Tag Archives: stories

The Group Goes Digital

Ashton Walks

Ashton Walks is now on Kindle for the princely sum of £1.91. It’s gone global too ($3.08 in the United States of Americawl). I will get it out to Apple’s iBookstore but not before next year. This is a condition of signing up to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, for what it’s worth. I have no idea but “not very much” is the most likely value.

So, grab your soon-to-be-collectable first edition.

Ashton Walks

Ashton Walks

Our newest publication houses five loosely linked short stories inspired by a walk in the Somerset countryside to the west of Bristol. This work grew out of an idea of writing a set of connected stories. We wanted to do something new, having already published on the themes of Hair and, unsurprisingly, Hidden Bristol.

One of our members, Terry Stew, inspired us to take a walk in the country and use our experiences to create short stories. And as a bonus they will all get a performance at the 2012 Bristol Festival of Literature. Enter shop for price

From Dark Places, E.J. Newman

Love it! The most wonderful thing about this collection of short shorts is that you can’t outguess the stories. You may think you know where they’re going by convention but it ain’t necessarily so. For instance, The Art of Desire twists and turns so that the ending is always in doubt – masterful. Somerset-based Emma (the E in E.J.) also subverts the odd fairy tale: The Tenth Lord is one such.

My favourite, The Need to Create, has such a fertile premise that it could have gone in a million directions. I swear a novel is struggling to break out too. I also like its political slant and its potential for really bad taste. On a personal note the Winchester (Hampshire, I hope) setting also made me smile.

A treat.

Continent, Jim Crace

My American writer friend, Doug, put me on to this English novelist and I first read, and loved, Arcadia.

Continent, Crace’s first book, is different. I don’t think it’s a novel, for a start. It reads like seven short stories. And why did he have to invent a seventh continent as backdrop? I’ve never been to Africa or South America but have read enough from both to visualise them as the perfect settings for this book.

That apart, it is of course a good read and two of the pieces stand out – On Heat in the middle, with a very fine twist, and Electricity as a good example of prefiguring a final scene. A sense of menace suffuses all the stories; perhaps this disturbance casts the reader into Crace’s unknown world, an unknown continent of the imagination.

Bristol Literature Festival

This is in full swing and yesterday the Writers Group did their thang at the M Shed. Stories of the Sea competed with the ambience of a Saturday tourist attraction and didn’t always win but we took another step forward. Lunch at the Watershed, after, recharged batteries and cemented the team spirit.

Coming up, Mr Mike and Helen Hart will discuss self-publishing on Wednesday – a topic dear to yours truly. If it was good enough for Milton, Jane Austen and Mark Twain, it’s good enough for mere mortals.

On Tuesday the Bristol Short Story Prize will launch with Tania Hershman, also at Foyles, which is fast becoming the literary hub of Bristol. Then next weekend, and not part of the Festival but a happy coincidence, the Ramada hosts BristolCon for the SFnal among us. It’s an exciting few days.

The Shortest Story

What’s the shortest length a story could be? Could it be three words to give the beginning, middle and end? Or acts one to three? Something like: no-one, birth, death. Or: nothing, bang, universe. That’s two examples opening with the empty state but I’m sure it’s not the only start point. Any takers? (One person had a go on my old blog.)