Here at Londonist, we love a short story. Whether it's about dinosaurs or ducks, there's a lot to be said for a tale that can be read within your commute. And the people of London obviously agree, as London Short Story Festival is back for its second outing later this month.
65 writers and speakers descend on the Waterstones flagship store on Piccadilly for four days of talks, readings, discussions and Q&As. With nearly 30 events taking place, it's hard to know what to go to, so we've picked a few recommendations:
- Stories of the City (20 June, 12pm, £9): obviously London's got a special place in our hearts, but cities all over the world inspire writers on a daily basis. Author Kit de Waal chairs a discussion and readings with journalists and authors Alex Preston, Murzban F. Shroff and Lynn Coady on writing about the urban centres of the world.
- Food Fiction from around the World (20 June, 6.30pm, £9): being the sort of people who think with our stomachs, we're well aware of the effect that food can have on our lives (not to mention our waistlines). Writers Ben Okri, Krys Lee, Charles Lambert and Elaine Chiew get together to discuss Cooked Up: Food Fiction from Around the World, an anthology of short food fiction from writers across the planet.
- Short Story Gatekeepers (20 June, 10.30am, £9): write short fiction yourself and want an insight into getting an agent, getting your work published or produced for radio? A panel consisting of writers, agents and producers will be giving advice on all of these aspects of writing, as well as entering fiction prizes and competitions.
- What are you laughing at? (19 June, 6.30pm, £9): writers Salena Godden, Nikesh Shukla and Stuart Evers will be reading from their work, to demonstrate how they use humour to lighten dark situations, and to various other effects, in their work.
- Fairy Tales and the Short Story (21 June, 12.30pm, £9): Dame Marina Warner gives a short talk on fairy tales, joined by Royal Society of Literature Fellow Aamer Hussein and Scott Prize winner Kirsty Logan. They'll discuss how certain aspects of traditional fairy tales are still used by writers whose work focuses on change, survival and triumph.
There's a plethora of wordy events going on in addition to the above. Authors including Ben Okri and Laura van der Berg will also be running their own masterclasses. See the festival programme (PDF) for full list of events and authors taking part.