Category Archives: Short Stories

The Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize Shortlist 2019

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On Tuesday 2nd April the shortlist for The 2019 Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize was announced. Always one of the most anticipated of literary prizes. The winner will be announced on Thursday 16th May. There will be a special event being held at the British Library on 15th May when all the shortlisted authors will be present. I am really excited at this year’s longlist and already looking forward the British Library event as I will be attending this year.

You can follow the prize via Twitter: @dylanthomprize #IDTP19

This year’s shortlist of 6 books comprises five novels, one short story collection.

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The Shortlisted authors:

The 6 shortlisted books comprise 5 novels and 1 collection of short stories including:

  • American-Ghanaian writer Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (27) for his debut short story collection Friday Black (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US) and Riverrun (UK)) which explores what it’s like to grow up as a black male in America, and whose powerful style of writing has been likened to George Saunders.
  • Debut novelist Zoe Gilbert (39) for Folk (Bloomsbury Publishing) which was developed from her fascination in ancient folklore and the resurgence of nature writing. She has previously won the Costa Short Story Award in 2014.
  • British-Sri-Lankan debut novelist, Guy Gunaratne (34) for In Our Mad and Furious City (Tinder Press, Headline), longlisted for The Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for The Goldsmiths Prize, The Gordon Burn Prize as well as the Writers Guild Awards.
  • Third time novelist, Louisa Hall (36) with her latest book Trinity (Ecco) which tackles the complex life of the Father of the Atomic Bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer through seven fictional characters.
  • For the second time Sarah Perry (39) has been shortlisted for the Prize this time for Melmoth (Serpent’s Tail), one of The Observer’s Best Fiction Books of the Year 2018, and a masterpiece of moral complexity, asking us profound questions about mercy, redemption, and how to make the best of our conflicted world.
  • Zimbabwean debut novelist Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (30) with her wildly inventive and darkly humorous novel House of Stone (Atlantic Books) which reveals the mad and glorious death of colonial Rhodesia and the bloody birth of modern Zimbabwe.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 16th May at Swansea University’s Great Hall, just after International Dylan Thomas Day on 14th May.

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Author Bios:

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is from Spring Valley, New York. He graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University. He was the ’16-’17 Olive B. O’Connor fellow in fiction at Colgate University. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel, and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the 2nd Annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest. Friday Black is his first book.

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Zoe Gilbert is the winner of the Costa Short Story Award 2014. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, and in anthologies and journals in the UK and internationally. She has taken part in writing projects in China and South Korea for the British Council, and she is completing a PhD on folk tales in contemporary fiction. The co-founder of London Lit Lab, which provides writing courses and mentoring for writers, she lives on the coast in Kent.

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Guy Gunaratne lives between London, UK and Malmö, Sweden. His first novel In Our Mad and Furious City was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for The Goldsmiths Prize, The Gordon Burn Prize as well as the Writers Guild Awards. He has worked as a journalist and documentary filmmaker covering human rights stories around the world.

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Louisa Hall grew up in Philadelphia. She is the author of the novels Speak and The Carriage House, and her poems have been published in The New Republic, Southwest Review, and other journals. She is a professor at the University of Iowa, and the Western Writer in Residence at Montana State University. Trinity is her third novel.

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Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. She has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library and the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague. After Me Comes the Flood, her first novel, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize and won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. Her latest novel, The Essex Serpent, was a number one bestseller in hardback, Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2017, was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and Dylan Thomas Award, and longlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. Her work has been translated into twenty languages. She lives in Norwich.

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Novuyo Rosa Tshuma grew up in Zimbabwe and has lived in South Africa and the USA. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her short fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies, and she was awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize for the best literary work in English

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Meet the Judges

Professor Kurt Heinzelman is a poet, translator, and scholar. His most recent book of poems is Whatever You May Say and he has translated Demarcations, a collection of poems by Jean Follain. He has been the Executive Curator at the Harry Ransom Centre and the Director of Education at the Blanton Museum of Art. A Professor of English at the University of Texas-Austin specializing in Poetry and Poetics and a teacher in the Michener Centre for Writers, he is also the former Editor-in-Chief of Texas Studies in Literature and Language (TSLL), and the co-founder and long-time Advisory Editor of Bat City Review. [photo credit University of Texas at Austin/ Christina S. Murrey]

Professor Dai Smith CBE is a distinguished historian and writer on Welsh arts and culture. As a Broadcaster he has won numerous awards for arts and historical documentaries and from 1992 to 2000 was Head of Programmes at BBC Wales. He was Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan from 2001 until 2005 and is currently the Emeritus Raymond Williams Research Chair in the Cultural History of Wales at Swansea University. He was Chair of the Arts Council of Wales from 2006 until 2016 and is Series Editor of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Library of Wales for classic works. In 2013, he published a novel Dream On and in 2014 edited definitive anthologies of Welsh short stories, Story I & II, for the Library of Wales. His latest fiction, the novella What I Know I Cannot Say, and the linked short stories All That Lies Beneath, was published by Parthian Books in 2017. Professor Smith is Chair of the Judging Panel.

Di Speirs is the Books Editor for BBC Radio, overseeing all London Readings, ‘Open Book’ and ‘Book club’ on BBC Radio 4 and ‘World Book Club’ on the BBC World Service. She has produced innumerable editions of ‘Book at Bedtime’ over two decades and produced the first ever ‘Book of the Week’ in 1998. Instrumental in the BBC National Short Story Award since its inception, and its regular judge, she has also chaired the Orange Award for New Writers in 2010, judged the Wellcome Prize in 2017 and twice been a nominator for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (Literature). She is a member of the Charleston Small Wonder Lifetime’s Excellence in Short Fiction Award panel.

Kit de Waal was born in Birmingham to an Irish mother and Caribbean father. She worked for fifteen years in criminal and family law, for Social Services and the Crown Prosecution Service. She is a founding member of Leather Lane Writers and Oxford Narrative Group and has won numerous awards for her short stories and flash fiction. My Name is Leon, her debut novel won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2017 and was shortlisted for numerous other awards including the Costa First Book Award and the Desmond Elliott Prize. The Trick to Time, her second novel, was published in 2018 and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

My thanks to the team at Midas PR.

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Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection

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Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection

It is a great pleasure to have been asked to participate in the Blog Tour for Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection ahead of Roald Dahl Day on September 13th.

Many people will know Roald Dahl for his children’s books but not many will know that he also wrote a collection of short stories for adults. Ahead of Roald Dahl Day I am going to take a look at four of the eight books that Penguin released. I hope you may find this collection of interest.

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Many will recall reading some of Roald Dahl’s children’s books when they were young which includes James and the Giant Peach, The BFG and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Here though in this adult collection are some short stories that are dark and at times sinister. Some of these short stories were publishes in The New Yorker and Playboy.

Trickery: Tales of Deceit and Cunning. This of all the four books that I was sent I have to say I enjoyed. These dark and twisted stories of people using trickery and deceit as a weapon. But here in this collection are stories of what happens with the theme of repercussions just when you think your plan has worked and life comes back at you. Sometimes as they say you don’t always get what you hoped for.

240 Pages

 

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Innocence: Tales of Youth and Guile. A collection of five short stories which includes an autobiographical account of Roald Dahl’s own youth. Roald Dahl was born in Wales on 13th September 1916 and this short story of his boyhood as well as four other stories of youth and of growing up including dark a tale of a bullying victim.

288 Pages 

War: Tales of Conflict and Strife. Eight short stories which includes an autobiographical account of Roald’s years in the RAF as a fighter pilot. There are seven other short stories in this collection that look at conflict and of war and the total human cost of conflict.

336 Pages

Fear: Tales of Terror and Suspense. Fourteen tales that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. These stories by selected authors are spine tingling to say the least. Dahl could not master the ghostly story himself so in this collection he put together a series of spooky tales. Perfect for those dark nights that are approaching. From Cynthia Askuith’s ‘The Corner Shop’ to ‘The Telephone’ by Mary Treadgold. Great stories to make hide under the duvet.

320 Pages

There are four other adult short story books in the collection: Lust: Tales of Craving and Desire. Madness: Tales of Fear and Unreason, Cruelty: Tales of Malice and Greed and Deception: Tales of Intrigue and Lies.

A superb collection of short stories from the mast of storytelling. For anyone who loves great writing and these would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves the written word.

Thank you to Katie Ashworth (Penguin UK) for the review copies of Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection.

Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection was published by Penguin UK and was published on 10th August 2017 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.

 #RoaldDahlDay    13th September 2018

 

Roald Dahl’s Short Story Collection Blog Tour 2018

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How Much the Heart Can Hold – Seven Stories on Love

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How Much the Heart Can Hold – Seven Stories on Love

Many will know of my passion for short stories so when How Much the Heart Can Hold arrived for review I was just as keen to get into this outstanding collection of stories on love. The real beauty of this book lies in each unique story and the list of writers who have made a contribution is like a who’s who in the literary world today.

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The idea of commissioning the stories from the publisher Sceptre was based around a short story competition (now closed). With the winning entry having their story included in the paperback version released in February 2017 as well as a cash prize. Now just how good is that?

Each of the stories takes on a personality of their own through each of the writers. Some of the stories we just totally incredible some I felt lacked depth but in a collection of short stories there will always be some that reach the highs and others that for reasons just do not reach the same level.

The one stand out story for me was by Carys Bray author of the wonderful A Song for Issy Bradley and Bray’s story is called A Series of Codas is a rare thing of beauty. Here we see Louise struggling as a single parent and now she has to deal with her father’s serious illness after a collapse during a football match. She now has to look after her son Max and now also her father as he recovers from surgery. This is truly beautiful story of how we deal with life and the challenges and changes that we face. When faced with the challenges that Louise faces the message here is to treasure every moment and hold our loved ones close to our heart and talking of hearts. Having been through heart related surgery on a number of times over recent years I was taken by Bray’s take on hearts. Talking about people still being just the very same people after heart surgery and after all it is all just plumbing. It is just how I described my surgery to my close ones to stop them worrying.

Hearts can cope with so much after all they are the strongest muscle in our bodies yet at the same time have to cope with so much pain and loss and also capable of so much love. Some of these stories may not be to everyone’s taste but give this a go if you are a lover of the short story and just How Much the Heart Can Hold.

Stories by:

Nikesh Shukla

Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

D.W. Wilson

Donal Ryan

Carys Bray

Grace McCleen

Bernadine Evaristo

Thank you to Nikki Barrow for the advanced review copy.

How Much the Heart Can Hold is published by Sceptre and is now in hardback available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.

 

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