Those of you who are on Twitter may already have heard about the campaign to stop Radio 4 from culling their short story output from 3 per week to just 1. It was brought to my attention by Susie Maguire, an author who tweets (very fittingly in this instance!) as @wrathofgod and has been getting people to sign a petition, here. There are 3746 names on there at the time of writing, including lots of authors and actors and culturally important types. And me…
I know a lot of people aren’t keen on short stories, although I quite like reading the odd anthology myself. They’re easy to dip in and out of and are brilliant if like me, you have denied yourself a lot of reading time in 2011 and don’t have a lot of time to get engrossed in massive tomes but need to conduct genre research NOW! They are also a good way to find new writers, and indeed to support new writers (my first published fiction is a short story in a book coming out at the end of the month).
However, I understand that some people don’t feel the same, and that’s OK. I would say, though, that short stories, like poetry, are brought to life much more evocatively when performed aloud. Readings give them the opportunity to grab people and make them pay attention, which is necessary because they haven’t the full length novel luxury of allowing you to sink in gradually.
Unfortunately there aren’t really very many outlets for short story reading that have the clout of the BBC, which is why it seems a shame to take them away. Of course there will always be local readings and book festivals and things like that, but it’s not quite the same. So, if you would like to support the right of short stories to be read out loud on the radio, click this link for further ways you can help (courtesy of National Short Story Week).