Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Year of the Short Story

I heard it on the blogvine. That 2012 is the Year of the Short Story. Did you know? This makes me thrilled for two reasons. First because my short story collection has been accepted for publication and will be coming out with this spirit in the air (sadly not till 2013 – I have my debut novel on my other plate!), and next and more roundly because it will increase the standing of this accessible but tricky form.

As a young thing I never wanted to study writing. Didn’t want to have my ideas pushed into shape. I was devoted to Katherine Mansfield, whose shimmering stories I think we should still go back to read. To feel the lightness of a beautifully seamed work, its spilling cloth and crafted movement. To travel quickly grasping the writer’s knowing hand. To feel pulse, labour, precision.

I’m sure so many short story writers have heard it all before – the marvels of the short story, with sudden gusto brought forth by big publishing companies while many have toiled long into the night with smaller publishing companies, or independents, or in self-publishing. But surely there is still reason to celebrate, to dress up and come to the party, wearing an extravagant pair of heels?

I’ll be there. Etherbooks have just put up two more stories of mine on For the unconvinced, my story ‘Innocent’ is free. Try this for size: Flemish aid worker Toby Vlaminck deals with a kleptomaniac driver wearing Peter Fonda sunglasses.

The Year of Well-Written Wonders.

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