Short stories

The stories I have written fall into three categories: those that have been published (so far entirely in anthologies produced by Birmingham City University); competition entries (as yet unsuccessful, but I live in hope); and other pieces that for one reason or another (most commonly length) have not yet found their way into the world. Extracts from my work can be accessed on the right along with images of the collections I have appeared in. The English Department at BCU may be able to help if you would like to buy one. Unlike stamps, say, or goal-scoring centre-forwards their scarcity value should not be reflected in the price.

What makes a good story? Greater exponents than I am have applied themselves to that question and the form takes many shapes while not quite matching the plasticity of the novel. So far my own attempts have been fairly traditional in structure and intent, seeking to create characters and settings the reader can dip into and find fully realised without the more leisurely getting-to-know-you possible in longer fiction. There is generally an epiphany or turning point in someone’s life when their self-knowledge is enhanced, not always happily. And the style is, I suppose, literary in nature, whatever that means.

My inspirations have, it occurs to me, been mainly American: the capaciousness of Saul Bellow’s What Kind of Day Did You Have ; John Cheever’s iconic fable The Swimmer; or John Updike, who could be a miniaturist of the telling moment (The Persistence of Desire) or make sense of someone’s whole life in a few pages (Brother Grasshopper). You do not always realise the influence something has on you until it crops up in your own work or thinking. That effect is what everyone aims for when they put words down on a page.