With just a couple 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. Today we spoke to award-winning novelist Susan Hill about writers, short stories and what to read to be inspired.
What do you look for in a short story?
‘A little world, made cunningly.’
Which short story writers do you admire?
In no order – Chekhov, Elizabeth Bowen, James Lasdun, Helen Simpson, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield… and many many more.
What possibilities does the form of short fiction present to a writer that the novel doesn’t offer?
It doesn’t – it is just different.
How would you describe yourself as a reader?
Omniverous – almost. I don’t read fantasy or sci-fi.
If you had to recommend one short story for contributors to read what would it be?
I’m having 3 –
Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Doll’s House’.
James Lasdun ‘From the Minutes of the Honorary Secretary’.
Helen Simpson, ‘Burns Night’.
And about 1,000 more…
Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over 50 years. Her books have won the Whitbread, and John Llewellyn Prizes, andthe W. Somerset Maugham Award and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I’m the King of the Castle and A Kind Man, and she has also published autobiography and collections of short stories. Her ghost story, The Woman in Black, has been running in London’s West End since 1988.