Browse our general literary ebooks….

Literary stories are those which deal with themes rather than simply action. These often explore aspects of the human condition or include social commentary. Literary fiction is often defined by what it is not; on the CUT site it is not genre-specific fiction, such as crime or romance, which primarily deal with plot over thematic exploration.

Personal Calls
Brindley Hallam Dennis
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A mobile phone in the wrong hands, can lead to who knows what messages in the wrong ears....
Providence
Lara Bardsley
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Providence is a collection of three short memoirs. The stories reveal a mother haunted by the loss of her family. Her child becomes a woman, shaped by the loss of her ancestors, deepened by the compassion for the suffering she witnessed and the resilience that grew from it. “The mind is a fickle bedfellow. It will seduce you one moment with the smoothest of concepts and when you are disarmed and wanting, it will deconstruct you. This world offers us the full smorgasbord — the sweetest fruits and the most bitter, the healing balms and the poisons. There are parts of us we can nourish and they will grow stronger. It was the searing pain of my mother’s passing when I was 21 that turned me irrevocably toward the pursuit of an inner richness, something that was constant and secure because it lay within me”.
Hollows
Stephen Tyson
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During the last summer holidays before I started secondary school, my father decided to dig a pond in the back garden. I think my mother must have encouraged him, because she loved animals and wild flowers. Large yellow and white dog daisies sprawled over the rim of the broad earthenware vase on the sill behind the sink, competing for space with the bamboo wind chimes that tinkled whenever the window was open. Even when my mother wasn't washing up, she'd often rest her hands on the edge of the draining board and watch as a robin or some other feathered visitor plucked a nut from the wire cylinder that hung from the bird table.
Winemakers' Soup
Carmen Nina Walton
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A young woman discovers something that threatens the family traditions that keep her safe.
Mixing Memory and Desire
Philip Mervyn
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I should have left the house earlier. There’s nowhere to park. The streets near the church are full of cars – you were always popular. By the time I find a spot in a side road I’m late and I start to run, but I’m quickly out of breath and my doctor’s warning comes back to me so I have to slow to a jog. That really makes me feel old - that, and going to funerals. If I’m honest I didn’t want to come, but it seemed important. It seemed necessary.
Remembrance
Philip Mervyn
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So as I stood there, outside the chemist’s, my mind was wandering in and out of all the usual thoughts and memories, some good, some not so good, and passers-by would drop their coins in and take poppies, and then suddenly I was aware of a young lad in jeans and a grubby tee shirt, bobbing up and down in front of me. He looked about nineteen or twenty. He was everything David never was at that age – scruffy, dirty, agitated and threatening. I was quite scared when I saw him. I’d heard about some kids in the area stealing from old people. I think it was in the local paper.
A Garden Of Love And Paradise Along The lane
G. F. Phillips
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Set in the mid 1960s, Tim Bristow is a teenager who cannot make a decision for himself and always does what his mates want to do. Religion, sex and the idea of the body have their part to play in this tale.
Ladies of the Soil
Gill Blow
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A poignant story of how a broken piece of porcelain and a biscuit tin crammed with packets of seeds allow a couple to confront the tragedy in their lives.
The Monet Exhibition
Philip Mervyn
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Sometimes you just can't see the big picture. It's all too confusing and you need to put a bit of distance between yourself and what you're trying to see. I could see you, but things still weren't really clear.
How It Begins
Philip Mervyn
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There you are, minding your own business, trying to get this jigsaw started and there's a knock at the door. Who is this strange woman? Actually, she does look a little familiar, and she seems to know who you are. But you have to be careful. Don't trust anyone. Even the inanimate objects are out to get you...
Boxed In
Leela Soma
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It is about the plight of many children working in the Fireworks factories in India. It is important that the voices of such people are heard through literature.
Box of Bananas
David Sebastian
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A college drama student finds himself in the lead role of an improvised omnibus production.
Dark Veil
Terence D Forster
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There was nowhere to hide from this sightless pain that struck me to the ground, in fear of my life.
Coal Is Our Life
Terence D Forster
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Danger, drudgery; male solidarity and female oppression summed up life in the colliery villages in County Durham during much of the nineteenth century.
Cabbages
Terence D Forster
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Africa and a Hippo named Nelly
A Flash In The Dark
Rosie Cullen
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A collection of three disturbingly dark flashes of fiction, Insomnia, In The End and LOL.
Waste
Tracey Emerson
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At eight a.m., on the morning of the last day of her life, Alice Calder stood shivering in the outdoor pool of the Madeira Heights Hotel.
April
Tracey Emerson
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April is rearranging her knickers. In the queue at the garden centre cafeteria. Her hand is right down the back of her tracksuit bottoms, tweaking and twitching and pulling the gigantic pants up and up and up.
Seaview
Tracey Emerson
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Grace sees him for the first time on a Sunday afternoon at the Seaview Residential Care Home. He is wrestling a magazine from a shrivelled, silver-haired woman in the TV lounge.
The Beach Hut
Anna Reynolds
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When I first saw the beach hut I realised it would probably be more expensive than a two bedroom town house. I pictured the agent’s face; the mocking laughter, shrieking down her phone to colleagues; ‘She thinks she can afford a beach hut!’
Flatland (2) Lesley
Suzanne Bowen
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The second of two companion stories about people returning to their south-coast hometown. Both have disappointments and something to conceal.
Flatland (1) Tony
Suzanne Bowen
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The first of two companion stories about people returning, in disappointment, to live in their south-coast hometown. Both have something to conceal.
Adel's New Bride
Terence D Forster
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A young Arab woman is to be married to an older man already with wives and children. He crosses the desert with his family to the town of Asyut where she sits on the roof tops crying in vain.
Medium High Gusset
Kath McKay
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The first time Leila was about to have sex with Norman he asked her if she would do something for him. Here we go, she thought, preparing for whips or wanting her to p**s on him. Men were so predictable. ‘Put your swimming costume on,’ he said. The costume was damp and smelt of chlorine. A Nike black all in one, medium high gusset, sports back, neoprene no nonsense number, it chafed her vagina. Hard making love in such a thing. But it seemed to do the trick for Norman. He became quite red in the face. At the last minute she unrolled it, as if it was an especially tight condom. That episode should have warned her.
Junction Ahead
Kath McKay
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One morning when I got up, my dad was still at home, dressed in a tight, shiny suit. I’d only ever seen him in that suit on Sundays. ‘Is it Sunday?’ I asked. He shook his head. ‘Don’t you have to go to work?’ My dad was always at work.
Exhibition Notes
Kath McKay
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When I saw that the Mammy was appearing in our town I wanted to go and see her. I was beginning to forget what a mammy was, but I knew that to have one was important to a boy. The teacher used to show us pictures of mammies in a book. She said mammies were always kind and rosy cheeked and held your hand. ‘A mammy is someone who belongs to you,’ the teacher said. All I remember is a smell.
Collision Theory
Kath McKay
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When she was seventy four my mother began corresponding with an elderly Scottish widower called Robert who was working on a maths problem. She got a ticket to the university library. A tiny woman, my mother: young people towered above her. ‘But they showed me how the computers worked, how to scan in books,’ she assured me on her regular phone call. I imagined they treated her as a member of a rare species, surprised to find her in their territory. She soon spent days immersed in Californian maths and physics journals. Amongst the formal jargon were spattered Californian idioms: gotten, freshen up, dude.
The Haiku Master
James Roderick Burns
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1 It was ten thirty in the morning, time for coffee and donuts, but Dustin Roberts had other things on his mind. He had slipped out of the prefabricated office unit and onto the shop floor twenty minutes ago, putting up the small satin ‘Java-time!’ banner beside his computer like a friendly mailbox flag, and locking out the screen. Now a cartoon Japanese gentleman in a bamboo-print kimono alternately smiled and frowned at the empty office. Wanda was out for the morning and Steve, the techie geek in charge of the processing software, away at a conference. Dustin wouldn’t be missed.
Cassandra
Csilla Toldy
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Cassandra asked for admission to the literature club of the university and was warmly welcomed by everybody. We liked newcomers. We liked to believe that we were expanding and it meant joy to have a new companion who shared our sophisticated passion.
Waterlogged
Lisa Samson
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An old woman trapped by floods.
Night Fight at the Zoo
G. F. Phillips
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A story about a grudge match that invokes a background of class as competition, strong passions and a sought-after revenge.
The Healer
Caroline Boobis
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Propelled thousands of miles away by childhood grief, Trish's search for happiness takes some unusual twists and turns.
Satanic Snarl
Nancy Charley
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Tasha has just moved into her new house, hoping for friendly neighbours. Instead she is faced with Satanic Snarl.
Exodus
Angela Huskisson
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12 workers trapped underground working on a momentous project. But 'God' has other ideas.
Octopus
Vivien Jones
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We lived in Sliema at 197 Prince of Wales Road in a two storey apartment reached from a ground floor staircase that curved high and tight upwards. There was a graceful banister that ended in a tight curl at the bottom and it was my ambition to slide down its entire length, but it was forbidden. What if I fell off ? What if my little brother copied me ?
Spit and Promise
Vivien Jones
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It was sweltering in the NAFFI hut. Father Christmas sat sweating, legs akimbo, showing his navy drill shorts and bare legs under the long red robe. He wore huge white plimsolls. His legs were damp and covered with ginger swirls of hair and his white beard had slipped sideways so you could see his stubbled chin and the spray of freckles beneath. I noticed that his hands were huge, not, I was sure, the size of hands the real Father Christmas would have.....
Grandma and Polly
Vivien Jones
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My mother always said I didn’t notice much but in those last week in Malta even I felt urgency like a held breath over everything. My sister and I were despatched to our room to clear out just about everything because of the weight restriction on the plane and we fell to quarrelling about whether her ballet books were more important than my drawing books....
Catacombs
Vivien Jones
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‘ I don’t want to go.’ I was adamant, inclined to render myself boneless, sink to the floor and become lead. My mother glared at me. ‘You’ll get your socks dirty if you lie on the floor. And we are all going.’ She would have sounded cold to a stranger, but this was an old tactic of mine that was exhausting its credibility. Perhaps I had been overusing it. I was nine after all. My Father looked in....
Pinky Pants
Vivien Jones
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I tipped forward, one leg curled round the metal bar and the sky spun under me, rocking into place at my feet. I hooked my free leg onto the bar, trailed my arms close to the ground, blew my hair out of my face and examined the world upside down. I had finished my story and been allowed out of class early so I was temporarily queen of the climbing bars and all I surveyed.....
The Feast of Saint Agatha
Vivien Jones
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Theresa says the Virgin in the Church of Saint Agatha has been seen weeping. Theresa is very excited. She calls her ‘ Santa Agatha.’ It is Saint Agatha’s Feast Day on Friday and the procession will pass up Prince of Wales Road, where I live. This is destiny because Friday is my birthday so I must have an affinity with Saint Agatha....
Tomato Sauce
Vivien Jones
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' A bowl of freshly picked tomatoes. That’s all it took. Just carrying them from the larder to the kitchen filled her head with sensual images, square white buildings, bright paper kites in the deepest blue sky, tanned faces, ramshackle single decker buses, a different colour for each destination. Blue for Rabat, green for Sliema, mustard yellow for Bershibuga. She didn’t know the spellings, just the Moorish sounds.'
Prairie Rain
Cherry Potts
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A flash fiction set on a porch in Illinois
The Real Me
F. Linday
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This is a new adult story about a student called Nicky. She juggles caring responsibility challenges alongside attempting to have a social life.
Endings
Geoff Poundes
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A forty-something man attends a friends funeral up North, and has a strange encounter with an old lover, and with the local characters...
Loving Imogen
Mari Biella
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When Daniel finds two runaways hiding in his cellar, he is charmed by their youth and innocence. As he soon learns, however, Imogen and Leo are hiding a dark secret. LOVING IMOGEN is a novella of approximately 32,000 words.
A Feast of Flash Fictions
Brindley Hallam Dennis
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Ten Flash Fictions, from 449, to 96 words short...illicit affairs and railroad crashes, murderous spouses and vengeful neighbours.
The Power of Love
Leyla Leyton
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As Carol looked back on that terrible time she soon discovered that she was not alone.
Love Is All That Matters
Leyla Leyton
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A grieving woman looking back on happy times and in the process discovers something which she never knew which finally gives her the peace she desperately needs.
Suenos
Sue Dean
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A young Cuban chambermaid who dreams of becoming a poet
Waiting for the Agent
Barbara Hawthorne
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This story is about a pensioner waiting for the Estate Agent to show him around the house he was born in.
The Trap
Tony Lawrence
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I sit here, watching, waiting for everyone to come. Behind these bars, my life is never ending. I see them come, I see them go. No one escapes my attention.
Three
Kathleen Jones
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Ursula has taken a job as an intern, working for a world famous artist in Tuscany. But he has a beautiful wife. Soon Ursula is locked in a triangular relationship and she dreams of mythical beasts emerging from the pine forests.
The Absence of Henry Swail
Kathleen Jones
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Henry Swail went missing years ago in peculiar circumstances. No one knows why he left or where he is now. Officially, he’s presumed dead. But who is this strange man asking about him?
Jazz Cafe
Kathleen Jones
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Kate is a jazz singer, living happily with her musician husband. That is, until Maggi comes to stay.
Pearls
Kathleen Jones
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Aine is a wet nurse on a big estate in 19th century Ireland and her life is in danger unless she can escape. But how can she leave the child? And where is she to get the money to go to America.
Sloe Gin
Fritha Waters
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Aunt Mabel was an alcoholic... How do people become the way they are? Old age disguises stories of long ago which the young could never imagine. Why does Mabel especially drink when the black thorn is in bloom?
The Weight of the Sky
Pen Hildreth
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A remote bay in 1970s New Zealand. Thirteen-year-old Bailey, trapped in a solitary life between his abusive stepfather and his weak-minded mother, discovers he has choices. The first choice comes as a shock. As he’s releasing the lobsters he was meant to boil, he wants to go with them, go to his father who never returned from a boat trip, who’s still out there – somewhere.
Stanley and Nat
Anne Caldwell
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A coming of age story about a young boy, his greyhound and first love
A Stamp of Worth
Evelina Anissimova
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A Belarusian man tries to impress his girlfriend by taking her to London.
Survival
Evelina Anissimova
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A surreal episode in the Parisian Metro
Three-Card Brag
G. F. Phillips
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See the hand a citizen has to play when he becomes too big for his small town, and, according to the local authorities, stands in the way of progress by his action.
Just a Toenail Away
Sylvia Petter
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Al Gore, the Internet, the Algonquin Hotel and perhaps some misconceptions.
The Colour of Haze
Sylvia Petter
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'The Colour of Haze'[is] about the Nazis [and] is especially pungent. Every kid knew there was a row back then but didn't know what it was about. The past can be disturbing for children, too. - Trevor Reeves, Southern Ocean Review
Canvas Catharsis
Tania Allman
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A bereaved and disillusioned artist seeks and finds an unusual mode of escapism.
Bagman
Helen Pizzey
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An extraordinary personal encounter on the New York subway.
Going Backwards To Go Forwards
G. F. Phillips
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Set in Northumberland, the Charlton's, a family of tenant hill farmers, struggle to survive against folk who wield the power to control their land usage.
The Travellers' Man
G. F. Phillips
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Jamie Mullen is caught in the middle of the wheeling and dealing among Irish Travellers who have returned home for Christmas.
Restoration Project
Janet Gogerty
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When Ellie Smith went in search of her real family she did not expect to acquire a whole village.
Trafalgar Square
Emma Bolger
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A flash fiction story about transition
In the Air
Adrienne Silcock
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Not one inhabitant of Bois-Bezolles remained unshocked by Frederique’s suicide. As news spread around the village, disbelief became anger at such an outrageous lie. What was the truth?
Piri-piri Sauce
Adrienne Silcock
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Paulo is determined to start a book business in the old Portuguese market, but it looks as though the odds are stacked against him. That is, until a stranger arrives in the village.
The Lovely Water
Adrienne Silcock
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Rosa has devised her own solution for combating poverty on the Ria Formosa, where morals are compromised with a strange take on community salvation. When the Englishman arrives, things begin to alter, but with an ironic twist.
Now the Moon
Clive Collins
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A man, his life and the moon
Photographs of Her Father
Carmen Nina Walton
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A woman is abandoned by her father as a baby but he is never really out of her life.
Don't You See How Dark It Is?
Kevin Doyle
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Set during Ireland's ill-famed Celtic Tiger era. A job must be done, a contract must be honoured...
Goldfish Man
Janna Grace
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"When my father's brother came to visit, he filled our entire room."
Upriver from Bridge Cottage
Lesley Jackson
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They had a rented cottage with a rowing boat all to themselves in the north of Scotland but the first trip out on the loch had to be weathered in more ways than one.
Rice
Lesley Jackson
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A young boy experiences something out of bounds which has more than one reason to be kept secret
Bella's Journey
Lesley Jackson
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Bella takes a bus ride and struggles with her feelings when someone sits beside her.
The Visit
Lesley Jackson
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A woman visits her daughter who has a job that she doesn't approve of, one that brings all her fears to the fore.
More Important Than Love
Lesley Jackson
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A relationship, a growing desire to discover the world beyond it and and the consequences of this desire.
Fallen Angel
Frank Woods
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A small boy plays in the falling snow. He tries to understand his broken life. He doesn't cry, but you might. Shortlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize
Jack Wax
Sarah Passingham
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For nearly all her life, Marion has dreamed of the North Woods and eating maple syrup, snow-frozen into Jack Wax, but an innocent trip turns into an obsession.
Marked
Susmita Bhattacharya
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“He loved her so much he built this tomb for her,” she persisted. “If we write our names here, our love will last too.” A story of love and loss, and new beginnings.
SAY NOTHING TILL YOU HEAR MORE
Marie Alvarado
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Theresa and her sister share a red coat and a deep loss. Years pass until one evening, as the rain lashes down, an unexpected visitor arrives at Theresa's door. Memories and secret sorrows seep once more into their silent lives.
Something Vital Fell Through
Char March
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A disabled girl's view on her parents trying to run a small-holding in Norfolk.
The Mill
Lillian Aldus
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"The mill was the biggest secret. I knew it was out of bounds." The story of a summer on the edge of childhood.
The Quality of Mercy
Judith Allnatt
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George Tiller can't bring himself to open the box of his wife's belongings, neither can he compose himself to pray - but what he can do is perform a miracle . . .
Transit
Megan Palmer
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An elderly woman takes her wheelchair-bound husband on a mysterious journey at dawn - but why? Transit is a tale of the power of life-long love, set against the incomprehensible vastness of the universe.
Lifetime
Ruth Brandt
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Subject: Apologies Dear Who’s The Man, I have just arrived home riven with guilt at my earlier behaviour towards you. I should certainly not have said that The Garden at Dawn bore no resemblance to any work that Rothko had ever completed or even contemplated. ...
Learning
Jane Rogers
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A grandmother ponders the way her grand-daughter is learning to assess the world. This story owes a debt to Tove Jansson.
The Summer of Learning
Susmita Bhattacharya
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'When Lali stole Dad’s money, she also stole my childhood.' A young girl's coming of age in her father's homeland.
Salt Stain
Zoe F Gilbert
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'At first I missed corners...' A new lighthouse keeper receives a mysterious visitor.
Elsewhere
Ray French
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A chance meeting between John Lennon and Philip Larkin in a motorway service station cafe in 1966.
The Engineer's Daughter
Sarah Passingham
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'A brief study of bitter pride, it's a remarkable example of economical writing, painstaking in its attention to detail.' Nicholas Royle Time Out
As if she was Coco Chanel
Kath McKay
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It was after midnight in the communal bathroom that I caught Aggie wearing the English woman’s pyjamas. Aggie was a thin, blonde haired woman in her fifties, with an attitude. Every day I passed her as she smoked long, expensive looking cigarettes outside the front door of the hostel. She never acknowledged me, although I’d stayed at the hostel often, sometimes for two weeks. At breakfast, she sat by herself in the corner, and tilted her body against others. Held herself proudly, but trembled at times. Always the same corner. If anyone took Aggie’s place, while they were up collecting breakfast she’d move their crockery and cutlery to another table. No one ever argued.
Divine Hearing
Kath McKay
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When Dee began asking people to repeat themselves, and started saying ‘What?’ a lot, it took her a while to realise what was going on. With the kids left home, she was enjoying herself again. Sex was not a problem. Once you let men know you were available, they weren’t fussy. The best ones were short-sighted, and didn’t seem to mind varicose and thread veins, hairy chins and dyed hair. Plus the fact that you couldn’t see further than them seemed to be an advantage. They just wanted to know that the important parts were in working order. But when she couldn’t hear the phone in different parts of the flat, and missed the beginning and ends of words, she knew that joy was departing from her life. Birdsong. The doorbell. The music on Radio 3. The concerts she went to twice a year by the sea. The nuances of people’s words. Missing the joke. A gradual descent into silence.
Must Sound Genuine
Jonathan Taylor
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A Soviet composer is trying to write the perfect Socialist Realist symphony, before a knock on the door.
A Happy, Safe Thing
Kathy Flann
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My older sister, Minnie, and her new husband, Sax Smithers, whom she met six months ago, are going to show up half an hour late for their wedding reception. They get held up on the way to the American Legion because all six guys from the pharmacy, where Sax sorts boxes of pills, want a ride, right then, in front of Shepherd of the Hills Methodist Church, in Grandma Tillie’s brand new 1983 Cadillac convertible. Then, Minnie, excited not just about the wedding, but also about her graduation from Smoky Ordinary High School yesterday, smuggles me into the passenger seat, ignoring what Mom and my stepdad Frank and Grandma Tillie have said over and over about my heart.
Little Big Show
Kathy Flann
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The footpath gallops ahead like a dumb dog, disappears around bends in the forest. This has been Alexander’s first real hike, a hard scrabble -- scuttling along in a crouch at times as if he might find grips on the flat rocks. His assistant at work would have loved some photos. Now that he’s made it – almost made it – this easy wide dirt path where he and his sister Marietta started hours ago, where families had pushed all-terrain strollers, seems embarrassing somehow. A bird chirps sweet, trilling notes. The watery quality of the sunlight suggests cocktail hour. Through gaps in the trees, the gravel lot materializes, but there’s no blotch of red. Marietta’s car should be visible. Shouldn’t it?
Somebody for Everybody
Kathy Flann
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How he had knocked, Francine could not guess. But here he was. Or at least here was his head. Floating in the hallway outside her apartment, as if it had wafted over on the aroma of Mrs. Singh’s stir fry. Here was the sun-kissed face from his Match.com profile. The broad forehead and faintly hooked nose. Somehow, though, it had seemed like the head would be attached to an equally rugged, sun-kissed body. Had it been presumptuous to assume, at the very least, a torso?
Half a Brother
Kathy Flann
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Valdur – with his impossible wingspan – reached into the taxi, all the way across the passenger seat, and placed his hand on the Russian cabbie’s shoulder. “Don’t!” I said. The traffic light had just turned green. “If he drives away, you’ll break your arm.”
Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge
Kathy Flann
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For ten years, Karaoke Night at the El Corazon Disco Lounge had been Veronica’s special time with Joe. He came along for moral support, sitting in the front row, sipping Jack Daniels, beaming up at her, nodding his head to the music, snapping his fingers like he was in a jazz café instead of a square cinderblock honky tonk that attracted the down-and-out and the dangerous.
An Airtight Box
Kathy Flann
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During intermission of the “Tosca” benefit performance, ex-President Clinton, without Hillary, stepped outside the door of his Kennedy Center box, wondering what it would be like if someone shot him, maybe in his good lung, or maybe, if the attacker had lousy aim, even in the groin.
Experiments
Kathy Flann
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My father, appliance repairman Ed Hart, had been dating a reporter from the local news for over three months, ever since he and my mother separated. They met when Channel Four’s "Eye on You" News interviewed me at the Northern Virginia Sixth Grade Science Fair about my winning project, The Worm Farm--a kitchen composter made from a recycling bin filled with dirt, biodegradable household trash, and a hundred worms.
White Goods
Carmen Nina Walton
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A rebound relationship fills with complications that are going to hurt.
Rockabilly Quiff
Carmen Nina Walton
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Young people who find solace in a vintage shop in a town that seems to be developing around them without including them.
Steve's Band
Elaine Walker
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Steve's longing for his own rock band takes him on a journey that gets too close to home for comfort. A story about music, friendship and what happens when you get what you wish for.
The Gun Shearer
Clare Chandler
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The arrival of a young sheep shearer at a farm in New South Wales has a profound effect on the owner, bringing back memories of a pivotal moment from her past.
Alphabet Wednesdays
Sarah Salway
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A story of role models, betrayal and journals - from A to Z
After Addition
Sarah Salway
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It's 'Take your father to school day' and some fathers are better at it than others.
 
 

 

 

 

 

   

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