Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Times Short Story Prize Longlist

The first annual Sunday Times short story competition, at £25,000 for a single story now the most lucrative prize in the world for writers published in the UK, has announced its longlist, with several Short Review authors featured. Good luck to all!

Here's the full list:

• Richard Beard - James Joyce, EFL Teacher
• Nicholas Best - Souvenir
• Sylvia Brownrigg - Jocasta
• John Burnside - Slut's Hair
• Will Cohu - Nothing But Grass
• Joe Dunthorne - Critical Responses To My Last Relationship
Petina Gappah - An Elegy for Easterly
• Jackie Kay - Reality, Reality
A.L. Kennedy - Saturday Teatime
Adam Marek - Fewer Things
• Charles Mosley - Constraint
• Chris Paling - The Red Car
• Ron Rash - Burning Bright
• Simon Robson - Will There Be Lions?
Kay Sexton - Anubis and the Volcano
• Helen Simpson - Diary of an Interesting Year
• C.K. Stead - Last Season's Man
• Rose Tremain - The Jester of Astapovo
• Gerard Woodward - Legoland
• David Vann - It's Not Yours

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Short Lit Bits Jan/Feb

Entertaining tidbits from the world of short fiction..
  • In Memoriam #1: JD Salinger dies aged 91. "His stories presented readers with an utterly  natural, strange and often disturbing landscape. Few writers since have come close to capturing the narrative completeness Salinger achieved. Nothing is out of place, in other words. " True/Slant. As a tribute, The New Yorker publishes 12 of his stories from back issues.
  • Great short story quote #1: "Short stories seem so harmless. What are they even about? People who have a hard time talking to other people, usually. But great ones — the ones that don't just reflect life but actually conjure it in full force — can mess up your head and heart. "  Entertainment Weekly on Amy Bloom.
  • Get 'em for free#1: is offering customers a free Ian McEwan short story as an e-book ahead of the release of his latest novel. Loyalty cardholders can download part one of Psychopolis from the retailer's website. The story was originally published in McEwan's short story collection In Between the Sheets and is about a lovestruck Englishman living in Los Angeles.

  • Great short story quote #2: "Short stories, she says, "are a great form. Not as people often think — little chips or a string of anecdotes — they have breadth and depth and are difficult to write. They're very demanding and very different from a novel, with its endless darkness, endless climb." Amy Bloom on short stories, Hartford Courant
  • Congrats #1: Penn State University English and creative writing professor Eugene Cross has won the annual $5,000 Dzanc Prize from Dzanc Books. The award supports both his creative writing and his efforts to build a series of creative workshops for refugees from Nepal, Sudan and Bhutan living in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania.  Alongside his workshops, Cross hopes to complete his short story collection, "Fires of Our Choosing."  Dzanc Prize
  • Short story rage: "Today I was asked if I would write a short short story. It would be part of a Fringe Festival – dread words – and would go up on some walls in an exhibition of similar short short stories, but without my name attached to it.  .. in the mad world of those with well-meaning but lunatic desires for egalitarianism in absolutely everything my fifty years writing 43 books, learning my trade and re-learning it, practising my craft, hoping to improve, reading the best to learn from them,  putting out words in a careful order every day of my life, working with the talent I was given by God - none of that matters a jot...." Susan Hill in the Spectator.
  • Who knew? #1: "F.X. Toole, a cut man who became a literary sensation at the age of 70 with the short stories that inspired the Oscar-winning movie MILLION DOLLAR BABY, has been named the winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s 2010 A.J. Liebling Award...The acclaim for Toole’s gritty, evocative short story collection ROPE BURNS served as the final reward for a knockaround guy who spent so much of his life as an unpublished — and frustrated — writer. " Boxing Blog.
  • Celeb endorsements #1: "Timothy Hutton - Literary Sex god... Hutton has recently tweeted his affinity for Deborah Eisenberg’s short-story collection, Twilight of the Superheroes." ChristianKaneFan Blog
  • Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #1: "Israeli death metallers SALEM have revealed the album artwork and final tracklisting on the group’s upcoming seventh full-length album entitled “Playing God And Other Short Stories.”" 
  • Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #2: "Keyboardist Franz Nicolay Leaves The Hold Steady...This will presumably open up his schedule to more solo material, like his 2009 album Major General and his upcoming short story collection Complicated Gardening Techniques". Prefix mag 
  • We heartily agree #1: "Let’s Declare the 2010s the Decade of the Short Story...According to The Guardian, 2009 was the year of the short story. I’m going to have to agree with them. After all, Oprah chose a short story collection for her book club for the very first time, Alice Munro won the Man Booker International, Elizabeth Strout’s short story collection was awarded the Pulitzer, and great short story collections were published. One Story’s subscriptions are higher than ever, which surprised us–after all, the economy is forcing all of us to tighten our wallets." Save the Short Story 
  • We'd love to read this if we had a translator #1: "Multi-awarded writer and winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Short Story in Hiligaynon) Prof. Alice Tan-Gonzales launched her [collection] entitled “Sa Taguangkan sang Duta kag Iban Pa nga Sugilanon (In the Womb of the Earth and Other Stories)” at the UPV Art Gallery on December 4, 2009 at UPV Iloilo City Campus.The collection of short stories is, according to Prof. Gonzales, her answer to the demoralizing opinion expressed by some from the metropolitan center that writing in the regional languages is dying . It is her hope that this small collection would impel a rush of literary activity and publication among talented Hiligaynon writers in the region, some of whom, she said, are hiding in the shadows of “unpublishedness” and anonymity. The News Today 
  • Short stories save the economy and up your street cred #1: "In these trying times of economic uncertainty, many of us are looking for ways to maximise efficiency and return on investment, while minimising risk and limiting the possibility of failure....Fear not, intrepid investors!  The library has the perfect solution – Short Stories.  That’s right, audience, you heard me.  For decades regarded as the poor cousin of ‘real books’, these polished little beauties offer all the excitement and intrigue of a novel, but with so many added advantages......They sound posh.  Literary, even.  “What are you reading?”  “Oh, this?  It’s just a little collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors.”  “Ooohh, posh!”" Christchurch City Libraries Blog
  • What a Shame #1: "Cardiff-based author Jo Verity won the Richard and Judy Short Story award in 2003 with The Bells, a year before they launched their wider book club....As a result of the exposure, Welsh publisher Honno bought her first novel, but she says she was surprised by the lack of attention following her Richard and Judy success. “After winning, I thought that people would beat a path to my door, but there was absolutely nothing,” Verity recalls. “I think it was because no one wants to read short stories.”" WalesOnline 
  • A Rare Find #1: "Occasionally from the nation's cultural attic come rare finds, like this wondrous new collection of Kurt Vonnegut short stories. This collection holds 14 previously unpublished short stories written after World War II when Vonnegut was back home after witnessing the firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war." Post Gazette 
  • Congrats #2: "Kalamazoo author Bonnie Jo Campbell has garnered another honor for her short story collection “American Salvage.” On Saturday, she was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction" Kalamazoo Living 
  • Great short story quote #3: "If you are feeling particularly ants-in-your-pants-y, and don’t have much time to read, grab a short story collection and put your 20 minute attention span to good use. That episode of Dancing with the Stars can wait." Tulsa Library Blog 
    • Great short story quote #4: "Last night at dinner, my friend Scott explained to someone, "Becky writes short stories--short stories are to the point, but you don't always know what the point *is*." Such a good summation of the strengths and weaknesses of stories." Rose-coloured: Talking Stories blog.
    • Happy 150th, Chekhov! #1: "ANTON CHEKHOV once told a friend that he expected to be forgotten within seven years of his death. He could not have been more wrong. Whenever the art of the short story is discussed his is the name most often mentioned." Irish Times
    • Starting young #1 "Adora Svitak, 12, describes herself as an "educator, poet and humanitarian." After publishing her first book of short stories, "Flying Fingers", at age seven, she dedicated all profits from sales in China to a Tibetan orphanage and raised $30,000 to help children threatened by massive floods in Vietnam in 2007. Now, Svitak is attempting to raise $10,000 for Save the Children's relief efforts in Haiti through her Twitter account". Huffington Post.
    • Musicians jump on short stories bandwagon #3 & Short Review Authors #1: "Singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado has optioned the film rights to Anthony De Sa's linked story collection, Barnacle Love [reviewd on TSR here]. The deal was arranged by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates, on behalf of The Bukowski Agency." Quill and Quire.  
    • Congrats #3 & We'd love to read this if we had a translator #2: "Short story writers have won all of the 2010 Rancage Literary Awards, which recognise outstanding literature written in local languages. The Rancage Cultural Foundation has selected this year’s award winners, given annually to Sundanese, Javanese, Balinese and Lampung literary figures for their creative excellence and dedication to preserving local literary traditions." The Jakarta Post
    •  Get 'em for free #2: "Todd Brendan Fahey, author of the novel Wisdom's Maw [Far Gone Books, 1996]--surrounding the CIA's LSD experiments, known as Project MK-ULTRA--has opted to disperse his collection of black satire, "Dogshit Park & other atrocities," freely over the Internet." 
    • Happy 150th, Chekhov! #2: "his stories are full of people who espouse views very similar to the above – enlightened misfits, philanthropic gentry, civilised professionals (often doctors like himself) holding a candle for reason, justice and all the rest. But the stories themselves invariably subject this posture to challenges that cast doubt over its relevance, even its basic validity, so that to pin down an authorial point of view becomes impossible." The Guardian
    • No Age Limit #1: "The Bookbite survey of 1,162 people over 60 suggested they were increasingly confident with the internet and they were using it to find information about an older medium - books. More than 55% said the internet was a crucial part of their lives, while 31% were keen to go online to publish short stories and join book clubs." BBC News

    • Short stories on film #1: "a short story by British author Eleanor Farjeon, is being adapted into a Japanese/Korean animation feature film. The Union Cho animation studio plans to release The Moon - Tsuki ga Hoshii to Ōjo-sama ga Naita comical fairy-tale fantasy in Spring of 2011. Farjeon first published the original story in The Little Bookroom, the 1955 short story collection that earned the author the first Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal." Anime News Network 
    • Happy 150th Birthday, Chekhov! #3: "As worldwide celebrations marking the 150th birthday celebrations of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov continue, a CD of some of his most renowned works is being launched. Short Stories by Anton Chekhov Bk.2, narrated by Russian-born actor Max Bollinger, features the dramatic stories Anyuta; The Helpmate; Ivan Matveyitch; Polinka; and Talent. Featuring music from Pytor Tchaikovsky, the stories are based on the original translations by Constance Clara Garnett, a 19th century expert of Russian literature, and are produced by Interactive Media." Pressport 
    • Who knew? #1: "Everyone pretty much assumed John Hughes didn’t quit writing when he quit Hollywood, and eventually some archive would burst open with nearly 20 years of stockpiled Hughesian goodies. But good luck finding anyone outside the late filmmaker’s inner circle who knew he’d been publishing in our midst all along — not as John Hughes, alas, but as the pseudonymous, prolific short-story craftsman JL Hudson. Like, really short. But also, as a few newly published samples prove, pretty damned excellent." Movieline
    • Congrats #3 & Short Review Authors #2: "Daniyal Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, which we reviewed here, is a finalist for the National Book Award.  
    • What David Sedaris Read this Year #1: "ometimes, I do sit down and read with my eyes. This year, I came across several short-story collections I exceptionally love,....My four favorite collections, arranged alphabetically, were: “Irish Girl,” by Tim Johnston, “Too Much Happiness,” by Alice Munro, “Do Not Deny Me” by Jean Thompson, “Everything Ravaged Everything Burned,” by Wells Tower"." New Yorker Book Bench 

      Monday, February 8, 2010

      Short stories that go that little bit further

      This month's issue includes a review of Ox-Tales, the four-book fundraising set of short fiction loosely inspired by Air, Fire, Earth and Water published by Oxfam, Britain's biggest charity. This is just one example of a short story collection which spreads itself further than just the reader's enjoyment.

      When I started compiling this blog post, I thought there might be a few - but then the list kept growing. At The Short Review, we encourage everyone to read short story collections, however you might get hold of them, but in this case, we feel justified in saying: Go buy these books!

      100 Stories for Haiti: Greg McQueen's instant response to the tragedy in Haiti was to call for submissions for a very speedily-produced anthology of short short stories from authors across the globe, including many Short Review authors and reviewers [and me... TH] to raise money to help the survivors of the recent earthquake. The book will be published shortly, and all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.

      The whole ethos of Madras Press, a new US-based small press, is to publish "individually bound short stories and novella-length booklets and distribute the proceeds to a growing list of charitable organizations chosen by our authors." Madras' first four beautiful-produced books have just been published: The Third Elevator by Aimee Bender, whose proceeds are donated to InsideOUT Writers; Bobcat by Rebecca Lee, whose chosen charity is Riverkeeper; Sweet Tomb by Trinnie Dalton, proceeds benefiting the Theodore Payne Foundation; and A Mere Pittance, by Madras Press founder Sumanth Prabhaker, proceeds going to Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled.

      These books make wonderful presents - and for writers, submissions are now being accepted!

      Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction is the first chess fiction anthology of contemporary stories, ever published. Mongoose Press has collected the best work from twelve of the most talented chess fiction writers of the past decade. In these rich and compelling stories, chess shines as a sophisticated metaphor, and fans of the game will applaud how chess is woven with technical accuracy into every narrative. All profits from Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction, help support multiple chess charities.
      Speaking with the Angel is an anthology of 12 short stories by the likes of Nick Hornby, Melissa Bank, Dave Eggers, Helen Fielding and Zadie Smith, with £1 being donated from every copy to TreeHouse, a charity helping children with autism.

      A few months ago, we reviewed Freedom, the short story anthology from Amnesty International which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and raises money for Amnesty's work. Said our review: "When Amnesty International commissioned writers to celebrate the anniversary of the UDHR, they might have compiled a collection of articles, of reportage, of case studies. But choosing the short story form was, in my opinion, a brilliant idea. The greatest short stories don't just tell you something, they slip you beneath someone else's skin. And to really feel what the UDHR represents, what atrocities it is attempting to prevent, that is where we need to be."

      Another book we reviewed was the One World anthology, stories from Malaysia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Botswana, Bangladesh, US, Cameroon, Wales, Greece, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, Australia. All authors' royalites are donated to Médecins Sans Frontières.

      The Girls Night In series of anthologies raise money for the charities War Child and No Strings - they have raised £1 million since 1999! Their latest books are Kids Night In 3 , short stories for children, and Girls Night In 4.
      Megan Wynne's creative writing students in Skerries, Ireland, recently published Stories to Remember Us, with all proceeds being donated to Remember Us, a social support group for young people with special needs and their families.

      Punk Fiction, which we reviewed here, is an anthology of short stories inspired by punk, with £1 from each copy sold will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
      Sexy Short for Chefs, "a tasty collection of sumptuous short stories mixed with delicious recipes" with a forward by Anthony Worrall-Thompson, is the latest in the Sexy Shorts  range of fund-raising anthology - this one donates £1 per copy to the Breast Cancer Campaign.

      Also donating the proceeds to a breast cancer charity, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, this Australian anthology, Thank for the Mammories, is comprised of "entertaining stories from some of the world's most popular female authors celebrate bosoms great and small".
      In 2007, Irish publishers Poolbeg brought out the anthology Thirty and Fabulous to celebrate their 30th birthday. All royalties were donated to Women's Aid.


      Although this title is now out of print, it's worth of a mention. In 2004, heart scientist Stanley Salmons, a professor at Liverpool University's Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, published a collection of 23 short stories, Alexei's Tree, to raise money to support children in disaster zones. Money raised from the book was donated to the David Baum International Foundation, a charity that is training doctors at home and abroad to cope with the needs of children in deprived areas of the world.

      Bridge House Publishing have announced that they will produce an annual charity short story anthology. The first will be a collection of animal stories for adults, to be published this year, with proceeds donated to Born Free.

      Inspiration for anyone who wants to publish a fund-raising anthology! If you know of any more, please let us know in the Comments.