Tuesday, 22 January 2019

We are open for your submissions

New Dates! New Theme! New Venue! 

The 18th Stroud Short Stories event will take place on Sunday 19 May 2019 at 8pm (doors 7.30) at the Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament Street, Stroud, GL5 1LW.

We are open for your submissions and close at 23.59 (one minute to midnight) on Sunday 31 March.

We have a theme this time. It's Incendiary! - in line with the exciting exhibitions and events taking place in Stroud this year. So we are looking for stories about fire, heat, passion, anger, burning, incineration, insurrection, revolution, large or small acts of rebellion, explosions, inflaming the senses.

Please think of these themes as widely as possible - both metaphorically/emotionally as well as literally/actually. 

We are looking for well-crafted and engaging short stories, which will entertain, excite and inspire our audience. As ever, the dark, the ironic and the funny are very welcome.

And, of course, it's free to submit.

My co-judge (for the third time) will be brilliant short story author/novelist Ali Bacon. We will select ten stories to be read by their authors on Sunday 19 May at The Cotswold Playhouse in Parliament Street, Stroud, GL5 1LW. Doors open at 7.30. It starts at 8.00. There is a bar!

We are delighted to be holding our event at this brilliant venue. As you may know, we were asked to leave the SVA after seven years because we had "outgrown" it. So having completely sold-out the SVA's 70-seater room in advance twelve times in succession (in May in less than six hours), we are hopeful that the Cotswold Playhouse's 150 seat auditorium will allow everyone who wants to attend to be there. 

TICKETS, priced as usual at £8, will be on sale on the Cotswold Playhouse website - https://www.cotswoldplayhouse.co.uk/ - from Friday 12 April.

Ali and I are really looking forward to reading your stories. So if you want up to 150 short story lovers to hear your story you know what to do...

Rules and How to Submit here

Subscribe to Stroud Short Stories newsletters and emails, so you don't miss a thing, here

More info about the judges here

How to buy our new anthology 2015-18 here

Watch/listen the authors at past events read their stories here


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Stroud Short Stories Event 'What Makes a Monster & Other Stories' held on Sunday 11 November

Thank you to everyone (70 people) who came along to a packed SVA on Sunday 11 November for our 17th event 'What makes a Monster & Other Stories'.

Special thanks to the ten brilliant authors (see snaps below) whose work we selected and who read/performed so wonderfully. Although, of course, I'd read all the stories before, some of the performances took my breath away.

The theme of the spring 2019 event will be INCENDIARY! so we'll be looking for stories about fire, heat, smoke, burning, passion, inflaming, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, bombs, subversion - both literally and metaphorically. We will open for submissions in January or February.

The SVA say we have 'outgrown' their venue so our next event will be elsewhere - venue yet to be decided. 

Some copies of our new 2015-18 Anthology are still available. Info here.

If you don't want to miss out on ticket sales or submission opportunities please subscribe to SSS emails. (It's easy to unsubscribe if you change your mind).

Here are Sunday's ten authors - in the order in which they read/performed.

Thank you, Angela & Ken Fitch for the images -

Ali Bacon reads 'In Loco Parentis' 

Zara Wick reads 'Animate!'

Clive Singleton reads 'In Clear Air'

Andrew Stevenson reads 'The Bread-Toast Continuum'
Amanda Staples reads 'The Pewter Thimble'

Ken Popple reads 'On Llamas and Feng Shui'
Sophie Flynn reads 'What Makes a Monster'

Stephen Connolly reads 'Cargo'
Katie Witcombe reads 'The Dress'
Sarah Hitchcock reads 'The Misty Aisle'

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Debbie Young on Judging our sold-out 11 November event 'What Makes a Monster & Other Stories'

I was delighted to be asked back by SSS organiser John Holland this autumn to co-judge the latest Stroud Short Stories submissions. John's well-honed system, underpinned by Christiane Holland's efficiency, makes the process a pleasure, allowing the judges to focus entirely on the stories rather than the admin. It is exactly how a good short story event or competition should be run.

With no set theme this time, it was anyone's guess as to what kind of stories might come in. Tantalising titles whetted my appetite to the unfolding array. When we opened the envelope containing the names of the authors, after choosing our Final Ten, there were plenty of surprises, including the appearance of a number of names new to SSS. That respected authors whose stories had previously been chosen did not make the final cut demonstrates the high standard of the submissions.

I'm always pleased when we select entries from writers still learning their craft. That SSS welcomes all-comers (and is free to enter) is part of its charm - and part of its power in nurturing local writing talent.

I particularly like the fact that SSS does not rely on the opinion of one judge, as having two results in more balanced decisions. If either John or I - or anyone else - had been sole judge, the final list may have looked quite different.

So if you submitted but your story wasn't chosen, keep going - because at the end of the day what matters most is that you keep writing, that you keep refining your craft and keep putting your best stories out into the world.

Debbie Young

Wednesday, 24 October 2018


I have been informed by our venue, the SVA, that all tickets for our 11 November event 'What Makes A Monster & Other Stories' have sold. 

This happened in less than 6 hours from when they went on sale on Tuesday 24 Oct at 3.30pm. They had all sold by about 9.00pm!

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets. Apologies to those who couldn't.

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Ten Stories and Authors for our 11 November 2018 event + Ticket Information

Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for our 17th event on 11 November. The total of 112 submissions from 85 Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire writers is the third highest in our history. Believe me, my co-judge, Debbie Young, and I had our work cut out. We really enjoyed the vast majority of the stories, and produced a Long List of 40 and a Short List of 18 before deciding on the Final Ten. All these lists have already been shared with the writers who submitted.

The competition was incredibly intense and the decisions did not come easily. In the end, the Ten we have chosen are possibly, in terms of contents/story lines, the most diverse range of SSS stories ever.

These are the stories you will hear on the night (in librarians' alphabetical order) -

Animate! - Zara Wick (Ruscombe, Stroud)
The Bread-Toast Continuum - Andrew Stevenson (Nailsworth)
Cargo - Stephen Connolly (Cirencester)
The Dress - Katie Witcombe (Cheltenham)
In Loco Parentis - Ali Bacon (Emersons Green, South Gloucs)
In the Clear Air - Clive Singleton (Nailsworth)
The Misty Aisle - Sarah Hitchcock (Stroud)
On Llamas and Feng Shui - Ken Popple (Stroud)
The Pewter Thimble - Amanda Staples (Staple Hill, Stapleshire)
What makes a Monster? - Sophie Flynn (Moreton-in-Marsh)

Huge congratulations to these authors. They will read their stories to what will be a packed house at the SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace) on Sunday 11 November at 8pm (doors 7.30).

As always, the Ten includes authors new to SSS. This time there will be five! We welcome and congratulate Zara, Katie, Clive, Amanda and Sophie. Only two of the ten authors (Ali and Andrew) have read at SSS on more than one occasion.

The event is now called 'What Makes A Monster And Other Stroud Short Stories'. 

Ticket Information

The event is on Sunday 11 November at 8pm (doors at 7.30) at the SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace), John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. There is a bar.

This event is part of the Stroud Book Festival. It will also be our last event at the SVA.

Tickets, priced at £8 (including the SVA's booking fee), are NOW on sale only in advance and only from the SVA website

Please note that some of the early tickets sold by the SVA say the event starts at 7.30. This is WRONG. In fact it starts at 8.00. 

Tickets always sell out in advance. Do not tarry. 

PLEASE NOTE - SSS does not sell tickets. All ticket enquiries to the SVA. 

Thank you again to everyone who submitted stories.

I hope to see you there.


Monday, 15 October 2018

Thank you + Ticket Information + New Anthology

A HUGE thank you to everyone who submitted a story or two for our 11 November event. Submissions have now closed. 85 writers from Gloucs and South Gloucs submitted a total of 112 stories. That's the third highest number in our seven year history. Brilliant response. Thank you again.

We will publish the names of the ten authors and stories we have chosen as soon as possible.

Ticket Information

Tickets for the Sunday 11 November event will be on sale from the website of the venue, the SVA (Stroud Valleys Artspace), John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA on Tuesday 23 October - http://www.sva.org.uk/

Tickets (available only in advance) are £8.00 - including the SVA booking charge.

Our last eleven events have all sold out in advance, the last one in just 5 days, so best not to tarry.

Please note that SSS does not sell the tickets. All ticket enquiries to the SVA please.

The event starts at 8.00pm (doors 7.30) and ends around 10.15. There is a bar.

Our New Anthology

You can buy the brand new Stroud Short Stories Anthology Volume Two 2015-2108 from local bookshops and from Amazon

The anthology has 57 stories by 45 Gloucestershire authors from the six SSS events which took place from November 2015 to May 2018. I have edited it and Stroud Short Stories has published it. The paperback is priced at £10.

Local stockists are The Stroud Bookshop, Trading Post in Stroud, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop in Nailsworth and The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop in Cheltenham.

It's available from Amazon in paperback (£10) and eBook (£2.99) formats.

More information about the authors in the anthology and the stockists is here.

If anyone fancies providing a book review for the Amazon page that would be really helpful. You don't need to have bought your copy via Amazon to do this. Thank you.


Saturday, 29 September 2018

We are now closed for submissions for our next event on Sunday 11 November 2018

We closed for submissions at the end of Sunday 14 October.

There is no theme this time, so any style, any subject, any genre or no genre. As long as it's a short work of fiction, of course!

Click on poster to enlarge
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 to a capacity audience of 70 short story lovers at 8pm on Sunday 11 November at the SVA in John Street, Stroud, GL5 2HA. This event is part of the Stroud Book Festival.

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

If you want an idea of what kind of stories we like (and we do like lots of different styles) listen to the authors reading their work at previous events here

TIP! - Remember it's a live lit event. Complex multi-dimensional stories and stories with many voices and lots of dialogue are not best suited to a live reading.

I am delighted to have inveigled the brilliant author and publishing guru Debbie Young to judge with me for the third time. Check out more info about the judges using the tab above or here.

We guarantee that all stories are read by both judges. We love reading your stories.

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

Sign up for SSS updates by email here. It's easy to unsubscribe if you change your mind. See our Privacy Policy.

And, yes, our brand new Anthology, covering 57 stories by 45 Gloucestershire authors and six SSS events from 2015 to 2018, is now available here.