I hosted a workshop on short story writing at this year’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 – 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.
Continue reading “Notes from my Open Book Short Story Workshop”
The Grinning Man
From my research I can safely say that the first mention of the grinning man was in Victor Hugo’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 Veidt’s eerie portrayal in 1928. His rictus grin shocked the world.
Continue reading “Short story: The Grinning Man”
“I’m coming, Ma.”
I can’t really see where I’m going behind the stack of plastic garden chairs I’m carrying down to the cellar. I keep knocking into things, like my junior kickboxing trophy, now lying in three parts on the floor. The worst is having to navigate the stairs, so I have to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, praying every time my foot hovers unsteadily over the next step that I won’t fall.
My foot lands on the telltale creaky floorboard letting me know I’ve reached the bottom. Exhaling with relief, I drop the stack of chairs and spot my mother fussing over a vase of white lilies.
Continue reading “Short story: After Dark”
Every year around Halloween the Book Lounge is taken over by hideous fiends who come out the shadows to share bloodcurdling stories of horror and macabre.
Continue reading “Bloody Parchment, The Root Cellar and other stories”
Jomo grips the side of the table as if something horrifying is unfolding before him. I can only imagine his agony because it’s never happened to me. You see, he just played his best card, and I’m about to claim it.
Continue reading “Short story: The Battle”
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.
Continue reading “Short story: First Date”