There have been occasions where I have completely missed National Short Story Week in the UK, only discovering it was happening towards the end of the week. I don't know why - I love short stories, the date should be in my diary! So, this year, I'm getting in ahead of the game by posting today.
When was the last time you read a short story, or bought a collection or literary journal? If it's been a while, I want to share some of my favourites with you.
First up is... Daphne du Maurier, best known as the author of Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, she wrote around six collections of short stories, and I prefer them. I've read a couple - not all - and own The Rendezvous and Other Stories. One of the stories I re-read often from that collection is No Motive, which deals with the suicide of a previous happy and content woman. The story follows the investigator who is trying to work out why she killed herself, and I get goosebumps at the same moment every time.
Next... Margaret Atwood, probably the first adult author I read when I graduated from young adult. I read The Edible Woman - quite a departure from The Chalet Girls, I can tell you! It always comes as a shock that there are people who have never even heard of her. The collections I've read - Wilderness Tips and Bluebeard's Egg - are so rich and complete, you are satiated - at no point are you disappointed that you're only reading a short story.
Ali Smith... another master of the craft. The First Person and Other Stories is a fascinating experiment into the craft of writing. Looking through the reviews, Smith is definitely a writer you either love or hate, but there's always something to think about later. I find her stories haunt me, so I find myself reflecting upon them hours or days later. And I think that's part of what a short story should be striving for.
Of course, there are the usual suspects too, that I should mention - Alice Munro, Carol Shields, Saki and more. (Actually, even though he has been highly recommended on many occasions, I have never read Saki - that's my goal for this year's National Short Story Week.)
there's me! My collection, That Sadie Thing, is very dear to my heart, containing my oldest published short stories. If you buy the paperback version, it also contains three bonus stories that were written especially for the collection.
Happy National Short Story Week.