Rapunzel: story in the Hint Fiction anthology

I'm very excited to have a story published in the recent Hint Fiction anthology. The books contains stories of 25 words or fewer and I am thrilled to be published alongside people like Jonathan Carroll, Joe Lansdale and Peter Straub.

I'm fascinated by how small a story can be. Much very short fiction is disappointing, little more than summaries. But when someone gets it right, the effect is stunning, like the Baby Shoes story that is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway. So simple, yet so surprising. The anthology's editor, Robert Swartwood, says that Hint Fiction "should be complete by standing by itself as its own little world", and the book contains some great examples.

There's an interesting discussion at The Millions here and a New Yorker review here. The latter includes some examples, including Bob Thurber's Shipwrecked and LR Bonehill's Cull, two of my favourites from the book.

People who follow the weblog or twitter will know how much I fret about writing author biographies. Hint fiction has 25 word biographies for each of the writer, and Michael Martone's entry is the best example I have seen yet.

Thanks to Robert Swartwood for organising the anthology.

Article on creative writing workshops in Friction Magazine

I'm a little tardy in posting this, but I have an article in the first issue of Friction magazine, which is published by the Newcastle Center for the Literary Arts:

"If the current growth in creative writing courses continues for another 70 years, more people will be learning to write than taking driving lessons.

This unlikely and invented statistic underlines a genuine problem. I am bombarded with invitations to paid creative writing workshops and courses. While some of these are probably excellent, the barrage of announcements makes me want to weep. (If you’re attending or, please god, holding a course in social media ‘platforms’ for writers, you need to stop and think about your life)." (More here)

There are some fascinating pieces in the first issue. My favourite was Alex Lockwood's article on The Responsibilities of the Novelist, which discusses Nick Royle's novel Quilt and Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y. I enjoyed reading Nick's novel and it's good to see a thoughtful response. There's also a fascinating story by Max Dunbar.

Tarot and Creative Writing

The next Brighton Creative Writing Sessions event is on December 4th. The subject will be Tarot and Creative Writing and it features a guest tutor, Naomi Foyle:

Italo Calvino described the tarot as "a machine for constructing stories". Poet and tarot-reader Naomi Foyle, with short story writer James Burt, will lead a day exploring the ways in which the tarot's archetypal symbols can inspire and influence writing. This course is intended for writers of all levels, whether or not they have previous experience of the tarot, and will focus on practical, engaging exercises.

The event will be held at the Brighton Life-Drawing Sessions studio, near Brighton station. It runs from 10am to 4pm and will cost £25. There are a few tickets left and they can be booked here

I'm very excited about this event. Ellen, Naomi and I have been discussing our plans for the day and this is going to be a workshop like no other. The topic may sound odd, but things won't be getting too esoteric – we will be focussed on writing and having fun.

I am also very excited about having Naomi as a guest tutor. She has published some fantastic work with Waterloo Press, including this years The World Cup. She has also worked as a Tarot reader for a number of years. 

Back at work

I'm back at my desk today after a long weekend in Wales. It was lovely to be out in the middle of the nowhere, no laptop and no mobile signal. The weather was damp and misty, which made the scenery incredibly atmospheric. I went walking, ate good food and read a pile of books. The highlight of the reading was Nicholson Baker's latest novel, The Anthologist. I am becoming convinced that Baker is one of the most important novelists working today.

I've taken a little bit of a break from the weblog over November. That's not because I've not been doing anything – the exact opposite, in fact. I have a pile of exciting announcements, including the next Brighton Creative Writing Sessions course, an article in Friction magazine and an anthology publication. I will write about all of these over the next few days.