Celebrate the short form on the shortest day of the year.

National Short Story Day returns TODAY – 21st December 2013 – the shortest day of the year! Readers and writers all over the UK are taking time out from the pre-xmas chaos for a small moment of literary calm – a chance to enjoy and contemplate the quiet wonder of the short story.
Take a few minutes to explore this site with over 200 recommendations for great short stories (old and new) you may not have read before. (SEE RIGHT >>>)
This year’s theme is great science fiction short stories. A gathering of key players in British and European SF have specially nominated their favourite ever science fiction shorts for your delectation. (SEE RIGHT >>>)

The annual Twitter comp is back!
Tweet a story in 140 characters or less to @shortstoryday using the hashtag #nssd. You can enter as many times as you like with as many different stories as you like. The deadline is midnight on Saturday 21st December (UK time). The top five will be selected and announced through Twitter on Christmas Eve and the winners will each receive a preview copy of Comma’s book of essays on past short story masters, Morphologies

Events in December:

[Last night…]
NIGHT OF THE (PHYSICS) DEMONSTHOUGHT EXPERIMENTS AND SHORT FICTION
with Sarah Schofield, Marie Louise Cookson and Dr Robert Appleby.
Friday 20th December
MadLab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester M4 1HN
7-8pm. Free.
Not a screening of the cult British horror film (starring Dana Andrews), but an evening of short stories about the two demons of physics: Maxwell’s and Laplace’s – two fictional creatures invented by physicists to prove deep theoretical points.
Authors Sarah Schofield and Marie Louise Cookson have been the first to respond to Comma’s new science-into-fiction commission, Thought X, an exploration of science’s own version of the short story – the thought experiment. Tonight’s readings explore two 19th century thought experiments, rooted in two opposing visions of time: the symmetric-time world view, in which time can be scrolled forwards and scrolled back from any, and the asymmetic, Entropic world view, in which everything spreads, untraceably and irreversibly in one direction only.
Supported by the Institute of Physics.
More here

SHORT STORY NIGHT AT THE BROADWAY
Saturday 21st December
Broadway, 14 – 18 Broad Street, Nottingham NG1 3AL
7.30pm. Free.
Once more, Nottingham Writers’ Studio are celebrating all things wonderfully short story on the shortest day – the longest night – of the year! They’re back at the marvellous Broadway Cinema in the Studio, everyone is welcome and it’s all absolutely FREE! Come and join award-winning authors Alison Moore, Niki Valentine, Giselle Leeb, D P Watt & Roberta Dewa for totally tantalising tales and a short story swap: pick up short stories for free, or bring your own to exchange.
PLUS! Take part in the brilliant book raffle to win signed copies and raise proper dosh for Book Aid.
More here

RAREBIT LITERARY TOUR AND PARTHIAN FESTIVE DRINKS
Saturday 21st December
Waterstones Cardiff, 2A The Hayes, CF10 1WB (2pm) and NosDa, 53-59 Despenser St, CF11 6AG Cardiff (4.30pm – 6.30pm)
Tickets £10/£5
Join us on the shortest day of the year for a brilliant literary tour of Cardiff where a selection of writers from our new short story anthology ‘Rarebit will read their stories. And then carry on celebrating with us in the evening with more readings and Parthian Festive Drinks!
We’ll meet outside Waterstones Cardiff at 2pm, where we’ll go on a reading tour (we’ll have a bad weather plan, fear not) of the city centre. Places will be limited for the tour so please register your interest with susiewild@hotmail.com. Tickets cost 10 pounds but also include a free copy of the book.
More here

“My first success as an author came with the award winning of short story contests. As a reader I loved the elegant short stories of William Trevor and Iain Crichton Smith, and the worlds within worlds produced by Jayne Anne Phillips. Later on I devoured the crime short stories printed in annual collections and in magazines such as Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Most recently, I enjoyed the collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by the American writer Wells Tower. He reminds me of Raymond Carver one of the true giants of the form. – Ian Rankin

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“I love short stories – reading and writing them. The best short stories distill all the potency of a novel into a small but heady draught. They are perfect reading material for the bus or train or for a lunchtime break. Everything extraneous has been strained off by the author. The best short stories pack the heft of any novel, yet resonate like poetry.” – Ian Rankin

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‘For many years I read Thomas Hardy, before turning to Franz Kafka. Kafka continues to amaze. Also, still greatly enjoyable are the stories of ‘Saki.’ They now contain a slightly Edwardian flavour, which suits them well.’ – Brian Aldiss

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‘One of our best short story writers is undoubtedly William Trevor. One hears little about Trevor in the media. This is because those writers who are not as good by half as Trevor hog the media instead, but William Trevor’s voice, quiet though it is, remains the one that must be heard by anyone with a love of literature.’ – Brian Aldiss

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‘The short story is as diverse and exciting a form as the novel, offering the condensed satisfaction of a good poem.’ – Sean O’Brien

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‘I love the short story format, and was very much alive when writing four books of them. Classic masters for me are such as Chekhov, Stefan Zweig and Isaac Bashevis Singer. For the moderns there’s the stylish Rose Tremain and the unpredictable Ian McEwan’. – Arnold Wesker

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‘The short story is the most astonishing form: more supple than the novel, because of its length it’s possible to be more experimental, to do away, sometimes, with plot or character or logic. Instead of having to fill in details, to explain itself, to come to a conclusion, a short story can simply throw a thought at the reader, hurl a moment. It’s gemlike. There are no perfect novels, but there are perfect stories, I think.’ – Naomi Alderman

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My two favourite SF short stories…

  • Adam Marek recommends ‘The Sentinel’ & ‘Memories of the Space Age’.

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  • Trevor Hoyle recommends ‘Meihem in Ce Klasrum’ & ‘The Store of the Worlds’.

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  • Ramsey Campbell recommends ‘Testament of Andros’ & ‘Ritual’.

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  • Wojciech Orlinski recommends ‘The Seventh Voyage’ & ‘Think Like a Dinosaur’.

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  • Alex Davis recommends ‘Adjustment Team’ & ‘The Calorie Man’.

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  • Alex Davis recommends ‘No Particular Night Or Morning’ & ‘Mortal Coil’.

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  • Paul McAuley recommends ‘Surface Tension’ & ‘Two Houses’.

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  • Adam Roberts recommends ‘The Brick Moon’ & ‘A Spaceship Built of Stone’.

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  • Mark Gatiss recommends ‘The Disintegration Machine’ & ‘The Veldt’.

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  • Toby Litt recommends ‘The Machine Stops’ & ‘Flotsam’.

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  • Brian Aldiss recommends ‘The Dreaming Child’ & ‘Flotsam’.

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  • Ian Watson recommends ‘Me and My Antronoscope’ & ‘Last Contact’.

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  • Andy Sawyer recommends ‘With The Night Mail’ & ‘What I Didn’t See’

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Full list of Sci-Fi recommendations

My two favourite short stories…

  • Akin Terzi recommends ‘World for Sale’ & ‘Night-roaming Girls’

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  • Milos Ilic recommends ‘Kaleidoscope’ & ‘Vule Žurić’

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  • Florian Duijsens recommends ‘The Snow Queen’ & ‘Mount Helena’

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  • Evie Wyld recommends ‘The Woman at the Store’ & ‘The Harvest’

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  • Dilys Rose recommends ‘Funes the Memorius’ & ‘Alaindelon de la Patrie’

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  • Alen Kapidzic recommends ‘‘Flowers for Algernon’ & ‘The River Lethe’s Taste is Bitter’

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  • Berislav Blagojevic recommends ‘‘Blue Notebook no. 2’ & ‘Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorium’…

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  • Bernard MacLaverty recommends ‘The Dead’ & ‘In The Fall’

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  • Andreja Rauch recommends ‘On the Crossroad’ & ‘Teacher’

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  • Amy Marie Spangler recommends ‘The Perforated Amulet’ & ‘Ahmet Büke’

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  • Jasmina Vrbavac recommends ‘The Time of Miracles’ & ‘Fabula Rasa’

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  • Annelies Verbeke recommends ‘The Nose’ & ‘What, Of this Goldfish Would You Wish’

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  • Enrico Terrinoni recommends ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’ & ‘The Man from Korea’

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  • Gerard van Emmerik recommends ‘‘Signs and Symbols’ & ‘Sound of Talking’

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  • Philip Ó Ceallaigh recommends ‘‘Crossing the Zbrucz’ & ‘The Copulating Mermaid of Venice, California’

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  • Tijana Spasic recommends ‘‘Flowers for Algernon’ & ‘The Cat’

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  • Wojciech Orlinski recommends ‘‘Smok (The Dragon)’ & ‘Król Bólu (King of Pain)’

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  • Jessica Westhead recommends ‘The Swan’ & ‘The Visiting Privilege’

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  • Maike Wetzel recommends ‘‘Hansel and Gretel’ & ‘Geschichte von Nichts (Story about Nothing)’

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  • Sarah Selecky recommends ‘‘People You’d Trust Your Life To’ & ‘Watch me’

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  • MJ Hyland recommends ‘The Overcoat’ & ‘Creatures of the Earth’

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  • Gregory Norminton recommends ‘First Love’ & ‘The Tipping Point’

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  • Felicity Skelton recommends ‘Reunion’ & ‘Miles City, Montana’

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  • Sanneke van Hassel recommends ‘Two Old People’ & ‘Misha’

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  • Cathy Galvin recommends ‘William Burns’ & ‘Sleep’

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  • Nicholas Royle recommends ‘Murder’ & ‘When the Door Closed, It Was Dark’

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  • Alison MacLeod recommends ‘Revelation’ & ‘Days Necrotic’

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  • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer recommends ‘Dormitory’ & ‘The Adventure of a Soldier’

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  • Maggie Gee recommends ‘Lady into Fox’ & ‘The Necessary Strength’

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  • Loree Westron recommends ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ & ‘What You Pawn I Will Redeem’

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  • Ailsa Cox recommends ‘The Cat Jumps’ & ‘Dimensions’

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  • Elizabeth Baines recommends ‘A Conversation with my Father’ & ‘The Universal Story’

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  • Jon McGregor recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ ‘ & ‘Tenth of December’

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  • KJ Orr recommends ‘A Good Man Is Hard to Find’ & ‘Leopard’

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  • Vanessa Gebbie recommends ‘The Ledge’ & ‘Robot Wasps’

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  • Jacob Ross recommends ‘The Machine Stops’ & ‘The Boy Who Loved Ice-Cream’

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  • Claire Massey recommends ‘Automata’ & ‘Egnaro’

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  • Andy Murray recommends ‘You’re Too Hip, Baby’ & ‘Hob’s Hog’

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  • Tania Hershman recommends ‘The Leaf-Sweeper’ & ‘God’s Gift’

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  • Sarah Schofield recommends ‘Flowers For Algernon’ & ‘Winter Break’

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  • Toby Litt recommends ‘The Beast in the Jungle’ & ‘The Stylist’

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  • Stella Duffy recommends ‘Miss Brill’ & ‘Girl Meets Boy’

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  • Annie Clarkson recommends ‘Little Birds’ & ‘What Is Seized’

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  • Annie Clarkson recommends ‘Little Birds’ & ‘What Is Seized’

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  • Daneet Steffens recommends ‘The Gift of the Magi’ & ‘The Boat’

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  • David Constantine recommends ‘Daughters of the Vicar’ & ‘Because It Is Running By’

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  • Ronald J. Wright recommends ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ & ‘Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?’

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  • Chris Moss recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and ‘In-Flight Entertainment’

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  • Jim Hinks recommends ‘The Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and ‘Coming Attractions’

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  • Adam Roberts recommends ‘Symbols and Signs’ and ‘Gene Wars’

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  • David Vann recommends ‘Signs and Symbols’ & ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’

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  • Steve Dearden recommends ‘Pippi Is A Thing Searcher And Ends Up In a Fight’ & ‘Linden Trees’

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  • Michelle Green recommends ‘The Masque of the Red Death’ & ‘Present’

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  • Marianne Mitchelson recommends ‘The Bottle Imp’ & ‘The Snail Watcher’

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  • Jo Brandon recommends ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ & ‘Rape Fantasies’

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  • Will Mackie recommends ‘The Garden Party’ & ‘Mauricio “the Eye” Silva’

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  • Beda Higgins recommends ‘The Snow Queen’ & ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’

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  • Ra Page recommends ‘A Hunger Artist’ & ‘The Dead Astronaut’

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  • Rodge Glass recommends ‘A Radically Condensed History of Postindustrial Life’ & ‘Five Letters from an Eastern Empire’

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  • Amanda Craig recommends ‘The Fly’ & ‘Indefinite Nights’

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  • Emma Turnbull recommends ‘The Cat in the Rain’ & ‘The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God’

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  • Caryl Phillips recommends ‘Let Them Call It Jazz’ & ‘The Incalculable Life Gesture’

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  • Nicola Barker recommends ‘A Hunger Artist’ & ‘Indignities’

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  • Bidisha recommends ‘Twenty Years’ & ‘A Grand Day’

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  • Lili Wilkinson recommends ‘The Elephant’s Child’ & ‘Winkie’

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  • Naomi Alderman recommends ‘The Unrest Cure’ & ‘The Horse’

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  • Aminatta Forna recommends ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ & ‘Door In Your Eye’

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  • Joanna Briscoe recommends ‘Mrs. Packletide’s Tiger’ & ‘Lentils and Lilies’

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  • Tracy Chevalier recommends ‘The Necklace’ and ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

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  • Zoe Lambert recommends ‘Prelude’ and ‘The Ant of the Self’

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  • Rachel Zadok recommends ‘Mother’ and ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’

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  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie recommends ‘The Garden Party’ & ‘How to Be an Other Woman’

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  • Andrew Forster recommends ‘Lord Authur Saville’s Crime’ & ‘Fidelity’

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  • Bernardine Evaristo recommends ‘What You Nearly Always Find in Novels, Stories etc.’ & ‘Rum an Coke’

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  • Susie Wild recommends ‘Tristram and Isolde’ & ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

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  • Rachel Trezise recommends ‘Good Country People’ & ‘A Lonely Coast’

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Full list of recommendations

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