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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/frontrow/short_story_prize.shtml

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 the magazines.

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.

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 short story.
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Tim Love, September 2005