It’s an ancient land, full of myths and legends.
It’s an old town, an old market town – with some shiny buttons and some threadbare coats.
It’s a community, you can see that – with arts as vibrant as they so often aren’t.
This is Stroud. Home of Stroud Short Stories – as shiny a button as I have found.
Stroud Short Stories runs twice a year in Spring and Autumn. Writers of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire submit stories of up to 1,500 words and usually about 100 writers do just that. John Holland, curator of the event, and a second judge, blind read the stories and work their way down to a long list, a short list and then The Final Ten. It’s a bit like the old version of Top of the Pops, except you get to hear all of the top ten in full…and there are no embarrassed members of the public dancing, with one idiot jumping around just to get on TV.
The standard is high, the venue is terrific and tickets sell out faster than loo roll in Tesco’s. The Cotswold Playhouse has 150 seats, all occupied by supportive audience members,and a great stage to deliver from. If you’re lucky enough to be selected, you might be lucky enough to make it into a Stroud Short Stories Anthology too. It’s a great night of stories that will leave you with things to think about and smiles to take home.
As I write this, there is uncertainty of course.
The long list becomes a short list tomorrow and then by Wednesday, the short list becomes The Final Ten – writers will be playing it cool and buying lucky heather in equal measure. Good luck to all.
Tickets go on sale on 20th March and you have to be quick to avoid disappointment – by quick I mean you have a few days before the event sells out. And then there is Coronavirus that may yet prove disruptive for an event scheduled on Sunday 19th April.
We’ll see, about all those things in time, but when you get the chance to go, you really should go. I promise you’ll see happy faces, including your own, reflected in as shiny a button as I have found.
The latest in a series of blogs about regular story telling events that should be prescribed on the NHS.