National Short Story Week

National Short Story WeekI founded National Short Story Week in 2010 after talking to lots of writers about ways to promote the form to a wider public.

The aims of National Short Story Week are to:

1) get more people reading and listening to short stories;
2) get more people writing short stories;
3) develop creative and commercial opportunities for individuals and organisations involved in the short story form.

The aims of National Short Story Week are supported by independent experts in the fields of writing, editing, publishing, teaching, producing, broadcasting and performing. The patron of National Short Story Week is best-selling author Katie Fforde.

This year’s National Short Story Week is Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd November.

National Short Story Week: the story so far
National Short Story Week was first launched at Charles Dickens Museum in London on Saturday 25th September 2010. Around seventy guests met to talk about plans for the week, including representatives from the Booksellers’ Association, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), Granta magazine, National Academy of Writing, National Association for Literature Development, Romantic Novelists’ Association, University of the Third Age (U3A) and numerous publishers.

The first National Short Story Week took place between 22nd to 29th November 2010. During the week over 60 events were held around the UK; in bookshops, libraries, schools, colleges, universities, pubs and online.

Our recommended reading lists go out to libraries and schools around the country. Previous reading lists have had suggestions by prominent authors, actors and broadcasters, with contributions from Terence Blacker, Simon Brett, Tracy Chevalier, Sue Cook, Margaret Drabble, Joanne Harris, Paterson Joseph, Lynne Reid Banks, Adrian Scarborough and DW Wilson.

The Guardian online celebrated National Short Story Week by publishing a number of short stories from our recommended reading list, during National Short Story Week.

Salt Publishing (publishers of Man Booker shortlisted The Lighthouse by Alison Moore) published Overheard: an anthology of short stories to be read aloud, to tie-in with National Short Story Week. Publication was accompanied by events in Norfolk and actor performances of stories written by Hanif Kureishi and Adele Parks, among others, in Hertfordshire.

Acclaimed broadcaster and author Sue Cook has presented six special advice programmes for writers, in association with Stories Unlimited C.I.C., organisers of National Short Story Week.

A host of magazines, book publishers and organisations have held short story writing competitions; including the Short Sentence crime writing competition (run by the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, in association with Bloomsbury Publishing and The Crime Writers’ Association).

Aspiring writers and short story readers had a choice of short story events up and down the UK, from Glasgow Women’s Library to the Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival.

Each year we hold the National Short Story Week Young Writer competition. The competition is open to school-children in years 7 and 8. Last year’s competition attracted entries from schools from all over the UK, as well as from overseas British schools in mainland Europe, the USA and south America. The recent anthology of stories from the 2014 competition, The Mistake, was an Amazon bestseller and raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust.

We are continuing to sell copies of our women’s fiction CD, Women Aloud, in aid of the Helena Kennedy Foundation. We have donated over £800 to the Foundation to date.