Short story news round-up: September 2019

Hot off the press

Congratulations to the Irish writer, Danielle McLaughlin, who has won the £30,000 first prize in the 2019 Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award for her story ‘A Partial List of the Saved’. This is the “richest prize for a single short story in the English language.” While such an achievement is immense, it’s worth remembering what author Philip Hensher said in his introduction to The Penguin Book of the British Short Story, that “with the same money, the newspaper could develop any number of short-story talents by, for instance, commissioning and running a short story every week for £1,000.”

Upcoming literary festivals

Bristol Festival of Fiction 20-22 September

Crickhowell Literary Festival 28-29 September

The Bath Children’s Literature Festival 27 September – 6 October

Birmingham Literature Festival 3-13 October

Cheltenham Literature Festival – 4 October – 15 October

New short story publications

Etgar Keret’s short story collection Fly Already has started getting reviews in the UK press as the English language version of this collection hits shelves. The original Hebrew release won the prestigious Sapir Prize last year. The FT says “The Israeli writer’s compact stories combine comedy and tragedy to often brilliant effect.”

Chatto & Windus has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to publish The Girls’ American author Emma Cline’s first short story collection. Due in 2020.

Jonathan Cape has signed the debut short story collection from Frances Leviston. The collection, The Voice in My Ear, will be published in March 2020.

You couldn’t make it up

A seemingly bonkers story from Pennsylvania on The Times website describes how an author wrote his MO into short stories he subsequently had published in biker magazines in the ’80s. Authors get rightly annoyed at readers conflating characters stories with their biographies. That’s why character-led plot development is encouraged, and defensive cries of “it happened like that in real life” are laughed out of creative writing seminars across the UK. But an author will often draw from experiences and circumstances they have found themselves embroiled in. A careful bit of close reading has led to this already incarcerated author being convicted for a long-unsolved murder by US courts.

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