I have a busy time coming up, and it's all to do with the buzz around short stories this summer. Tomorrow I'm off to the London Short Story Festival. The first event, tomorrow evening, is the launch of Best British Short Stories (Salt), edited by Nick Royle (in which I'm delighted to say my story, 'Tides, or How Stories Do or Don't Get Told' is included), followed by a reading by Jackie Kay. Saturday lunchtime there's a very interesting-looking panel discussion on short-story 'gatekeepers' with editors and an agent, chaired by my writing friend Vanessa Gebbie, to which I'm going, and I can't miss the morning session, The Weird and Wonderful World of Short Stories, not least because the chair, Tania Hershman, and two of the readers, Adam Marek and Robert Shearman, are my very good writing friends, and I have been looking forward for ages to meeting the third reader, my online writing colleague, Dan Powell. The three readers are billed as 'surreal writers', and although I'd agree that they write surreal stories, I have to say they're anything but surreal in person, but very real and warm! All LSSF events take place at Waterstone's Piccadilly. You can book here.
I'm really sorry that as a result, I'll miss the Southport launch of the debut novel of another superb short-story writer, Carys Bray - I just won't make it back in time for the 5 pm start on Saturday. Carys's Sweet Home (Salt), with which she won the Scott Prize, is one of my favourite story collections - she has the most superb linguistic control along with a tough yet humane sensibility - and A Song For Issy Bradley, her novel about the effect on a Mormon family of the death of one of the children, is already receiving huge attention and praise, which I'm sure it deserves, with newspaper profiles, posters on the underground and an appearance by Carys on tonight's Radio 4 Front Row. I believe that all are welcome at Cary's launch, so if you're in the Southport vicinity on Saturday at 5pm, you could drop in to Broadhurst's Bookshop and help her celebrate and get yourself a truly rewarding read.
Next week I'm off to Norwich for Project U, to read at Unthank Books' Wednesday launch of Welcome to Sharonville, a novel by Sharon Zink, and of Unthology 5, the latest in their series of short-story anthologies, in which my story 'Clarrie and You' appears. All welcome to that, too. Then the following week it's the Edge Hill awards to which I'm lucky enough to be invited again, and later in July the 13th International Short Story Festival in Vienna (which I'll hope to blog about on my Fictionbitch blog).
No rest for the lucky!