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Making the Case for National Short Story Month

Daily News

Online Only, posted 5.01.09

With National Poetry Month officially wrapped up, Dan Wickett of the Emerging Writers Network has declared May “Short Story Month.” Wickett, who also serves as executive director and publisher of Dzanc Books, plans to select three stories—one from a published collection, one from a print periodical, and one from an online journal—to read and blog about each day. If all goes well, he will have covered just shy of one hundred pieces by month’s end.

The concept has some history behind it. The Emerging Writers Network kicked off its first Short Story Month in 2007, and Larry Dark, director of The Story Prize, floated the idea even earlier. “I think the story needs advocacy as a cultural institution the way poetry has done,” Dark told The Pennsylvania Gazette in 2003. “There’s a national poetry month, and I think there should be a national short-story month, too. It’s a very American form. From Hawthorne and Poe to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, almost every great American writer has done the short story, and there are some great writers, like Flannery O’Connor, who practically only wrote short stories. Funding for the arts has been cut, but there’s a lot of activity around the short story, and I think it could be promoted and brought to people’s attention a little better.”

The Academy of American Poets launched National Poetry Month in 1996. Since then the nonprofit organization has enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help with the festivities each year. Dark stressed last month that any corresponding initiative for short fiction would need a similar level of support. “For [National Short Story Month] to come about and have any impact,” he wrote on the official blog of The Story Prize, “it will need to have a strong organization behind it, a real concerted and nationally coordinated effort, and buy-in from bookstores, schools, and libraries, not to mention authors and publishers.”

To generate momentum for Short Story Month, the Emerging Writers Network blog will also feature guest commentary throughout May from writers and editors discussing exemplary stories and collections.

For more information, visit the Emerging Writers Network Web site and The Story Prize blog.

Reader Comments

  • molestedbyapreacher12 says...

    the workshop should be considered as project,in many promising area's for the man and woman with the desire's
    that are in need of a guiding hand,to move forward,a rudder if you will.

  • Backhand Stories says...

    I think it's a great idea. Anything we can do to encourage people to pick up a pen or open their laptop...

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