First! I'm very interested in short stories (really? you gasp) and as I'm going to be doing a spot of guest-editing for the National Short Story Week website in March, I've been thinking about what makes a good story and what are great examples of the form. Now, I haven't reached any big conclusion, so don't ask - but what I am doing is making notes of brilliant collections, individual stories, great writers of the same, interesting anthologies and so on. So it was kind of handy that I got an email the other day from a nice lady who's made up just such a list. So I know it's a pretty generic and open-ended question, but I wanted to open it up to the floor: what are your favourite short stories? Do you agree with the list above? What collections or anthologies would you rave about? What do you insist your students read? What do your teachers insist you read? What story would you photocopy and paste on lamp-posts and telephone poles all over the country? What's your favourite obscure find? Comments below, please!
Second! This is for Manchester peeps; are you free Thursday night? If so, come to the opening of this art exhibition: BlankExpression 2011. It's a group show to celebrate the opening of a new gallery, BlankSpace, which has taken over the premises of the old EasaHQ building, and my boyfriend (Andy Broadey) is one of the participating artists. Go look at his work - it's ace. There's even nudity in it. And he tells me there'll be free booze at the opening. 6pm until 9pm - if you're not there, I'll tut loudly in deep disapproval.