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Short story renaissance

24 June 2013

Short stories seem to be in demand as never before. The web has given new impetus to this literary form and many writers have embraced it eagerly, as it's undoubtedly easier to write a short story than a novel. That's where a lot of writers start.

Two recent straws in the wind. The first Rhys Davies Short Story Conference will take place at Swansea University from 13th to 15th September, possibly the first conference to concentrate on the short form.

Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature WalesThe national society of Welsh writers, this offers a wide range of support for Welsh writers and writers in Welsh, including courses, competitions, conferences, author tours international exchanges, reading and literary performances. It also funds Welsh-based literary events and writers residences and an innovative scheme for talented young writers, called 'young writing squads'.

, said: ‘The short story form is becoming more and more popular - in the fast-moving world we live in, it might be said that this form is ideally suited to our hectic lifestyles. This conference will aim to inspire and encourage more aspiring writers to experiment with the short story form.'

In the meantime in the UK the Short Story Competition is going strong and open to writers over 18 from all over the world, with a £5 entry fee and a first prize of £300.

The BBC Short Story Competition is well -supported and the EFG Private Bank Short Story Competition is also a big one, although that is only eligible to published writers, which seems a pity.

Last Saturday there was National Flash Fiction Day, for those who are interested in the shorter form.

So, what's the commercial feeling about short stories? They may be a good subject for a competition because of the shorter form, but do readers want to read them? The traditional publishing answer is no and writers, with very few famous exceptions, have always struggled to publish them successfully. But what about publishing on the internet and in ebook form? That may be a different matter, as stories are easy to read online or on a reader. Many readers prefer full-length novels though and that's probably because people want to lose themselves in the story and can do this more effectively in the longer form.

Nonetheless this does count as a renaissance of the short story, which has not received so much attention since the heyday of the magazines meant there was a ready market for them.