• Short.Sharp.Stories

    A competition for people who write, powered by the National Arts Festival.

     

    The “Short Sharp Stories Award” for South African short-story fiction is made each year by the National Arts Festival. An anthology of selected stories is published annually and the theme set for writers differs from year to year.

    The winning stories, selected from the stories to be published, by a panel of independent judges, are announced at an annual launch event at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

    It is the aim of this award to encourage, support, and showcase established and emerging South African writing talent. The Award is curated by Joanne Hichens.

  • Trade Secrets

    Our 2017 theme

    TRADE SECRETS

     

    A trade refers to: a line of business or a profession, but also to a vocation, a calling, or pursuit of some sort of livelihood (for example priest, prostitute, plumber or politician; or baker or biltong maker; or contract wife or contract killer…)

    A secret is any undisclosed information which provides an edge. The edge may be over a business competitor; it may involve manipulation of a customer or a partner; it may be written into a contract or shared as a verbal agreement.

     

    A lawyer’s trump card, a novelist’s undisclosed pseudonym, a sangoma’s ingredients for muti — a secret, connected to any line of work or activity, will ensure the reader turns the page, compelled to appreciate the unfolding story. Delight us with detail, shock us with a twist, provide the pleasure of surprise. Use the secret to develop and motivate your characters, and to propel the narrative. Your story may unravel a pack of lies or a breach of confidence may be exposed in the final line; trade may also refer to the buying, selling or exchange of goods or services. In some cases ‘trade secrets’ are best preserved…

     

    This spin on ‘trade secrets’, loosely defined above, will make for good stories. Whether crime or comedy, we’re looking for stories with strong narrative drive, characters we can believe in, and settings that reflect our South African experience.

     

  • Previous Anthologies

    Every year we publish the best stories in an anthology released by Burnet Media

    2016: Die Laughing

    The Book
    Die Laughing is the fourth of the annual SHORT.SHARP.STORIES anthologies.

    In this anthology, of wit, satire and humour, writers have poked a little fun at our crazy country, at our politics, our idiosyncrasies, our down-right ridiculous habits. A number of stories look on the lighter, brighter side of life, and, of course, dark humour is included too, irony and tragi-comedy — all with a strong sense of the South African setting.

     

    With a foreword by our National Treasure, Evita Bezuidenhout, an introduction by Darrel Bristow-Bovey, and stories by new voices as well as prize-winning authors, including Greg Lazarus, Gail Schimmel, Fred Khumalo, Stephen Symons, Kobus Moolman, Ofentse Ribane, Barbara Erasmus and Diane Awerbuck, DIE LAUGHING is another stand-out anthology.

     

    On another positive note, we are pleased to announce that ADULTS ONLY won the coveted 2016 NIHSS Award (National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Award) in the category Best Edited Collection, and two contributors to INCREDIBLE JOURNEY — Bongani Kona and Lidudumalingani —were nominated for the 2016 Caine Prize. Lidudmalingani was named as the Winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing.


    The Awards
    As the only regular collection of short fiction writing in South Africa, the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES initiative, published in conjunction with the National
    Arts Festival, is playing an increasingly important role in the nurturing and development of South African writing talent. Bloody Satisfied, Incredible Journey and Adults Only were positively reviewed in the media, and together have given widespread exposure to more than 60 local authors. Die Laughing provides a platform for another 20 authors, some established, others previously unpublished. As in previous years, the winning author receives R20,000 and there are three further awards of R5,000 – a total of R35,000.


    The Editor
    Joanne Hichens, curator of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES awards, is an author, editor and creative-writing teacher. She has edited four short-story anthologies, including Bloody Satisfied and Adults Only. Her fourth novel was published in 2016.

     

    Book Details
    Editor Joanne Hichens
    Foreword Evita Bezuidenhout
    ISBN / EAN 9780994680518
    Publication date July 2016
     

    2015: Incredible Journey

    The Book
    Incredible Journey is the third of the annual SHORT.SHARP.STORIES anthologies. Following the crime-thrillers of Bloody Satisfied (2013) and erotic tales of Adults Only (2014), the focus in 2015 is on a journey, be it political, personal or emotional.
    The incredible journeys of this year’s title vary from road trips to mind trips, and are by turns inspirational, intriguing, and entertaining. Those that have made this year’s shortlist have two things in common: 1) as in previous collections, they capture uniquely South African voices, and 2) they move the reader.
    The judges of this year’s competition are Henrietta Rose-Innes, Ken Barris and Makhosazana Xaba, with a foreword to the collection by Sindiwe Magona.


    The Awards
    As the only regular collection of short fiction writing in South Africa, the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES initiative, published in conjunction with the National
    Arts Festival, is playing an increasingly important role in the nurturing and development of South African writing talent. Bloody Satisfied and Adults Only were both positively reviewed in the media, and together have given widespread exposure to more than 40 local authors. Incredible Journey will provide a platform for another 20 authors, some established (such as Anirood Singh, Bridget Pitt and Sally-Ann Murray), others previously unpublished. As in previous years, the winning author receives R20,000 and there are three further awards of R5,000 – a total of R35,000.


    The Editor
    Joanne Hichens, curator of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES awards, is an author, editor and creative-writing teacher. She has edited four short-story anthologies, including Bloody Satisfied and Adults Only. Her third novel Divine Justice was published in 2011; her fourth is due out later this year.

     

    Book Details
    Editor Joanne Hichens
    Foreword Sindiwe Magona
    ISBN / EAN 9781928230182
    RRP R190
    Publication date July 2015
    Imprint Mercury
    Publisher Burnet Media
    Distributor Jacana
     

    2014: Adults Only

    The Book

    Within the pages of Adults Only lies a wonderful range of modern sex writing; stories that are raw, dangerous and powerful, as well as those that are delicate, sensitive and poignant. This book will expose you to provocative and erotic stories that titillate the senses, as well as perverse stories that are riotously funny (but not quite pornography). Adults Only offers a sense of real characters caught in tangled webs of love and lust; the stories included run the gamut from raw and dangerous to sensitive and reserved.

    Adults Only is the second of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES annual anthologies, produced in conjunction with the National Arts Festival to showcase South African fiction-writing talent. Following 2013’s successful Bloody Satisfied, an eclectic mix of crime-thriller stories, this year’s anthology covers the fashionable theme of sex and sensuality. An anthology from established authors and rising talents, Adults Only is South African short-story writing at its best.

    “Whatever you are looking for – filth, fantasy, tenderness, suspense or a grand belly laugh – you will find it here.” – Helena S Paige

    About the editor

    Joanne Hichens, curator of the SHORT.SHARP.STORIES awards, is an author, editor and creative-writing teacher at Rhodes University. She has edited three short-story anthologies, Bad Company, The Bed Book of Short Stories and Bloody Satisfied. Her first novel Divine Justice was published in 2011.

    About the contributors

    The contributors are established authors and journalists as well as previously unpublished writers. They are: Ken Barris, Efemia Chela, Christine Coates, Anthony Ehlers, Chantelle Gray van Heerden, Bobby Jordan, Aryan Kaganof, Donvé Lee, Carla Lever, Justine Loots, Alexander Matthews, Sean Mayne, Wamuwi Mbao, Dudumalingani Mqombothi, Tiffany Kagure Mugo, Nick Mulgrew, Gillian Rennie, Arja Salafranca, Alex Smith, Jo Stielau, Alan Walters, Eugene Yiga. The book features a foreword by Helena S. Paige, and an introduction by Makhosazana Xaba.

    Book details

    Adults Only edited by Joanne Hichens
    Book homepage
    EAN: 9781928230007

    2013: BloodySatisfied

    The Book

    The National Arts Festival and Mercury Books are pleased to announce the publication of Bloody Satisfied, and the winners of the inaugural Short Sharp Stories Awards for 2013. They were selected from more than 200 entries and are Dawn Garisch (Best Story), Roger Smith (Best Thriller), T.O. Molefe (Most Original Story) and Liam Kruger (Best New Voice).

    The Short Sharp Stories anthology, Bloody Satisfied, includes twenty-four top stories, and is introduced with a rollicking foreword by Deon Meyer. It is a collection of thrilling twist-in-the-tale stories that make good on the ‘Bloody Satisfied’ promise: slick and sexy stories that brim with danger and elements of the sinister; sophisticated stories that focus on the subtler crimes of everyday life; smart stories that invert expectations and linger in the mind.

    Award money totalling R35,000 was presented to the four prize-winning stories at the official launch at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in July. This year’s judges were Sarah Lotz, Fred Khumalo and John Maytham. The editor was Joanne Hichens and the publisher Tim Richman of Mercury (an imprint of Burnet Media).

    The Short Sharp Stories Awards is a platform for both established and emerging writers in South Africa, established by the National Arts Festival.

    The Contributors

    Roger Smith, Yewande Omotso, Peter Church, Greg Lazarus, Nechama Brodie, Chris Nicholson, Osiame Molefe, Luke Fiske, Megan Furniss, Sandile Memela, Dawn Garisch, Peter Merrington, Siphiwo Mahala, Anthony Ehlers, Jill Morsbach, Liam Kruger, Amy Heydenrych, Beth Hunt, Anirood Singh, Andrew Salomon, Mncedise Thambe, Jo Stielau, Colin Ward and Melissa Siebert, with an afterword by Michael Stanley.


    The Editor

    Joanne Hichens is an author, editor, blogger at News24, and creative writing teacher at Rhodes University. Her novel Divine Justice, featuring PI Rae Valentine, was named a Top Ten Killer Thriller by the Sunday Times and a Top Ten LitNet Read for 2011. As editor, she compiled the short story collections Bad Company (the first SA collection of crime/thriller tales) and The Bed Book Of Short Stories (a collection of writing by Women of Africa).

    Bloody Satisfied: Book information

    Editor: Joanne Hichens
    Foreword: Deon Meyer
    ISBN / EAN: 9780987043733
    RRP: R170
    Publication date: June 2013
    Imprint: MercuryPublisher: Burnet Media
    Distributor: Jacana
    Subject: SA fiction

  • Rules & How to Enter

    Rules

    The competition is open to South African citizens and residents of South Africa, who are 18 years of age and older

    Stories must be previously unpublished fiction
    Stories must be written in English
    Stories are to be between 3000 and 5000 words in length (which will enable submission to the Caine Prize)
    Only one story per author is to be considered in any one year
    The story must fall within the bounds of the brief provided on shortsharpstories.com
    A cash prize of R20 000 (twenty thousand rand) will be awarded for BEST STORY
    A cash prize of R5 000 (five thousand Rand) will be awarded for BEST NEW VOICE
    Further cash prizes may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.
    Selected writer(s) will be invited to read at, and to participate in events at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2017. Transport and accommodation will be paid for winning writer(s), provided they are resident in South Africa.
    Copyright of stories will remain with the writers, although writers may be requested to publish in partnering online and print media.
    An independent panel of judges will choose the winning stories from the short-list of twenty-five stories
    While under consideration stories are not to be submitted elsewhere
    Each entry must be accompanied with a signed entry form
    Entries may not be submitted under pseudonyms
    Closing date for submission of stories is 30 November 2016.
    Short-listed writers will be notified by email by 31 March 2017.
    Authors whose stories are selected will be expected to submit a good quality head and shoulders photograph suitable for publication in the book.
    The judge’s decisions will be final.

    Note that stories will be edited by author and editor Joanne Hichens, in association with the writers, in order to ensure a publication of the highest standard.

    HOW TO ENTER

    By email to enter@shortsharpstories.com
    Submissions should be accompanied by the signed declaration which you can download here.
    Stories are preferably to be set in 11 point, Times Roman, at one and half line spacing.
    Entries should be sent as a file attachment in one of the following file formats: PDF (.pdf), Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).