Mmmm hmmm - or, The Joys of Recording

Standing in front of a microphone recording your own work is a weird but increasingly common experience. The developments of podcasting, MP3 players, and other downloadable audio systems mean that writers are spending more time rounding their vowels and sounding their consonants than ever before.

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding the recording process terrifying. I love live performance and get a huge buzz from audience reactions but confronted with the skinny grey lollipop of a mike I become totally pathetic.

Saturday was no exception - although I was bolstered by the knowledge that I was going to meet the excellent writer Frances McCallum after I'd read my story and before she read hers, which made things a bit less fraught - and I already knew that Rebekah, who was supervising the recording, was a very easy person to get on with. It all went better than I'd expected and the story should be available to download at some point - although why anybody would want hear me read it to is a mystery to me!

The story, Acorns and Conkers, will feature in the Tales of the Decongested anthology to be published next month (you can pre-order on Amazon now!) and there will be a launch at Foyles on 29 June, more details soon. Meantime - if reading at Foyles appeals to you, submit to ...


Submissions should consist of a previously unpublished short story. Submitted stories must be in English but may be on any subject or in any style. Stories submitted by post must be typewritten, minimum line spacing 1.5, and printed on one side of the page only. Since the idea is for selected stories to be read aloud at one of our events, the maximum limit for submissions is 3,000 words, although shorter is sweeter.

You can submit in the following ways:

Email stories to

Post stories to Paul Blaney (surnames A-M).

39 Hall Lane,
RM14 1AF

Post to Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone (surnames N-Z).

5 Millennium Place
Bethnal Green
E2 9NL

We'll engage to read the first 24 stories that reach us by the 10th of each month, which is when we generally read submissions. Six or more of these will be selected to be read at the next event and included in our story archive. We'll also do our very best to respond to all the submissions we receive. No more than one story per month please. We just won't be able to cope. Please keep a copy of your story, as no submissions will be returned. Stories cannot be altered or changed once they have been submitted. Submission of work will be deemed to imply that you accept the above guidelines.

And then, if accepted, you get to read at: @ The Gallery Space, 2nd Floor, Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road. It's a wonderful venue and a very supportive audience.