Monday, May 19, 2008

Short Story Scoops

On Eric Forbes' blog, Eric and colleague Janet Tay scoop a couple of interviews with authors nominated (as of course Wena Poon is) for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize.

Nam Le is a Vietnamese-born author, raised in Australia and his whose 7-story collection The Boat has already received some very positive reviews (see his website) ; and British author Clare Wigfall who wrote The Loudest Sound and Nothing.

Wigfall has this to say about writing the short story :
One aspect I appreciate is the economy of the form; the story must create a world, a mood, a plot, wholly-real characters, an exploration of life and its complexities, and all within the space of only a few pages. There’s something almost beautifully mathematical and precise about it, and what you leave out is as important as what you leave in. For that reason, I suppose in a way your safety net is taken away, because when you write a short story you’re relying on an unknown quantity: your reader. With a novel you have the space to fill in all the gaps, with a short story you’re forced to leave these for your reader to complete—the difficulty for the author is getting the balance perfectly right, creating something that will satisfy.
This is probably what makes short stories—when they’re written well—such an intellectually demanding form of literature, and I suspect is why so many readers shun them. Those who like to stretch their minds and imaginations when they read often feel passionately about the form. A great short story may be brief, but it demands and relies upon personal investment from the reader. I believe this is why the very best short stories can haunt you long after you’ve read the concluding line, because so much of the experience is not just about the words on the page, but is individual to you and the way your own brain interprets and digests what you’ve read. There’s something magical about that.
Elsewhere, Eric also lets us in on his tips for this year's Booker!

No comments: