Well, now we've got that wretched wedding out of the way, let's get back to stories. May is apparently Short Story Month 2011, and there are a few events coming up which have caught my eye; I thought I'd quickly sum them up as A Moment Of Fiction (no submissions stuff, for the moment, I'm afraid; my brain is awash with Flash Mob).
This Thursday (5 May) sees new Manchester-based publisher Pandril Press launch Panopticon, a collection of short fiction by seven emerging writers. The free event takes place at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on Cambridge Street from 6.30pm. Nicholas Royle will be manning a stall selling Nightjar chapbooks; might I recommend The Field by Tom Fletcher? Comma Press will also be there.
The following Tuesday (10 May, 6.30pm, free - sorry, this originally said Monday, but that's incorrect), the IABF plays host to a joint book launch from The Other Room/If P Then Q poet James Davies (whose collection Plants is published this month) and flash fiction author, novelist and Station Stories creator David Gaffney, whose Edgehill Prize-shortlisted collection The Half-life Of Songs recently came out on Salt. You can read more about David in my flash fiction feature for Creative Times - oh look, here's a link; there's more on the Station Stories project, which takes place later this month, below.
Friday 13 May sees Station Stories contributors Jenn Ashworth and the aforementioned Tom Fletcher combine forces at An Outlet on Dale Street in the Northern Quarter to celebrate the launch of their second novels: Cold Light in the case of Jenn and The Thing on the Shore in the case of Tom. They'll both be reading from 8pm, as will some of their friends from the Northern Lines Fiction Workshop. Jenn promises: "There'll be wine and possibly Twiglets."
Station Stories itself takes place on Thursday 19, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 May, with three performances a day to choose from (midday, 3pm and 7pm). It promises to be a really varied and interesting event, with six writers surreptitiously and not so surreptitiously reading specially commissioned tales of trains and tracks and other things beginning with "tr" around Piccadilly Station. The writers are: David Gaffney, Nicholas Royle, Tom Fletcher, Jenn Ashworth, Peter Wild (of Bookmunch; see more below) and Tom Jenks (also of The Other Room and If P Then Q).
On Tuesday 24 May, from 6.30pm, literary quarterly Ambit Magazine will be holding an evening of poetry and fiction (free), again at the IABF. After an introduction by Ambit editor Martin Bax, there will be poems from Joan Poulson and Edmund Prestwich, and David Gaffney and Nicholas Royle crop up again to read some short stories.
Thursday 26 May sees the Flash Mob Literary Salon, starting at 7.30pm at Dulcimer in Chorlton. There will be readings by the winners and runners-up, something special courtesy the judges (including my good self), and a special appearance from flash fiction author Nik Perring. Part of Chorlton Arts Festival 2011, it's free and will be fabulous; see the Flash Mob website for more.
Stacks of other literature events are taking place as part of this year's Chorlton Arts Festival. Keep checking the website to see what's on; details of the full programme should be released this week. Sneak preview from proofreading the brochure: I'm looking forward to hearing Salt writers Robert Graham and Heather Leach on Monday 30 May, 7.30pm, Chorlton Library (free). Robert will be reading extracts from his new Salt Modern Voices chapbook, A Man Walks Into A Kitchen; Heather will read So Much Time In A Life, included in Salt's new anthology, The Best British Short Stories 2011, edited by Nick Royle. You can read my review of the collection on Bookmunch here.