A collection of five interlinked stories (from an award-winning documentary film-maker) that take us from Ghana to Orkney, and from Spain to Norway and Thailand. As a minor character from one story assumes a major role in the next, we meet a fascinating cast, including Imoro the magic elephant, the Walrus Prince, and the Wild Princesses of Rousay.
I always think short story anthologies make ideal presents for young readers, especially when you can’t be sure what books they have already read, or might be given by somebody else.
And look at the list of authors represented here:
Each story has been specially commissioned for this collection so they won’t have been read anywhere else, even if the recipient is already a fan of several of these authors, as well they might be.
It’s a wonderfully well curated anthology, with full notes on all the contributors, as well as an Introduction and Editor’s Note by Tony Bradman himself.
Random House Children’s Publishers (RHCP) will next year publish a collection of YA love stories edited by children’s laureate Malorie Blackman.
Love Hurts is a mixture of new stories and extracts from published books. Contributing authors include Melvin Burgess, James Dawson, Laura Dockrill, Patrick Ness,Phil Earle, Matt Haig, Non Pratt, David Levithan, Bali Rai and Maureen Johnson.
The book will be published in paperback in February next year.
16 Authors On Short Story Award Longlist
The shortlist (of 6) will be announced on 2 March; the winner will be announced at a gala dinner at Stationer’s Hall in London on Friday 4 April.
Two Pulitzer Prize winners and a Man Booker shortlistee vie with newcomers for Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award – at £30,000 the richest in the world for an individual short story.
Elizabeth Strout and Adam Johnson (Pulitzer Prize winners) and M J Hyland (Man Booker shortlistee) contend with three 2013 Granta Best of Young Novelists (Tahmima Anam, Jenni Fagan and Taiye Selasi) and other debut novelists such as Alissa Nutting and Marjorie Celona in the most wide-ranging longlist yet.
The annual BBC National Short Story Award in partnership with Booktrust is now open for submissions for the ninth year.
Publishers, agents and published authors from the UK are invited to submit stories for the 2014 Award until the closing date: 5pm (GMT) on Friday 28 February 2014.
The first award that recognises long-standing creativity and achievement in writing short stories has been presented to William Trevor.
Trevor was unable to attend the presentation in person but said, “This is an award for what I do best, which is to write short stories. I also write novels but short stories are what I love and have always loved. I’m hugely honoured. It does mean a great deal to me. It has come from the right source. If I were to associate myself forever with the short story, this is the way I would like to do it.”
Diana Reich (seen above), the Award Administrator, who recently visited Trevor at his Devon home to record an interview that was played to the audience at the award event, says, “William Trevor is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary practitioners of the art of the short story in the English Language, a master exponent of the tragedy of manners. He has been a lodestar for generations of short story writers, both national and international, who have followed him. He was the unanimous choice as the first recipient of the new Award. “
Alison MacLeod, Professor of Contemporary Fiction, University of Chichester says: “It is a huge honour to be able to celebrate nearly fifty years of short fiction from a writer who describes himself as “a short-story writer who happens to write novels.” William Trevor is, without doubt, one of our most extraordinary writers. His vision of the lives of others is as sharp as it is compassionate; as sensitive as it is wry. How lucky we are.”
Dr Sarah Gilroy, Deputy Vice-Chancellor University of Chichester says: “We are delighted to build upon our long-standing partnership with Charleston and Small Wonder Festival by creating this literary award celebrating the vibrant discipline of short story writing.”
William Trevor’s long time editor at Penguin, Tony Lacey, says: “In recent years, William Trevor has alternated publishing collections of short stories with full-length novels. As a novelist his subject is sometimes regarded as the fate of the Irish Protestants in the country during the War of Independence and the Civil War, and the Irish state that followed, and that is indeed a potent theme in some of his most famous books: The Story of Lucy Gault and The Silence in the Garden, for example. But these are not Big House novels, with the drama – or melodrama – that that phrase implies. They are understated and elegiac, concerned with character as much as plot. In this sense they reflect his short stories, a genre which Trevor has championed for many years: his Collected Stories, published in two volumes in 2009, amount to almost 2000 pages. There can be no living writer who has dedicated himself to the genre with such devotion over such a long writing life. The stories are set in Ireland and America, England and Italy, in cities and small towns, but wherever they are set they exhibit a particularly deep sympathy for the downcast, the downtrodden and the downhearted. One thinks of the younger son left behind to run the farm after his siblings have left for richer lives abroad; or the husband, whose wife is suffering from dementia, sitting in their favourite restaurant wondering why a couple are wasting their time bickering; or the old priest wrongly accused of abuse.
Many of these stories are so perfect that they challenge analysis or criticism. They seem to come perfectly formed. And, perhaps the true test of a great short story, it seems as though they could only exist in that form: they’re not fragments of a novel, buds that might burgeon into something else, but perfect works of art in their own right.”
Lacey conceded (listen to the audioclip) that in Trevor’s case he had not really been an editor at all. Trevor would deliver a perfect manuscript which he would be able to pass on straight to production.
The recipient of the Award was selected by a panel of experts in the short story genre:
- Patrick Cotter: Director of the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award
- Cathy Galvin: Founder of the Sunday Times/EFG Short Story Award
- Alison MacLeod: Professor of Contemporary Fiction, University of Chichester
- Ra Page: Publisher, Comma Press
- Diana Reich: Artistic Director Small Wonder Short Story Festival
- Di Speirs: Editor, Readings, BBCR4
I recommend this Guardian interview from 4 years ago.
The Collected Short Stories of William Trevor are available in a 2000-page, two-volume edition from Penguin.
Click the image above.
Wired features an illustrated book of three Kafka short stories aimed at children…
One morning Matthue Roth was about to dive into a collection of Franz Kafka’s writings when his two young daughters asked him to read them a story. They had a pile of children’s books to choose from, but upon seeing the cartoonish Kafka cover (illustrated by comic artist Sammy Harkham), his kids had little interest in their age-appropriate choices. “My older daughter said, no, read us this,” Roth recalls. “I said, fine, if you insist, and then I dove in without warning them.” What could have have been a source of nightmares for weeks turned out to be a total hit. Roth’s daughters were mesmerized by Kafka’s strange, macabre tales. So much so that it inspired Roth to write My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs, an illustrated, kid-friendly adaptation of three classic Kafka stories.
Today’s Kindle Daily Deal is highly recommended:
Kindle Daily Deal
by Edith Pearlman
A spectacular collection of tender and observant short stories from the master of the genre.
Deal Price: £1.09 (82% off)
Frank O’Connor Award Shortlist
Worth €25,000, the Frank O’Connor is the world’s richest award for a single short-story collection, and has been won by some of the biggest names in international literature, from Haruki Murakami to Nathan Englander and Edna O’Brien. This year judges chose a shortlist of six titles from 78 longlisted books, with writers including George Saunders, Junot Díaz, Molly Ringwald, Emma Donoghue and former winner Ron Rash all missing out.
Instead, the panel went for Oates’s Black Dahlia & White Rose, which includes a story about a friendship between Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Short, and Swiss writer Stamm, a finalist for this year’s Man Booker International prize, for We’re Flying.
Oates’s fellow American Claire Vaye Watkins was selected for Battleborn, set in her home state of Nevada, and Canadian Tamas Dobozy for Siege 13, a series of linked stories alternating between second world war Hungary and a community of Hungarian émigrés in the contemporary west.
Britain’s contenders are Levy, shortlisted for the Booker last year and this time picked for her collection Black Vodka, which includes a story in which a hunchbacked man has a date with his perfect girl, and Constantine, chosen for Tea at the Midland, a collection which the Guardian called “masterful … pregnant with fluctuating interpretations and concealed motives”.
The winner will be announced in the first week of July, with the award to be presented in September at the culmination of the Cork International short story festival.
Those who appreciate short stories would so well to check out this collection of stories by Caroline England
Watching Horsepats Feed The Roses – Caroline England [ACHUKAbooks]
as reported by John Harris in The Guardian (worth reading in full):
[Tim Waterstone] is also about to return to bookselling as non-executive chairman of a new venture called Read Petite. This will be launched to the trade at next week’s London Book Fair, and to the public in the autumn. An online outlet for short-form ebooks (fiction and non-fiction), its users will pay a monthly subscription – “a few pounds” – and have unlimited access to texts of around 9,000 words or under.
But this is no literary Spotify, offering hundreds of thousands of items with little quality control: Waterstone is insistent the service will be “curated” to ensure a high standard. Authors will have appeared in traditional print, and have been brought to Read Petite by a publisher. “The individual short story, or whatever it is, may not have been published, but the author will be an established, published writer,” he says, drumming his fingers on the table to emphasis those last three words. “The whole point is to avoid a slush-pile of material. What we’ll guarantee is quality writing.”
Read Petite’s name was inspired by Reet Petite, Jackie Wilson’s 1957 rhythm and blues classic. One of its key players, former Bookseller editor Neill Denny, has come along to further explain what it is all about. The pair are particularly excited about the chance to serialise new fiction à la Charles Dickens, reintroducing readers to the long-forgotten art of the cliffhanger. They enthuse about how e-readers seem to have increased people’s appetite for short-form writing. In the US, the New York Times has reported on a resurgence of the short story, benefiting new and established writers. We talk about such short-story masters as Somerset Maugham, Stephen King and Annie Proulx, and why the publishing industry has never quite managed to market the form.
“A lot of the best short fiction has never been properly exposed, because publishers don’t find it commercially comfortable,” says Waterstone. His bookselling business did have success with Graham Greene’s short stories, but such successes were rare. “Even with a collection, how do you package it? It’s difficult in print: traditionally, money was used up on production and distribution, and not enough was left for promotion. In the digital world, production costs are virtually nil, and distribution costs don’t exist, so you’re left with a much cleaner sheet.”