Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Our next event 'WILD' will be on Sunday 7 November 2021 - Submissions open on Sunday 8 August

While you can still view the videos from our 10th Birthday event 'Sharp Stars And Old Magic & Other Stories' below or here, it's time to be thinking about our next event. 

The theme for our 22nd event will be 'WILD' and the event is part of the 2021 Stroud Book Festival.

It will take place at the Cotswold Playhouse, Parliament Street in Stroud at 7.30pm on Sunday 7 November 2021.(Should Covid persist/return then the event will be on YouTube). 

Submissions open on Sunday 8 August and close on Sunday 19 September. 

My co-judge on this occasion will be short story author, novelist, blogger, festival organiser and self-publishing guru Debbie Young. More info on the judges here.

Think about the theme WILD! as widely as possible - all aspects of nature, wildlife, foraging/wild food, the wild west, weather, seas, parties, nights out, singing, dancing, craziness, passion, affairs, out of control emotions, anger, enthusiasm, uncivilised behaviour, etc etc

The Rules and How to Submit are here.

Tickets for the event, priced at £9, will be available from the Cotswold Playhouse website from Friday 8 October.


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Here are the stories for our 9 May 2021 10th Birthday Event 'Sharp Stars and Old Magic & Other Stories'

Watch/listen on YouTube via the links below

Grab a cuppa or maybe something stronger, sit back and listen to these ten great stories. All human (and some non-human) life is here. I have put the stories in an order which I thinks works well but, of course, you can pick and choose. Just click on each link.

Huge thanks to my co-judge Chloe Turner, to SSS administrator Christiane Holland, to Dr Steve Goodwin of the Cotswold Playhouse for the videos and, of course, to everyone who submitted a story. 


πŸ‘‰There's more to a mob of rowdy crows than meets the eye. Kate Keogan reads The Blue in the Black of his Wing 

 πŸ‘ˆAn old man searches for a moment of supreme importance. Diana Humphrey reads That Old Tune

πŸ‘ˆAgnes never trusted the river, Sabrina - as temperamental as any goddess. Cheryl Burman reads 
Sabrina Rising

πŸ‘‰The ribald tale of the sexual misadventures of two Cotswolds housewives. David Goodland reads The Dress

πŸ‘‰Strategies for healing amputee starfish. Mhairi Gray reads Forgetting to Heal

πŸ‘ˆA foster carer receives a much-longed-for invitation from the past. Sally Jenkinson reads Sharp Stars and Old Magic

Thursday, 1 April 2021

The Ten Authors and their Stories for our FREE 10th Birthday Event on Sunday 9 May from 7.30pm on YouTube

THE EVENT is free and unticketed and available world-wide on our YouTube Channel, with links from this website, on Sunday 9 May from 7.30pm. 

These the authors and stories for our 10th Birthday Event 'Sharp Stars and Old Magic and Other Stories' on YouTube on Sunday 9 May at 7.30.

90 Gloucs/South Gloucs writers submitted 125 stories - 4 short of our all-time record. We have shared with those writers our Long List of 36 stories and then our 19-strong Short List.

These are the ten which my co-judge Chloe Turner (to whom my heart-felt gratitude) and I selected -

Nimue Brown (Stroud) - He Nearly Checked his Privilege

Cheryl Burman (Blakeney) - Sabrina Rising

David Goodland (Nailsworth) - The Dress

Mhairi Gray (Woodmancote) - Forgetting to Heal

Diana Humphrey (Stroud) - That Old Tune

Jason Jackson (Kingswood) - How You're Gone

Sally Jenkinson (Cinderford) - Sharp Stars and Old Magic

Kate Keogan (Gloucester) - The Blue in the Black of his Wing

Nastasya Parker (Dursley) - The Flat Earth Society

Sean W. Quigley (Gloucester) - The Rubbish Collector

Huge congratulations to these authors for creating such brilliantly imagined and magically written stories which will provide wonderful readings for our 10th Birthday event. Within the ten are an extraordinary range of writing styles and story lines, everything from the challenge of being a foster parent to reaching the edge of the flat world and strategies for healing amputee starfish. FABULOUS!

There are five newcomers to SSS, so I am delighted to welcome Cheryl Burman, David Goodland, Mhairi Gray, Sally Jenkinson and Sean Quigley who will be the 115th, 116th, 117th, 118th and 119th authors to read at an SSS event.

A special mention for Diana Humphrey who last read at SSS in October 2010. Welcome back, Diana, as well of course as old friends Jason, Kate, Nastasya and Nimue.

I note too that this is the first time in our 21 event history that Stroud area writers have not been in the majority.

See you on Sunday 9 May! Be there or be rectangular.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for our 9 May event celebrating our 10th Anniversary

Thank you to all the local writers who have sent us their stories for consideration for our 10th birthday event to be broadcast on YouTube on Sunday 9 May. Submissions are now closed.

90 local authors sent us 125 stories which is just 4 stories away from our all-time record!

A list of the ten stories selected and their authors will be posted here by 2 April.


Monday, 4 January 2021

Ten Years Up! Submissions close on Sunday 21 March at 23.59 - one minute to midnight

We are currently open for your submissions for our Sunday 9 May event. We will close at the end of Sunday 21 March ie at 23.59 (one minute to midnight).

To celebrate our tenth birthday (the first SSS event was in June 2011), it's an open theme this time, so write about anything you like in any way you like (so long as it's a short story). You have complete freedom.

As ever it's free to submit and we accept both unpublished and published pieces.

Ten stories by Gloucestershire/South Gloucs authors will be selected. 

For safety's sake, we have now decided that the event will be on the SSS YouTube Channel, like November's event, and will be broadcast on Sunday 9 May at 7.30 pm. It will be free, accessible to everyone globally and unticketed.

We will choose a safe and mutually convenient time for each selected author to be individually videoed at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud.

My co-judge will be the brilliant 2020 Saboteur Award winner Chloe Turner. More about the judges here.

All ten stories selected will be published in our next anthology.

IMPORTANT - The Rules and How to Submit are here.

I've also just added a new Writing Tips section to this website.

Our last 14 live events all sold out. And the YouTube videos of the online November 2020 event 'Disruption' have received a total of around 1,700 views to date.

After this terrible year we really are desperate to read some great stories. It's down to you now.

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Stroud Short Stories 20th Event 'DISRUPTION' - part of the 2020 Stroud Book Festival held on 8 Nov 2020

YouTube links here 

Grab a cup of tea or something stronger and click on the links to see the authors read their stories. I have placed the stories in an order which I think works well, but you can, of course, pick and choose as you wish.

This event is dedicated to the late Rick Vick - author, creative writing tutor, events organiser and SSS alumnus.

Many thanks to Dr Steve Goodwin of the Cotswold Playhouse/Amberley Music Makers for the videos; to Ali Bacon, my co-judge on this occasion; and to Stroud Book Festival for their support.

πŸ‘ˆ Stroud Short Stories Organiser John Holland introduces the event

πŸ‘‰ He followed her up the footpath and across the meadow as though retracing her route would somehow bring her back -
Steve Wheeler reads Puffballs

πŸ‘ˆ A crack has split the town in two and even the dogs are afraid to cross it - Robin Booth reads Two Towns

πŸ‘‰ Feel the tension when three siblings come together at their mother's hospital bed - Claire Harrison reads Peace Lily

πŸ‘ˆ What happens when the Big Man says he is very, very sorry - Mark Rutterford reads Correcting an Error

πŸ‘‰ An elegy for lost love and an exploration of what can happen when you live alone - Geoff Mead reads White Christmas

πŸ‘ˆ A minor accident makes a teenage boy face up to his grandfather -
Hannah Glickstein reads Roadkill

πŸ‘‰ How long will a man lie i the earth ere he rot? Simon Piney reads Waking the Dead

πŸ‘ˆ Is there a line that you wouldn't cross?
Sharon Webster reads Jumping the Queue

πŸ‘‰ Isolated during a pandemic, Frank begins to suspect a connection between the virus and the climate change protesters camped outside his home - Stephen Connolly reads The Corvidae Diary

πŸ‘ˆ Death comes to Derbyshire’s fourth largest tourist attraction - Emma Kernahan reads A Brief History of Lady Charlotte, Duchess of Beaumont

If you enjoyed the stories, or just want to support SSS, why not buy the book? Six of tonight's authors have stories in the SSS Anthology 2015-18. In all there are 57 stories by 45 Gloucestershire authors. More info and links to buy here.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Join us HERE on Sunday 8 November SSS 2020 from 7.30pm for our 20th event - on the theme of 'Disruption' - it's FREE!

The need for everyone's safety means that the Stroud Short Stories event 'Disruption' (!) will take place online.

I hope you'll join us on the SSS YouTube channel via links here on our website from 7.30 on Sunday 8 November to enjoy ten Gloucestershire authors reading/performing their stories. (Please note that there is no access to the SSS event on the Stroud Book Festival YouTube channel.)

The event, which is our 20th and is dedicated to the late Rick Vick, will feature the ten stories initially selected from the 119 stories submitted for the postponed April event.

Just a reminder of the stories which will be read by their authors. (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)
Waking the Dead - 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)

These are brilliant stories, so please join us here from 7.30 on Sunday 8 November on the SSS website when I will post links to the ten readings/performances on YouTube. Please note that there is no access to the SSS event on the Stroud Book Festival YouTube channel.

Our last 14 events sold out. You will not need a ticket for this one. And there will be no charge to watch/listen to the videos.

MAY 2021 Event - We will open again for submissions in late January for our Sunday 9 May 2021 event. There will be an open theme - so any subject, any genre, any approach so long as it's a short story of 1,500 words or less. COVID allowing, it will take place at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud or, failing that, online again.