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. Of course, I bought several for friends and family, and for myself, and I imagine everyone else in that anthology did too.
I’ve had a number of other stories published since then in various places – anthologies, newspapers, magazines, online – and broadcast on the radio, and in November 2017 my first solo collection was published by Comma Press. Letters Home takes its title from the first story in the collection and includes pieces of short fiction spanning my career as a writer, some of which have been previously published and others which haven’t, along with a few written specially for this book.
Praise for Letters Home…
‘A display of creative virtuosity … a dazzling read that reveals a writer at the very top of his game.’- Yorkshire Post
‘Haunting and intimate portraits of vividly different lives that get under your skin and stay there. As sparse and beautiful as a Yorkshire moor.’ – Jeremy Dyson
‘A splendidly varied and moving collection.’ – Jane Rogers
‘In this luminous collection of short stories Martyn Bedford offers us beautifully variegated and nuanced insights not only into modern society, but also into an impressive array of richly drawn characters caught up in the messy business of life.’ – Jacob Ross
‘Isn’t the sign of a good book is that it forces you to think? And leaves you thinking, long after you’ve set it down? Martyn Bedford’s characters are reconstructing their own realities, and asking you to do the same.’ – Thresholds, international short-story forum
‘Letters Home is a vivid collection of heartfelt stories, told with vigour and obvious empathy.’ – disclaimermag.com
‘An insightful, and sometimes stark, look into modern society. Martyn Bedford gets beneath the skins of his characters and their behaviour in an unsettling way.’ – Telegraph & Argus, Bradford
‘A wonderful collection.’ – Papertrail Podcast
These stories (and an essay) have been published in the following anthologies …
To watch me read an extract from this story at WoWFest 2017, Liverpool, please click on this link to YouTube.
This story is also anthologised in Reflections (Cleckheaton Literature Festival, 2018)
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)