Aamer Hussein on the Short Story and Why We Need to Talk About Them
Short stories and novels have traditionally always been set again one another as if one is better than the other; as in all comparisons, this is far from the truth. It is also incorrect to think of short stories as mere ‘chapters’ of a novel. Short stories are complete worlds unto themselves. The death knell of the short story, once heard at least fifty times a day, seems to have quelled over the past many years, I believe for two reasons 1) the rise of MFA programs where mostly short stories are work-shopped and so writers graduate with collections they seek to publish and 2) the increasing frequency with which short story collections are short listed, and win, major awards. I’m always trying to get people to read short stories especially those who say they have no time for fiction: five, ten, fifteen pages– yes, you do have time! A wonderful short story writer, the Pakistani Aamer Hussein talks about short stories and shares insights from writers Ben Okri and Hanan al-Shaykh and many more.
Stories are regularly taught to budding writers as the core element of their craft. But (Lydia) Davis and a handful of others, mostly in the U.S., are among the minority who remain devoted to practicing the form. Gone are the times when a Borges, or a Carver or a Paley ignored the novel with panache. Today it is often belated recognition with a literary prize, or a death, that sends us off to our shelves in search of forgotten volumes of short fiction. read rest here