With just a few weeks left till the end of our annual Short Story Competition we spoke to the Judges to find out exactly what the short story means to them. First we spoke to writer and publisher Kevan Manwaring about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired.
What do you look for in a short story?
An arresting premise. A life in freefall. A moment in time, dramatising life on Earth, in all its quotidian particularity.
Which short story writers do you admire?
Carver, Carter, MR James, Ray Bradbury, Le Guin, Neil Gaiman.
What possibilities does the form of short fiction present to a writer that the novel doesn’t offer?
A heightened attentiveness in the reader – everything takes on a talismanic quality. Each word punches above its weight, can tip the balance, can stop time. Its the closest prose gets to magic.
How would you describe yourself as a reader?
A lazy grazer. A midnight snacker. A word-humphrey and narrative addict.
If you had to recommend one short story for contributors to read what would it be?
Graham Joyce’s An Ordinary Soldier of the Queen (2009)
Kevan Manwaring is a writer, teacher and storyteller. He runs the Stroud Writers’ Workshop, relaunched the Bath Writers’ Workshop, & is the founder of Awen Publications. He is currently working on a Creative Writing PhD at the University of Leicester. He also lectures in creative writing for the Open University and the University of Portsmouth.