Long considered inferior to their longer counterpart, the novel, short stories are enjoying a bit of a renaissance.
Ever since short story writer Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, there’s been a renewed interest in short story collections from all corners of the world.
The last year has seen some excellent short stories come out: BJ Novak – best known for his appearances on the US version of TV show The Office – had a fantastic collection out in 2014, One More Thing. Closer to home, Scottish writer Kirsty Logan’s first book of short stories, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, won her plaudits too.
But if you’re just looking for the occasional short story to read when you have a spare half an hour, you’ll find plenty to read and download online too. Here are a few of the places you can look.
Many writers often publish short stories on their websites. These are often free to download, which is great for fans looking for a fix of their favourite author before the next book comes out. World-famous sci-fi and fantasy writer, Neil Gaiman, has a few short stories on his website. These can be downloaded as PDFs, so they’re easy to read on your computer or tablet but can also be easily transferred to read on your Kindle or another e-reader.
Newspapers and Magazines
Major newspapers often publish short stories online, particularly on weekends when readers are looking for something lengthy to read. In May last year, The Telegraph dedicated several articles to the short story, publishing stories by Elizabeth Black and Kseniya Melnik.
In the USA, the New Yorker has a long tradition of publishing short stories by established and up-and-coming writers, many of which are available to read online. Be warned: there are loads of short stories here, so if you want some tips on what to look for, this article on the best New Yorker short stories might help.
Mslexia, a magazine dedicated to writing by women, has an excellent online selection too. Delve into their writing section to find the most recent short stories published. You’ll find poems here too.
There are several book charities and literary bodies around the country that are dedicated to getting people of all ages reading and writing more. Their websites can also be great sources of short stories. Booktrust’s short story library has lots to choose from, including some winners and nominees of the BBC National Short Story Award. And the Scottish Book Trust’s recent Stories of Home project has led to many new short stories – mostly personal non-fiction from a range of adults, children and established writers – being published on their website. These stories are also available to download as an e-book, which may be easier to navigate if you plan to read them all.
What are your favourite short stories?