The Short Story, UK, September 2005
On Aug 23rd the saveourshortstory website became
http://www.theshortstory.org.uk. It has articles about writing and
reading stories, and a list of competitions.
It also announces the new "National Short Story Prize" (1st
prize 15,000 pounds - the largest in the world for a single
story). The prize is open to "authors with a previous record of
publication". Oh well. For details, see
The prize is launched in association with Prospect Magazine,
whose September issue has an article charting the demise of
the UK short story. It suggests that suddenly
Here's my guide to getting stories published in the UK if you're a
literary but non-professional writer. There may be
gaps in the list - for example, my knowledge
of the women's magazine market is poor, though I
remember when stories from "Women's Journal" got into
annual literary anthologies. I've mentioned the magazines' availability in
shops, but you'll need to be in a big city to have any chance of seeing
- "British literary journals ceased to matter"
- "the bottom fell out for short stories in the popular - and
particularly women's - magazine market."
I subscribe to several literary magazines. In the course of a
year they print well over 1000 poems, and fewer than 20
stories. Even including all the UK literary magazines there
might be only 100 stories printed annually. Some use
commissioned pieces, and some favour those doing M.A. in
creative writing, so the market for people like us is even
smaller than it looks, with competition from established
writers for the few remaining opportunities.
Here's a list of all the outlets I know of.
As you can see, there are catches to some of these options -
there's a fee for submission, or you need to be female, have
an agent, etc. In any case the readership of some of these
magazines is in the low three figures, if that.
To me, "London Magazine" and (lower down the pecking
order) "Staple" and "Ambit" seem the only worthwhile, realistic options
for us amongst the traditional literary outlets. Thousands of writers of
my ability are fighting for about 30 places per year.
- Aesthetica - electronic submissions only -
email@example.com. (small. Available in
- Ambit - 17 Priory Gardens, Highgate, London, N6 5QY.
(Established, but I've not seen their stories reprinted
elsewhere). Available in Borders
- Bonfire - e-mail submission only (new, will publish about
20 stories a year)
- Candenza (only prints entries to their story competition -
entry fee 5 pounds)
- Dream Catcher - Paul Sutherland, 7 Fairfield St., Lincoln,
LN2 5NE (small. Available in Borders)
- Granta - 2-3 Hanover Yd, Noel Rd, Islington, London, N1
8BE (not for us). Available in bookshops.
- Interpreter's House , 28 Marston Ferry Court, Marston Ferry
Rd, Oxford, OX2 7XH. (maybe 3 stories/year - they mostly
- London Magazine - 32 Addison Grove, London, W4 1ER
(open and prestigious). Available in the big bookshops.
- Mslexia - Mslexia, PO Box 656, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE99 1PZ (women only). Available in Borders
- The New Writer - (Short stories from subscribers and
- New Writing (British Council annual anthology available in
bookshops. Mostly commissioned/agent)
- Pretext - Editors, c/o Pen&inc, UEA, Norwich, NR4 7TJ
(an annual showcase anthology. Realistically, little chance
for the likes of us)
- Prospect (a story per month - they mostly print essays).
Available at newsagents
- QWF (Quality Women's Fiction) Short story submissions
to: Sally Zigmond Assistant Editor: 18 Warwick Crescent,
Harrogate, N.Yorks, HG2 8JA (women only)
- Sand - P.O.Box No 1091, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR2
8WD. Small. About 80% of pieces are by invitation
- smoke: a london peculiar - "smoke, PO BOX 14274,
LONDON, SE11 6ZG", though e-mail submissions to
firstname.lastname@example.org are preferred. London-
- Stand - School of English, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2
9JT (an international magazines. Recently, few UK authors)
- STAPLE - Padley Rise, Nether Padley, Grindleford, Hope
Valley, Derbyshire S32 2HE. (worthy and within our range)
- Tears in the Fence , 38 Hod View, Stourpaine, Blandford
Forum, Dorset TQ13 7ED (mostly poetry. Maybe 3 stories/year)
- Wasafiri - The Editor, Wasafiri, Editorial Department of
English & Drama, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile
End Road, London E1 4NS (Britain's only international
magazine for Black British, African, Asian and Caribbean
- Zembla (email@example.com) - available in
Borders and on all 1st class BA flights.
Other options exist
However, by far the most promising alternative is the US
magazine market. Glimmer Train Stories (available in Borders) is just one of the US magazines devoted to the
- genre markets - horror, SF, Gay.
- competitions (http://www.theshortstory.org.uk lists 41
- anthologies - Themed ones especially offer opportunities
- WWW magazines - Not to be underestimated.
- BBC radio - but you're in competition with dead and
Tim Love, September 2005