duffy at the close of the Festival. Cast your vote here: www.lssf.co.uk

I hope Short Stoppers will be there to help us make it a huge success and light a new torch for Short Story readers and writers.

Laura Kenwright, Audience Development Manager, Spread the Word

Join the London Short Story Festival conversation @LSSFest / #LSSF / Facebook.com/londonshortstoryfestival 

Get Issue 1 of Bare Fiction Magazine for FREE

ImageWith Issue 2 of Bare Fiction Magazine just a couple of weeks away, we are rather understandably excited. We think you should be too.

Issue 2 is packed yet again with excellent poetry, fiction and plays from an array of fantastic writers such as Hannah Silva (shortlisted for this year’s Ted Hughes award), David Pollard, Ira Lightman (a regular contributor to the BBC Radio 3 programme The Verb), Siddhartha Bose, Angela Readman (winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2013), Rachel Trezise, Tania Hershman, and Niki Orfanou.

As if all the great content in Issue 2 was not enough, in Issue 3 out in July we’ll have brand new work from J.S. Vilares, Jane Roberts (shortlisted for the Bridport), Martin Malone, and Rebecca Goss (shortlisted for the Forward Prize) to name but a few.

How do I get Issue 1 for FREE?

Click through to our special offer subscription post on the Bare Fiction Magazine website and follow the simple instructions to share this offer with your friends on Twitter or Facebook. Once you have done that, our limited offer subscription button will magically appear and let you place your order.

See below for full contents listings for Issues 1 & 2 of Bare Fiction Magazine.

Full contents list for Issue 1 of Bare Fiction Magazine

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FULL CONTENTS LIST FOR ISSUE 2 OF BARE FICTION MAGAZINE

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‘Forests of Antarctica’: December 2013’s edition of Long Story, Short Journal

Photo © Дмитрий Смирнов (Dmitrii Smirnov)

Photo © Дмитрий Смирнов (Dmitrii Smirnov)

“That’s it. Three weeks worth of stuff packed in twenty minutes. It might be a personal best,” Sam said, hovering in the doorway. It was after midnight when Sam walked into the kitchen of their cottage, where Diana liked to do her work at the massive butcher block table, and he looked tired but there was a warm glow in his cheeks. Diana stared at the screen, typing things that she would have to erase later and making notes that meant nothing.

‘The Forests of Antarctica’ by Courtney Watson takes place in Ushuaia, Argentina–the last stop before Antarctica–where the motto is the end of the world, the beginning of everything. Here we find a couple coping with the strain of distance as the husband ventures off on long-term scientific expeditions, leaving his wife to welcome a visitor from his past. Watson’s work is understated and moving, accompanied by a photo by Russian photographer Dimitrii Smirnov.

Get your long story love for free at https://longstoryshort.squarespace.com/stories/