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Best British Short Stories 2018


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Table of Contents

  • Nicholas Royle - Introduction
  • Colette De Curzon - Paymon's Trio
  • Adam O'Riordan - A Thunderstorm in Santa Monica
  • Jane Mclaughlin - Trio for Four Voices
  • William Thirsk-Gaskill - How to Be An Alcoholic
  • Alison Macleod - We Are Methodists
  • Adrian Slatcher - Life Grabs
  • M John Harrison - Dog People
  • Jo Mazelis - Skin
  • Conrad Williams - Cwtch
  • Kelly Creighton - And Three Things Bumped
  • Wyl Menmuir - In Dark Places
  • Owen Booth - The War
  • Tania Hershman - And What if All Your Blood Ran Cold
  • Mike Fox - The Homing Instinct
  • Brian Howell - Mask
  • CD Rose - Sister
  • Chloe Turner - Waiting for the Runners
  • Eley Williams - Swatch
  • Lisa Tuttle - The Last Dare
  • Iain Robinson - Dazzle
  • Contributors' Biographies
  • Acknowledgements

About the Author

Nicholas Royle was born in Manchester in 1963. He is the author of seven novels, including: Counterparts, Saxophone Dreams, and First Novel, and a short story collection, Mortality. He has edited sixteen anthologies, including A Book of Two Halves and Neonlit: Time Out Book of New Writing. He lives between London and Manchester and teaches creative writing at MMU. Owen Booth is the author of What We're Teaching Our Sons (4th Estate). He was the winner the 2015 White Review Short Story Prize, and won third prize in the 2017 Moth International Short Story Competition. Kelly Creighton was born in Belfast in 1979. She teaches creative writing to community groups and has curated The Incubator, an online short story showcase, since 2014. She is the author of Bank Holiday Hurricane, a short story collection shortlisted for a Saboteur Award and longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Her debut novel The Bones of It is on the Political Violence degree reading list in the USA, and was the San Diego Book Review 2015 Novel of the Year. Colette de Curzon was born in 1927. The daughter of the then French Consul General, she wrote `Paymon's Trio' in 1949 in Portsmouth, at the age of 22. Having no knowledge of available routes to publication, she tucked it away in a folder of her work, where it remained until 2016. Mother of four grown-up daughters and three grandchildren, she died in March 2018. Mike Fox is married and lives in Richmond. His stories have appeared in, or been accepted for publication by, The London Journal of Fiction, Popshot, Confingo, Into the Void, Fictive Dream, The Nottingham Review, Structo, Prole, Riggwelter, Communion and Footnote. Four other stories have been published in paperback by the Bedford International Writing Competition. His story `The Violet Eye' is forthcoming from Nightjar Press as a limited-edition chapbook. Contact via M John Harrison is the author of eleven novels (including In Viriconium, The Course of the Heart and Light), five short story collections (most recently You Should Come With Me Now, longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize), two graphic novels, and collaborations with Jane Johnson, writing as Gabriel King. He won the Boardman Tasker Award for Climbers (1989), the James Tiptree Jr Award for Light (2002) and the Arthur C Clarke Award for Nova Swing (2007). He reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement and lives in Shropshire. Tania Hershman's third short story collection, Some Of Us Glow More Than Others, was published by Unthank Books in May 2017, and her debut poetry collection, Terms & Conditions, by Nine Arches Press in July. She is also the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open, and two short story collections, My Mother Was an Upright Piano, and The White Road and Other Stories, and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers' & Artists' Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is curator of short story hub ShortStops (, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland, and has a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics. Hear her read her work at and find out more here: Brian Howell lives and teaches in Japan. He has been publishing stories since 1990. His first collection, The Sound of White Ants, was published in the UK by Elastic Press in 2004. His novel based on the life of Jan Vermeer, The Dance of Geometry, was published in March 2002 by The Toby Press. His second novel, The Curious Case of Jan Torrentius, about the notoriously libertine Dutch painter, was published in 2017 by Zagava. He likes film, cycling, Japan, the Low Countries and listening to podcasts. Jane McLaughlin's fiction and poetry has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. She was longlisted in the National Poetry Competition 2012, shortlisted in the Bridport Prize 2013, and has been commended and listed in other competitions. She was selected for the Cinnamon Press mentoring programme in 2013. Her e-book, The Abbot's Cat, a crossover novella for adults and older children, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2014 and some of her stories appeared in the anthology Quartet in 2015. Her debut poetry collection, Lockdown, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2016. She lives in London, where she belongs to several writers' groups and works as a consultant in adult and further education. Alison MacLeod's latest story collection, all the beloved ghosts (Bloomsbury), was shortlisted for Canada's Governor General's Award for Fiction and chosen as one of the Guardian's `Best Books of 2017'. Her stories are often broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her most recent novel, Unexploded, was long-listed for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and, in 2016, she was a joint recipient of the Eccles British Library Writer's Award. Alongside her writing, MacLeod has appeared at numerous international literary festivals and has served as a judge for a variety of literary awards. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester. Jo Mazelis is a prize-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, photographer and essayist from Wales. Her first collection of stories, Diving Girl, was shortlisted for Commonwealth Best First Book and her debut novel, Significance, won the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize in 2015, while her third collection of stories, Ritual, 1969, was longlisted for the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Wyl Menmuir is a novelist and editor based in Cornwall. His bestselling debut novel, The Many (Salt), was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. In November 2016, Nightjar Press published a limited-edition chapbook of his story Rounds and in 2017, the National Trust published his story, In Dark Places. He has written for Radio 4's Open Book and the Observer, and is a regular contributor to the journal Elementum. He teaches creative writing at Falmouth University and Manchester Metropolitan University and is co-creator of Cornish writing centre The Writers' Block. Adam O'Riordan was born in Manchester. In 2008 he became the youngest Writer in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust, the Centre for British Romanticism. His first collection of poetry, In the Flesh, won a Somerset Maugham Award in 2011. He is Academic Director of the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. His first collection of short stories, The Burning Ground, was longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Iain Robinson's short stories have appeared in the journals Litro, The Missing Slate, Wales Arts Review, and The Lonely Crowd, as well as in the anthologies Hearing Voices and Being Dad. His novel, The Buyer, was published in 2014. He was formerly an editor at Lighthouse Journal. He teaches at the UEA and lives in Norwich. CD Rose is the author of Who's Who When Everyone is Someone Else and the editor of The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure. His short fiction has appeared in 3:AM, Gorse, Lighthouse and The Lonely Crowd. Adrian Slatcher was a COBOL programmer for nine years, and currently works on digital innovation projects in Manchester. He has an MA in novel writing from the University of Manchester and his stories and poems have been published in Unthology, VLAK, The Rialto, Confingo, Verse Kraken and elsewhere. He blogs about literature at William Thirsk-Gaskill was born in Leeds in 1967. He performs at spoken-word events throughout the north of England. His poetry collection, Throwing Mother in the Skip, and his short fiction collection, Something I Need To Tell You, are both published by Stairwell Books. Chloe Turner's stories have appeared in The Nottingham Review, MIR Online, Kindred and Halo. She won the 2017 Fresher Prize. Lisa Tuttle has been writing strange, weird and fantastic fiction nearly all her life. Her first short story collection was A Nest of Nightmares (1986); her first novel, a collaboration with George R R Martin, Windhaven, first published in 1981, has been widely translated and is still in print. She is a past winner of the John W Campbell Award, the British Science Fiction Award and the International Horror Guild Award. Most recently she has written the first two volumes of a supernaturally tinged detective series: The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief and The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross. Conrad Williams is the author of nine novels: Head Injuries, London Revenant, The Unblemished, One, Decay Inevitable, Loss of Separation, Dust and Desire, Sonata of the Dead and Hell is Empty. His short fiction is collected in Use Once Then Destroy, Born With Teeth and I Will Surround You. He has won the British Fantasy award, the International Guild award and the Littlewood Arc prize. He lives in Manchester with his wife and three sons. Eley Williams is currently writer-in-residence at the University of Greenwich. Her collection of prose, Attrib. and other stories (Influx Press), was listed among `Best Books of 2017' by the Guardian, the Telegraph and the New Statesman and chosen by Ali Smith as one of the year's best debut works of fiction at the Cambridge Literary Festival. It was also awarded the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2018 and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2018.


Salt's `Best British' series reflects who we are; the state we are in. Britain's modern short story writers are mapping out the million dimensions to a lonely, atomised life. And this anthology holds up that mirror. Like the finest art, it mesmerises as it disturbs.

-- Tamim Sadikali * Bookmunch *

For those wishing to dip their toes into short stories currently available in a variety of mediums this collection offers an excellent primer. As a fan of the literary format I found it a well curated and enjoyable read.

* Neverimitate *

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