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.