Saturday, November 04, 2017

A personal short story anthology

Jonathan Gibbs invited me to contribute to his fantastic weekly project (which you can sign up to to receive by email) in which a short story fan picks their own "personal anthology" of 12 short stories, sometimes on a theme, sometimes not. I really enjoyed putting my personal anthology together, and picked 12 stories that are all available to read online, ranging from 400 to 4000 or so words, and from the US, UK, New Zealand, Ireland and Israel. Here's a taster:

When I started compiling my personal anthology, at first I thought it would be more of a Desert Island short stories, the ones that have stayed with me for years, the stories I use over and over again in workshops and which leave me reeling each time I read them (my requirement for a great short story). But then I stepped back and noticed a theme running through: Family. Not just the one we are born into, but the families we choose, be that in romantic relationships or friendships. This is something that crops up in my own work again and again – my first collection turned out (unplanned) to be about different ways to approach parenthood, or non-parenthood, and all my stories (as perhaps all stories of any length are) address the difficulties of relating to other people. These are 12 of my all-time favourites, varying in length from a few hundred words to a few thousand, and moving from the UK to America, New Zealand, Ireland and Israel. I would be very happy with them on a desert island – and they are all available to read online too. I hope you are left reeling from some of them too.

'Mother' by Grace Paley, First published in Later The Same Day (FSG, 1985), included in Sudden Fiction, edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas (Peregrine Smith, 1986), and available to read online here

This is one of the first very short stories I ever read, in an anthology of “sudden fiction” edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas and published by Norton in 1983, and I was knocked sideways by it. How is it possible to do all this in just over a page?...

Read the rest here!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

My writing week - an audio diary

The Royal Literary Fund, my employers and a wonderful organisation supporting writers, asked me to keep an audio diary for a week, about my writing. I picked a week when I actually did some! If you'd like, you can listen to it here...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quantum shorts competition 2017


I'm honoured to once again be on the judging panel for the excellent Quantum Shorts competition alongside Brian Greene, oh my! So, what do you need to do to win? Well:

You have from now until 1st December 2017 to send us a story up to 1000 words long. We challenge you to open your imagination to the strange ways of quantum particles and anticipate a new era of quantum technology

There is much inspiration for your stories on the website, do check it out - looking forward to reading your quantum flashes!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

God Glows short story

My nuns & biochemistry short story ‘God Glows’, from my new short story collection, is For Books’ Sake’s Weekend Read this weekend! Here’s a little taster:

Mother Superior agrees to fund Emmylene’s equipment.
    “Science is so soothing,” she says, her deep voice making it sound biblical.
    Soothing? thinks Emmylene, almost tempted, once again, to blaspheme. Memories of frogs’ bodies slit open for prying fingers and the shrieking of one girl who vomited violently. Not so much, she thinks.
    “Pouring from one test tube to the other, the elements of life,” says Mother Superior. Emmylene sees that faraway look in her eyes.
    “Yes,” she says. “Soothing. I’ll go and place the order.”
    “Thank you, Sister Morris. Bless your endeavours.” Mother Superior sits back behind her desk and Emmylene goes to phone the supplier.

Read the rest of the story here >>

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

There's No-One In the Lab But Mice - On Radio 4 again!


BBC Radio 4 just re-broadcast my short story from last year, There's No-One In the Lab But Mice (produced by the excellent Sweet Talk Productions) in which I imagine what might happen when all scientists go on strike... And they allowed me to read it myself, for the first time! It's now available on iPlayer for those of you in the right regions to get that sort of thing - until Oct 22nd.