Once upon a time ...

I like short stories because of their ability to give the reader a complete escape from the here and now, but within the space of minutes rather than hours. Some of my favourite short story authors/collections are:

  • Elizabeth Goudge - White Wings - old fashioned, but incredibly perceptive
  • Paul Gallico - Confessions of a Story Teller is a collection of tales with accompanying commentaries about how he came to write each one - fascinating
  • Katherine Mansfield - The Garden Party - did this at school and some of the images and characters stick to this day
  • Saki - Witty, satirical, with the occasional chilling undercurrent
  • And of course the stories in the Talkback Writers' One Word Anthology which cover pretty much every genre from humour to horror.

This is one of mine - some years ago the Sainsburys Magazine ran a series of short stories by famous authors all set in fictional Mortimer Street. When they decided to end the series they asked their readers for suitable endings in no more than 150 words - mine was one of four they published and my very first piece of published writing.

The End of Mortimer Street

Dawn broke gently over Mortimer Street and its inhabitants rose, breakfasted and headed out for work, the school run or shopping, exactly as they did every morning, blissfully unaware that today was Judgement Day. At 9.15am the fiction editor calmly hit the delete key and wiped them from existence.

 © Samantha Newbury 2003