Friday, March 23, 2007

Short Story Conference: Edge Hill University

I saw this press release today and thought "I'd love to go!":

Edge Hill University will be hosting "The Story Shall Be Changed": Tales and Re-tellings in the Short Story on Saturday 21st July 2007.

The short story is a protean form, encompassing myth, fable, anecdote, tall tales, yarns and literary experimentation. Rooted in oral tradition, storytelling has a special affinity with popular genres such as science fiction and tales of the supernatural.

In this second one-day conference on the short story at Edge Hill, we focus on this multiplicity of forms and genres. We also consider the re-imagining of familiar narratives, themes and imagery; and the invention of new ones. How is the short story being transformed in the twenty-first century?

The conference is linked with the inaugural presentation of the Edge Hill Prize, for a published single author collection from the British Isles. The winner will be announced on the eve of the conference, and it is hoped that writers from the shortlist (announced May 2007) will take part in the conference reading.

Confirmed speakers include:

Professor Alan Wall (Richard Dadd in Bedlam and Other Stories)

Andy Sawyer (Science Fiction Foundation, University of Liverpool)

Cecilia Morreau (Leaf Books)

Call for Papers

Proposals for 20 minute papers are invited from all those writing and researching the short story, whether as practitioners or literary scholars (or both). Practice-based presentations are welcome. Suggested topics:

Genre and sub-genre – crime – horror – the ghost story – fantasy – science fiction – gothic – erotica – autobiography – online writing – multi-media – hybrid genres.

Intertextuality – myth and symbolism – image-based fiction – the epiphany – adaptation - oral storytelling - modernism and postmodernism.

Individual authors – re-readings and reworkings – writing in translation - postcolonial fiction – experiment and innovation – novellas – story sequences – flash fiction – anthologies.

Please email 100 word abstract to Ailsa Cox Friday May 11th 2007.

This is the second annual conference hosted by the North West Short Story Network, supported by Lancaster University, Liverpool Hope, St Martin's Lancaster, University of Chester, Bolton University, Salford University and Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire). Following last year's conference, The Short Story, a selection of papers, including A. L. Kennedy's opening speech, will be published by Cambridge Scholars Press in 2008.

Booking Fees: £55/£30 (students, unwaged).

For further information please contact: Dr Ailsa Cox, Department of English, Edge Hill University, St Helens Rd, Ormskirk L39 4QP Email:

I confess that I spent a good many years avoiding reading stories that were less than novel-length as I found it frustrating to have the story end so quickly. But in the last two or three years I've really come to appreciate the art of the short form story (whether it's a novella or a genuine short story) - and have rather gone off reading hefty (doorstop) novels (unless they're "Harry Potter" ones). And it's probably just as well that I have come to appreciate the short story form since I now find myself writing novella length stories - which seem perfectly suited to "Doctor Who" fan-fiction - it's about the length of an episode if converted into a visual form (and I can quite often "see" the story unreeling as an episode in my head - which makes writing it easier, I find).

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