The Northern Short Story Festival is Back on Saturday 3 June 2017!

We are delighted to announce the return of The Northern Short Story Festival. The only festival of its kind in the North, celebrating Northern writers and Northern talent on Saturday 3 June at the Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds. The Festival promotes the short story form through workshops and events. Popular and published authors, editors and small press publishers will come together to share their stories, expertise and wisdom with you. Follow us @NoShoSto.

The Northern Short Story Festival is a partnership venture between  the Leeds Big Bookend Festival and the Carriageworks Theatre, with additional funding from Leeds Inspired and Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. It has been curated by Leeds author SJ Bradley.

Programme – download here

Small Press Panel – What do Editors look for in a Short Story?
10:30 – 11:30 / £5. Book your ticket here.
Host Becky Cherriman talks with guests Teika Bellamy, (Mother’s Milk Books), Jamie McGarry (Valley Press) and Becca Parkinson (Comma Press)

Join our panel of award-winning small press publishers and editors, as they discuss the short story form. What makes a great short story, and what does an editor look for?

Dr Teika Bellamy is the founder and managing editor of Mother’s Milk Books. In 2015, Teika was the recipient of the Women in Publishing’s New Venture Award for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society; Jamie McGarry founded Valley Press in 2008, and has now overseen the publication of more than a hundred books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry; Becca Parkinson works for Comma Press on sales, production and events. In 2017, she will co-edit Comma’s New Writer Showcase and The Book of Tbilisi.

How to Tell a Story in an Image
11:30 – 1:00 / £9. Book your ticket here.
With Sarah Dobbs 

The workshop is suitable for all levels of writer. You will think about how to use images and motifs in a piece of work.  You will draw on published work to help you, such as Katherine Mansfield and Kevin Barry and consider how other types of images, such as sounds, can also create pictures in your work.  Writing will be critiqued in a friendly and informal setting and writers will be equipped with suggested markets for their work at the end of the session.

Sarah Dobbs is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sunderland and has taught at Lancaster, Manchester and on the Guardian Masterclass series.  Sarah is the author of Killing Daniel (2012) and editor of English Literature, Language and Creative Writing: A Practical Guide for Students (2014).  She is currently completing her second novel, Return to Me.

Workshop – SOLD OUT
Endings in Short Stories
11:30 – 1:00 / £9. Book your ticket here.
With Zoe Lambert.

Whether it’s an open, closed, reveal or epiphany, the ending is always in sight in a short story. But they can be the hardest thing to get right. In this workshop, you will compare the endings of two classic short stories and find out how to make your endings work. Participants will be asked to read the two set stories beforehand and bring a draft of a story to the workshop.

Zoe Lambert is a writer based in Lancaster. Her short story collection The War Tour is out with Comma Press and she has published short stories widely elsewhere. She is also a workshop facilitator and lecturer.

Flash Fiction Slam
1:30 – 2:30 / £5. Book your ticket here.
9 slots, 5 minutes, best story wins!

We proudly present the first ever FLASH FICTION SLAM. Come along and just watch or take part yourself. If you want to take part, write a piece of flash fiction which lasts 5 minutes or less when it’s read aloud.  The best story wins, but everyone gets the thrill of instant audience feedback: Applause! Laughter! Gasps! The only thing you won’t get is indifference.

How to enter: Once you’ve got your Flash Fiction Slam ticket, you can tweet us @NoShoSto to reserve your slot at the slam, or else just sign up on the day. If you are the shy, retiring type, you may have someone read your story for you but the contest will not judge the performance, just the story.

Our judges, Jimmy Andrex and John Irving Clarke  will rate your story according to an open set of criteria, so even if you don’t win, you’ll get some free, structured feedback.

Jimmy has been Black Horse Poet of the Year on two occasions, published two collections, Gormless (2011) and Leet (2013), along with three albums of poems to music, Cresties (2015), Puddled and Kallin (2016).  John has been published in Scribble magazine and shortlisted in the Writers & Artists Short Story Competition 2015. He is co-organiser of the Red Shed Readings in Wakefield, along with Jimmy Andrex.

Workshop – SOLD OUT
Crime Writing
2:30 – 4:00 / £9. Book your ticket here.

With Jacob Ross 

This intensive workshop on writing crime fiction will focus on plotting, settings, developing distinct and convincing characters plus techniques for maintaining and enhancing pace.

Jacob Ross is an acclaimed novelist, short story writer, editor and creative writing tutor. In 2016 he published The Bone Readers, the first in his Camaho quartet of hotly anticipated crime novels, which won the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year. Born in Grenada, Jacob was expelled in 1983 in the U.S. led invasion, and came to England. In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He received Grenada’s highest literary award for his contribution to literature in 2011.

Workshop – SOLD OUT
Look to the Stars
2:30 – 4:00 / £9. Book your ticket here.

With A. J. Ashworth

Humans have long been fascinated with the night sky – from stars and comets to planets and galaxies as well as our own satellite the moon. In this workshop you will be using astronomy-inspired writing exercises to help generate ideas for new short stories. You will also look at a couple of short stories which use astronomy in interesting ways. Suitable for beginners as well as those with more experience who would like to try and use the wonders of the night sky as a starting point for new work.

A. J. Ashworth is the author of the short story collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here, which won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and shortlisted in the Edge Hill Prize. She is the editor of Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës, in aid of The Brontë Birthplace Trust.

Get Published, Get Shortlisted
4:30 – 5:30 / £5. Book your ticket here.
Host James Nash talks with fellow writers Richard Smyth, AJ Ashworth and Liz Ottosson

Join our panel of highly successful, award-winning short story writers as they share their knowledge and expertise on all things short story writing. How does a short story writer get started, and how do you get published? Where should aspiring writers send their work, and which competitions are worth entering? Join our panel of experts to find out!

Richard Smyth’s short fiction has appeared in numerous publications such as  Structo, The Stinging Fly and The Fiction Desk, and in anthologies from Arachne Press, Ink Lines and Spilling Ink. His story Deep won the LS13 Prize for young Yorkshire writers; in 2017, he was longlisted for the Galley Beggars Short Story Prize. He has also written many times for London’s award-winning Liars’ League live fiction event. Richard’s debut novel, Wild Ink, was published in 2014; he writes reviews and criticism for The TLS, The Times, New Statesman and The Literary Review.

A. J. Ashworth is the author of the short story collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here, which won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and shortlisted in the Edge Hill Prize. She is the editor of Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës, in aid of The Brontë Birthplace Trust.

Elizabeth Ottosson’s short stories have been short-listed for awards on two continents, and she is currently revising a novel. In 2016 her story about Grace Darling won the Segora International Vignette Competition, and her short story Touch was published in the anthology, Remembering Oluwale.

Book Launch
Come Let Us Sing Anyway
5:45 – 6:45 / Free.

With Leone Ross and Peepal Tree Press editor, Jeremy Poynting.

Join us for readings by author, Leone Ross and conversation with editor Jeremy Poynting as we celebrate the launch of Leone’s new short story collection, Come let Us Sing Anyway.

From headless schoolgirls, to talking food and threesomes, pretty much anything can (and will) happen in these witty, weird and wonderful world short stories. Ranging from flash fiction to intense psychological drama, magical realism and erotica, these strange, clever and beautifully crafted stories may sometimes tickle, sometimes shock; but will always engage both the intellect and the heart.

Leone Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and lecturer in fiction writing. She was born in England and grew up in Jamaica. Leone Ross is the critically acclaimed author of the Orange Prize shortlisted novels All the Blood Is Red and Orange Laughter.

The Walter Swan Short Story Prize 2017-18

We are also very excited to announce that we will be launching The Walter Swan Short Story Prize 2017-18 at the Festival. More information here.


Day Ticket: £20; Workshops: £9; Events: £5. Tickets here.

Day Tickets are not available to book online. When purchasing a Day Ticket from the Box Office on 0113 376 0318, book your place, at the same time, at your desired events.

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