Personally, I sometimes feel that the short story is seen as the poor relation of the literature world. Perhaps it is a hangover from all those short stories we were made to read, and attempt to dissect (I mean interpret), in high school. The perception of length as a standard for merit is also evident (especially when you look at the number of pages in some of the books on our library shelves).
Perhaps, however, short stories are going through a resurgence. Earlier this year, Rodney Libraries were involved in running “Rodney Writes”, our own local short story competition. And we have already had enquiries about next years contest. That is just one of the short story competitions which are increasingly popular.
Last evening the winners in the prestigious Katherine Mansfield short story competition were announced in Wellington. After 10 years of trying, Carl Nixon took out the top prize, beating off 430 competitors with his story My Beautiful Balloon, based on a real event in the Hawkes Bay.
Creative writing graduate Craig Cliff won the novice category with Another Language, and year 13 student Mark Davidson, from St Patrick's College in Wellington, took the young writer's award for Man's Best Friend.
Rodney Libraries have plenty of short story collections on our shelves. They are reasonably well used by students looking to satisfy their NCEA reading requirements, but have some great writing in them for everyone to enjoy. To find them in our catalogue you can do a Keyword search for “short stories” or ask one of the librarians next time you are in. To start you off there are several collections on the general fiction shelves (for instance both Flamingo and Picador have published anthologies), or look for authors such as Owen Marshall, Joy Cowley, Katherine Mansfield (of course), Shonagh Koea and even Louis L’Armour. There are also collections in the non fiction shelves under 823.
Easy to pick up and put down, why not try a short story this month.