Friday, 20 March 2020

'Disruption' event 8 November 2020 - The Ten Authors and Their Stories

I am delighted to announce the authors and titles of the stories for our re-arranged 20th event at the Cotswold Playhouse on Sunday 8 November 2020. The event is on the theme of Disruption (!) and is dedicated to the late Rick Vick. It will also be part of the Stroud Book Festival.

90 Gloucestershire/South Gloucestershire writers submitted 119 stories. We have shared with those authors our Long List of 44 stories and then our 16-strong Short List. 

These are the ten stories which my co-judge, Ali Bacon, and I have selected for this event (in alphabetical order by title). Click on the links for the authors' websites -

A Brief History of Lady Charlotte, Duchess of Beaumont - Emma Kernahan (Stroud)
Correcting an Error - Mark Rutterford (Filton, South Gloucs)
The Corvidae Diary - Stephen Connolly (Siddington, Cirencester)
ICMP - Simon Piney (Eastcombe, Stroud)
Jumping the Queue - Sharon Webster (Leckhampton, Cheltenham)
Peace Lily - Claire Harrison (Charlton Kings, Cheltenham)
Puffballs - Steve Wheeler (Sheepscombe)
Roadkill - Hannah Glickstein (Stroud)
Two Towns - Robin Booth (Brimscombe, Stroud)
White Christmas - Geoff Mead (Kingscote, Tetbury)

Huge congratulations to these authors for creating such brilliantly-crafted stories which will provide a wonderful evening for our audience on 8 November.

Seven of our Final Ten authors have read at SSS before, but, as always, we have SSS newcomers. I am delighted to welcome Hannah Glickstein, Claire Harrison and Sharon Webster, who will be the 112th, 113th and 114th authors to read at an SSS event!

TICKETS for Sunday 8 November will be on sale later in the year and I will add that information here on the SSS website when it's available. It's going to be a great evening.

Thank you EVERYONE for submitting your stories. And STAY SAFE.


Monday, 16 March 2020


In the face of serious public health issues I have decided, jointly with the Cotswold Playhouse, to postpone the 20th Stroud Short Stories event 'Disruption' from 19 April to Sunday 8 November. The irony of the theme will not be lost on you.

I do this with a heavy heart. But given the age profile of many authors and audience members, as well as the Playhouse staff and volunteers, I consider it essential to make your/their health and well-being our priority.

The good news is that this is not a cancellation. No one is going to miss out. You will be able to hear/see the ten stories we select on the theme of DISRUPTION read/performed by their authors on Sunday 8 November at the Cotswold Playhouse. The event will still be dedicated to the late Rick Vick. Additionally, the event will also now be part of the fabulous 5th Stroud Book Festival.

In terms of the current selection process, Ali Bacon and I will continue our work. From 119 submissions, we chose a Long List of 44, and have now selected a really strong Short List of 16 outstanding stories. All authors who submitted have been informed of the titles on those lists.

This week we will choose the ten stories for the 8 November event. As time is no longer pressing, we're going to give ourselves an extra day, and therefore notify the submitting authors of the Final Ten by Thursday 19 March and then announce the ten publicly here on our website on Friday 20 March.

Thank you for your patience and support. 

Take care, everyone.


Monday, 9 March 2020

Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for our 19 April 2020 event 'Disruption' - The Selection Process is Underway

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who submitted stories for our 19 April event 'Disruption'. 90 writers submitted a total of 119 stories - our third highest total ever.

The ten stories to be read at our event at the Cotswold Playhouse will be announced here on Thursday 19 March.

As things stand, the event will be on Sunday 19 April at 7.30 (doors & bar 7.00) at the Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament Street, Stroud, GL1 5LW.

Tickets, priced at £8 go on sale on Friday 20 March, the day after we announce the names of the authors who will read their stories. Tickets are only available from the Cotswold Playhouse website or by phone on 0333 666 3366 (this is not a premium rate number).

The Playhouse has a sensible statement about Coronavirus on its website. If the event has to be postponed (it won't be cancelled altogether) I will post that information here immediately. Should this be after ticket sales commence, the Playhouse staff have confirmed that you will receive a full refund.


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

We are Open for your Submissions for our special 20th Event on 19 April 2020

The next SSS event is on the theme of DISRUPTION and will take place on Sunday 19 April 2020 at 7.30 (doors/bar 7.00) at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud. 

We are open for submissions from Gloucs/S.Gloucs writers until Sunday 8 March at 23.59 ie one minute to midnight.

This event is dedicated to the late Rick Vick - poet, creative writing tutor, events organiser and SSS stalwart. The Stroud News article on Rick is here. The Guardian obituary is here.

This is also our 20th event since our inception in 2011.

Try to think of the theme of DISRUPTION as widely as possible. Almost anything can be disrupted - lives, relationships, work, health, peace and quiet, law and order, traffic, events, games, sport, sleep, short story readings, the status quo, city/town/village life, society in general. They're just examples. You will be able to think of even more, I'm sure.

As always we welcome any take on the theme including the funny and ironic.

I am co-judging with author Ali Bacon this time. We both read all stories, and we do it 'blind' ie without knowing the writer's name.

See our Rules and How to Submit here.

Information about the Judges here.

We really want to read your stories on this theme. Let's make this a great event.

Tickets on sale from Cotswold Playhouse website from 20 March.


Wednesday, 4 December 2019

You can now watch the videos of our authors reading their stories at our 10 November 2019 event Mazurka & Other Stories

Just use the the link above to access our YouTube Channel or click here.

The stories are separate videos so you can pick and choose.

A huge thank you to David Penny, author of the Thomas Berrington historical mysteries, (in seat C9) for the videos.


Monday, 11 November 2019

Images from our 10 Nov 2019 event 'Mazurka & Other Stories'

The event, which was our 19th, and our second at the 150-seater Cotswold Playhouse, was sold out in advance. Our ten authors performed their brilliant stories wonderfully. 

Huge thanks to them for submitting to SSS and also to everyone who bought tickets and came along to the event.

Here are our authors on the night in the order in which they performed. Many thanks to Tim Byford for the images.

Ali Bacon who read 'Snowbird'

Peter Adams who read 'The Box of Skin'

Georgia Boon who read (and sang) 'Choose Love'

Nimue Brown who read 'Household Management'

William Vick who read 'Mazurka' by his father Rick Vick

Philip Douch who read 'Science, Steve and the Real World'

Sophie Flynn who read 'Saving Grace'

Sallie Anderson who read 'The Art of Job Security'

Kate Keogan who read 'The Truth and Several Lies about Butterflies'

Sarah Hitchcock who read 'The Day I Took my Zombie to Alton Towers'

Thursday, 10 October 2019

10 November event SOLD OUT + The Ten Authors and Stories + Podcasts

Tickets for our event 'Mazurka & Other Stories' on Sunday 10 November at the 150 seater Cotswold Playhouse have now SOLD OUT. Thank you to everyone who has bought tickets.

This is the 14th SSS event in succession to sell out. 

Please note the start time is 7.30 (bar and doors 7.00). This is our new regular start time.

The event is part of the Stroud Book Festival.

The Ten Authors and Their Stories

I am delighted to announce the authors and titles of the stories for our 19th event at the Cotswold Playhouse on Sunday 10 November. 

84 Gloucestershire/South Gloucestershire writers submitted 115 stories. We have shared with those authors our Long List of 33 stories and then our 16-strong Short List. 

These are the ten stories which my co-judge Chloe Turner and I have selected for this event (in librarians' alphabetical order) -

The Art of Job Security - Sallie Anderson (Cheltenham)
The Box of Skin - Peter Adams (Edge, nr Stroud)
Choose Love - Georgia Boon (Stroud)
The Day I Took my Zombie to Alton Towers - Sarah Hitchcock (Rodborough, Stroud)
Household Management - Nimue Brown (Stroud)
Mazurka - Rick Vick (Stroud)
Saving Grace - Sophie Flynn (Moreton-in-Marsh)
Science, Steve and the Real World - Philip Douch (Stroud)
Snowbird - Ali Bacon (Emerson's Green, South Gloucs)
The Truth and Several Lies about Butterflies - Kate Keogan (Gloucester)

Huge congratulations to these authors.

The event will be called 'Mazurka and Other Stories'.

As is usually the way with our events, we have newcomers to SSS. I am delighted to welcome Sallie, Georgia and Kate, all of whom are new to us. They will be the 109th, 110th and 111th authors to read at an SSS event.

I'm just as pleased to welcome back everyone else, notably SSS 'veterans' Nimue, Peter, Philip and Rick, all of whom, in my opinion, have been away too long.

Commiserations and my gratitude to everyone who submitted but didn't quite make it this time. Remember that judging events like ours and competitions is subjective. Your efforts will be rewarded if you keep writing.

Story Podcasts
We now have all five brilliant stories from our new series of podcasts available to you. These are stories by Steve Wheeler, Joanna Campbell, Alwin Wiederhold, Alex Clark and Jason Jackson.

Listen where you normally hear podcasts or check out our links here.