Thursday, July 21, 2011

Celebrating the short story - Part 3

One lovely thing that has emerged from the fight to stop BBC Radio 4 cutting its once-daily Afternoon Reading short story program to once-weekly is the wealth of wonderful messages left by those signing the petition to protest the cuts. Here are a few:
"Short stories are gems that light up our lives. Please retain them on Radio 4. Readers, writers and listeners all have our lives enriched by short fiction. I urge you to reconsider and then reverse this extraordinary decision."
"My father went blind in his later years and relied on audio recordings. Yes, there are audio books but the whole point to the radio is to have an opportunity to taste the unexpected."
"I've been learning English by reading AND listening to short stories. Reducing the short story output on Radio damages not only the pleasure of the listeners but culture/education/learning also."
Radio 4 has always been a beacon of light in the world of the short story - why turn off that light when it costs so little and achieves so much?  
My husband doesn't really enjoy reading, but will happily listen to short stories on Radio 4 and will thoroughly enjoy them. If we're listening in the car we have stay there until the story is finished, even if we've reached our destination! Far too important to cut back.
"I LOVE the short story slot. I switch on my radio at 3.30pm purely for that and nothing else...I even listen to the end of Money Box Live so I don't miss the beginning of the story. It is the one moment in my day where I can switch off from everything else and enter another world. We all need stories: they make us understand the world in which we live. They persuade us to empathise, to see another perspective, to understand other cultures, to imagine ourselves in someone else's shoes. Stories are what make us human and interactive. Don't take them away."
Click here to read more comments... and don't forget to sign!

Some more story positivity - Vanessa's comment on my last blog post needed a bit more exposure:
...Philip Pullman, speaking last night in support of the Save Our Six Libraries initiative, came out strongly in support of story. And spoken story. And the importance of hearing fiction read, (he talked about children, but in context, in a celebration of language - and his remarks can equally be applied to radio, and adults...)
Yippee! Save the libraries too...

And finally, a great way to celebrate the short story is to send your own stories out into the world, so here are a few upcoming deadlines for you:

July 31st: Sean O'Faolain Short Story Prize: Judged this year by Ian Wild. Entry fee €15, US $20 or £15, up to 3000 words. Prize is €1,500 for the overall winner, €500 for 2nd prize and €120 for four shortlisted stories. Online or postal entry.

August 12th: Manchester Fiction Prize: Judged by Heather Beck, John Burnside, Alison MacLeod and Nicholas Royle . Entry fee £15, up to 3000 words. Prize is £10,000 for the overall winner. Online or postal entry. All work submitted for consideration must be the entrant's own original writing, and should not have appeared in print or appear on a website (including blogs and social networking sites) or have been broadcast, or be submitted for publication or consideration elsewhere, for the duration of the Manchester Fiction Prize (which is deemed to begin on the date of entry and end on Friday 14th October 2011)

Sept 21st: Glasswoman Prize: a work of short fiction or creative non-fiction (prose) written by a woman. No entry fee, 50  to 5000 words. Prize is $500 for the overall winner, €100 for 2nd prize and €50 for runner-up. Online entry. Subject is open, but must be of significance to women


Dan Purdue said...

I love that comment from the short story fan who even goes as far as listening to the end of Moneybox Live to make sure they don't miss anything - now if that's not true dedication I don't know what is.

By the way, Tania, is the prize info for the Manchester competition correct, or have the 2nd place / runner up prize been copied from the Sean O'Faolain one? I thought there was just one prize at Manchester.

Tania Hershman said...

Well spotted, that man! Yes, that sneaked in from a lazy copy-and-paste, so yup, only one prize from Manchester, although it is rather a large one. Good luck to us all! (And I love the Moneybox Live comment too...)

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

In a way all this fuss is productive - it brings the short story to the fore, showing a collective interest that can only empower the form.

I say hussle on and stamp your feet!

Andy said...

Nice one, Tania. And thanks for the heads-up about the competitions. I've put them into a Google calendar that I'm building over on the Bristol Writers Group.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tania,

Just to let you know that the BBC Radio 4 have released an article saying there has been wide misunderstanding about the "cuts" to short stories: