Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Our next event is on Sunday 20 May 2018 and we want your stories!

We open for submissions on Sunday 25 February and close on Saturday 14 April.  There will be no theme for this, our 16th event. So any style, any genre or no genre.

As ever it's free to submit and we accept both published and unpublished stories from Gloucestershire and South Gloucs writers. Ten authors will read their work in front of a capacity audience of 70 short story lovers at 8pm on Sunday 20 May at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA.

We will be publishing a second anthology later this year and all ten authors will be invited to have their stories published in it.

I am delighted to have inveigled the brilliant author Ali Bacon to judge with me for the second time. 

Check out more info about the judges using the tab above or here.

Can May's event possibly be as good as last November's? That's really up to you, isn't it? There's still lots of time to write something for us. Or you may try us with one of your favourite published stories.

If you want an idea of what we like (and we do like lots of different styles) listen to six of the November stories hereBut remember it's a live lit event, so complex multi-dimensional stories and stories with many voices and lots of dialogue are not best suited to the event.

For the Rules and How to Submit to the May event click on the tab above or here.

What do you have to lose by submitting? As Edwin Starr once said, "Absolutely nothing!"


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Recordings of the authors reading at our 5 November event 'All You Need is Love. Or is it?' are now on the SSS YouTube Channel

Listen to live recordings of Kim Lakin-Smith, Tais Brias Avila, Mel Golding, Mary Flood, Simon Piney and Emma Kernahan reading in front of an audience of 70 at the SVA in Stroud.
They're here.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Congratulations, Mel Gooding

We offer huge congratulations to Stroud Short Stories alumnus Mel Gooding on her success in achieving a big figure publishing deal. All the info is here on the Bookseller website

Mel first read at Stroud Short Stories in April 2016. I then invited her to be part of 'Stroud Short Stories Greatest Hits' event celebrating our fifth birthday at the 2016 Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Mel was back at SSS last month reading her brilliant story 'When the Night Comes'.

Watch/hear her read her story 'A Small Change' at the Cheltenham LitFest on the SSS YouTube Channel.

Enormous congratulations, Mel. 

Let Mel be an inspiration to everyone!


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Photos from 'All You Need is Love. Or Is it?' - our 15th Event on 5 November 2017

Here (in the order in which they read) are the brilliant authors who performed for our sell-out audience on Sunday 5 November 2017 at the SVA in Stroud. The event was part of the Stroud Book Festival, and sold out in only 6 days some five weeks earlier. Thank you to our authors and to everyone who attended for making it a very special night of short stories.

75 authors submitted 101 stories from which ten were selected for performance. This was the third time at SSS for two of these authors, and the second time for three. Five authors were making their debuts.

I'm particularly grateful to Kate O'Grady for reading, as she stepped in at the last minute in place of Nastasya Parker who, sadly, was ill. Nastasya will read her story in the spring.

The snaps are by Angela Fitch of Angela Fitch Photography
( who provided them free of charge. Thank you, Angela.

We will be open in the new year for submissions to our spring event.


Kim Lakin-Smith reads The Wassailers' Wedding
Kate O'Grady reads A Hint of Blue

Tais Brias Avila reads Ashes and Knee Pins

Martin and Jenny Spice read The One by Martin Spice

Mel Golding reads When The Night Comes

Mary Flood reads Baby Love

Simon Piney reads Goodnight Irene

Lania Knight reads I've Lost My Child

Chloe Turner reads Show Me What You're Made Of

Emma Kernahan reads Still For Sale

Friday, 29 September 2017

5th November 2017 Event - 10 Stories and Authors Selected + Ticket Info + Judge's Statement

A huge thank you to everyone who submitted stories for our 15th event 'All you need is love. Or is it?'. We received easily the highest number of stories we have ever received for a themed event - 75 Gloucestershire authors submitted 101 stories! The quality of submission was also tremendous, so the task of selection was made very difficult.

I am indebted to my co-judge Debbie Young for her wisdom, energy and conscientiousness in the task of selecting ten stories from such an outstanding field.

These are the ten stories we have chosen to be read at our event. (They are in librarians' alphabetical order).

Ashes and knee pins - Tais Brias Avila (Stonehouse)
Baby love - Mary Flood (Cheltenham)
From Newcastle with love - Nastasya Parker (Dursley)
Goodnight Irene - Simon Piney (Eastcombe)
I've lost my child - Lania Knight (Cheltenham)
The One - Martin Spice (Nailsworth)
Show me what you're made of - Chloe Turner (Stroud)
Still for sale - Emma Kernahan (Stroud)
The Wassailers' Wedding - Kim Lakin-Smith (Stroud)
When the night comes - Mel Golding (Stroud)

Congratulations to these authors. These are beautifully-crafted, memorable tales which will make a brilliant evening of short stories.

'All you need is love.Or is it?' takes place on Sunday 5 November at 8pm (doors 7.30) at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. This event is part of the Stroud Book Festival.

Debbie has kindly provided this judge's statement -

'It has been a pleasure to work with John Holland again to curate the content for what promises to be another terrific evening of Stroud Short Stories on 5th November.

To read and digest over 100 stories requires mental gymnastics on the part of the judges, plunging us into so many worlds for a few minutes in quick succession. As I finished the last one, I felt as if I'd just watched the complete adventures of Dr Who, with all 13 doctors, played on fast forward, except with slightly fewer monsters. It's a tribute to the writers of the submissions that I landed safely in one piece.

Alongside clusters of stories with familiar themes - and familiarity is no failing when a tale is well executed - were some startlingly original outside-the-box submissions. Two particular features leapt out at me this time: the number of references to local landmarks and the quantity of genitals. Don't take this as hint to make for your next submission a tale of group sex with Daleks on Hetty Pegler's Tump, but I've got first dibs on Rodborough's Tingle Stone with the Cybermen.

The variety in the length of submission was interesting. SSS allows a range from 500 to 1500 and that's what we received. Top tip; if you're paring a story down to match the rules, don't stop just because you've reached the maximum. Keep editing till you've eliminated all surplus words, and your story will be stronger. Succinct shorter stories will impress us more than flabby full-length ones, so to speak.

SSS has a track record of discovering gifted novices, and putting them on stage with familiar faces already on the circuit. But when we judge the stories, we have no idea who has submitted. Whatever your level of experience, if your story's made the final ten, you can be sure it's there on merit. And if it didn't make it, take heart - because it may well have been a near miss, and unlike the ten chosen authors, you'll be very welcome to submit again for the spring SSS. (Authors who read can only appear at alternate events, to give more writers a chance to share the spotlight.)

However you interpreted the theme 'All you need is love. Or is it?', it has been gratifying for me as a judge to see the outpouring of affection and respect for SSS in the form of so many carefully honed submissions, and I am proud to have been able to play a part in sharing the SSS love.'

Sunday, 24 September 2017

We are now closed for submissions for our 5 November 2017 event entitled 'All you need is love. Or is it?'

Thank you for everyone who sent us their stories. We're having a great time reading them. More news will follow soon.

Friday, 4 August 2017

We are currently open for submissions for our THEMED November 5th 2017 event. Submissions close on September 23rd at 23.59.

The theme this time is 'All You Need Is Love. Or Is It?'. This is to reflect the Stroud Short Stories wedding this autumn.

Think of the theme as widely and flexibly as possible. Not only romantic love but stories of obsession and relationships of all kinds are welcome. And not necessarily just relationships between people. Other obsessions too. The style can be straight or funny, cynical, ironic or dark.

Rules and How to Submit here

The 5 November event will be our 15th, and is part of the Stroud Book Festival. It will take place as usual at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL2 5HA at 8pm (doors 7.30). Because we sell out, tickets will only be available in advance from the SVA website.

The ten authors, who read to a packed 70-strong audience at our event on 5 November, will also be offered publication of their stories in our next anthology due 2018.

Submissions close at the end of Saturday 23 September. Please note that the window for submissions is shorter than usual, and the waiting time until the event far longer. My apologies for this. It is because of the wedding. 

Remember that it's free to submit. And that we are happy to consider published or unpublished work.

I am delighted to say that short story author, novelist, self-publishing guru and Hawkesbury Upton LitFest organiser Debbie Young will be judging with me this time. More info about the judges here.

Please send us your stories. Debbie and I can't wait to read them.

Rules and How to Submit here