shining the spotlight on short story collections
This month’s issue includes a review of Ox-Tales, the four-book fundraising set of short fiction loosely inspired by Air, Fire, Earth and Water published by Oxfam, Britain’s biggest charity. This is just one example of a short story collection which spreads itself further than just the reader’s enjoyment.
When I started compiling this blog post, I thought there might be a few – but then the list kept growing. At The Short Review, we encourage everyone to read short story collections, however you might get hold of them, but in this case, we feel justified in saying: Go buy these books!
100 Stories for Haiti: Greg McQueen’s instant response to the tragedy in Haiti was to call for submissions for a very speedily-produced anthology of short short stories from authors across the globe, including many Short Review authors and reviewers [and me… TH] to raise money to help the survivors of the recent earthquake. The book will be published shortly, and all proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.
The whole ethos of Madras Press, a new US-based small press, is to publish “individually bound short stories and novella-length booklets and distribute the proceeds to a growing list of charitable organizations chosen by our authors.” Madras’ first four beautiful-produced books have just been published: The Third Elevator by Aimee Bender, whose proceeds are donated to InsideOUT Writers; Bobcat by Rebecca Lee, whose chosen charity is Riverkeeper; Sweet Tomb by Trinnie Dalton, proceeds benefiting the Theodore Payne Foundation; and A Mere Pittance, by Madras Press founder Sumanth Prabhaker, proceeds going to Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled.
These books make wonderful presents – and for writers, submissions are now being accepted!
Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction is the first chess fiction anthology of contemporary stories, ever published. Mongoose Press has collected the best work from twelve of the most talented chess fiction writers of the past decade. In these rich and compelling stories, chess shines as a sophisticated metaphor, and fans of the game will applaud how chess is woven with technical accuracy into every narrative. All profits from Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction, help support multiple chess charities.
Speaking with the Angel is an anthology of 12 short stories by the likes of Nick Hornby, Melissa Bank, Dave Eggers, Helen Fielding and Zadie Smith, with £1 being donated from every copy to TreeHouse, a charity helping children with autism.
A few months ago, we reviewed Freedom, the short story anthology from Amnesty International which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and raises money for Amnesty’s work. Said our review: “When Amnesty International commissioned writers to celebrate the anniversary of the UDHR, they might have compiled a collection of articles, of reportage, of case studies. But choosing the short story form was, in my opinion, a brilliant idea. The greatest short stories don’t just tell you something, they slip you beneath someone else’s skin. And to really feel what the UDHR represents, what atrocities it is attempting to prevent, that is where we need to be.”
Another book we reviewed was the One World anthology, stories from Malaysia, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Botswana, Bangladesh, US, Cameroon, Wales, Greece, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India, Australia. All authors’ royalites are donated to Médecins Sans Frontières.
The Girls Night In series of anthologies raise money for the charities War Child and No Strings – they have raised £1 million since 1999! Their latest books are Kids Night In 3 , short stories for children, and Girls Night In 4.
Megan Wynne’s creative writing students in Skerries, Ireland, recently published Stories to Remember Us, with all proceeds being donated to Remember Us, a social support group for young people with special needs and their families.
Sexy Short for Chefs, “a tasty collection of sumptuous short stories mixed with delicious recipes” with a forward by Anthony Worrall-Thompson, is the latest in the Sexy Shorts range of fund-raising anthology – this one donates £1 per copy to the Breast Cancer Campaign.
Also donating the proceeds to a breast cancer charity, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, this Australian anthology, Thank for the Mammories, is comprised of “entertaining stories from some of the world’s most popular female authors celebrate bosoms great and small”.
In 2007, Irish publishers Poolbeg brought out the anthology Thirty and Fabulous to celebrate their 30th birthday. All royalties were donated to Women’s Aid.
Although this title is now out of print, it’s worth of a mention. In 2004, heart scientist Stanley Salmons, a professor at Liverpool University’s Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, published a collection of 23 short stories, Alexei’s Tree, to raise money to support children in disaster zones. Money raised from the book was donated to the David Baum International Foundation, a charity that is training doctors at home and abroad to cope with the needs of children in deprived areas of the world.
Bridge House Publishing have announced that they will produce an annual charity short story anthology. The first will be a collection of animal stories for adults, to be published this year, with proceeds donated to Born Free.
Inspiration for anyone who wants to publish a fund-raising anthology! If you know of any more, please let us know in the Comments.