Monday, 30 April 2018

Our 20 May event 'On Pulling Newts from Ponds and Other Stories' has SOLD OUT in record time + Judge's Statement

I was pretty surprised last November when our venue, the SVA, sold all tickets for the SSS event in SIX DAYS. The May event has just SOLD OUT in FIVE DAYS! Thank you to everyone who has bought tickets. Our authors will be reading to an audience of 70 people.

Sometimes 'return' tickets do come my way, so if you'd like to join a waiting list please email me at

87 writers submitted a record-equalling 128 stories for our consideration this time. I am extremely grateful to Ali Bacon, my co-judge for this event, for her wisdom, understanding and conscientiousness. Here is her judge's statement -

'Now that I've been co-judge of Stroud Short Stories for a second time, I can only say it doesn't get any easier! In fact, it seemed more difficult this time to pick out ten. There are always one or two personal favourites, but after these there were so many well-written and engaging stories of what seemed like equal merit that we struggled to come to our decision - hence the first ever SSS 'long-list'.

In terms of theme, although those short story favourites (love, loss, death, relationships and family) did make an appearance, they were by and large treated in an original way or with striking use of language or style. There was also a very liberal sprinkling of off-beat and up-beat stories, and enough humour - from gentle to black - to save us from wallowing in too much emotion. I'm pleased to say that several such stories make an appearance in the final line-up.

There were some stories which didn't quite 'deliver' in the indefinable way a short story should, and some more than a few had an ending we agreed didn't live up to the rest. Unusually we also found the opposite - good endings with less convincing starts! All of these are reminders of how difficult it is to write a really successful short story, especially one for performance, and how an apparently very small thing (like the last line) can make a huge difference.

Finally, I'd like to thank John for the opportunity to read all your wonderful work. I'm looking forward tremendously to hearing our choices read aloud and savouring them again in the new anthology due later in the year.'

The list of the ten authors who will read their stories on 20 May is below.