What is Story?

Welcome to Story, the campaign to celebrate the short story. We believe that the short story is one of the most exciting and important literary forms, and that it can and should reach the widest possible readership. We believe that the short story matters.

History of the Save Our Short Story campaign

The campaign was initiated in 2002 by the writer Margaret Wilkinson and quickly gathered an army of supportive spokespersons. A research project funded by Arts Council England and the Scottish Arts Council was set up to establish the state of the short story in the UK. Book Marketing Limited investigated publishing, sales and lending figures for short stories, as well as publishing outlets. As part of a larger literature research project, BML also looked into reading and buying patterns across the country.

Jenny Brown Associates carried out the next phase of the short story research, from July to December 2003. This included original research with over 70 writers, agents, publishers, event organisers and retailers to discover attitudes to writing, agenting, publishing, marketing and selling of short stories and short story collections.

Download The Short Story in the UK (716Kb Adobe Acrobat pdf)

Jenny Brown Associates with Book Marketing Limited The Short Story in the UK - an overview of the current state and exploration of opportunities for new initiatives.

As well as achieving significant media coverage and a general raised awareness of the plight of the short story in this county, the campaign took some direct action to get writers writing and readers reading new stories. Endangered Species, an online anthology edited by Val McDermid, comprised 24 brand new short stories from writers including Helen Dunmore, Ali Smith, Ian Rankin and Jackie Kay.

The stories were emailed each month to a large number of subscribers.

We would like to thank all those who set up and supported the Save Our Short Story Campaign. We hope to build on your success. Among them:

Claire Malcolm of New Writing North; Kate Griffin, Mark Robinson and Rachael Ogden at Arts Council England, North East; Jenny Attala and Sophy Dale at the Scottish Arts Council; and Penny Smith and Margaret Wilkinson at University of Northumbria.

Also Nick McDowell at Arts Council England, London; Lucy Hutton and John Hampson at Arts Council England, national office; Suzy Joinson at the British Council; Independent Northern Publishers; Toby Litt and Val McDermid.

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The short story form is better suited to the demands of modern life than the novel.
Simon Prosser Publishing Director Hamish Hamilton

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