Northern Short Story Festival

There are tall tales to be told at Carriageworks Theatre on Saturday 4th June as they host the first ever Northern Short Story Festival. Part of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival this is funded by Northern Accent and is the first Festival of its kind in the North. Dedicated to celebrating northern writers and northern talent, popular and published authors will come together to share their stories, expertise and wisdom. With workshops, readings, performances and discussions if you are a fan of fiction then make sure you book.

Tickets cost just £4 - £8 per event or why not come for the day for just £20?


About the authors/artists

1130am - 1.30pm Workshop - the Art of Murder with Alison Taft and Anna Chilvers

Led by writers Anna Chilvers and Alison Taft, this interactive, practical workshop is designed to help you commit murder within the framework of a short story. Learn how to structure a story, create mystery and suspense, and believable characters with believable motives! Whether you're an experienced writer wanting to try something new, or a first-time writer exploring fiction for the first time, this workshop is suitable for you.Taught by: Alison Taft & Anna Chilvers

Alison Taft: Alison writes as AJ Taft. Her first novel, Our Father Who Art Out There, Somewhere, was published by Caffeine Nights in 2011 and unintentionally launched a crime series. Shallow Be Thy Grave was published in 2013 and My Time Has Come followed last year. Alison also works as a creative writing tutor and an editor for the Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

Anna Chilvers’ first novel Falling Through Clouds was published in 2010 by Bluemoose Books. Legging It (Pennine Prospects, 2012) is a collection of short stories inspired by movement through the landscape. Her second novel Tainted Love will be published by Bluemoose in April 2016. Anna is a writing tutor for the WEA.


12.30 - 1.30pm Independent Press Panel

Three specialist presses from the North of England (Comma Press, Valley Press, and Tartarus Press) will talk about the present health of the short story in the UK, and new and innovative approaches to publishing short stories. Come and meet the publishers and pitch them your questions.


Jim Hinks   is an editor Comma Press, an independent publishing house specialising in short fiction. Comma publish short story writers from the UK and overseas, including David Constantine (winner of the BBC National Short Story Award and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) and Hassan Blasim (winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize). Jim has worked in the publishing industry for over ten years, and taught publishing and creative writing at UCLAN, Edge Hill University, and the University of Leeds. He's also the creator of MacGuffin, a digital platform for fiction and poetry in text and audio form.

Jamie McGarry  Valley Press: Valley Press is the home of independent literary publishing in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, with a list that includes poetry, fiction and non-fiction. The first books with the Valley Press name appeared in October 2008, and by the end of 2016 we will have close to a hundred titles in print. We believe in a holy trinity of publishing: editing, design and marketing, and are constantly working to perfect those areas. Valley Press was founded by Jamie McGarry whilst an undergraduate English Literature student, and he continues to run VP to this day.

Ray Russell, Tartarus Press: Tartarus is a small, British independent press founded in 1990. They specialise in collectable hardback limited editions of literary supernatural/strange/horror fiction, and also publish paperbacks and ebooks. They have been the recipient of five World Fantasy Awards (as recently as 2015) and in 2010 received a "Stoker" from the Horror Writers Association

2pm - 3pm - Carys Bray - reading and Q&A

Carys Bray is a short story writer and novelist. Her collection Sweet Home won the Scott Prize and her debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and broadcast on BBC Radio. Carys lives in Southport with her husband and children. Her second novel The Museum of You will be published in June 2016.

3.15pm - 4.15pm - Bluemoose Books Reading Event

Bluemoose Books is a multi-award winning independent publisher based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Join Bluemoose authors Michael Stewart & Anna Chilvers as they read some of their short fiction and take your questions.

Michael Stewart is an award winning playwright and author. His debut novel King Crow published by Bluemoose Books,  won The Guardian's Not the Booker in 2011 and was a recommended read for World Book Night in 2012. His second novel Cafe Assassin was also published by Bluemoose Books in 2015. His books have been translated into several languages. Michael is senior lecturer in Creative Writing at Huddersfield University.

Anna Chilvers is a writer based in Hebden Bridge. Bluemoose Books published her debut Falling Through Clouds in January 2010. It has been translated into Russian by Centrepolygraph of Moscow. Bluemoose Books will be publishing Anna's second novel Tainted Love in May 2016. Anna teaches creative writing for the WEA.

3.15pm - 4.15pm Workshop: Success in Short Story Competitions

Award-winning short story writer Avril Joy will guide you in developing your short story writing - from finding contests to enter, to developing, shaping and polishing your story into something that can make the shortlist! This workshop is suitable for writers at all stages - whether beginner or experienced.

Avril Joy is an award winning short story writer, novelist and occasional poet. In 2012 she won the inaugural Costa Short Story Prize. Her work has also been shortlisted in a wide variety of competitions including the Manchester Prize for Fiction, the Bridport, and the Raymond Carver Short Story Competition.

4.30pm - 5.30pm 'The Dark Side of the North' reading and discussion

Join acclaimed short story writers Barnaby Walsh and David Martin as they read their work , and discuss the North's unique literary culture.

Barney Walsh is a graduate of the University of Manchester’s MA in creative writing. He reads and selects stories for Litro Online's StorySunday slot, and his own fiction has appeared in Willesden Herald: New Short Stories 7, The Big Issue in the North: Award for Short Fiction 2013, Unthology 4, The Warwick Review, Unthology 7, Litro Magazine, Shooter Literary Magazine, and The Manchester Review.

David Martin was shortlisted for the Big Issue in the North prize and his stories have been published by The London Magazine, Valley Press and Dead Ink Books. His collection of short stories, Only Shadows Move, is available now, and he tweets @lordsludge.

4.30pm - 5.30pm - Workshop: Flashbulb Flash Fiction with Clare Fisher

Join novelist and short story writer Clare Sita Fisher for an interactive workshop in flash (or very short) fiction. You'll read and discuss some of the best contemporary examples of this fast-growing form before getting the chance to create your own piece of very short fiction. A playful and exploratory workshop open to writers of all abilities.

Clare Sita Fisher was born in Tooting, south London in 1987. Her first novel will be published by Viking, Penguin in 2017, followed shortly by her first collection of short fiction, How the Light Gets In, with Influx Press. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a BA in History from the University of Oxford. She now lives in Leeds with her partner. Chat to her on Twitter @claresitafisher.

5.45pm - 6.45pm - Open Mic event

Come along and read your short stories, created at the daytime workshops. Host to be confirmed.

5.45pm - 6.45pm Stories from the Forests of Leeds with Daniel Ingram-Brown and local writers.

In stories, the forest is a place of transformation. It's a place people venture into, away from the established order, to confront the problems that face them. Join author and theatre producer Daniel Ingram-Brown, who has been working with the Leeds Big Bookend Festival, the Leeds Church Institute and local writers, to imagine Leeds as a forest – a complex, diverse place with no wide landscape, where roads thread between buildings, connecting people and communities. Through a series of workshops, characters and stories have been created that will form a treasury of tales and artwork from the Forests of Leeds.

Contributors in the book range from an 11 year old, to the professor of English at Trinity University. The major theme that has emerged is that of the divide between the haves and have-nots. The book tells the story of those who live on the fringes of the Forest through the eyes of Clarence the Water Rat. It is illustrated by Simon Smith, who has developed a series of illustrations that base his vision of The Forests of Leeds on the real life of the city.



Tour Information

4th June 2016 11:00am
Carriageworks Theatre