Northern Short Story Festival 2019 Programme Announced


We are thrilled to announce this year’s Northern Short Story Festival programme. Taking place on Friday 31st May – Sunday 2nd June, the fourth Northern Short Story Festival takes place at Carriageworks Theatre. It has workshops, performances, social events, a Flash Fiction slam and a FREE “Blankety Blank” themed afterparty. There really is something for everyone!

Tickets start at £4 / Free, with a Saturday day ticket (which gets you 2 workshops, 2 performance events, and FREE entry into the afterparty) costing just £30.

As ever, if you’d like to come to our events and are claiming PIP, UC, or are on a reduced income, please contact us and we will arrange you a free or reduced price place. [contact: northernshortstoryfestival at] Please contact us if you would like one. We do not ask for proof of eligibility.

Friday 31st May

7.30-9.30 Flash Fiction Slam, with Judges Tania Hershman and Benjamin Judge [performance] [£4 / FREE]

Five minutes. One Story. Can you tell a story in less time than it takes to hard-boil an egg?
Take our challenge and you could end up in our Flash Fiction Hall of Fame!

Tickets here.

For more info, see our Flash Fiction Slam page.

Saturday 1st June

11.00-4.00 Festival Hub with stalls selling books, art and magazines. [Free]

All day, free.

Stalls selling independent press books, magazines, art, and books by all of the authors appearing at the festival. Come ready to buy!



10.00-12.00 Writing the Award Winning Contemporary Short Story with Michael Stewart [workshop] £14

***SOLD OUT***

There are more competitions and awards for short fiction than there have ever been, from big hitters from The Short Story Award to the BBC National Short Story Awards, to smaller players. This workshop looks at a range of winning stories in the context of creating your own work of fiction. We will work on a few inspiration exercises before looking at issues of craft and technique. We are sorry, this workshop is now sold out.


10.00-12.00 Flash Fiction With a Dash of Science with Tania Hershman [workshop] £14

Flash fiction, the tiniest of short stories, can be an ideal place to experiment – and who does experimentation better than scientists! On this workshop we will plunder science for its treasures – from delicious scientific words to the oddnesses of the scientific method, to inspire new flash fictions. Come join me in the laboratory!

Tickets here.





12.45-1.30 We Were Strangers: Stories inspired by Unknown Pleasures [Reading] [£4 / FREE]

Formed in 1976 in Salford, Joy Division are one of the most influential and best-loved bands Britain has produced. They developed a unique sound and style that made them one of the pioneers of the late-1970s post-punk movement. The We Were Strangers anthology (Confingo publishing) delivers a thoughtful, absorbing and intense response almost 40 years on. Tickets here.



2.00-4.00 Credible & Compelling Writing with CG Menon [Workshop] [£14]

*** SOLD OUT ***

This workshop focuses on creating believable characters and settings. Through a series of writing exercises, you’ll learn how real life people and places can be successfully mined for short fiction. We’ll also explore techniques for evoking characters who live beyond the page. We are sorry, this workshop is now sold out.


2.00-4.00 In Your Place with Courttia Newland [workshop] [£14]

Writing rich place description not only creates a heightened experience for the reader, but is a powerful tool in moving your story forward. Through practical examples and exercises, Courttia shows that when the character is the vehicle and emotions the fuel, place and setting become the character’s landscape, helping to reveal your story’s themes and intentions.

Tickets here.




4.30-5.15 Resist: Stories of Uprising Reading & Q&A – Comma Press [£4 / FREE]

Featuring Uschi Gatward (Best of British Short Stories), SJ Bradley (K Blundell Trust Award Winner), Lucas Stewart (Dinesh Allirajah prize) and Jude Brown (Bridport prize shortlistee), with host James Nash.

Building on the success of Comma’s previous project, Protest, this anthology challenges 20 acclaimed authors to get under the skin of key moments of British protest. Working closely with historians, crowd scientists, and activists, these stories reimagine events through the eyes of the people involved, and take in every form of resistance. 

Tickets here. (please note: this event may appear as “Protest II” on the Carriageworks website)


5.30-8.30 Saturday Evening Afterparty  [social event] [FREE] Victoria Pub, Great George Street. 

“Last night I dreamed I went to…. [BLANK] again…”

Come and join us for a round of Fiction Blankety Blank, hosted by Ian ‘Les Dawson’ Harker of Strix magazine.

This event will be held at The Victoria Pub on Great George Street, where food & drink are served.


Sunday 2nd June, “True Lives” day

11.00 – 1.00 True Stories with Barney Bardsley [workshop] [£14]

Memoir is a compelling and intimate form of non-fiction. Everyone loves a personal story, powerfully told. In this workshop we will create three short pieces of writing, using three of the elements that make up a strong memoir: incident, relationship, and atmosphere.


Tickets here.




11.00 – 1.00 Getting Personal: Writing Historical Fiction with Sarah Dunnakey [workshop] [£14]

In this 2-hour writing workshop, you’ll use historical documents and personal ads from old newspapers to create your own stories. Learn to write authentic historical fiction, using cryptic half-stories, ‘what ifs’, and jumping-off points for the imagination with an Award-winning author. This workshop will help you create and develop characters and stories using real life ads, and other historical documents, as prompts. Led by Read Regional and New Writing North award winner, Sarah Dunnakey, whose stories have been published widely and broadcast on Radio 4.

 Tickets here.


1.30 – 2.30 Northern Short Story Festival Academy Showcase + Naomi Booth [£4 / FREE]

The Northern Short Story Festival is proud to support & develop 12 new short story writers. Featuring prizewinning short story writers, Pushcart nominees, a Best of British Short Stories author, and poetry slam champions, this event showcases just what it is that makes our Academy members so special. Come along to hear their stories!

This event will feature a guest reading from Naomi Booth, author of Sealed.

Tickets here.



3.00-4.00 Creatives Mixer + Yorkshire Short Films presented by LIFF [social event] [FREE]

Are you an artist, film maker, developer, musician, or craft maker? Whether you knit or edit, our Creatives Mixer on June 2nd is for you. Hosted by the Northern Short Story Festival, the only festival in the North dedicated to short stories and short story writers, the Creatives Mixer aims to bring artists, makers and creatives of all types together to meet one another for potential collaborations and working relationships. Whether you’re a film maker looking for stories, or a musician looking for people to collaborate with on a sound installation, our Creatives Mixer could be perfect for you.

This event also features a programme of Award-winning Yorkshire short films. Specially selected for NSSF 2019’s Creative Mixer event, Leeds International Film Festival brings you a programme of short films born and bred in the great county of Yorkshire. These shorts have been specifically chosen from our LIFF 2017 & 2018 Yorkshire Shorts Competitions, to highlight the rich diversity and proud individuality of this region’s storytelling.

Come and join us for this fun, friendly and informal social event for creatives of all types. We provide the opportunity: where you go from there is up to you.

This is a partnership event with Leeds International Film Festival. Register your interest on the Facebook events page here.