Short Fiction, as published annually by the University of Plymouth Press, is billed as a visual literary journal. For each piece of new writing published in the journal, a bespoke illustration is commissioned alongside. My copy of issue 7 arrived late last year, and oh my, it is a thing of beauty!
As well as including new writing from the likes of Jenn Ashworth, she of the finely calibrated and compelling dark humour, it features the winning story from the 2013 Short Fiction competition - by Rachel Fenton - and lots of excellent artwork, including a series from agitprop artist of the upfront double-barrel, Bob and Roberta Smith. (That's his cover there, on the left.)
Rachel's winning story, While Women Rage In Winter, is a brilliant piece of writing that hinges around that which is not spoken. It holds its tension, the past and the present, right through to the last image. Please read. It's well worth it.
This year's competition is now accepting entries until March 31st, and is open internationally. Check out the details here.
I entered the competition last year, and was thrilled to be included on the short list. First time ever! My story Panic Room is in there, illustrated by Tommy Parker with the kind of graphic novel panache that I love. This is a beautiful book (It feels like a book to me. It smells good, it has heft, the pages are silky and gorgeously produced, and so, journal, book, whichever.) and I'm still buzzed to have been included next to so many skilled writers and artists. Thank you Short Fiction; I look forward to the next!