Friday, 30 November 2012

My story in Overheard a Salt anthology

I'm catching up on my non-posting bad behaviour now. 

I recently had a story called 'Ill Angels Haunt Me' published in the marvellous Salt anthology, 'Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud,' edited by Jonathan Taylor. 
A wonderful writer himself, (his book 'Entertaining Strangers' has just come out) Jonathan managed to get an amazing collection of talent together, including writers like Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, Blake Morrison and Louis De Bernières, along with other personal favourites of mine like Vanessa Gebbie, Jane Holland and Gemma Seltzer. 

Here's a bit about the book: 
'From village storytellers to nineteenth-century serialisations, from pub anecdotes to dramatic monologues, storytelling is an enduring art form. This collection of short stories reconnects storytelling with its oral and performative roots. There are stories here for performance, stories which play with sound, stories which dramatise conflicting voices, and stories which are musical in style. 
Because of the way these stories speak from the page, it doesn't matter whether or not they are actually read out loud. Rather, these are stories which might equally be ‘performed’ on the reader’s mental stage, heard in the reader’s mind’s-ear. 
There is a burgeoning culture in the U.K. and beyond of oral story-telling and prose writers performing their work live, a culture which has developed out of the popularity of poetry in performance. There are numerous collections and anthologies which aim to capture the energy of performance poetry on the page. There is, though, no comparable literature for stories in performance – making this collection unique.
In order to demonstrate the huge diversity of possible performance styles in prose, the collection mingles flash fiction with more sustained stories, genre fiction with realism, experimental pieces with oral storytelling. Contributors are similarly varied in their styles, backgrounds, experience and genres, and include Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Ian McEwan, Blake Morrison, Louis De Bernières, Adele Parks, Kate Pullinger, Adam Roberts, Michelene Wandor, Vanessa Gebbie, Judith Allnatt, Jo Baker, David Belbin, Panos Karnezis, Jane Holland, Gemma Seltzer, Ailsa Cox and Will Buckingham.'

A shameless plug I know, but I'm really chuffed to be included.

100 word story being judged by Jeffrey Archer!

It's been ridiculously long since I posted anything. What with 3 freelance editorial jobs at the same time, plus the novel-writing course I'm doing at Curtis Browne Literary agency, it's been pretty manic.

Squeezing writing in has been really tricky. So being set a finite task by Lord Archer when he came in to speak to us, was good fun.

He'd been commissioned to write a 100 word (including title) story by Reader's Digest, and last year he'd asked the other course members to write one, so we were set the same task.

It's a great challenge for a writer, as you can't have any extraneous words whatsoever, so its a good exercise in cutting back the flab. I wrote mine on the train coming back from the session, and it was like a Jenga puzzle, trying to get it down to exactly 100 words!

There are a lot of hugely talented writers on the course, so I was very honoured to have my bit of flash fiction chosen as one of the four stories to be judged by Lord Archer. The winner will be published on the Curtis Browne website, but to be honest making it to the top four amongst such great work is pretty exciting in itself.


My story is called 'The zoo of extinct animals'. Here's a doodle of a saber-toothed tiger I drew, although I can't promise that it is anthropologically accurate.