I’d been writing fiction for more than ten years before I got something published. That story was A Seasonal Adjustment and it appeared in the magazine supplement of the Oxford Times.
Okay, so I worked for that newspaper at the time, as a features writer, and I’ve no doubt the editor did me a favour. But it was great to see my short story in print, with my name at the top. And they paid me £25 – which, in those days, was … not very much money.
The story also made it into an anthology of new writing, called Down the Middle, but it was really a vanity publishing exercise – something like 60 stories in one, rather cheaply produced, volume which made a profit by “inviting” all the contributors to buy copies at ten quid a throw. As a first-timer into print I snaffled up several for friends and family, as well as for myself, and I imagine everyone else in that anthology did too.
But, even so, I now had a book of fiction on my shelves, with one of my stories in it.
I’ve had a number of other stories published since then but, for an aspiring writer, the first time you make it into print is a wonderful moment.
These short stories (and an essay) have been published in anthologies …
Letters Home (The Book of Leeds, Comma Press, 2006; story reissued as e-book single, Comma Press 2012)
A short film of Letters Home, starring Nasser Memarzia, premiered at the 2009 Version Film Festival, Manchester. Writer/director – Ronald Wright; producers – Ra Page and Caleb Shaffer, Comma Film.
And these short stories have appeared in other places …
A Seasonal Adjustment (Oxford Times, 1993; Down the Middle, 1993)
Forensic Evidence (Radio 4, 1996; Mail on Sunday, 1996)
Marriage Guidance (co-written with Frank Tallis and Anna Maxted, Brighton Literature Festival/Radio 4, 1999)
In Anticipation of the Queen (Independent, 2000)
Waiting at the Pumpkin (All Saints, No Sinners magazine, 2006)
To read A Capsule of Time for free, click here