BUT - the best thing to do in the face of the decision by one of the world's largest commissioners of short stories is to CELEBRATE the short story even harder. And one of the best ways I can think of is to tell you how amazing ShortStoryVille was this past weekend in Bristol. Organized by the Bristol Short Story Prize, it was a half-day of panel discussions and readings at the Arnolfini arts centre, with so many fabulous writers: Sarah Salway, Alison MacLeod, Janice Galloway, Stuart Evers, Helen Oyeyemi, Gareth Powell, Emma Newman, Patricia Fergusion, Sarah Hilary, and Amy Mason - and other guests - Bidisha, Scott Pack, David Hebblethwaite and Clare Hey - talking about short stories. Here are some pictures:
Bidisha talking to Sarah Salway, Alison MacLeod and Janice Galloway
Alison reading from one of her short stories from 15 Modern Tales of Attraction
Janice reading her short story, Where you Find It
Sarah reading from her story The Woman Downstairs
the panel I chaired on reading short stories, with Scott, David and Clare
Joe Spurgeon chatting to Stuart and Helen
Sarah, Gareth, Amy and me reading.
Bristol Short Story Prize winner Emily Bullock!
I did promise to write about our Reading Short Stories panel discussion but having been part of it, I am finding it hard to recall exactly what we talked about so I have to rely on others! What I do remember is Scott Pack telling us he began his reading-a-short-story-per-day Me and My Stories project because he was trying to break his fixation on reading a whole book in one go...David Hebblethwaite likes to read anything and everything and gives a story at least a page to grab him before he abandons it, whereas Clare Hey of ShortFire Press gives a story only a few sentences.
No-one, sadly, admitted to doing a little short story dance after reading an excellent story (no, I didn't really expect them too) and also there was no difference amongst the panel when reading stories online or in print. And in response to another, excellent, question, we all gave recommendations for further reading, including: Miranda July's No-One belongs Here More Than You (Clare), Nina Allen's A Thread of Truth (David), Ryan Boudinot's The Littlest Hitler (Scott) and Anthony Doerr's Memory wall(me).
For more, visit Vanessa Gebbie's blog to read her take on the day...And don't stop celebrating the short story, despite the apparent lunacy around us!