Saturday 24 December 2022

Saturday Sample: The Best of CafeLit 4


It’s a great privilege to be involved in a project like this where I get to read short stories in many forms,
including last year the introduction of the stories in exactly one hundred words which has proved
immensely popular.

At CaféLit we are more liberal in our selection criteria than many short story publishers, seeking
the experimental, the weird and the wonderful as well as the more traditional. As an avid short story
writer, and reader, honing my own writing by reading some of the masters: Alice Munro, George
Saunders, Raymond Carver… and a favourite of  mine Jon McGregor, to name but a handful, I have
come to see the short story as a vital form of prose. In the States the short story collection is often the
first time we meet a new author where debut collections are commonplace, here in the UK publishers place less emphasis on the role of the short story. However I see the short story as the place where stories are born. In my own work short stories have planted the seeds that grew into novels. Short stories taught me what you could do with voice and style and how you could incorporate the contemporary way of living into it, using for example blog posts, Facebook and Twitter to tell
my story The Theory of Circles that was published by Unthank Books and nominated for the Pushcart. I
see it as front line, as a place to break rules and push boundaries. For that reason CaféLit allows
that to happen, with stories from 100 words to 3000. I think story telling begins in the short form
and in our busy lives where we often don’t find the time, short stories allow us to dip in and out and
that is how I see this book. Pick it up, read, put it down. Pick it up later. See where it takes you.

My theory of the short story is to write what wants to come and see what is possible in the short form. And that’s why the selection criteria is so wide. If we like it, we choose it. If we really really like it, it also appears here in one of our compilation collections for you to enjoy. But also remember that it’s subjective too, some stories you will like more than others, and sometimes it depends what mood you’re in.

I once heard someone say of Jon McGregor’s short stories that they disturb the surface of everyday
things. I like that. I like that a lot. Let’s hope this little collection will do the same.
Debz Hobbs-Wyatt
Editor for Cafélit
Published Short Story Writer and Novelist
Winner Bath Short Story Award 2013

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