National Short Story Week
I 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 bestselling author Katie Fforde.
National Short Story Week: launch
The first National Short Story Week was 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.
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.
National Short Story Week: projects
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.
Recommended reading lists have gone out to libraries and schools around the country, with suggestions by prominent authors, actors and broadcasters such as Terence Blacker, Simon Brett, Tracy Chevalier, Sue Cook, Margaret Drabble, Joanne Harris, Paterson Joseph, Lynne Reid Banks, Adrian Scarborough and DW Wilson.
Acclaimed broadcaster and author Sue Cook has presented six special online editions of her radio programme The Write Lines, in association with Stories Unlimited C.I.C., organisers of National Short Story Week.
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. It has also published winning stories from the National Short Story Week Young Writer competition.
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).
Women Aloud, a CD of short stories by bestselling women’s fiction writers was produced and sold in aid of the Helena Kennedy Foundation. It raised over £800 for the Foundation.
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.
The National Short Story Week Young Writer competition ran between 2013 and 2017. The competition was open to school children in years 7 and 8. It attracted entries from schools from all over the UK, as well as from overseas British schools in mainland Europe, the USA and south America.
Each year the best stories were published in an anthology and sold on Amazon, with 100% of the proceeds going to Teenage Cancer Trust. The 2014 anthology, The Mistake, was an Amazon bestseller. The books have so far raised thousands of pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust.
In 2017 I took a break from organising National Short Story Week to concentrate on other projects, but am planning to relaunch the event in 2020.