Best British Short Stories 2016

Best British Short Stories 2016

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The nation's favourite annual guide to the short story, now in its sixth year.

Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover - or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere. The editor's brief is wide ranging, covering anthologies, collections, magazines, newspapers and web sites, looking for the best of the bunch to reprint all in one volume.

This new anthology includes stories by: Claire-Louise Bennett, Neil Campbell, Crista Ermiya, Stuart Evers, Trevor Fevin, David Gaffney, Janice Galloway, Jessie Greengrass, Kate Hendry, Thomas McMullan, Graham Mort, Ian Parkinson, Tony Peake, Alex Preston, Leone Ross, John Saul, Colette Sensier, Robert Sheppard, DJ Taylor, Greg Thorpe and Mark Valentine.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 20mm | 273g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • UK ed.
  • No
  • 1784630632
  • 9781784630638
  • 293,832

Table of contents

Nicholas Royle - Introduction
Leone Ross - The Woman Who Lived in a Restaurant
Robert Sheppard - Arrivals
Mark Valentine - Vain Shadows Flee
Jessie Greengrass - The Politics of Minor Resistance
Trevor Fevin - Walsingham
Ian Parkinson - A Belgian Story
DJ Taylor - Some Versions of Pastoral
Colette Sensier - Mrs Swietokrzyskie's Castle
Neil Campbell - A Leg to Stand On
Alex Preston - Wyndham Le Strange Buys the School
John Saul - Song of the River
Greg Thorpe - 1961
Crista Ermiya - 1977
David Gaffney - The Staring Man
Tony Peake - The Bluebell Wood
Kate Hendry - My Husband Wants to Talk to Me Again
Graham Mort - In Theory, Theories Exist
Claire-Louise Bennett - Control Knobs
Thomas McMullan - The Only Thing Is Certain Is
Stuart Evers - Live from the Palladium
Janice Galloway - Distance
Contributors' Biographies
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Review quote

If the latest iteration of Salt's Best British Short Stories collection is anything to go by then the genre remains in safe hands. Whether safety is what we ought to demand of our writers, particularly in this traditionally experimental genre, is another question entirely. This is not to say that the collection is devoid of innovation: Ian Parkinson's "A Belgian Story" is at once an allegory for contemporary debates surrounding immigration and the paranoid account of a deluded individual, and its success lies in the ambiguous tension between the two. John Saul's "Song of the River" exhibits a Joycean fascination with the intersection between stories and songs. -- Lawrence Foley * Times Literary Supplement *
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About Nicholas Royle

Nicholas Royle was born in Manchester in 1963. He is the author of seven novels, including: Counterparts, Saxophone Dreams, and First Novel, and a short story collection, Mortality. He has edited sixteen anthologies, including A Book of Two Halves and Neonlit: Time Out Book of New Writing. He lives between London and Manchester and teaches creative writing at MMU.

Claire-Louise Bennett is the author of Pond, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions. She was born in Wiltshire and currently resides in the west of Ireland.

Neil Campbell is a short story writer, novelist and poet. From Manchester, England, he has appeared three times in the annual anthology of Best British Short Stories (2012/2015/2016). He has published four collections of short fiction, two novels, two poetry chapbooks and one poetry collection, as well as appearing in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Crista Ermiya was born in London to a Filipino mother and Turkish-Cypriot father. Her stories have been published widely in magazines and anthologies and her story in the present volume comes from her debut collection The Weather in Kansas published by Red Squirrel Press. Crista Ermiya is a winner of the Decibel Penguin Short Story Prize. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne with her husband and son.

Stuart Evers is the author of two short story collections, Ten Stories About Smoking and Your Father Sends His Love, and a novel, If This is Home. He lives in London with his family.

Trevor Fevin worked for a number of years as a counsellor in the National Health Service. He was awarded a distinction for his MA in creative writing at Edge Hill University. His stories have been shortlisted in competitions with Chroma and Synaesthesia magazines.

David Gaffney lives in Manchester. He is the author of several books including Sawn-Off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007), Never Never (2008), The Half-Life of Songs (2010) and More Sawn-Off Tales (2013). He has written articles for the Guardian, Sunday Times, Financial Times and Prospect, and his new novel, All The Places I've Ever Lived, is due out in spring 2017. See

Janice Galloway is the author of three novels and four collections of short stories. She studied at Glasgow University and has worked as a teacher. Her awards include: the MIND/Allan Lane Award for The Trick is to Keep Breathing, the McVitie's Prize for Foreign Parts, the EM Forster Award (presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters), the Creative Scotland Award, Saltire Scottish Book of the Year for Clara and the SMIT non-fiction Book of the Year for This is Not About Me. She has written and presented three radio series for BBC Scotland (Life as a Man, Imagined Lives and Chopin's Scottish Swansong) and works extensively with musicians and visual artists.

Jessie Greengrass was born in 1982. She studied philosophy in Cambridge and London, where she now lives with her partner and child. Her debut short story collection, An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It, is published by JM Originals, an imprint of John Murray.

Kate Hendry is a writer, editor and teacher living in Edinburgh. Her short stories have been published in Harpers, Mslexia and New Writing Scotland. She was a runner up in the 2009 Bridport Prize and has been a recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writer's Bursary. Her first collection of poems will be published by HappenStance Press in 2016.

Thomas McMullan is a London-based writer. His work has been published by Lighthouse, Minor Literature[s], 3:AM Magazine, The Stockholm Review and The Literateur. He regularly contributes to the Guardian and is currently seeking representation. @thomas_mac.

Graham Mort, poet and short fiction writer, is Professor of Creative Writing and Transcultural Literature at Lancaster University. He specialises in literature development work and recent projects have taken him to South Africa, Kurdistan, Vietnam and China. His first book of stories, Touch (Seren), won the Edge Hill Prize in 2011 and his latest book of stories, Terroir (Seren), is currently long-listed for the same prize. A new book of poems, Black Shiver Moss, will appear from Seren in 2017.

Ian Parkinson was born in Lancashire in 1978 and studied philosophy at university before working as a civil servant and insurance clerk. His first novel, The Beginning of the End, was published in 2015.

Tony Peake has contributed to numerous anthologies including Winter's Tales, The Penguin Book of Contemporary South African Short Stories, The Mammoth Book of Gay Short Stories, The Gay Times Book of Short Stories: New Century New Writing, New Writing 13, Yes, I Am! Writing by South African Gay Men and Seduction, a themed anthology which he also edited. He is the author of two novels, A Summer Tide (1993) and Son to the Father (1995), and a biography, Derek Jarman (1999). Further details on

Alex Preston was born in 1979. He is the award-winning author of three novels and appears regularly on BBC television and radio. He writes for GQ, Harper's Bazaar and Town & Country Magazine as well as for the Observer's New Review. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Kent and regular Guardian Masterclasses. He is @ahmpreston on Twitter.

Leone Ross is a Jamaican/British award-winning writer, editor and lecturer. She is the author of two novels, All the Blood is Red (Angela Royal Publishing) and Orange Laughter (Anchor), and numerous short stories. She won an Arts Council award in 2001, and, in 2013, her short story collection, now entitled Come Let Us Sing Anyway, was shortlisted for the Scott Prize. She works as a senior lecturer at the University of Roehampton in London and her third novel, This One Sky Day, is forthcoming. Her website is at

John Saul had work shortlisted for the international 2015 Sean O Faolain prize for fiction. Appearing widely in magazine form, in and outside the UK, his short fiction has been published in four collections. He lives and writes in Suffolk. A website with more information is at

Colette Sensier is a prose writer and poet born in Brighton in 1988. She studied English at King's College, Cambridge, and Creative Writing at UEA. Her debut poetry collection, Skinless, is published by Eyewear, and her poetry is also anthologised in The Salt Book of Younger Poets. She has completed a historical novel (with the help of mentoring from Bernardine Evaristo during a Spread the Word mentoring scheme) and a dramatic adaptation of a Shirley Jackson novel, and is working on new contemporary prose.

Robert Sheppard is mainly a poet, whose selected poems, History or Sleep, appears from Shearsman Books, and who has poetry anthologised in Anthology of Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry (OUP) and Reality Street Book of Sonnets, among others. His short fiction is published as The Only Life (Knives Forks and Spoons Press), and is found amidst his 2015 autobiographical work, Words Out of Time, and in several places in his 2016 publication Unfinish (Veer Publications). He is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Edge Hill University, where in 2016 they celebrate ten years of the Edge Hill Prize.

DJ Taylor's most recent work is The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England Since 1918 (2016). His other books include the Man Booker-longlisted novels Trespass (1998) and Derby Day (2011) and Orwell: The Life which won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Prize. 'Some Versions of Pastoral' appeared in the short story collection Wrote for Luck (2015) and has been broadcast on Radio 3.

Greg Thorpe is a freelance writer, DJ, curator and event producer in Manchester. He is a graduate of Manchester University and the Creative Writing MA at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has written for City Life, Time Out, The Big Issue, Creative Tourist, Manchester Evening News, Northern Soul, the Liverpool Biennial, Manchester Art Gallery and Cornerhouse, and has been writer in residence for Islington Mill and Manchester Central Library. He has curated and produced events for Manchester International Festival, the closing of Cornerhouse, the opening of HOME, and the launch of the Meltdown Festival at Southbank.

Mark Valentine is the author of ten short story collections, two biographies and two collections of poetry. As a journal editor he has been responsible for Source, Aklo and, since 2003, Wormwood. He published 'The Foggy, Foggy Dew', an early short story by Joel Lane, as a chapbook in 1986.
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Rating details

63 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 14% (9)
4 41% (26)
3 38% (24)
2 5% (3)
1 2% (1)
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