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 …
To listen to me reading an audio version on Comma’s free digital publishing platform, MacGuffin, click here.
Letters Home (The Book of Leeds, Comma Press, 2006; story reissued as e-book single, Comma Press 2012)
To listen to an audio version on Comma’s free digital publishing platform, MacGuffin, click here.
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 …
Room Zero (Malvern College, 2015)
This 16,500-word story was commissioned by Malvern College, Worcs, as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations and published in ten instalments on the school intranet during the week of World Book Day.
To read Room Zero for free, click here.
This 17,000-word story was commissioned by Wellington College, Berkshire, and published in 11 instalments in one day on the school intranet.
To read A Capsule of Time for free, click here.
To see the YouTube video of an interview with me, recorded at the school, click here.
Waiting at the Pumpkin (All Saints, No Sinners magazine, 2006)
In Anticipation of the Queen (Independent, 2000)
Marriage Guidance (co-written with Frank Tallis and Anna Maxted, Brighton Literature Festival/Radio 4, 1999)
Forensic Evidence (Radio 4, 1996; Mail on Sunday, 1996)
A Seasonal Adjustment (Oxford Times, 1993; Down the Middle, 1993)