Celebrating the short story

by Emma Harding

It is said that short stories are enjoying something of a renaissance.

 

After years in the shadow of its big brother the novel, the short story is, it would seem, having its moment in the sun.

 

There are more short story competitions than you can shake a stick at – including high-profile ones like the BBC Short Story Competition (and less well-known ones like the Grist Books Point of View Competition – more of which in a minute).

 

Penguin has just published a collection of British short stories, compiled by Philip Hensher into two necessarily huge volumes and including stories from Daniel Defoe to Zadie Smith, as well as many less familiar writers.

Kindle Singles (other e-readers are available!) are providing a platform for lovers of short reads to access works by new and established writers.

 

Perhaps the success of the short story is partly a result of our changing reading habits. We expect information to be delivered in bite-size, Twitter-length morsels. We appreciate taut, pin-sharp writing and have no patience for baggy, flabby prose.

 

And that of course is exactly what the short story offers us. A form which conveys so much detail, complexity, even beauty, in the fewest words possible. A form that caters for every genre, every style, as individual as the writers themselves.

 

Maybe it’s no wonder that the time of the short story has finally come.

 

So it’s a really good time to immerse ourselves in the joy of the short story. Which is exactly what the University of Huddersfield will do on Saturday 5 December at its ‘Celebrating the short story’ event. Part of its Sound: Vision: Place festival, the day will include readings, workshops and a panel discussion to really get under the skin of short stories and their creation.

 

Whether you’re a writer of short stories yourself or just an avid reader of short form fiction, this promises to be an engaging, inspiring and creative day. More details can be found here.

 

And if you’re inspired to pen your own short story then check out the aforementioned Grist Books Point of View competition - open to published and unpublished authors. Poems are also welcome. For more details visit the Grist site.