Northern Short Story Festival

03 June 2017

Tickets: ​Day Ticket: £20, Workshops: £9, Events: £5. Day Tickets are not available to book online: when purchasing a Day Ticket from the Box Office on 0113 376 0318, book your place at your desired events.

Whole Venue

The Northern Short Story Festival is a partnership venture between Carriageworks Theatre and the Leeds Big Bookend.

The only festival of its kind in the North. Celebrating Northern writers and Northern talent on Saturday 3 June.

It promotes the short story form through workshops and events.  Popular and published authors come together to share their stories, expertise and wisdom with you.


Small Press Panel – What do Editors look for in a Short Story?
10:30 – 11:30 / £5
Book Online
Host: Becky Cherriman
Panellists: Teika Bellamy, Jamie McGarry, and Becca Parkinson

Join our panel of award-winning small press publishers and editors, as they discuss the short story form.  What makes a great short story, and what does an editor look for?

Dr Teika Bellamy is the founder and managing editor of Mother’s Milk Books.  In 2015, Teika was the recipient of the Women in Publishing’s New Venture Award for pioneering work on behalf of under-represented groups in society; Mother’s Milk Books was also longlisted in the 2016 Saboteur Awards category ‘Most Innovative Publisher’.  Teika is a popular speaker who is passionate about the role of independent presses and women authors within the publishing world.  When she’s not busy with the press, or her family, she’s busy writing or creating art under her pen-name, Marija Smits.

Jamie McGarry founded Valley Press in 2008, and has now overseen the publication of more than a hundred books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.  He lives in Scarborough.

Becca Parkinson joined Comma straight from finishing her undergraduate degree at Lancaster University.  Whilst at university she was the Editor of both Cake Magazine and Flash Journal. two student-run publications.  After a previous internship at Carnegie Book production, she joined Comma as an intern before being taken on full-time to work on sales, production and events. in 2017, she will co-edit Comma's New Writer Showcase and The Book of Tbilisi.

How to Tell a Story in an Image
11:30 – 13:00 / £9
Book Online
With Sarah Dobbs

The workshop is suitable for all levels of writer and we will think about how to use images and motifs in a piece of work.  We will draw on published work to help us, such as Katherine Mansfield and Kevin Barry and consider how other types of images, such as sounds, can also create pictures in our work.  Writing will be critiqued in a friendly and informal setting and writers will be equipped with suggested markets for their work at the end of the session.

Sarah Dobbs is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sunderland and has taught at Lancaster, Manchester and on the Guardian Masterclass series.  Sarah is the author of Killing Daniel (2012) and editor of English Literature, Language and Creative Writing: A Practical Guide for Students (2014).  She is currently completing her second novel, Return to Me.  In her spare time, she likes to paint, play piano and practice circus.

Endings in Short Stories
11:30 – 13:00 / £9
Book Online
With Zoe Lambert

Whether it's an open, closed, reveal or epiphany, the ending is always in sight in a short story.  But they can be the hardest thing to get right. In this workshop, we are going to compare the endings of two classic short stories and find out how to make your endings work.  Participants will be asked to read the two set stories beforehand and bring a draft of a story to the workshop.

Zoe Lambert is a writer based in Lancaster.  Her short story collection The War Tour is out with Comma Press and she has published short stories widely elsewhere.  She is also a workshop facilitator and lecturer.

Flash Fiction Slam
13:30 – 14:30 / £5
Book Online
9 slots, 5 minutes, best story wins!

Hey, Writers!  Ever envy those pesky performance poets as they shout couplets at adoring audiences while you toil away at your prose?  Well envy no more, this is your chance to shine in front of actual PEOPLE.
NoShoSto is proud to present the first ever FLASH FICTION SLAM.  All you have to do is write a piece of flash fiction which last 5 minutes or less when it’s read aloud.  The best story wins, but everyone gets the thrill of instant audience feedback:  Applause!  Laughter!  Gasps! The only thing you won’t get is indifference. 

A team of judges will rate your story according to an open set of criteria, so even if you don’t win, you’ll get some free, structured feedback.

How to enter:
All you have to do is buy a ticket for the event from the box office then tweet a photo of your ticket to @noshosto and you’ll be in.  It won’t be decided by audience acclaim, but a few of your friends whooping and hollering won’t do your chances any harm, will it?  Places are strictly limited, as the event has to fit into the busy NoShoStoFest programme, so enter first and craft later.  If you are the shy, retiring type, you may have someone read your story for you but the contest will not judge the performance, just the story.

Jimmy Andrex without a clue what he's doing or why, Jimmy performs all over the UK either with or without music.  Black Horse Poet of the Year on two occasions, he has published two collections, Gormless  (2011) and Leet (2013), along with three albums of poems to music, Cresties (2015), Puddled & Kallin (2016).  The longer version of Cresties was featured last year at Wakefield Litfest and the prestigious Ilkley Literature Festival in 2015.  October 2015 also saw the premiere of his first play 3 Characters at the Leeds 10x10 Drama Festival and his collaboration with RCM composer Amy Bryce, based on the story of The Green Children of Woolfit was premiered at the Leeds Lieder Festival in April 2016. 

John Clarke has been published in Scribble magazine and shortlisted in the Writers & Artists Short Story Competition 2015. He is co-organiser of the Red Shed Readings in Wakefield, along with Jimmy Andrex.

Crime Writing
14:30 – 16:00 / £9
Book Online
With Jacob Ross

This intensive workshop on writing crime fiction will focus on plotting, settings, developing distinct and convincing characters plus techniques for maintaining and enhancing pace. Led by the highly-experienced tutor, Jacob Ross, who recently published The Bone Readers, the first in his Camaho Quartet of crime novels.

Jacob Ross is an acclaimed novelist, short story writer, editor and creative writing tutor.  In 2016 he published The Bone Readers, first in a quartet of hotly anticipated crime novels.  'Ross’s characters are always powerfully delineated through brilliant visual descriptions, dialogue that trips off the tongue, and keenly observed behaviour [...] The Bone Readers is a page-turner, but its insights and language are equally testament to a literary novel of impressive depth and acuity.' The Guardian.  Born in Grenada, Jacob was expelled in 1983 in the U.S. led invasion, and came to England.  In 2006 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  He received Grenada’s highest literary award for his contribution to literature in 2011.  He lives in Thorganby, near York.

Look to the Stars
14:30 – 16:00 / £9
Book Online
With A. J. Ashworth

Humans have long been fascinated with the night sky - from stars and comets to planets and galaxies as well as our own satellite the moon.  In this workshop we will be using astronomy-inspired writing exercises to help generate ideas for new short stories.  We will also look at a couple of short stories which use astronomy in interesting ways.  Suitable for beginners as well as those with more experience who would like to try and use the wonders of the night sky as a starting point for new work.

A. J. Ashworth is the author of the short story collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here, which won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and shortlisted in the Edge Hill Prize.  She is the editor of Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës, in aid of The Brontë Birthplace Trust.  She won Arts Council England funding and a Society of Authors K. Blundell Trust Award.  She also won the Baltic Writing Residency in Scotland and was a Hawthornden Fellow for 2014.

Get Published, Get Shortlisted
16:30 – 17:30 / £5
Book Online
Host: James Nash
Panellists: Richard Smyth, AJ Ashworth and Liz Ottosson

Join our panel of highly successful, award-winning short story writers as they share their knowledge and expertise on all things short story writing.  How does a short story writer get started, and how do you get published?  Where should aspiring writers send their work, and which competitions are worth entering?  Join our panel of experts to find out! 

Richard Smyth's short fiction has appeared in Structo, The Stinging Fly, The Fiction Desk, The Lonely Crowd, Minor Literature[s], Foxhole, The Stockholm Review, Firewords Quarterly, Litro, Riptide Journal, Cent, Haverthorn and The Nightwatchman, and in anthologies from Arachne Press, Ink Lines and Spilling Ink.  His story 'Deep' won the LS13 Prize for young Yorkshire writers; in 2017, his story 'Something Was Being Broken' was longlisted for the Galley Beggars Short Story Prize.  He has also written many times for London's award-winning Liars' League live fiction event.  Richard's debut novel, Wild Ink, was published in 2014; he writes reviews and criticism for The TLS, The Times, New Statesman and The Literary Review, and lives in Bradford with a wife and a cat.

Elizabeth Ottosson’s short stories have been short-listed for awards on two continents, and she is currently revising a novel.  In 2016 her story about Grace Darling won the Segora International Vignette Competition, and her short story 'Touch' was published in the anthology, 'Remembering Oluwale'.  A. J. Ashworth is the author of the short story collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here, which won Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize, was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and shortlisted in the Edge Hill Prize.  She is the editor of Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës, in aid of The Brontë Birthplace Trust.  She won Arts Council England funding and a Society of Authors K. Blundell Trust Award.  She also won the Baltic Writing Residency in Scotland and was a Hawthornden Fellow for 2014.

Book Launch
Come Let Us Sing Anyway
17:45 – 18:45 / Free
With Leone Ross and editor Jeremy Poynting

Join us for readings by the author, and a conversation with editor Jeremy Poynting as we celebrate the launch of Leone's new short story collection, 'Come let Us Sing Anyway'.  From headless schoolgirls, to talking food and threesomes, pretty much anything can (and will) happen in these witty, weird and wonderful world short stories.  Ranging from flash fiction to intense psychological drama, magical realism and erotica, these strange, clever and beautifully crafted stories may sometimes tickle, sometimes shock; but will always engage both the intellect and the heart.

Leone Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and lecturer in fiction writing. She was born in England and grew up in Jamaica.  Leone Ross is the critically acclaimed author of the Orange Prize shortlisted novels All the Blood Is Red and Orange Laughter.  A novelist, short story writer, editor and lecturer in fiction writing, she was born in England and grew up in Jamaica.