While we're all waiting for the Sean O'Faolain longlist to be published - soon, soon! - here's some news from me. First, I've just had an audio story accepted by the brand new audio magazine 4'33, which refers to roughly the minutes it takes to read a 1000 word story. The mag is looking for "edgy, engaging stories about modern life" of under 1000 words, and they've accepted me reading my flash story, Vegetable, Mineral, which was joint winner of the Biscuit Flash Fiction competition and a runner up in the PANK 1001 Awesome words comp last year (this year's comp now open) and will be published in PANK in September. It wasn't a story I'd ever read out before, it is mostly dialogue and I wasn't sure it would work. Anyway, the editor seemed to think it did, will let you know when it's available - do check out 4'33, it sounds (ha!) wonderful!
I've also got a new story, Einstein Plays Guitar, in the next issue of an excellent print mag A Capella Zoo, out soon. Talking of lit mags that want your short stories, I had a request so I've turned my Ever-Growing List of UK & Irish lit mags into a PDF for you to enjoy offline. Click here and take it home. 115 mags and counting...
And if you think that since I don't have another 849 stories to read I'm just lazing around, painting my toenails, here's a heads-up of my events for September. Taking a deep breath:
Sept 1st: I'm sharing the bill at Word of Mouth at the Thunderbolt in Bristol at 8pm with songwriter Richard Burley. I'll be reading flash stories, he will be singing, and great fun will be had by all!
Sept 15th: There's Science in My Fiction... And Poetry, 7pm: Along with my science-loving writer friends Brian Clegg and Sue Guiney, I'm running a science-inspired fiction and poetry Open Mic night at the British Science Festival in Birmingham. Come along and read your sci-lit to win great prizes, including champagne and a subscription to Focus magazine - and much glory! It's free! Details here.
Sept 16th/19th: Frank O' Connor Short Story Festival, Cork, Ireland, Sept 16th 7.30pm: I'm delighted to be reading together with two excellent writers shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Robin Black and Belle Boggs. I'll be warming up the crowd with some short shorts.... and then on Sept 19th I'll be presenting the Sean O'Faolain award to the winner just before the Frank O'Connor award is announced. Nailbiting stuff. The festival line-up is extraordinary: Claire Keegan, TC Boyle, Ben Greenman, Karen Russell, David Constantine, Tess Gallagher, Laura van den Berg, David Vann, Louis de Bernieres.... wow. Check out the brochure. And yes... there is more.
Sept 23rd: I'm running a workshop on research-inspired fiction at Bristol University's Engage public engagement conference, looking at conveying research - and science in particular - to different audiences through fiction. I'm quite into that sort of thing, in case you hadn't noticed! I'll be talking about lots of my favourite science-inspired novels and stories, and we'll be doing a bit of writing too.
...and straight afterwards... Sept 24th: An Electric Flash: My great friend Vanessa Gebbie and I are bringing the smallest of wonders to England's only Short Story Festival, Small Wonder, in Charleston. We will be talking about flash, reading flash stories and generally extolling the virtues of extreme brevity!
Looking further ahead, I've got some plans for a Bristol event for National Short Story Week...
and then in 2011 I am thrilled to announce that I will be teaching an Arvon Foundation course on the short story together with the most fabulous Sarah Salway (who is up a mountain right now), at The Hurst! When Arvon asked me, I got quite emotional, because the two Arvon courses I went on were life-changing experiences. I only hope we can attempt to pass that on. Our guest that week will be Jim Friel. It's going to be amazing.
Ok, so that's pretty much it. I'm quite exhausted just writing that, but immensely excited. It's ALL short stories, and some are even sci-lit. How lucky am I??! Hope to see some of you there, somewhere. Going to lie down now for a bit, save my energy.