Saboteur Awards – The End

Two posts in one day – It’s getting a bit Crowded House.

I felt so proud to be part of The End, and I’ve just seen this post about it, and wanted to share. It looks like those very kind people at Sabotage felt good things for it too, despite missing out on a prize for their Saboteur Awards. The End by Unthank Books explores responses to Nicholas Ruston’s paintings and varying notions of the end. Such thoughtful and skilled writing sits between the dark cover and spools on beyond it. What felt so unusual about working on it, was the idea that we were all collaborating in a very different way to other collections I’ve written for. And that was an experience. Read together, forward, backwards, dipped in and returned to, I’m still provoked by this collection. Easy for me to say, I suppose, but if you’re intrigued, you can buy it here. Please do. See Zoe Lambert’s piece of musical fiction on grief, which was one of my many favourites.

“The most important anthology in a calamitous year and an extraordinary collaboration between art and fiction where the stories give meaning to the paintings. The included stories by Angela Readman, Ashley Stokes and Sarah Dobbs are worth the cover price on their own. It’s also been produced wonderfully.” 

 

The Short Story Review: Unthology 9

I meant to put this up much earlier, but this is a lovely and detailed review of Unthology 9 which, I think :), has some excellent pieces in. It also contains my story, As Linda Was Buying Tulips.

Just a few snippets here, please see the link for the full review: https://www.theshortstory.co.uk/the-short-story-review-unthology-9-ed-ashley-stokes-and-robin-jones/

Unthology 9 demonstrates the importance of independent publishers like Unthank who provide a platform for some of the most exciting contemporary literature. Here’s to the next one.  …

‘My mother twitches with sex’ – so commences a hard-edged short story (‘As Linda Was Buying Tulips’) by Sarah Dobbs. Here we have an artist son who is uncomfortably obsessed by his twitching mother and her breasts. Throw in a successful father and we’d be screaming Oedipus Complex like every modern-day English lit. student. But there’s no father here. Instead, we’re given the infinitely interesting Linda, and as the narrator notes, ‘neither of us expected Linda.’ She’s fast and fun and frolics and fucks (the language isn’t shy either) with fair abandon. Although the plot twist seems one turn too far, this is a small quibble for a cracking read that injects a strong shot of punchy prose into the book as a whole and remains one of my favourite in the anthology…

 

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Buy Unthology 9 from Unthank Books

We’ve come across John D. Rutter before at TSS (read his story here) and it was a pleasure to see him appear with the piece ‘My Knee’. The title is mundane, but brilliantly so, providing much in terms of tone and style; the reader is given an immediate impression of the narrator: middle class, married, a little dull, and suffering marital problems. The couple have lunch at ‘The French’. The husband drinks wine and his suspicions and aggravations surface. Everything comes to a climax, a crash – metaphorically speaking, and literally. There are some lines which really capture the bitterness of relationships gone wrong, highlighting Rutter’s ability to pinpoint emotional truths succinctly: ‘”It’s not just a fling.” That’s what Pippa said last night, as if somehow a fling would be alright.

Read full review and with thanks to Rupert Dastur, founder of The Short Story Review