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Short Story Masterclasses: Eight Successful Writers Discuss the Short Story Form

Short Story Masterclasses - Eight Successful Writers Discuss the Short Story Form

Short Story Masterclass is a specially commissioned podcast series produced by Thresholds, an online international short story forum based at the University of Chichester, in partnership with the Small Wonder Short Story Festival. Each episode features an award-winning author discussing their approach to short stories. The series is hosted by Steve Wasserman, creator of the Read Me Something You Love podcast, and K.J. Orr who was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2011.

Episode 1: Sarah Hall and the sexiness of the short story form
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After writing four highly acclaimed novels, Sarah Hall published her first collection of short stories, The Beautiful Indifference, in 2011. The collection won the 2012 Edge Hill Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Prize. Hall is a tutor for the Faber Academy, The Guardian and the Arvon Foundation.

Episode 2: Joseph O’Connor and super-charging your language
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Joseph O’Connor published his first short stories in 1989 and, in the same year, was awarded the Sunday Tribune/Hennessy First Fiction and New Irish Writer of the Year awards. Since then, O’Connor has written and published a wealth of nonfiction and novels, including bestseller Star of the Sea, which won the Prix Litteraire Zepter for European Novel of the Year. In 2012 he was voted ‘Irish Writer of the Decade’, by Hot Press magazine readers.

Episode 3: Michèle Roberts and the subconscious in writing
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Michèle Roberts’ novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, awarded the WH Smith Literary Award and broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week. Her short stories and poetry were most recently collected in Mud: Stories of Sex and Love.

Episode 4:  Margaret Drabble and the adventurous nature of short stories
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Dame Margaret Drabble was awarded a CBE in 1980 and was made DBE in the 2000 Honours List. She has written a wealth of novels, including A Summer Bird-CageThe Sea Lady and The Seven Sisters. She has also published many critical articles and books on Arnold Bennett, Wordsworth, Hardy and Angus Wilson, amongst others. Her short stories were collected in A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, published in 2011.

Episode 5: David Vann and the unbreakable rule of subtext
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David Vann is the author of prize-winning novel Legend of a Suicide, Caribou Island and Dirt, as well as three highly acclaimed memoirs. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and Honorary Professor at the University of Franche-Comté in France. Published in 19 languages, Legend of a Suicide is an international bestseller and has appeared on 40 ‘Best Books of the Year’ lists in 11 different countries.

Episode 6: Deborah Levy and the difference between writing short stories and poetry
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Deborah Levy found early success when her work was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and has gone on to write several highly acclaimed novels, including Beautiful Mutants, Swallowing Geography and Billy and Girl. In 2012, Levy was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, as well as the BBC International Short Story Award. Her latest full-length book, a collection of short stories entitled Black Vodka, was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. In May 2013, Levy published Things I Don’t Want to Know, a literary essay written in response to George Orwell’s Why I Write.

Episode 7: Jane Rogers and starting points
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Jane Rogers has published eight novels, including Man Booker-longlisted The Testament of Jessie Lamb, which won the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2012. Her debut short story collection, Hitting Trees with Sticks, was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. The title story was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2009. She is currently working on a new novel and an adaptation of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle.

Episode 8: David Constantine and listening in on other people’s stories
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David Constantine was, for thirty years, a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry as well as a novel. He has four short story collections, the most recent, Tea at the Midland and Other Stories was published in 2012. In 2010, he was the winner of the BBC National Short Story Award.



  1. 21 August 2014 / 11:12 pm

    It is a relief knowing that the short story is given such recognition somewhere. i am a short story writer too and i am beginning to feel like very few people (if any) gives little concern to the genre. i simply post them on my blog for the love of writing them and for the very few who wouldn’t mind wasting a moment of their time reading them. i’m glad.

  2. 22 August 2014 / 4:17 am

    Great collection, but unfortunately the second link doesn’t work. Any chance on fixing? Thanks for all you do on this website!

  3. 17 April 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Thank you for all the hard work on this site. It really helps us writers to focus on writing and make use of resources you provide. 🙂

  4. 9 September 2020 / 1:36 pm

    Well here I am six years and nine days post your publishing of this wonderful collective of inspiration and thoughts of all stories short. At that time you and the featured authors could never have realised how useful and indeed allegorical these short story podcasts are. We’re under COVID-19 lockdown-2 here in Melbourne, Australia and I’m indulging myself with a podcast a day on my allocated one-hour short exercise excursion. I’m completing a MA of Writing and have found these particularly helpful for that — and my lockdown sanity. Thank you!

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