Friday, July 31, 2009

Boyd Tonkin on the Short Story

Boyd Tonkin writes in the Independent about the disjunction between our perceptions of the short story as lightweight and the reality of it as a vibrant, and indeed burgeoning, form. He points out interestingly that major figures of our literary canon could be studied via their short stories alone without any loss of impression of their stature, and, pointing to the irony that Alice Munro has won the International Booker but would not qualify for the yearly prize, asks if short stories should now be eligible for the Booker. With a dig at The New Yorker, he takes issue too with the 'template' attitude to short story length (which I've complained about on this blog, with regard to lit mags and competitions) and that other form of lengthism, the prejudice against what Henry James called 'the blessed nouvelle'. He says rightly: 'The only rule is to write originally and well - whether the result takes two, five or twenty thousand words'. Hear, hear.

My own recent article on the current state of the short story here.

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