Short stories seem to be on the ascendancy. They’ve never been ignored, with Aesop, Hemingway, Mansfield and Munroe all making them their signature artform, but in recent years there seems to have been a greater respect and excitement afforded to this most potent form of writing. A good short story is like a magic spell, and must draw you in to its irresistible charms without you even noticing. There can be no preparation or laying of foundations, just bam, straight into the emotion and excitement. Our lives are made of short stories, little episodes taking place every day, and these brief moments of intense feeling are what make up the greater narrative, be that the narrative of a novel or a lifetime.
London Short Story Festival is all about celebrating the form, and from 19-21 June will be doing just that. Centred around Waterstones, Piccadilly, authors present include Joe Dunthorn, a short story writer, novelist and poet, best known for the excellent novel ‘Submarine‘, Salena Godden, a prolific and powerful spoken word artist, Joanna Walsh who has been publishing short stories for a number of years and Jon McGregor who has recently been named by The Guardian as one of the Top Ten writers to see live, but there’s also a whole host of publishers, critics, illustrators and teachers taking to the platform across the program. Much of the festival’s value is in bringing like minded people together, and events such as a special edition of The Word Factory, described as ‘a series of intimate short story salons bringing brilliant writers and readers together for wine, conversation and great work’ certainly help to do that. For those wondering how to get their writing heard and read the Short Story Gatekeepers session will certainly be of interest, there will be a masterclass on finding your own voice with Anita Sethi and Spread The Word reveal more about their Flight 1000 development programme.
Writers, readers, short story lovers and those new to the genre will all learn something new, find something magical, and be reminded of why, when it comes to writing, quality trumps quantity every time. Tickets are available here.