Celebrating with British short stories

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is the international celebration in 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen to the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI on 6 February 1952. (See the awesome story behind  Chris Levine’s portrait of the Queen.)

1. The Best British Short Stories 2012 and Granta 119: Britain

The Granta 119 issue celebrates the nation’s “past and present, its people, its land – and the deep connections between them” and from “That Whole London Thing” by A.L. Kennedy’s love letter to London’s theatres:  “In a way, it was the happiest time of my life. And that time will always make me think of London and London will always echo with it – the dreams that we tried to reach, the dreams we only just missed, the dreams we made true.”

“Story of My Life” by A.L. Kennedy from Granta 105: Lost and Found

Interview with Cynan Jones on the pleasures and challenges of writing short stories and novellas.

2. “An Accursed Race” by Elizabeth Gaskell

First line:  “We have our prejudices in England.”

3. “Eeldrop and Appleplex” by T.S. Eliot

First line:  “Eeldrop and Appleplex rented two small rooms in a disreputable part of town.”

4. “The Choice Of Amyntas” by W. Somerset Maughn

First line:  “Often enough the lover of cities tires of their unceasing noise; the din of the traffic buzzes perpetually in his ears, and even in the silences of night he hears the footfalls on the pavement, the dull stamping of horses, the screeching of wheels; the fog chokes up the lungs so that he cannot breathe; he sees no longer any charms in the tall chimneys of the factory and the heavy smoke winding in curves against the leaden sky; then he flies to countries where the greenness is like cold spring water, where he can hear the budding of the trees and the stars tell him fantastic things, the silence is full of mysterious new emotions.”

5. “A Smile of Fortune” by Joseph Conrad

First line:  “Ever since the sun rose I had been looking ahead. The ship glided gently in smooth water.”

6. Audio reading of “The Haunted House” by Virginia Woolf


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Reading around the world one short story at a time
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