Morris Gleitzman on the value of the short story.
Introducing the custom-made solution for busy people who haven’t got the time, confidence, energy or bedtime negotiating skills for long stories but want the thrills and fun of a great read.
Perfect for keen young readers who are only allowed between eleven and twenty-three minutes reading time before bed. There’s a short story that’s the perfect length for you. You’ll even have time to re-read the exciting bits and explain a couple of the jokes to Teddy.
Ideal for parents who’ve had a long day and want to read to their poppets, but not to the point of cardiac arrest. With a short story, you can avoid the anguished wails of ‘just one more chapter’ and bring the narrative arc to a satisfying end before your voice seizes up from gin deprivation.
A boon for teachers who want to give their students a quality literary experience that fits neatly between sport and remedial maths and doesn’t make them late for their school play rehearsals (Guys And Dolls And Phonics).
A must for relief teachers. With a short story you’ll be done and dusted and won’t have kids you never thought you’d see again knocking at your front door at 10pm demanding to know how Charlotte’s Web ends.
A huge relief for less confident young readers who keep picking up novels and putting them down again for fear they’ll get hooked on the plot and won’t finish the book till they’re forty-seven. With short stories, you too can use the words you’ve always dreamed of using. ‘Nah, I’ve read that.’
A delightful rediscovery for older readers whose memory isn’t what it was and who have trouble holding the details of more than a dozen pages at a time. With a short story, you’ll be in the loop and never have the experience of reading a chapter of The Corrections and feeling pretty sure that when you started it was Pride and Prejudice.
I could give you hundreds of more examples, but for all the above reasons I’ve decided to keep this short.
My name is Morris Gleitzman and I love short stories. I write them and I read them and sometimes I even dream about them. They’ve changed my life in countless profound and exquisite and time-appropriate ways.
Do yourself a compact and entirely manageable favour. Read one soon.