I’ve added new pages to my blog: details of published stories and some samples on the ‘Short Stories’ page.
To begin with I would like to share my short story ‘Kalashnikov for Shoes’ which won the Writing West Midlands Short Fiction Competition earlier this year. I was invited to Birmingham to read my story and accept my prize and it was really a proud moment.
With kind permission from Writing West Midlands I quote from Sian Buckley’s blog:
‘The Short Fiction Competition turned out to be a beautiful intimate event where we enjoyed wine and readings of the winners’ short stories. Each was presented with their award by the wonderful Tiffany Murray and, being the sociable bunch that they were, everyone ended up staying late to chat and swap contact details (and drink more wine!). We were amazed to discover that Hilary McGrath, the first place winner, had drawn inspiration for her story, Kalashnikov for Shoes, from her friend Sumaya, who had travelled all the way from Kurdistan especially for the reception – not only that but she and runner up Ed Briggs had both travelled from France for the occasion! It was an honour to have them there and of course our more local winners; Ken Elkes and Garrie Fletcher.’
And this is what novelist and guest judge Tiffany Murray said about Kalashnikov for Shoes: ‘This is a big, sweeping journey. It’s one that tells the story of these particular characters, but also one that tells a story of a whole nation. It’s hard to get such ‘bigness’ into a very short story without becoming sweeping, general, or mawkish. I think Kalashnikov for Shoes succeeds. Of course it starts with a great title.
‘Shiro and his Aunt’s family are travelling across a border, through the mountains. Their guide is Khalid. Shiro’s cousin, Sa’eeda is lame. It’s a hard journey. They reach their destination. This is the story, but the third person works very well here, taking us step by step; letting these characters speak, focusing on simple showing, on clear unfussy detail. This is a short story that shows the reader a big canvas with detailed, light brushstrokes – it is a snapshot, and one that certainly lingered with me.’
Read the story here.