A newsflash about my appearance tonight at the biggest and longest-standing lit fest in the UK
Over the weekend, a message flashed up on the corner of my computer screen: “YOU’RE IN!” Clicking to read the full email, I learned to my delight that I’ve been selected to read one of my short stories at Cheltenham Literature Festival tonight, in the 9pm event in the Little Big Top, entitled “Stroud Short Stories’ Greatest Hits”.
Stroud Short Stories organiser John Holland had chosen 7 out of 120 stories that had previously been read at its twice-yearly story evenings. Each SSS event provides a snapshot of the high calibre of local writing. These 120 stories had themselves been sifted from thousands of stories submitted to SSS over the years.
While the story I read at the April 2015 Stroud Short Stories event was not one of the first seven chosen, Katherine Hunter, one of the original line-up, had unfortunately fallen ill, and so I was pulled off the reserve bench to fill the gap. I’m really sad for Katherine to have to miss this opportunity due to illness, and I hope she makes a speedy recovery.
In the meantime, I’ll be dusting off my gold dress, an appropriate outfit for reading “The Alchemy of Chocolate”, which I wore when I read it at the April 2015 event in Stroud.
I won’t spoil the plot for anyone who is planning to be in the audience tonight, but if you’d like to read the story, you can either buy Quick Change, the collection in which it originally appeared, as an ebook or paperback (ISBN 978-0993087967), or get a copy of the story as a welcome gift when you join my free Readers’ Club.
All that means is you give me your email address and I send you very occasional emails about new books, events and special offers. You can unsubscribe any time you like too, though I hope you won’t want to! Please click here if you’d like to join the Readers’ Club.
To whet the appetite of the audience, here’s the line-up for tonight’s event, in order of appearance:
- Debbie Young – The Alchemy of Chocolate
- Philip Douch – Trog and Kron Almost Get It Right
- Ali Bacon – Silver Harvest
- Andrew Stevenson – A Good Old-Fashioned Cooper
- Rick Vick – Seeing
- Mel Golding – A Small Change
- Bill Jones – The Vampires in the Basement
It will be introduced by the ever-entertaining John Holland, an award-winning short story writer himself.
A good friend of ours, David Penny, a historical novelist and technical manager of the Alliance of Independent Authors, will be attending to video the event, so we hope to be able to share that with you in due course.
In the meantime, you can get a further sneak preview of the event if you tune in to BBC Radio Gloucestershire at 12.30pm today when lunchtime show presenter Dominic Cotter will be doing a quick interview with me. John Holland will also be interviewed on the night by the station’s roving reporter in the Green Room. (I think it’ll be Jo Durrant, who is doing a great round-up of the Festival on a daily basis – catch her on Twitter here.)
Like to Enter the Next Stroud Short Stories Competition?
After all the excitement of tonight is over, it’ll be back to planning the next Stroud Short Stories event, which takes place on Sunday 20th November. You have until the end of Saturday 29th October to submit your entry. Please note admission is free, but only authors who have a connection with Gloucestershire or South Gloucestershire are eligible to enter. Stories may be on any subject, to a maximum of 1500 words. For more details, visit the Stroud Short Stories website. Ooh, nearly forgot to mention – this time I’m the guest judge, alongside John. All entries are anonymised before they reach the judges, so no chances of favouritism. 😉
With thanks to my lovely friend Jacky, who will be in the audience, for flagging up that this week is Chocolate Week – what’s not to love about that?!