Notes from my Open Book Short Story Workshop

I hosted a workshop on short story writing at this yearโ€™s Open Book Festival. Some of the greatest writers in the world are known for their short stories – Edgar Allen Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Nadine Gordimer โ€“ and South Africa is home to some of the best.

I love short stories, writing and reading them, and wanted to share some tips for aspiring writers.

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LEGO book review: The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories

Edited by Jared Shurin and Mahvesh Murad, this gorgeous anthology features a diverse array of authors, including Nnedi Okorafor, Neil Gaiman, EJ Swift and James Smythe.

The collection comprises dreamy tales with a palpable middle-eastern flavour, reminiscent of One Thousand and One Nights. Many of the stories are set in the middle east. What holds them together is that they all feature the legendary djinn, a creature from Arabian mythology – commonly known as the genie from Aladdin’s lamp.

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Trade Secrets

It was such an honour to make the shortlist for the Short Sharp Story Award, and even more so to be included in the anthology. I learned a lot from the editor, Joanne, and I can honestly say my future work will benefit richly from the experience.
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Short story: The Grinning Man

The Grinning Man

From my research I can safely say that the first mention of the grinning man was in Victor Hugoโ€™s novel The Man Who Laughs, published in 1869. In it, a boy named Gwynplaine was mutilated to such an extent it left him with a permanent grin. The book inspired several films of the same name, the most famous being Conrad Veidtโ€™s eerie portrayal in 1928. His rictus grin shocked the world.

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The Turtle Moves

To say that Terry Pratchett got me through high school would be an understatement.

I was a loner at school. After moving suburbs I had to start at my new high school a year after everyone had formed their close circles. Most of those friendships were carried over from junior school anyway.

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Short story: First Date

They were on a date. It was very by the book.
His mother had pressed a crisp one hundred rand note into his hand before she dropped them off at the entrance to the carnival.
To her credit, she kept the embarrassing behaviour to a minimum.
It was a perfect night; not too cold with a cloudless sky ablaze with stars. It was a night where magic could happen.

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